Posted in excerpt, Inspirational, nonfiction, Spotlight on September 19, 2015



The ripple effect is all around us. We’ve all benefited from the committed teacher, the loving parent, the caring coach, the helpful stranger…

This book celebrates the positive results of acts of kindness. You’ll read about

–the teacher who inspired a young doctor to question the status quo, and thereby save the lives of thousands of women

–the coach who motivated a young athlete to achieve victory over self, and thereby earn an enduring place in history

–the father who cared enough about his young son to take him on an unscheduled flight

and more…

A Splash of Kindness is a book for anyone who is looking for inspirational stories.


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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” —Mother Teresa

You are nine years old and, as promised, you’ve been granted a two-week leave of absence—a much-anticipated break from city life, family, dreary chores and monotonous routines—to visit your grandparents and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of their rambling country farm.

It is midsummer. The days are balmy, with bright blue skies and marshmallow clouds. And the nights—dark as the heart of an immense cave—reveal innumerable stars, millions more than you can see where you live. Each night you stare in wonder at the glittering pinpoints of light. One night when your grandpa is watching the stars with you, you ask him about the glowing, misty cloud you’ve been seeing every night.

He explains that it‘s not a cloud but rather a cluster of stars called the Milky Way.

And as you continue surveying the sparkling night sky, it seems a little unfair that back where you live, the majority of stars are obscured by the hazy veil of city-glow.

In the mornings, you delight in watching the squealing pigs wallow in the mud, while their bantam-sized offspring—pink as bubble gum—wriggle and nudge each other, competing for a spot to suck nourishment from their mothers. And you enjoy spending time at the fenced-in pen where the sheep are. No young ones here. Just four adult sheep who are benevolent and serene. And you never tire of holding playful, squirming chicks in the palm of your hand.

At lunchtime you grab one of grandma’s delicious sandwiches—generous portions of tuna or cold cuts, lettuce, and dill pickles (of the family-recipe and county fair blue-ribbon variety), all nestled between thick slices of buttered homemade bread. Then, sandwich in hand, you run outside and climb into a cozy nook of an ancient willow tree just where its thick gnarled trunk divides into two main branches. And sitting snugly there, you eat and daydream the afternoon away.

One morning, your grandfather finds you at the pig pen and beckons you to follow him.

“Where are we going?” you ask.

“Oh, there’s just a little something I want to show you.”

You walk past the chickens and the sheep. You pass some Angus cows in the pasture. In the far southwest corner of your grandfather’s farm there is a pond, part of which is in the shade of an immense oak tree. The pond is smooth and offers a perfect reflection of the sky and the tree’s sprawling limbs.

Standing at the edge of the water, your grandfather picks up a small pebble and tosses it into the center of the pond. There is a plop immediately followed by a soft splash. Then the center of the pond, no longer smooth, becomes a series of ever-widening ripples. The reflected oak branches look as if they are being tousled by a playful wind.

“See those ripples? How far do you think they’ll go out?” asks Grandpa.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, watch.”

The ripples continue to expand. You look down just a little beyond your feet at the undulating, crystal clear water. The ripples, lapping the pond’s shore, end only when there is no more water.

Your grandpa looks at you studying the ripples—the ever-expanding

concentric circles—and asks, “You reckon if the pond were bigger, that

the ripples would keep on going?”

You answer yes.

Grandpa throws in a couple more pebbles, and you watch the mesmerizing ripples. Then he gets that look in his eye—the look you’ve seen before—the look that says he’s about to say something important and he’s trying to find the right words. Finally he says, “You know, the things we do, even the little things we do—things as little as this pebble . . . ,” he raises his hand, showing the small stone held between his thumb and forefinger, “well, these things we do create ripples kind of like the ones you see right now. Consequences, I suppose, is the grown-up word for it.”

He lets the pebble fly. It lands directly in the center of the pond.

You look at each other. There is nothing more for him to explain. And the look in your eyes tells him that you understand.

You watch the ripples for another minute. Then grandpa says, “What do you say we walk over to the Frosty Freeze and get an ice cream?”

The question—purely rhetorical—requires no actual response from you. But your eager grin assures your grandpa that you heartily approve of the idea. You both turn around and begin leisurely retracing your course through the field.

You look back at the pond, its surface still shimmering with ripples . . .

About the Author

John-Starley-AllenWhen John Starley Allen was in second grade he began writing stories.  His mother called them “The Road Stories,” because each one invariably began with “I was walking down a road…” followed by an encounter with a friend, animal, insect, mini natural disaster, etc., etc.

Allen is the author of the holiday novel Christmas Gifts, Christmas Voices and most recently has written a collection of true stories called A Splash of Kindness: The Ripple Effect of compassion, Courage & Character.  Allen says he hopes his latest book will “empower people with the knowledge that they can make a positive difference in the world.”

Allen is also a songwriter who has received a gold record for a song he co-wrote with Motown’s Smokey Robinson.  He has performed his music at Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café.

He lives in Holladay, Utah.  He and his wife JoAnn are the parents of four daughters.

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