dependent-441408_640Never under estimate the power of even the smallest acts of grace. A smile given to a lonely old woman, a five minute conversation with the cashier at the pharmacy, an unexpected compliment to your spouse. Many of you are probably familiar with TobyMac’s song, “Speak Life.” You can listen to it here:

Today’s guest, Joi Copeland, reminds us to use our words to sprinkle grace, no matter where we are, how busy we are, or how we’re feeling. Because people matter.

imgresAND… as a fun bonus, she’s giving away an e-copy of her novel Sheriff’s Bride, Rob’s Story to one lucky reader randomly selected from comments left on today’s post. (You can see the rest of her novels HERE.)

Words Matter by Joi Copeland

As I write this, my family and I are sitting at the All Star Music Resort at Walt Disney World. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and began our Disney Adventure here in Orlando for the very first, and probably last, time.

While I am having a great time, I’m remembering how very important the spoken word is. I’ve watched people walk around these theme parks, tired, grumpy, and done after a long day. I get that. However, my life is more than just a theme park for a week. I want every person who I come in contact with to receive love and grace, and a smile for their work.

That’s been my goal over the last 3 days. I will smile at someone who is ringing up my order and speak to them by using their name. After all, they have a name tag for a reason, so why not use it? I ask them how people-431943_1280their day is going and once again, give them a smile as I thank them for helping me. Each time I do it, I find the cast members more willing to help because they are appreciated and someone has taken time to ask how they are doing.

This morning, I woke up wiped out. Orlando is doing something wicked to my allergies, and I’ve been having watery eyes, sneezing like never before, and just plumb tuckered out. When I went to the restaurant to get my breakfast, the last thing I wanted to do was talk to someone. But the lovely woman from Africa looked like she needed a smile, so I gave her one and asked her how she was doing. She told me she felt like crying for the last few days because her life is a mess. I told her I was so sorry, but I was glad she was here today so I could see her beautiful smile. She got teary eyed, thanked me, and sat a little straighter.

I don’t write this to toot my horn. I fail more often than not at caring for those who I come in contact with. But this week, I’ve noticed on more than one occasion how much people like it when I use their name, when I smile and say thank you, and when I tell them how much I appreciate them.

That may be my theme for this year. Or better yet, maybe that needs to be my theme for the rest of my life. Give encouragement when I can, put others above myself, smile, even when I don’t feel like it. Go on. Give it a try. You’ll find the reward is far greater than anything you’ve experienced yet.

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CopelandphotoJoi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom and also enjoys spending time with friends over a good cup of coffee or tea. She’s been a Christian for over twenty years. She’s the author of two books, Hope for Tomorrow and Hope for the Journey, and three novellas, Christmas Rayne, Letters of Love, and Sheriff Bride, Rob’s Story. She and her family are hoping to be missionaries in Ireland in July of 2016 where Joi will continue to write novels of hope and redemption.

Let’s talk about this! I think we’d all agree, words have power–the livingbygracepic.jppower to encourage or discourage, to heal or to wound. When has someone said something to you that inspired you, comforted you, or made you feel valued and loved? Share your experiences in the comments below or on Facebook at Living by Grace. (And while you’re on Facebook, make sure to connect with me, because I love making new friends! You can find me HERE.)

Sheriff’s Bride, Rob’s Story:

This is the fourth book in the series. Make sure to read about Rob’s other sisters in Sheriff Bride. Sheriff Bride Jo’s Story, Sheriff Bride Dan’s Story and our final book Sheriff Bride Christmas (The Inside Man)

Sheriff Rob Hardin has a tough job. With her three sisters no longer acting as sheriff along with her, her brother-in-law insists the town hire a deputy. Rob agrees, but reluctantly. Leslie should be a huge help, and it brings her some comfort to know another female will be sharing her living quarters.

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Leslie arrives in Waterhole, but is nothing like Rob expected. Nothing at all! What will happen between the two? Only God can take an unexpected situation and turn it into something neither Rob nor Leslie ever dreamed.

Can Being Kind Nourish You?

The other day, on the Christian radio station, they discussed the characteristics of happy children. Apparently, a study was conducted, and research shows kids who are kinder are generally happier. A short discussion on this study ensued, and the general consensus was: 1) We are happier when we are less focused on ourselves, and, 2) We are happiest when we are most acting like God, or, in other words, when we are allowing Him to freely work and love through us.

Today, Proverbs Study member Beth Farley brings this truth home with her devotion on Proverbs 11:17:

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel (NLT).

Nourishing Your Soul by Beth Farley

            I was in the store the other day looking at the handwashingvarious moisturizers. My skin is so incredibly dry this season. Since I work at a library, I am constantly washing my hands. I am digging into bins to rescue germy books that need to be returned to the shelves. I also work with patrons all day long that have been sneezing or coughing, so for me, the hand sanitizer and frequent washing is a MUST.

Well, when I was in the bathroom the other day, God’s word came to me. I was looking at the ingredients of the hand cream that someone donated and it highlighted the word nourishing. The cream stated that it was suitable for all skin types and had hand selected ingredients that protected the skin.

When I was reading Proverbs 11:17; I started to recall those ingredients and thought about my spiritual walk God. When I am kind to others, especially in my job, when I can be dealing with some really not-so-nice people, my soul is being nourished. When I go out of my way, come out of my boundaries and am nice to others and helpful to others, I am nourishing my soul and being protected by God. I know in studying the book of Proverbs we’ve talked a lot about obedience, but if I may, let me remind us today that walking in kindness(love) is one of God’s desires, Love is the first fruit of the Spirit; but also kindness is in there as well. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. NIV.

How are you going to walk today? Are you going to carry around a nourished soul knowing that your inner ingredients have been hand selected just for you?

How can you apply this kindness to your day today? Are you dealing with a cranky boss? Sick children? Impatient husband? Needy friend? My dear sisters, we must walk in kindness and allow the nourishment to flow through us. We don’t know what God’s up to but we can trust that He’s hand selected his day for us to walk with HIM.

I am praying for each one of you!

Beth

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

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Let’s talk about this! Beth asked some thought-provoking, and hopefully, action-initiating questions:

How can you apply this kindness to your day today? Are you dealing with a cranky boss? Sick children? Impatient husband? Needy friend?

Let’s talk about this.

Join me at Living by Grace as we talk about living out our faith by demonstrating Christ’s love and the soul-reaching nourishment this provides.