Small Acts of Kindness: The Love of a Child

By Jennifer Hallmark

No one can show kindness like a child. Young children have a generally happy, carefree look at life, not yet jaded by the pain and sorrow associated with growing up.

My granddaughter, Phoebe, came to visit one day, bearing the gift of a picture she’d drawn for my refrigerator. The simple drawing of me and her with lots of love touched my heart and I still display it to this day.

If you have children you care for, encourage them to draw or make simple gifts for people around you that need to be lifted up. This doesn’t have to be expensive but it can make the world of difference for someone struggling.

The difference made by the love of a child…

P.S. And I love that she drew me with long hair 🙂


Small Acts of Kindness: Give Thanks in All Circumstances


By Lindsey P. Brackett

I passed a church sign today. Give thanks in all circumstances. I use that verse in my debut novel, and when my main character, who’s had her share of tragedy, reads it, she wonders if it’s possible, really, to always give thanks.

Two years ago, our Thanksgiving was marked by similar questions. Two years ago this time was when we first began to suspect something was wrong with our youngest daughter. When we first took her to a doctor and were told we weren’t crazy. When we first realized this might be the beginning of the end.

Or the end of the beginning.

During those first six weeks of tests and blood draws and hospital stays and tears cried until my throat was raw and my knees burned from the carpet at the alter, I could not give thanks. I could not find a way to see gratitude because I was blinded by fear.

And then one day, I did.

I stood in the cold hallway of a children’s hospital and watched a man, a father of a child much smaller than mine, ask the nurse for toothpaste. They had left with almost nothing and found themselves confined to the neurology floor of a place where people spoke in whispers and used words parents are not always equipped to understand.

He caught my eye, this man who shared my fear, and he smiled. I had dirty hair and red-rimmed eyes and hands that shook around my coffee; I had no smile for anyone.

But he had one for me.

I began to make a list, Ann Voskamp style. A daily list of random acts of gratitude, of ways I still felt loved even when they sent us home and the neurologist called two days later and had us come back.

Someone brought us dinner. Gift cards came in the mail. My editor gave grace on a deadline, and so many other mamas stepped in for our three other children. The day we went across the state line to the Birmingham specialist, my husband’s truck broke down. The receptionist at the mechanic shop drove us to our appointment—and she picked us up.

Give thanks in all circumstances. It’s the only way to live thanksgiving, really. We gather around these feast-filled tables one day out of every year, but in reality, we should give the same thanks over the bowl of soup or peanut butter sandwich that graces our plates the rest of the time.

If we can give thanks in the bounty, we must also give it in the meager. If we can give thanks for the new home, better car, bigger paycheck—then we must also give it for the diagnosis and the doctors and the anxiety. Eventually, grace always overcomes. Just watch and you’ll see.

Somewhere in those darkest moments, those worst of times, there will be goodness, there will be kindness, there will be faithfulness. Give thanks in all circumstances—perhaps, especially, in ones that bring us fear.

Click to tweet: Finding thankfulness in all circumstances. #SmallActsofKindness #KindnessMatters

Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.

In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.

Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan—avoid her own past despite being waitlisted for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists—she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts her with loss. Here her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the Island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt over his father’s death.

When the family reunion brings to light Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her—and Edisto—from more desolation. Now she must choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace.

Small Acts of Kindness: MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers

december2016daycareBy Julie Arduini

It was an organization that made me feel important and normal. At meetings I was encouraged that my toddler would not graduate in diapers or with a pacifier. As a new mom, we were given refreshments that weren’t first touched by our child’s sticky fingers. We heard powerful speakers who challenged and grew us as wives and moms. We even made crafts that perked up our home and often made life more efficient. I was a MOPS—Mothers of Preschoolers fan before I even realized the extent they were available to their moms, and more than once this organization met me in my deepest valley.

In 2001, they were the first to bring meals for a week after I miscarried. It was such a blessing because I was hurting in every way. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but I had a small child to care for. Those meals, their cards, and most of all, their prayers carried me through that horrific first week. It was a dear friend and fellow MOPS mom who met with me to let me grieve. It was a gift of her time and love I will never forget.

By 2003, we had a baby daughter and she was chronically ill. Things were so critical at one point that we nearly lost her due to doctor error. My local MOPS chapter came with meals once again. They let me cry and vent. When some suggested we take legal matters, they didn’t push when we felt that wasn’t what God wanted us to do. And when they sat me down to tell me the doctor’s practice was an upcoming speaker for a meeting, they begged me to stay home. Yet, when I felt again, God wanted me to be there, it was a beautiful moment of public forgiveness we all got to be a part of.


Once we recovered, we then learned we were moving to a state where we knew no one. MOPS was the key ingredient to why I was able to make the move. I made sure there was a chapter in our new area. When I reached out and let them know I was moving there, they called me every week to see how the move was going. My husband was already in Ohio, but I was back in New York trying to sell our house. I was taking care of a sick baby and homeschooling our son. My dad passed away. Those calls from my new MOPS home was a lifeline for me. When I finally made the move to Ohio, they met me the first day there with flowers and meals. There were meals for a week, as well as cards and greetings. They continued to reach out as we got used to the area and placed our daughter with specialists and therapies.

MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. Although I have now “aged out” with my kids long out of pre school age, I was honored to serve as a mentor mom and remain a cheerleader for the moms I stay in contact with.

If you are a mom with a newborn through kindergarten age child or children, I hope you visit and find a group near you. As the website states, check out the grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers.

 Click to Tweet: MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. @JenHWrites

december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.

Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here:

Twenty Small Acts of Kindness During the Christmas Season

By Jennifer Hallmark

nativity-447767_960_720Christmas. What comes to mind when you think of this most festive time of the year? For me, it’s Jesus, Santa, decorations, trees, gifts, and children. Also words like hurry, busy, rushed, over scheduled, and underpaid. How can we make the holiday season better for people we know and those we don’t? Here are twenty simple acts of kindness:

  1.  Smile and greet people you encounter. There are many lonely people out and about during the holidays. Even those working behind the counter of the supermarket, bank, or restaurant could use a smile and a kind word. It only takes a moment.
  2. Take your family to a Christmas play or musical.
  3. If you’re waiting in a line, offer your spot to someone with fewer items or who has children or the elderly.
  4. Be a courteous driver.
  5. Buy a gift for a child you don’t know through a local or national charity.
  6. Donate items to a food bank.
  7. Take the time to send Christmas cards by the USPS.
  8. Invite someone new to the events you participate in, like dinners or shopping.
  9. Visit a person who is home-bound.
  10. Send a gift card to someone anonymously.
  11. Bake cookies with a child.
  12. Offer to baby-sit so someone can shop.
  13. Sponsor a child from a needy country.
  14. Put holiday sticky notes in a family members lunchbox.
  15. Just listen.
  16. Volunteer.
  17. While shopping, pick up items that have fallen or been left on the floor.
  18. Place your shopping cart in the designated place.
  19. Forgive.
  20. Be kind to yourself.

You can be an agent of change during one of the loneliest and most stressful times of the year through a simple act of kindness. Start today. You’ll be glad you did.

And Merry Christmas!




Children and Small Acts of Kindness


By Jennifer Hallmarkkindness (1)

Children can be some of the greatest givers of love and kindness. It never ceases to amaze me how little ones can pick out someone hurting and encourage them with a simple word, smile, or act.

I remember when my son was little, maybe 5 or 6 years old. We had gone to a local fast food restaurant to eat lunch. The cashier was an older lady, maybe 50. To me, she looked tired. My son walked up to the counter and gave her his biggest smile. He said, “You’re beautiful. Will you marry me?”

She instantly brightened up and smiled back at him, telling me what a sweet little boy I had. I’m sure the good feeling from that moment lasted a long time, especially every time she shared the story.


Here’s another special act of kindness by a sweet child.

David and Crystal are very proud of their son, Ky. Here’s why in Crystal’s words…

My son made me so incredibly proud and happy today. There was a little girl at Spring Park and her and Ky had been talking about the children’s roller coaster before we left. She had never ridden it before, so Ky pulled on his armband enough to slide it off of his arm and she slid it on hers. Of course, I then peeled mine off without ripping it and put it on her grandmother so they could ride it together.

No, it doesn’t seem like much, but all Ky kept saying was, “I just wanted her to be happy. She has never rode that roller coaster and she will have fun.” She was having a blast on that roller coaster when we left, huge smile and arms up in the air.

Ky’s sweet, caring heart made me cry. I love him more than he’ll ever now! I pray he is always as caring as he is now.

Kindness From a Small Hand

By Tori Bailey

tori-1At some point in time, we’ve all experienced moments when the total on the register doesn’t equal the amount of money in our wallets. There’s the forgotten purchase where the twenty-dollar bill was used and you only have eighteen dollars and some change. The awkward embarrassment is followed by panic and concluded with exasperation of what to do. Unfortunately, one of these such moments occurred with me.

It was my third night of making the commute to another long twelve-hour shift at the 9-1-1 center. I’d stopped at my normal quick stop to get gas and grab something to eat along with a few snacks for the night. With my items in hand, I made my way to the register and filed into the last spot of the line. Soon, it was my turn and the line behind me continued to grow with those on their way home from work. Positive I’d stayed within my budget of the cash I placed my bounty on the counter and waited for the cashier.

In my rush I’d forgotten I’d broken my twenty-dollars the previous night and was a dollar short. Embarrassed and frustrated with myself, I apologized for the inconvenience and asked to set my items to the side while I ran to the car to get the rest of what was due. Before I stepped away from the counter, a young voice spoke and offered a dollar to me. There was no pause, hesitancy, or reservation in his offer. I looked down into the face of what appeared to be a seven or eight-year-old boy.  With much gratitude I thanked him for his generosity and accepted his offer.

Once back at my car I waited from him to exit and watched him approach his mother. With the amount he’d given me plus a little more, I approached him and again thanked him for his act of kindness. His mother beamed with pride to hear what her son had done to help a stranger. As a public servant, one often experiences humanity at its most unpleasant and can jade the ability to seek good. It took the small hand of a child and an act of selfless kindness to remind me there is still hope not only for all of us but in the generations after us.

tori2Tori Bailey is a retired 9-1-1 Communication Officer.  She is the author of the Coming Home series that includes the titles: Coming Home–A Second Chance at Goodbye and Ethel’s Song-A Coming Home novel.  The third title, Love-Made from Scratch, is set for release on Valentine’s Day 2017.  Her short stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul- My Very Good, Very Bad Cat and the Christmas Anthology – A Cup of Christmas. She is a contributing writer for the Georgia Connector Magazine and Walton Living Magazine. Follow, friend and visit her at:  Tori Bailey Ink (Facebook), ReadToriBailey (Twitter), and

Love Made from Scratch

Solitude was the only neighbor Thomas wanted when he rented the small cabin in the mountains of North Georgia.  It was the one place where he could escape the constant reminders of his wife and wallow in the guilt he was responsible for robbing his son of a mother. He did not expect the second cabin to have an occupant.  

Jess Durrington accepted her aunt’s offer to move into the cabin.  It was her first step toward gaining independence and making a life for herself and her unborn son. Since the news of Tyler’ platoon being ambushed and his death, Jess’ life turned from being a bride to a single-parent.  She knew she carried the one gift of Tyler’s that his mother would want to rip from her.

Kass Durrington was proud her sister was making a stance for herself.  Dixie Prudence Durrington had held a tight rein on Jess’ life since the accident, leaving Jess hearing impaired. Caught in the constant cross-fire between her mother and aunt, Kass understood how manipulative her mother could be and the courage it took for Jess to agree to the offer.

Three lives will merge in the attempt to save one during an ice storm. Thomas and Kass help Jess deliver her son, Tyler Zachary Wasley, while stranded at the cabin. News of Zach’s birth and the manner in which he arrived into the world will spread. Thomas and Kass will now have to help Jess fight to keep her son.

Love Made from Scratch is the last installment of the Coming Home trilogy.  Tori reunites readers with the characters from Coming Home – A Second Chance at Goodbye and Ethel’s Song.  Journey with Thomas, Jess and Kass between Athens, Dahlonega and the Napa Valley. Love Made from Scratch is set for release February 14, 2017.  Pre-order your copy at  and download the Love Made from Scratch recipe.