I’m rocking back and forth, tossing actually, like a woman on a boat bracing herself before the next wave sends the entire contents shifting across the deck. There is a storm happening in my head.
I know I’m blowing it out of proportion. It’s really not that big of a deal. It’s just that I’ve written a book and I’m wondering if I should tell you about it. I can’t seem to make up my mind.
As much as I want to use this space to share this part of my life, I don’t. I’m worried about sounding self-serving or commercialized or egotistical.
But the truth is, these aren’t my stories. They’re yours.
So, here I am, making the official announcement. If you hadn’t heard, I’ve published a book. It’s called Kindness is Contagious: 100 Stories to Remind You God is Good and So are Most People.
It’s a compilation of some of my favorite kindness stories that have appeared in this column since I began writing it in 2011.
It’s been on my heart to combine these articles for a long time. I began working on it three years ago, but then we moved. I dusted it off after I finished unpacking, but then I got cancer. The hidden benefit behind procrastinating is that it has allowed me to include more recent stories as well.
This has been a labor of love. I started by re-reading every article I’ve ever written. Then I asked a friend to do the same. Talk about kindness! That was a lot to ask, but it must have been okay, because we’re still friends.
When we got it narrowed down to about 120 stories, I sent them out to 10 people, both friends and strangers, who agreed to read them all and report back on which ones resonated with them the most.
So here we are, down to 100 stories that I have read so many times, I can recite them in my sleep.
As I began assembling the book, I thought perhaps if people read the stories back to back, instead of in a weekly column, they might be more inspired to try kindness out for themselves.
But the more times I read those stories, the more I realized this isn’t just about kindness. Reading people’s true stories of love and generosity and hope encourages us to be kind, but it also breaks through the dark clouds and helps us see that life isn’t so bad.
There is a lot of good in a world that sometimes seems scary, and God is not nearly as far away as He sometimes seems. That’s what I’m hoping people recognize when they read our book.
Our book. That’s what I call it, because most of the stories aren’t mine. They are yours. They are the words of Judy, Beth, Lana, Hale, Ralph, Waverly, Shelle, Sarah, Pat, Dean, Julie, David, Teresa and a whole lot of other people who have allowed me to share their hearts over the past five years.
You can find our book on Amazon. If you happen to know of a business owner in town who would like to carry actual copies of this book in an actual store, please let me know. I’m happy to make deliveries. After all, kindness is contagious!
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.