Monday, October 3, 2016
Debbie Macomber Twelve Days of Kindness Blog Tour and Giveaway
the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.
To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julia’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.
I've been reading Debbie Macomber's books since she first began writing category romances in the early 1980s. While I've enjoyed the many different types of books she's written in the intervening years, it's her holiday stories that hold a special place in my heart with this year's book, Twelve Days of Christmas, being a particular favorite. Why this book? There are a few reasons. First, I love a good Scrooge book and Cain makes a delightful Scrooge. He's so determined to be all 'Bah Humbug' when we all know that deep down he's anything but. He's been hurt - deeply - and building that wall around his heart is the only way he knows to protect himself.
Then there's Julia. While naturally a friendly, considerate person, when she makes a concerted effort to perform specific acts of kindness, the resulting effect is something she never could have anticipated. She's changed by these kindnesses she's performing. Others are as well.
Finally, there's the theme of this book that kept me smiling while I flew cross-country a couple weeks ago. Kindness: a simple word with life-changing properties. Kindness is like that pebble you toss into still water. The ripples it creates are endless.
Kindness is something I learned at a young age. My grandmother lived by the Bible's Golden Rule: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12). It's a principle by which she lived and one I have followed since my earliest memories. Treat others as you want to be treated. Perform random acts of kindness expecting nothing in return. Smile at others as you go through your daily life. It takes so little time and effort but what you receive in return is priceless.
As part of this tour, the blog hosts were asked to post about a kindness they recently performed. I had to think about this one as I don't consciously perform acts of kindness. As a friend recently told me, it's just who I am. But here are a few:
While at a recent romance retreat, an author friend and I had breakfast at a restaurant across the street. While sipping coffee and waiting for our food, two ladies walked into the restaurant and began looking around for a place to sit. I hadn't met them but I had seen them at the retreat so I smiled and invited them to sit in our booth. There were other seats available - they wouldn't have had to stand there and wait - but by performing that small act of kindness, two things were accomplished. The women had the opportunity to get better acquainted with one of their favorite authors (the woman I was having breakfast with) and I met two amazing women who I may not have if not for a simple smile and small act of kindness.
I love cooking and sharing what I cook always brings pleasure, to both me and the recipient of whatever I whip up in my kitchen. Last week, the temperatures cooled a bit, my local grocery had chuck roast on sale, and my taste buds were urging me to feed them good, fresh, veggies. The solution? Hot, hearty, delicious beef stew. When it was ready, I called my neighbor who is always willing to help anyone in need. "You're not cooking tonight," I told her. I saw her a couple days later and she told me how very much she enjoyed the stew and especially the fact that I had wanted to share it with her for no reason other than to be kind. A little thing for me but it brought so much pleasure to her. It's easy to be kind.
The third act of kindness is one where I was the recipient. I recently had to cancel a dentist appointment because I had bronchitis. The next day, one of the dental office clerks (a lovely lady who I enjoy chatting with when I'm at the dentist office) called and asked if she could bring me something during her lunch break (my dentist office is only about a mile from my condo). She showed up with a smile, a get-well card, and a big container of some of the most delicious homemade chicken soup I've ever tasted. It didn't cure my bronchitis but it sure made me feel better!
So tell me, dear friends. What act of kindness have you recently performed?
Haven't done anything lately? How about planning one for the near future? Maybe taking homemade cookies to your local fire department. Or paying for the drink of the person in line behind you at your local fast food restaurant or coffee shop. Or maybe something as simple as holding the door open, helping someone down the stairs or across the street, or taking soup to a sick friend. There are so many things we can do to bring kindness to the world.
Tell me about an act of kindness you've recently performed or one you plan to perform. I'll randomly choose one person to receive a $10 Amazon gift card. My small act of kindness for you!