Several weeks ago, and to celebrate the first birthday of Back Home at Firefly Lake, I offered a giveaway on my Facebook author page. For a chance to win a signed paperback and holiday ornament, I asked my readers to leave a comment about a random act of kindness they’d either given or received.

With almost 200 entries, the response was both wonderful and heartwarming. In ways large and small, giving to others is alive and well amongst my readers, and I was touched by how these real-life ‘angels’ are making a positive difference to their families, friends, communities, and wider world.

After another troubling year of grim news headlines, this illustration of human goodness—and doing for neighbours as we would wish to have done to us—has helped me end 2018 with more optimism.  

In the past few months, there has been a great deal of kindness (and angels) in my life too.

At Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, where English Rose was treated from November into December and the two of us lived for a month, the staff are, as we expected, consummate professionals.

Yet, they were also kind, offering compassionate words, hugs, and unfailing gentle consideration to patients and families in their care.

Also kind were the numerous community groups—choirs, bands, actors, puppeteers, and more—who entertained us at the hospital and brightened our lives.

And when we came home after that long and tiring month away, kind friends and neighbours had left us a homemade meal. That nourishment for our bodies was accompanied by a sweet ‘welcome home’ note that nourished our souls.

Yes, there are bad things happening in our world, but there are many kind things too and each of us, in our own lives, has the power to give and pass kindness along, and also be and advocate for changes we want to see.

My word for 2018 has been courage, and while I’ve indeed needed courage over the past twelve months, in difficult times I’ve also experienced more kindness than I could ever have imagined too.

I haven’t yet chosen a word for 2019, but it already holds some exciting things.

I’ll have a new book out (release date and title to be confirmed), and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. The story features a wishing tree, a big Irish-American family, music, secrets and, not least, yummy treats since the heroine works in her family’s bakery.

I’m also thrilled and honoured that German rights to my Firefly Lake books have sold and the trilogy will be published in German translation beginning in April 2019 (now available for Amazon pre-order).

Here’s the German edition of the first book in the series, The Cottage at Firefly Lake. I have cover love!

Best of all, though, the Holland Bloorview treatment programme helped English Rose and our family immeasurably, and going into 2019, we have new tools, resources and new hope that English Rose is better prepared and supported to live her best possible life, even with ongoing medical challenges.

I’m taking a break from blogging over Christmas and New Year but will be back on 11 January 2019.

For those who celebrate it, I wish you a blessed Christmas, and to all, a joyful new year.

Thank you for your kindness in reading my blog and continuing to share in my life and writing. 


  1. Arlene McFarlane

    Beautiful, post, Jen, as always. Bless you for being the recipient of so many acts of kindness. It’s refreshing to know so many good people exist in this world!

    And “courage” is a super word! We all need a little bit to push us out of our comfort zone!

    Merry Christmas to you and your honeys! xo

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Arlene. I appreciate you supporting my blog.

      ‘Courage’ has been a good word for me this year. I’ve certainly been pushed out of my comfort zone in many aspects of my life!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family too! xo

  2. Teresa Padgett

    Reading this makes me.want to be more kind. You paint a wonderful picture of how we should be and act. Because of this, my two words for 2019 are “kindness” and “gratitude.” I will be using them every day, and I will wake up in the morning with one thought of something I’m grateful for before I’m even out of bed.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you so much, Teresa. Your lovely comment about the blog post touches my heart. I’m also glad I helped inspire you to consciously incorporate ‘kindness’ and ‘gratitude’ into your life as words to live by next year. Each night before I go to sleep, I remind myself to think of at least one thing to be grateful for in the day just gone–and usually there is more than one!

  3. Linda

    Love your comments!! Kindness is more important this year!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Linda. I appreciate you reading and commenting on the post. I’m glad you enjoyed it and yes, kindness does indeed seem ‘more important this year!’ xo

  4. Lynn Folliott

    So wonderful to hear that so many have been kind to you, Jen but I am not surprised…Your kindness to others, myself included, is greatly appreciated. You’ve set an example that others are now eager to follow. Thank you for that and sharing your appreciation by writing this post. Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas! xo

    • Jen Gilroy

      Your lovely comment has made me teary (but in a good way), Lynn. Thank you so much. I also appreciate your kindness to me. Wishing you a very happy Christmas in return. xo

  5. Lydia

    Merry Christmas! I couldn’t agree with you more on your thoughts on kindness. The world always needs more of it.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Lydia. Merry Christmas to you in return! Thank you for reading and commenting on my post–and also showing kindness to me on social media. You’re one of the people who makes Twitter a congenial place for me.

  6. Susanna Bavin

    Sorry I’m coming so late to this blog, Jen. Blame the xmas/new year period! It turns lots of things upside down. But I am very glad I found your blog in the end, because it is such a heartwarming subject. I am so pleased you have met with such kindness and support during a difficult time and I hope that everything goes well for you and your family now that you are all back home again.

    I’m delighted that we have another Jen Gilroy novel to look forward to. I’m already looking forward to lots of descriptions of delicious baked goods alongside another absorbing story.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Susanna. The holiday season turned things upside down for me as well!

      I appreciate your good wishes and thoughtful comment on this post. I hope you’ll enjoy my new book and ‘savour’ the baked goods. Since they’re fictional, they don’t come with the usual calories! 🙂

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