Small Acts of Kindness: A Child and an Egg Hunt

By Kathy C. Houser

This was hard for me to choose. Lately I’ve seen many acts of kindness. From a stranger to a neighbor to a child. What stood out the most is the child’s good heart.

I had the pleasure of going to an Easter egg hunt at St. Paul’s in Decatur where my granddaughter, Ellie,  attends Pre-K. We sat in the hall as they brought out the children in groups. It was raining that day so Ellie’s egg hunt was in the gym.

Being a proud Nana, I filmed it all. The excitement in her little eyes grew when she saw me sitting in the hall. I knew she would really enjoy this year, being four. When it was over, she discovered that she had found the most eggs. I stopped filming and told her how proud of her I was and hugged and kissed her.  But that was not the end. What happened next really warmed my heart.

As we were leaving the gym, a little girl with only a few eggs walked up. Ellie looked at me and smiled. She then turned to the little girl and gave her two eggs. This made my heart happy, not only because she is my granddaughter, but because she showed kindness and thoughtfulness in her heart.

I told Ellie how sweet and kind that was to give because she wanted to. Ellie has always shown kindness. When she goes somewhere with my mom and I, every time my mom gets out of the car, she says, “Grandma, let me take your hand and help you.” She noticed me do this and wanted to help also.

At the Easter egg hunt, this kindness blossomed out of her own little heart. The kindness of children just warms my heart.

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Book Review: Marrying His Best Friend

Book Review: Marrying His Best Friend by Jennifer Gracen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  There were times when I thought the next scene was obvious and was surprised at a twist with a new character and subplot I didn’t see coming.

Single mom Maura Callahan never anticipated that she’d be living with her mom in the suburbs at age 29, raising her young daughter, Chloe, and working a job that barely pays the bills. At least she still has her best friend Aidan, who makes her laugh, keeps her on her toes, and provides a shoulder to cry on when necessary. She’s never told him her true feelings though, fearing ridicule and rejection.

Aiden McKinnon, an executive at a high-profile social media company in the heart of Dublin, has longed to change his bestie status with Maura for years, but it seems Maura’s relegated him permanently to the friend zone. Still, she and Chloe are his world. But when Chloe’s father shows up out of the blue and demands shared custody when he’s never once met the little girl, Aidan sees a way to finally have what he secretly wants most while ensuring Maura and Chloe’s safety.

Will he be able protect Maura and her precious little girl? Will he ever be able to admit his love for Maura and, if he does, how will she react?

 

 

 

 

 

Worship Music Brightened My Day

It was over a decade ago, but I still remember it well. I’d been in the hospital for a few months, recovering from complications of a surgery. I was getting better, but the hospital isn’t a good place to spend your days—especially for so long. I was surrounded by white walls, sterile air, and machines that beeped constantly every day. The environment only worsened how bad I already felt.

I’d been in acute care  for several weeks after surgery and had finally been transferred to rehab, where I was re-learning how to sit up, stand, and walk in physical therapy. The occupational therapist taught me to dress, shower, and groom myself again. I went through PT and OT every day, twice a day. It was exhausting.

One afternoon I got a wonderful surprise that brightened my mood for the rest of the day. Matt Rexford, the worship pastor at my church, came to pay me a visit.   I lit up immediately when he came in. It wasn’t part of his responsibilities at church and I don’t know if he was even on the clock. We talked for a bit and then the surprise got even better. Not only had he come to visit, he’d brought his guitar.

We sang familiar, uplifting worship songs. It made me forget myself for a bit and focus on the Lord.  It attracted staff and visitors to a least peek in the room as well. Others slowed their stride as they walked by. Matt was encouraging them, as well as ministering to me.

Nearly 15 years later, the memory of Matt’s visit still blesses me. We may never know what impact our seemingly small actions have on somebody. Our words and actions may matter more than we think.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

The Five Times I Met Myself is another great novel by James L. Rubart. The struggles of the characters mirrored my own and touched me. Like all his books, it is very well-written. Make sure you have a box of tissue nearby!

Click to tweet: The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart on Favorite Friday Fiction. Awesome book! #Fridayreads #amreading


The Five Times I Met Myself

“If you think fiction can’t change your life and challenge you to be a better person, you need to read The Five Times I Met Myself.”

Andy Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of How Do You Kill 11 Million People, The Noticer & The Traveler’s Gift

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a wonderful classic book I could read again and again. My favorite section is where Colin has a revelation:

“He had known it before in a way, he had hoped it and felt it and thought about it, but just at that minute something had rushed all through him—a sort of rapturous belief and realization and it had been so strong that he could not help calling out. “I shall live forever and ever and ever!” he cried grandly. “I shall find out thousands and thousands of things. I shall find out about people and creatures and everything that grows—like Dickon—and I shall never stop making Magic. I’m well! I’m well! I feel—I feel as if I want to shout out something—something thankful, joyful!”

Click to tweet: The Secret Garden still continues to capture readers of all ages. #Fridayreads #classic


The Secret Garden

The orphaned Mary Lennox is sullen, ill tempered, and unloved when she’s sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven. A man consumed by grief over the death of his wife, Archibald has allowed his sprawling estate on the moors to fall into grim disrepair. It’s when Mary begins tending to her late aunt’s mysterious garden—locked up and neglected for years—that she discovers its life-changing secrets and a flowering rejuvenation of the human spirit.

Out of this dark, closed-off world and a child’s innate curiosity about life and death comes one of the most transformative coming-of-age novels ever written.

Small Acts of Kindness: Oh, My Purple Hairbrush

By Cammi Woodall

Have you seen the meme on Facebook or Pinterest of the little girl with a purple hairbrush? You haven’t? Go to Google and look for ‘tantrum girl with purple hairbrush,’ It’ is totally worth it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Isn’t she adorable? Haven’t we all felt that frustration and not been able to act on it? This clip comes from the 90’s movie Look Who’s Talking Now, the third installment in the John Travolta/talking baby series. The girl in the clip is named Julie and she is mad at her brother. You know how it is with siblings – you can’t wallop them or send them back to the hospital. So you grit your teeth, shake your purple hairbrush, and let off that steam.

The reason I chose this Small Act of Kindness is because of my sister Holly. Back before Christmas, she was having one of ‘those’ days. As a United Methodist pastor, she was trying to juggle her congregation’s needs, family, friends, daily stress, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Feeling overwhelmed and attacked, she posted this meme on her Facebook page with a joking(?) threat of ‘Don’t make me get my purple hairbrush!’ Several people responded and ‘liked’ it with the laughing emoji. Holly had a good laugh, relieved some stress, and didn’t think too much else about it.

A few days later she returned to her office after being out of town at meetings. On her desk was a gift for her. Someone had gone to lots of trouble to make it look nice with a homemade gift bag and gold confetti strips. Inside was a sparkly purple hairbrush. There was no note and to this day she doesn’t know who gave it to her.

That purple hairbrush has become an official mascot/stress reliever for their office. Anytime she or the church secretary feel like each other may be getting angry or stressed, they joke ‘Hang on, let me get that hairbrush!’ That is their cue to step back, take a deep breath, and find a constructive way to deal with the situation.

In Holly’s words – “Every time I use it – for brushing my hair AND threatening, it makes me happy to remember that a good friend went to the trouble, not just to buy a gift and wrap it for me, but to find a purple hairbrush just because I liked it in a Facebook post. It was a great gift that still makes me very happy!”

Each of us face trials and tribulations each day and how we handle the stress of those situations is what defines us. It is easy to give in, to be rushed, terse, even hurtful or hateful. So the next time you feel yourself welling up with a harmful emotion, take a deep breath and shake your purple hairbrush!

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. Each of us face trials and tribulations each day and how we handle the stress of those situations is what defines us. #amwriting #kindnessmatters


Daughter, sister, friend, huge nerd, procrastinator… All are words Cammi Woodall uses to describe her self. A new one she is using is writer. That is scary! Cammi is a writer. Her hands shake when she says it or writes those words.

After keeping her stories hidden away for decades, she’s decided 2018 is her year to jump out of her comfort zone and get her writing to the public.

Despite darker reading habits, a comic thread weaves its way through her fictional stories. Even in emotional pieces, her characters use humor to cope with everyday tragedies. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying!

Cammi has contributed articles to inspiredprompts.com and has become a contributor for 2018. She looks forward to the day she can list the titles of her completed novels!

You can reach Cammi at https://www.facebook.com/cammiwoodall or follow her at https://pinterest.com/cammiwoodall.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr

The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr is a little different from my normal reads. Yes, it is a mystery but one which takes place in Medieval times. Once I wrapped my mind around the time period, I enjoyed the book very much…

Click to tweet: The Unquiet Bones is a Middle Ages mystery to enjoy. #Fridayreads #mystery


The Unquiet Bones

Uctred thought he had discovered pig bones. He did not know or care why they were in the cesspit at the base of Bampton Castle wall. Then he found the skull. Uctred is a tenant, bound to the land of Lord Gilbert, third Baron Talbot, lord of Bampton Castle, and had slaughtered many pigs. He knew the difference between human and pig skulls. Lord Gilbert called for me to inspect the bones. All knew whose bones they must be.

They were not. Hugh de Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight in Wyclif’s England, had had some good fortune. Newly trained as a surgeon, he was staring from his Oxford window, hoping for clients, when Lord Gilbert was kicked by his groom’s horse. Hugh’s successful treatment of the suffering Lord led to an invitation to set up his practice in the village of Bampton – and, before long, the request to identify some bones…

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Bargain by Aaron D. Gansky

The Bargain is an intriguing roller coaster of a book. I loved the characters and setting. The way Gansky builds up suspense is masterful. I’ve read most of his books and enjoyed them all. If you like suspense, read this book…

Click to tweet: The Bargain by Aaron D. Gansky runs over with riveting suspense. #suspense #Fridayreads


The Bargain
One man stands between a destitute town and total destruction.

Ten articles in eight days is a tall order for any journalist, even for Polk Award winner Connor Reedly. But with a dying wife and an empty bank account, the promised payment of $250,000 is hard to turn down. More so, his enigmatic employer, Mason Becker, has insinuated Connor’s acceptance of the job will result in a supernatural healing of his beloved wife. 

The people of Hailey, California—the subjects of Connor’s charged articles—are a secretive group, not willing to open up to strangers. When shots are fired and Connor is running for his life, he demands Mason answer his questions: Why are the articles so important? Is anyone going to publish them? Where is the money coming from? How can he be so confident that the completion of the articles will heal his wife? 

Nothing in Connor s vast journalistic adventures—not Katrina, not September 11th, not even his first-hand experience in the genocide in Darfur–could prepare him for the answers Mason gives. Now, it seems, the lives of everyone in Hailey—including his wife’s—are in his hands.