Small Acts of Kindness/ACFW Conference 2016

patricia fay reeceBy Jennifer Hallmark

I love stories about small, often random acts of kindness. Even in the world we live in, people amaze me with their generosity, thoughtfulness, and compassion. Today I want to share about a person who touched my life in a very special way.

In 2014, I remember reading a post about a premiere Christian fiction writing conference, one sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). The article mentioned that in August of 2016, the conference would be coming to Nashville, a two-hour drive from my house. I prayed.

“God, I’d really like to go to that one. Do you think you can make it happen?”

One quick prayer and I went back to normal life and didn’t think of it again until around Christmas of 2015. At this time, my husband and I decided to attend my nieces wedding out of state in June of 2016. Our son was getting married in May and I knew that our budget wouldn’t afford all these events. I let it go and decided maybe I could attend a smaller conference in 2017.

But God…

Fast forward to August 17th, 2016, one week before the ACFW conference. I was sitting in the recliner, wrapped in a blanket. I’d just called the doctor to make an appointment because of a sinus/cold/yucky thing I’d been dealing with for several days. I looked down and noticed I had a Facebook message from one of my good writer friends, Betty Thomason Owens. She said she’d just received word of a friend, Patricia Fay Reece, who couldn’t go to the conference because of an injury. Patricia was trying to find someone to take her place.

I messaged Betty, telling her I couldn’t phoneafford to go at this time and I was hoping to win a scholarship to another conference in 2017. At this point, I went ahead and called her so I could quit messaging. I asked again about the offer.

“You don’t understand,” Betty said. “Pat wants to give this to someone.”

I’m sure I sat there in silence for several minutes, so many thoughts going through my mind. I remembered the prayer. Tears welled in my eyes and I swallowed hard.

“Really? Like free?”


Within 24 hours, I was registered at the conference and the hotel, and even had a ride to the event with my friend, Ginger Solomon, who lives in a town near me. I had a long talk with Patricia who lives on the West coast. She kept telling me to give God the praise. She was following what she felt like He wanted her to do.

So I am. I’m praising Him while deciding what to wear, what writing materials I need to take, and trying to find out which of my writer friends will be in attendance so we can meet and chat. I give Him all the glory for the week ahead. I hope I can positively impact someone else’s life while I’m there. And Patricia, I know you said not to, but I’m sending a big hug your way and another thank you.

For providing a special act of kindness…


patricia fay reecePatricia Fay Reece lives in Washington state, along the Columbia River. A native of Tennessee, she enjoys researching the past history of her ancestors and the times in which they lived. The historical novels she writes have been inspired by that history.

Stuck in the Snow

By Ellen Andersen

It’s been cold here in South Carolina and has been snowing off and on for the past couple weeks. Down here in the South, that’s not something we’re used to.  I’m from Southern California and it’s rare there too, so I hunker down even when there’s only a few inches on the ground.

It had been a couple days since the snowfall, but freezing temperatures at night made the roads ice over anywayChevy Cavalier in the snow 2016 so I decided to go to a later church service that morning. At 11:15, I headed out to my car but couldn’t open the door.  It was still frozen out so the door was stuck.  I tried three times with no luck.  Fortunately, my neighbor, Mark, came outside at that point and said, “How are you doin’ this morning?”

I gave him a half-smile and said, “Ok (not really I thought) but I can’t get this door open.” (and I don’t think I’m gonna get to church)

He came over, pulled up on the handle, and gave it a little muscle. “Here. Took a little bit to make it come open.” I thanked him and he wished me a good day.

What was no big deal to him meant a lot to me. I couldn’t have done it without him. It let me get to church so I could connect with the Lord and other people there too.


What do you find makes a difference to you, even though someone else may not realize it?