Small Acts of Kindness:  Sometimes in Three’s

By Beth Ann Ziarnik

Only one day stood between me and the big party I would host Sunday afternoon at church. Standing in my kitchen, I wondered how I would ever be ready. I was also a little sad that Jim would not be with me for that special day. He had died just three years before. It seemed like yesterday.

But people were depending on me, so there was nothing to do but keep moving. I grabbed my coat, ready to head for my hair appointment, when the doorbell rang. The poor flower shop man had chased all over, trying to deliver the beautiful bouquet from Sue and Becky.

As I quickly placed the vase on my dining table, it hit me. My Jim couldn’t give me flowers to celebrate my first novel’s book launch but, through the kindness of these dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. I wept all the way to my salon appointment.

Back home, while working on preparations, I thought about the kindness of my friend Jackie. I’d been terribly sick Tuesday through Thursday, and didn’t have the strength to run errands on Friday. Jackie put everything aside to be my chauffeur.  We ordered the cake, bought fruits and veggies, and picked up other last minute items. If not for her, I would have had zero chance of being ready.

Now late Saturday afternoon, I faced preparing all those fruits and veggies, as well as frosting one-hundred-and-fifty star shaped cutout cookies in various sizes. Overwhelmed? Absolutely!

The phone rang, my sister Shelly calling to see how I was doing. I filled her in. “Get yourself over here and help me,” I pleaded, knowing perfectly well that wasn’t happening. She lived several states away.

“Funny thing you should say that,” she said. “I’m just crossing the border into Wisconsin. We’ll be there in a couple of hours.” We included her daughter Nicole, baby Addie, and three-year-old Eli.

Two days before, Shelly had felt such a strong urging to attend my book launch that she chanced driving hundreds of miles in the middle of January, ignoring the snow and frigid cold. Before bedtime, the fruits, veggies and cookies were ready. So were the boxes of decorations, prizes, paper goods, and everything else we’d need.

Three acts of kindness. I will never forget the special friends and family who heard from God’s heart and came to my rescue that Saturday before launch.

Click to tweet: Through the kindness of dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. #Kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness


  An avid fan of romantic suspense fiction and a firm believer in small acts of kindness, Beth Ann Ziarnik combines both in her debut novel, Her Deadly Inheritance. Besides reading, she enjoys fun times with family and friends and working puzzles.

https://www.facebook.com/beth.ziarnik

https://bethziarnik.wordpress.com


Her Deadly Inheritance

First a runaway. Now running for her life. Won’t Jill Shepherd’s family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family’s deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive. 

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill’s historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice … until Jill gets in the way. 

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it’s not just Clay’s mission on the line, but his heart.

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Favorite Friday Fiction: The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is an extremely well-written book of fairy-tale romance. It is rich in historical detail and makes it easy to imagine being right in the story. It’s listed as YA but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes transformed fairy-tales…

Click to tweet: Fairy-tale retelling at its best. “The Healer’s Apprentice.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Healer’s Apprentice

In author Melanie Dickenson’s new book, a young healer’s apprentice named Rose believes she will never marry … until she meets Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of her village. Hamlin is everything she could ever want—kind, understanding, and a man of faith—but her low station and the fact he’s already betrothed to a mysterious woman makes their romance impossible.

As Lord Hamlin seeks to find the sorcerer who cursed his future bride, Rose’s life spins toward confusion. A creative retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale.

Small Acts of Kindness: Reaching Out in Friendship

By Ellen Andersen

Mom and Dad

I’m fortunate to have a close family.  And my mom is the best. She means the world to me and is more than just my mom. She’s a close friend and I treasure our relationship.

She means a lot to her friends as well. She’s been in a bowling league for many years now and has met a lot of people she wouldn’t otherwise know.

Mom describes one of the ladies on her team as amazing; they’ve been bowling together for about 12 years. Her name is Dolores and she has an average of about 128, despite the fact that she’s 87 years old and has macular degeneration, which clouds her vision. After her first throw, her teammates tell her which pins are left so she aims for them. She’s been bowling so long that even though she can’t see the pins well, she often picks up a spare.

Last Spring, she mentioned to Mom that she likes to walk but she can’t see obstacles in the road because of the macular degeneration. She’s afraid she’ll fall so she just walks up and down her driveway. Mom decided that just wasn’t right, so since she had some extra time, Mom asked Dolores if she’d like them to walk together. Dolores took her up on it right away. They’ve been walking every Monday ever since unless one of them has an appointment or the weather doesn’t cooperate.

They enjoy each other’s company and talk about their families, including Dolores’ kids and life with her husband before he passed away. He used to bowl in their league as well, so Mom knew him too. She describes him as a lovely man.

Having a friend to walk with once a week gives Dolores some variety in her days and she’s able to get out and enjoy the fresh air safely, without fear of falling. And the companionship and conversation increases her quality of life as well.

Mom

What may seem insignificant to us may mean a lot to someone else, and increase their joy. What have you experienced that has made a difference for you or someone else? Share it here.

Favorite Friday Fiction: Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard is a beautifully written allegory about a young woman named Much-Afraid and the Good Shepherd. This book speaks to me each time I read it, which has easily been a half-dozen times. I so relate to Much-Afraid and her long journey to the High Places. Better have a box of tissues handy when you read this book…

Click to tweet: Over two million copies sold. “Hinds’ Feet on High Places. #FridayReads #amreading

Hinds’ Feet on High Places Continue reading

Small Acts of Kindness: Front Porch Friends

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.

Click to tweet: Small Acts of Kindness Sitting on the front porch with friends. #kindnessmatters #kindness


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.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Book of Things to Come by Aaron Gansky

The Books of Things to Come (A Hand of Adonai novel) by Aaron Gansky is another great fantasy book, the first in the series. It combines medieval-type fantasy with technology and even has a comic book/video game feel at times. It is different with a lot of twists and turns and I like that…

Click to tweet: 2016 Selah Award winner for YA fiction. #FridayReads #amreading

The Book of Things to Come

Winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Young Adult Fiction

At first, Lauren Knowles is thrilled to find she’s “clicked” herself inside Alrujah, a fantasy game she created with her best friend, Oliver Shaw. But the exhilaration of serving as a magical princess fades when she senses a demonic force – one they did not create – lurking in the shadows. 

Though they created a world of wondrous beauty blue-leafed forests, shimmering silver rivers, and expansive medieval castles Lauren and Oliver soon find their secret realm to be an ever-changing land of dark oppression and deadly sorcery. With the help of Aiden Price and Erica Hall, two friends from their high school in North Chester, the four teens must find a way out that can only be discovered from the dusty pages of the ancient leather-bound tome, The Book of Things to Come. 

Faced with questionable allies, invisible enemies, and increasingly dangerous levels of difficulty, the four must learn to work together, to trust each other … or be forever lost in this deadly game of virtual reality that’s become all to real. 

Careful what you create – it could kill you.

Favorite Friday Fiction: Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

Max Lucado is one of my favorite non-fiction authors so when I heard he released a fiction work, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, I ran to get my copy. I loved the storyline which surprisingly contains hints of the speculative genre. I liked this book because like all Lucado books, it left me greatly encouraged.

Click to tweet: Favorite Friday Fiction: Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado #FridayReads #amreading 

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would He answer?

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own. Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

Small Acts of Kindness: Lovely Words

By Betty Thomason Owens

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”—Scott Adams (born 1957), Creator Of Dilbert Comic Strip

My husband and I stopped at the grocery store on a hot, summer day. We only needed a few things, so after we had them, he headed for the self-check line. When he had emptied the small cart, I took it and headed for the front entrance, to return it.

As I reached the spot where the carts were stored, a beautiful African-American woman entered through the front door. Her gorgeous outfit caught my attention—a stunning design, blending golds, browns, and reds. But her face reflected stress, or maybe it was concentration. She headed my way, so I waited to allow her to go in front of me.

Instead of walking by me, she said, “I’ll take that cart.”

I gave it up with a smile, thinking she had saved me several steps. But before she turned away, I felt compelled to speak to her. “I love your outfit.”

Her face was transformed by a glorious smile. Her eyes sparkled as she thanked me. “God bless you—you’ve made my day!”

Ah, the warm glow in my heart, knowing I’d made a difference in this woman’s day, maybe diluted her stress a tiny bit. As I enjoyed that sense of well-being, I was struck with the reality that when we offer a kind word to another and they receive it with joy, their happiness spills over on us.

I was still smiling as my husband and I made our way to the car. Especially when I caught sight of that same woman in her beautiful dress, walking to her car with a definite spring in her step.

Click to tweet:  There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  #kindness #kindnessmatters 


Betty Thomason Owens is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of their Louisville Area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.