“Fruitful” Acts of Kindness

By Maria I. Morgan maria blog postOne day – a 24-hour period of time. We’re all given the same number of minutes each day. For the most part, we determine how to use them. It’s been said that we make time for what’s important to us. So what’s important to you?

As you think back over the past week, how did you spend your time? Is there time you wished you had used differently?

Sometimes I’m selfish . . .

I’m a writer which means I spend a lot of time at home in front of my computer. If I’m not careful, I can get so absorbed in my writing projects that I avoid phone calls and don’t schedule time with friends. I get selfish with my time.

Over a year ago the Lord challenged me to step out of my comfortable writer’s zone and develop meaningful relationships with others:

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Romans 12:10

Being intentional

While I know God created me to live in relationship with others, I have to be intentional with my time to do just that. And boy has God blessed. As an older woman, I’ve had the opportunity to pour into the lives of younger ladies – to see them grow in their faith and walk with them through life’s ups and downs. The Lord has also developed friendships with other women who have been able to challenge and encourage me.

The battle between living for self and living selflessly is very real. If I’m not careful, I can be so focused on my agenda that I miss God’s still, small voice. The good news? When I submit to God and seek His will, He makes my path clear. He wants me to live a life that showcases Him. The Bible puts it this way:

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5

A fruitful life

If you’re anything like me, you want to live a life that’s fruitful. A life that shares the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A life that is rich in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Do you recognize these characteristics? They are the fruit of the Spirit.

The key to producing “much fruit” is abiding in Christ. He wants us to be fruitful.

Your turn

Are you living for self or living a selfless life? What step will you take today to live selflessly?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding me of the importance of living a selfless life. Forgive me for my selfishness. Help me submit to Your will and to walk in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Make my life fruitful for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

2015 Outrageously Fruitful Cover Design for Createspace 3 (1)*I’ve written a book, Outrageously Fruitful, that addresses this very issue. It’s a 10-week Bible study made up of a series of brief daily lessons that encourage you to take an honest look at your current behavior. It’s my desire that the Lord will use this study as a tool to reignite your faith and put it into action.

 

Would you like to win a copy of Maria’s book? Just leave a comment to be entered to win. 🙂

 

 

DSC_0825 Looking DownMaria 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 truth and make an eternal difference. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine coon kitties ~ the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!

A Blooming Circle of Sunshine

IMG_7718By Gail Kittleson

This fall, we re-started a small writing class in my dining room. We’ve met for several years and bonded through focusing on  the memoir. Divulging our experiences in the written word takes a certain kind of courage, but these women have stuck with it. And we have fun, besides.

On this day, four women came one by one. They all had stories to tell, especially since we suspended meeting over the summer. So I was deep in one member’s story when the second arrived, and so on.

The last to enter the house, Mary, had typed out her story, a unique experience with her grandchildren during her daughter’s hospitalization, so she shared last. By the time she came in, we were all attending to the third woman who wore an ankle cast and needed to elevate her foot. Mary had given her a ride to class.

These details come to me in retrospect, because when I walked everyone out the front door after class, a gorgeous chrysanthemum plant took up a third of my bottom step. Golden yellow, arms spread in a cheerful globe, it’ll bring me joy for weeks to come.

And how did it arrive? Surreptitiously, at the hands of my kind writing friend—Mary, who gave the injured woman a ride and walked in last.

I speculate that she often occupies last place. And I’d guess she’s comfortable there, checking things out, making people comfortable, looking for forgotten details. I have no idea how many random acts of kindness trail her but am pretty sure there’s a lot.

Outside my window as I write today, there’s a blooming circle of sunshine, just for me. What’s interesting is, a few days earlier, I noticed these glorious autumn flowers but bought a much cheaper version in the least expensive department store I could find. “This’ll do,” I thought.

But Mary’s gift reminds me I might deserve the full-blown version—the best.

gailGail Kittleson and her husband live in rural northern Iowa, where they enjoy family and she facilitates a small writing class…small but powerful!
In winter, Arizona Ponderosa forest country provides even more novel fodder. Gail enjoys writing, reading, hiking, biking, meeting strangers, leading writing workshops, and re-connecting with old friends – please feel free to contact her.
Purchase In This Together
In This Together

Dottie Kyle’s world centers on hard work. When World War II steals her son and she loses herInThisTogether_w9364_750-200x300 husband soon after the Allied victory, her job at Helene’s boarding house gives her a reason to wake up in the morning. But when her daughter in California experiences complications in her third pregnancy and needs help with the little grandchildren Dottie longs to meet, old fears of closed-in spaces hinder her from embarking on a cross-country train trip. 

Meanwhile, unexpected challenges arise at work, and Dottie’s next-door widower neighbor Al’s sudden attention becomes obvious. Could he hold the clue to conquering anxieties that have her in a stranglehold? 

Saying Thank You Will Never Be Enough

Betty Boyd 1 (1)By Betty Boyd

In 2011, I had to have surgery on my left foot and it required me to both stay home and have someone drive me around for a six-week period.  My friend Janet, whom I had only known for a short period of time, stepped right up to help me.

I am a widow with no children or kinfolk in the Tennessee Valley area.  At the time, Janet was a salesperson and had to drive to around to various doctors for her business.  She took me to and from my surgery, and while I initially had to stay home for two weeks, checked up on me to make sure I had all I needed.

After staying home for my two-week period, Janet picked me up from my home, took me to work, and brought me back when my day was done.  Additionally, since we go to the same Catholic church, I would ride with her to attend Mass.

Janet went beyond what anyone else would have done.  She extended herself, in a time when I most needed help.  I will always be grateful to her for kindness.  Saying thank you will never be enough and to this day, she and I are best friends.  Janet epitomizes friendship and I would not have it any other way.

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994.  She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service.  She has a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services.  She’s active in her church and community.  She is currently writing a book on leadership.

One Small Act of Kindness

By Tammy Trail

toyIn the summer of 1972, I was 10 years old, the oldest of four children. My baby brother, Tom, had been born the October before. My mother worked during the day so my Dad watched over us. He was out of work,
recovering from back surgery.

We lived in a working class neighborhood. There was never a shortage of kids to ride bikes, play games, or get into trouble. Of course, if we did get into trouble, our parents found out before we ever got home. It was that kind of place.

My grandparents lived a block away, and  our other family all lived within blocks of our house. That summer, we were allowed to go and hang out with kids around the block instead of just on our street. We had to be home when the church down the street rang the bell at 6:00, or when my Dad whistled.

prisonAs I remember, Dad was heavily medicated for pain, and he had a tendency to drink in the evenings. I imagine that combination didn’t help a man make good decisions. He paid for a bad decision. It would be a summer of humiliating change for the whole family as Dad was sentenced to the State Penitentiary for a year.

We moved away from the neighborhood we had always known to a small town outside the city. I guess my parents’ thought no one would know our business and it would be a clean start for everyone while Dad was in prison. We found a small house that Mom would be able to manage with her paycheck. I went from having my own room to sharing a room with my three brothers. We had double bunk beds. Not the ideal situation for a girl, but I remember nights spent telling stories to each other and laughing until we fell asleep.

It was a year I would never forget.

  • It was the year my baby brother, Tom got pneumonia, had convulsions because his fever was too high and was rushed to the hospital.
  • It was the year I was jumped by a bunch of kids after I was dropped off by the bus and got the tar smacked out of me.
  • It was a year I heard my mother crying on the phone begging someone not to repossess our bunk beds because it was all we had to sleep on.
  • It was the year my mother took a broom and defended herself against a drunken neighbor who tried to force his way into our house.
  • It was the year we grew sick of “Hamburger Helper.” To this day, none of us can stand to look at it.
  • It was the year my mother sat us down and explained there would be no Christmas. She didn’t have the money or the heart to deal with it. To say we were disappointed was an understatement.

Now, there would be no presents, no tree, and no special dinner. But we all resolved that we would get to spend time with family at our grandparent’s house, eat special food, and maybe get a present or two there on Christmas day. We had something to anticipate.

The next morning, instead of the kids waking up mother, she woke us, telling us to
hurry to the living room for a surprise. We ran to see a tree, decorated and lit. All around the tree were more gifts than we could have ever hoped for, nearly filling the entire living room of that small home. There were boxes of various shapes and sizes, just for us. All of them.christmas

We received new clothes, hats, gloves, and winter coats. We got new pajamas, toys, and books. I remember having such fun opening every one of them. And my mother watched with tears in her eyes, smiling. You see, we had not been forgotten in our small town far from the city. Our aunts and uncles pitched in and made sure we had Christmas. One Aunt, in particular, was only eight years older than me, working her first factory job. Aunt Vicki went Christmas crazy and bought most of the gifts for us. She had the biggest smile on her face when we thanked her later that day. To this day, I don’t know how they managed it without waking us up!

That Christmas was one we would never forget. One small act of kindness made the holiday magical for four kids, and a mom who was trying everything to do her best by them.

Giving A Smile

By Robin E. Mason

You’ve all heard the saying, I’m sure, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” Easiest thing in the world to do, right? Only, ‘cept, sometimes I’m the one without a smile. Hard to give what I don’t have… Then again, when I smile at someone through my whatever-is-going-on, funny thing happens – MY joy sneaks back in. Giving a smile actually turns into receiving a smile (joy.)image 1

Today was a cold rainy day in our area. Late this afternoon, there was a knock on my door. There stood my sweet friend, Susan, who is recovering – quite nicely, I might add – from a stroke. She brought her husband with her (right up in my messy house) to deliver a generous (two meals for me) portion of her homemade turkey vegetable soup. Don’t you know that made my day! She couldn’t have known it was one of those days I wanted a redo.image 2

More than the soup, though, was the friendship that brought her here. She has come to be one of my most cherished friends, for her thoughtfulness. The soup is just one example of her kindness toward me. There has been coffee (fresh ground, mind you) and cookies (homemade of course) and rides to get places I need to go. Long story, but I don’t have a car – but I do have friends, and I’ll take them over a car! (if I had to choose of course)

In the friends giving rides category, yesterday was one. In lieu of gas money (which I don’t have) I offered to cook supper (scrounge something) and bake brownies for my friend if she could give me a ride to a doctor’s appointment. As we left the doctor’s office, she asked if I had time to ride with her to run an errand she needed to do before 5:00. I looked at the clock, it was already after 4:00; I had no problem riding along. Then she asked if I had eaten at this Mexican restaurant she likes. I hadn’t so she asked if I’d like to go for dinner, her treat. Then we stopped at a bakery for yummies, also her treat. What a boost to my spirit – and my tummy – to be treated to exactly what I had offered to do for my friend.image 3

Sometimes, it’s the little things, things we might not notice. Our trash pick-up is on Mondays, and I hadn’t bothered to roll my trash can back by the house. My daughter, who lives across the street, was heading out for an errand this afternoon. I noticed as she stopped her truck and snugged her hood over her – it was raining pretty hard at the time – and rolled my trash can back by the house for me.  Little things.image 4

A note arrives in the mail, a message or post on Facebook that really touches my heart. Or, perhaps, it’s something I’ve shared that touches someone’s heart. A kind word in season, a hug – one of my sweet friends at church hugs me and doesn’t let go. I’ve read that hugs that last more than twenty seconds (I think) are therapeutic. She hugs perhaps a full minute, maybe more. I live alone, so hugs is huge to me. (I love my kitties but for all their kitty love and affection, it just ain’t the same!)image 5

We never know what random (act of kindness) that seems so insignificant might be received as the token that turned a “horrible awful bad day” around. We never know what long reaching effect our words may have.

A word spoken in due season, how good it is (Proverbs 15:23).

Turns out, small acts of kindness aren’t so small after all.

image 6“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

Robin E. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She is currently working on Clara Bess, the sequel to Tessa, which will be released in November of this year.