Healing Laughter

Laughter is a small act of kindness…to yourself 🙂

Betty Thomason Owens

Isa laughing“Don’t laugh!”

“Don’t you dare laugh!”

My husband used to say this to our sons when they were pouting or crying over something. It never failed to bring a smile to their faces. Within moments, they were laughing.

Laughter heals. It’s a proven fact. When’s the last time you really laughed? Laughed till you cried? It feels really, really good. And a night out with friends who can bring on that kind of laughter is strengthening. A vital element in the healing process.

What if you don’t have friends like those?

  • Watch a funny movie or television show.
  • Find a comedian you enjoy. (There are videos on YouTube featuring your favorite comedian/comedienne.)
  • Spend time with a favorite pet.
  • Hang out with kids.
  • Visit a library’s (or bookstore’s) humor section.
  • Go bowling with friends (Miniature golf, swimming, etc.)

I don’t have pets, but I love to watch those funny videos…

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The Circle of Blessing


Sir Derrick and Pablo

By Emilie Hendryx

I’d like to introduce you to my car…Sir Derrick. This old guy had a great life with me. We went on adventures to distant lands….well, mostly in California, Oregon, and Washington, and he was my faithful travel buddy to college and beyond. He also played a two-part role in my story of blessing.


Picture this: A beautiful day in Southern California. There we were, driving down the familiar road to work, when suddenly Sir Derrick’s power went out (not sure of the technical term for this). Thankfully I was able to maneuver us to a parking lot only a few blocks from work where I placed a fateful call to AAA. When all was said and done, the bill for fixing Sir Derrick back up was over $500—quite an unexpected sum.

Let me pause here in the story to say that I’m a very independent person. Being an only child, I’ve grown up doing a lot of things on my own (I have wonderful parents and it’s not that they weren’t around; they just taught me how to be independent, which I see as a good thing). So, when I heard the total to fix the car, the first thing I thought was: “Ok, Emilie, you’ll have to pull money from your savings and possibly skimp a little (or a lot) for the next few months but you can do this!” (I’m very motivational towards myself obviously—ha!)

Fast forward to a week or so later when I found out that my good friend Jennifer had taken a collection up for me among our friends and youth group staff that completely covered the cost of fixing the car. I was shocked and felt so completely blessed and undeserving!

That in and of itself was an amazing story of God’s faithfulness to me. It was the perfect reminder to me that He is in control no matter what and, even when I couldn’t see how things would work out, He had a plan.

But Sir Derrick’s adventures don’t end there. You see, about a year later I was able to purchase a new car (his name is Pablo Ferdinand the Explorer – not to be confused with the SUV – in case you were wondering). I’d received some inheritance money after my Grandmother passed and knew it would be a good investment to have a newer car. I could have traded Sir Derrick in or tried to sell him around town, but at that time one of the guys working at the church I worked at was in desperate need of a car. I entrusted Sir Derrick to him for the sum of $1 and suddenly Sir Derrick was on his way to new and great adventures.

I don’t share this last story to elevate myself in any way, but I do tell it to share a point. One of my former pastors used to say that we are “blessed to be a blessing” and that’s the only way we can look at the blessings and good things in our lives! My friends blessed me when they enabled me to get my car fixed but it didn’t stop there. It was a circle of blessing that, in theory, can continue on indefinitely.

What have you been blessed with? How are you using those things to bless others? For some this is financial. For others this means time. Still, others will have skills they can bless with. Whatever it is, I challenge you (as I challenge myself) to think of what you have—the blessings as we’d call them—as a means to bless others. Step into the circle of blessing and ask God what he would have you do to bless those around you.


square meEmilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She’s a member of ACFW and writes romantic suspense while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi dystopian worlds on the side. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time you can find her designing fun bookish things, playing guitar, or reading a book all while drinking too much coffee.

Connect with her on her blog: www.eahendryx.blogspot.com or check out her bookish shop: http://www.society6.com/emiliehendryx

Mourning Call

coffeeBy Marilyn Nutter

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Proverbs 25:25 NIV

My dear friend Ellen and her family were among the first people who welcomed my family when we moved to VA in 1981. Their hospitality was unsurpassed and our families enjoyed camping trips, meals, holidays, graduations, weddings, and news of the births of grandchildren. We moved in 1992, and even though miles separated us, we stayed in touch with visits, and for the two of us, one special trip to Cancun a year after my husband died. We were family.

About two weeks after my husband’s passing, Ellen phoned to see how I was doing. She had been widowed over twenty-five years ago, so she personally knew loss. Over the course of the conversation, she asked if I would be interested in having her phone me each morning at 7:30 “to have coffee” as she put it. She knew my husband Randy had made our morning coffee and we enjoyed it together, so there was a void in my life as I started my day. I welcomed the idea.

Sometimes our calls lasted ten minutes, sometimes thirty. We shared updates on our families, our latest recipes, my writing and her on-line teaching, and sparingly lamented world news.

I also cleared my throat when I said, “hello”. Ellen was the first person I spoke to each day. She is, on occasion, the only live voice I hear in a day. In today’s media driven culture, emails and texts provide communication—and I appreciate those–but nothing replaces interacting with a live voice.

Our calls have continued for four years. Yesterday I had my usual morning call but later that day I received news that she unexpectedly slipped from earth to heaven.

Our families did a lot of “big” things—the beach, camping, and holiday dinners, but her most profound act of kindness was dialing my phone number each morning. A small act that showed a big heart—a faithful friend who kept a commitment, shared life, and gave me an opportunity to clear my throat.

I loved her and will especially miss her each morning at 7:30.

Marilyn Nutter, of Greer, SC is the author of three devotional books, former editor of Penned from the Heart, and a contributor to on-line sites and compilations. She is a Bible teacher and speaker for women’s community and church groups, a grief support facilitator, and serves on the women’s ministry council at her church. She is the mother of three adult daughters who have given her eight beautiful grandchildren. Visit http://www.marilynnutter.com or contact marilynnutter@gmail.com

Breakfast in Bed

By Ellen Andersen

Today’s post features a friend of mine, Sharon O’Neal,  whom I’ve known for years.

Sharon picShe and I are both involved in Stephen Ministry at our church, where we reach out to help and encourage others who are hurting.  We’ve been recipients of others’ kindness as well.  Here’s a story Sharon recently related to me.

Sharon: I was laid low with the flu and wasn’t able to get up to prepare breakfast for my husband. He told me not to worry he could get his own breakfast. I figured it would probably just be a bowl of dry cereal since he wasn’t very adept at finding his way around the kitchen. But a short time later, he appeared in the bedroom caring a tray with a bowl of hot oatmeal on it for me.oatmeal pic--Small Acts of Kindness

Ellen: Sounds very sweet.

Sharon: I was surprised to see what he had gone and done and so pleased at his efforts, until I began to eat the cereal.

Ellen: Oh?

Sharon: Yes, well, he had put chocolate chips in the bottom of the bowl which is how he liked his hot cereal. I, on the other hand, can’t tolerate chocolate first thing in the morning. But the smile on his face and the expression of his love meant a whole lot.

Ellen: I’m sure it did. Little things can make a big difference, especially when we’re not feeling well.

Have you had an experience like Sharon’s, where someone went out of their way to do something kind and unexpected? Share it here.



Helping a Friend Who Has Lost a Loved One – By Tamara Jones

IMG_20141008_164000135Another great post reprinted with permission from The Kindness Blog

Dealing with a loved one’s death is truly one of the hardest yet unavoidable events that happens in a lifetime.

If your friend is grieving the loss of a family member or close friend, do all that you can to be there for them during this terrible time. From picking up food to helping with funeral costs, being a friend means being there in any way you can.

Listen; don’t tell.

It’s understandable to want to give your phonefriend inspiration and words of encouragement, but in times of great grief, words simply won’t do. The best thing you can do for your friend is listen, which can be harder than it seems. There is no fixing, there is no solution, there’s just being there for them through the good, bad, and ugly. Sometimes when we try to look at the bright side too quickly, it can make our loved ones’ emotions seem invalidated. Acknowledge the horridness of the situation, then let them come to you with their thoughts and feelings. No one deals with death the same as another person, so allow them to follow their own grieving progress and do what you can for them along the way.

Their everyday needs.

Your friend is going to have a hard time continuing with everyday life tasks for a little while. On top of stress and grief, they’ll be fielding questions from other family members and friends, handling their professional lives, and dealing with funeral planning. This leaves little time and energy for simple daily tasks. Don’t wait for them to ask, simply do what you know needs to be done and don’t expect a thank you. They’re likely to be distracted for the foreseeable future, and putting in the effort to make sure their daily lives stay as on track as possible.

shopping-879498_960_720Simple ways you can help is to pick up groceries, deliver food and plenty of Tupperware (an often forgotten but highly necessary item) for holding all the meals and leftovers they’ll be accepting, and help them keep their home picked up for all the visitors they’ll undoubtedly be receiving for the next few months. If they have kids, offer yourself up to chauffeur them to and from school or extracurricular activities while they deal with the funeral planning specifics.

When it comes to the funeral.

On top of dealing with crushing grief, your friend might be responsible for planning the funeral. If you’re in the same city, ask your friend if they would appreciate you tagging along to meetings with the funeral home. They’ll be facing a bevy of hard decisions in a highly distressed state, and having you there to lean on could be the thing that makes it less painful. Have a company deliver flowers to the funeral to make sure there’s a tangible symbol of your support.

One thing we don’t always consider is the heavy cost of a funeral. Beyond being emotionally taxing, financial hardships can arise when attempting to plan a funeral. Help your friend handle the exorbitant cost by putting together an account on a website like Youcaring.com. Family and friends can donate money towards the funeral expenses, and can choose to add their names alongside or remain anonymous.

Don’t let your support wane.

We often unintentionally let our support wane in the weeks and months after the initial shock has worn off, but your friend’s grieving process will take a long time and it’s essential that you serve as a rock of support for as long as they may need. They’ll be receiving many calls and notes in the first few weeks after news of the passing gets around, but you’d be surprised at how quickly these disappear. Their moving on process won’t be a quick one, so you’ll need to be prepared for various degrees of distress as the months and years go on.

If your friend has recently lost a loved one, you may be questioning how you can best support them. Grief is highly individualized, and their healing process will be unique to them.

Offer your support in any way that presents itself, and simply stay by their side to ensure you can be the best friend possible during one of life’s most trying times.