WELCOME TO MY

JOURN+AL JOTS BLOG ...

A weekly journal where you can learn what I'm up to on my books, giveaways, fun things I'm doing or even my own personal devotional for the day. It's a broad mix of what's on my mind, allowing me to feel a little bit closer to some of the most important people in my life -- YOU! So please stop by from time to time, and if you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you via the "Contact Julie" tab or via my Facebook page.  Hugs, Julie

 

10:45AM

Friday, May 20, 2016

Why only love with all your heart,

when you can put your soul into it?

-- Anonymous

Why, indeed! And that's what Christian fiction is all about -- heart AND soul! Which is why I am so very THRILLED to announce the release of HEART & SOUL -- FIVE "Deeply Inspirational and Utterly Romantic" bestselling novels by FIVE award-winning authors.

I have read every one of these authors, and they are ALL outstanding award-winners, and I have read four of the five novels in this bundle, and let me tell you right now -- two of them are are top faves.

Heart & Soul is available for PREORDER right now, but goes ON SALE this Monday, May 23rd for only $3.99. That's only 79 cents a piece for some truly amazing books!! So if you haven't read them all, I encourage you to take advantage of this limited offer.

ORDER HEART & SOUL HERE

And to get whet your appetite, here's the Amazon blurb, which includes a brief synopsis of each novel in this collection:

Lose yourself, heart and soul, in five of the best romantic stories on the inspirational market. Spanning the 1600’s to present day, these novels will not only make your heart beat a little faster, but inspire you, uplift your spirit, and draw you closer to the One who will never leave you.

Written by five best-selling, award-winning authors, this collection will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget and will leave you with a smile on your lips, joy in your spirit, and a song in your heart.

Love’s Every Whisper, by Naomi Rawlings, 4.8 Amazon rating
Lake Superior, 1883. Victoria Donnelly has finally found a way to redeem herself in the eyes of her family, but it requires returning to the small town of Eagle Harbor, where forgotten feelings for a man she can never have lie buried. Can she face her childhood sweetheart again without destroying both their hearts?

A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman, 4.8 Amazon rating
Boston, 1895. One Woman. Two Men. One stirs her pulse, the other her faith. But who will win her heart? Marceline Murphy, a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues, catches the eye of two of Boston’s most notorious. Patrick O’Connor and Sam O’Rourke are best friends with a bond like brothers … until they meet one woman neither can have.

The Reckoning by MaryLu Tyndall, 4.8 Amazon rating 
When Morgan Shaw hid on a tall ship replica in present-day San Diego, her intent was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her, not wake up aboard a real pirate ship 300 years in the past. Now, she must face her cancer without treatment, avoid falling in love with a notorious pirate, and try to get home before she changes the course of history forever.

Running on Empty by Ruth Logan Herne, 4.7 Amazon rating 
Present day, New York State. Chief of Police Joe McIntyre takes his position seriously. A lead-by-example Christian, he's put to the test when his ex-wife appears with another man's child after eight years of silence. Anger and pride challenge his small-town-hero existence, driving him out of his comfort zone. Faced with choices he made eight years before, can he tackle the present to ease Anne's future so she's no longer "Running on Empty"?

Kept by Sally Bradley, 4.7 Amazon rating
Present day, Chicago. Can a woman with a messy past find love with a good man? A contemporary Christian classic along the lines of Redeeming Love, Kept won the won the 2014 Grace Award and the 2014 Christian Manifesto Lime Award, both for romantic fiction.

So there you have it -- five of the best novels you will ever read for the best price you will ever get.

Hugs and HAPPY READING!

Julie

 

 

 

1:28AM

Friday, May 13, 2016

"A woman's heart should be so close to God

that a man should have to chase Him to find her."

-- C.S. Lewis

Sigh. I couldn't agree more. In fact, that's the theme of my prequel novel to my Daughters of Boston series, A Light in the Window, a lesson that Southie rogue Patrick O'Connor learns all too well in order to win the heart of the love of his life, Marceline Murphy. Ironically, I had never seen this C.S. Lewis quote when I wrote ALITW, where the parish priest, Father Fitzgibbons, tells Patrick:

“Something tells me, my boy, that before a man can truly win the heart of a woman like Marceline Murphy, his own heart must be aligned with God’s …”

And honestly, isn't that what Christian romance all about? Romantic love that's not just a boy and girl or a man a woman, but as Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "a threefold cord that's not quickly broken."

As an adult, I soon learned that true romance is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. And one pass through the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all, deeply passionate in His love for each of us. Through our love affair with Him, Christian authors and readers have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

WHICH ... is why I am so excited about an upcoming novel bundle release I am part of called HEART & SOUL with authors Sally Bradley, Naomi, Rawlings, Ruth Logan Herne, and MaryLu Tyndall. Five "deeply spiritual and utterly romantic" best-selling novels from five award-winning authors for only $3.99. Yep, you heard me right -- that's $16.00 of novels for only $3.99. But this is a limited-time collection, on sale from May 23 - July 9 only, so take advantage!

My book in the bundle is one hopefully all of you have read by now, A Light in the Window, which is Marcy and Patrick's prequel love story that has won three awards and has 233 five-star reviews and a 4.7 rating on Amazon. But ... if you haven't, this is your chance to get it and four other AMAZING novels at the same time for one great price. Here's the video my artist hubby did for ALITW using my daughter as the model for both the video and the cover, and I could be prejudice, I suppose, but in my opinion, it's one of the best novel videos I've ever seen. Hope you think so too!

A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW VIDEO

Preorders for Heart & Soul going on NOW!! Here's the link, and the bundle will officially go on sale on May 23rd.

PREORDER HEART & SOUL HERE!!

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHEN MY BOOKS ARE RELEASED OR ON SALE??? 

Well, now you can by simply signing FOLLOWING me on Book Bub with one simple click! So Here's the link, and THANK YOU!!

FOLLOW JULIE ON BOOK BUB!!

 

10:43PM

Sunday, May 8, 2016

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."

-- Henry Ward Beecher

Happy Mother's Day to each of the moms reading this today. And you know what? That's every woman out there who who has Christ in her heart! Because I believe being a mom is not just biological, but spiritual as well. Rudyard Kipling once said, "God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers," and I'm inclined to agree, even though my relationship with my own mother was awful up until the time that she died when I was sixteen.

But God sent me a spiritual mother in her place, and trust me when I tell you, I would not be here today -- a Christian author or even alive -- if not for my spiritual mother, Joy Bollinger. It was her heart for Christ that was my schoolroom and her example that saved my life. She was not my biological mother, no, but a Godly woman who nurtured me with the love of Christ, filling in the cracks of my own dysfunctional upbringing.

And guess what? As women who love God, that is our calling as well, so HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to each of you who reach out to others to encourage, bless, uplift, teach, and pray for them.

For years I used to beat myself up about the type of mother I was because I didn't think I was very loving. Oh, I was fun and did crazy things they loved, of course, from telling spook stories with candles or driving them down scary roads, to converting the entire family room into a fort with pillows and sheets or driving them around cul-de-sac circle ten times till they were dizzy with laughter. But I was a no-nonsense drill sarge type of mom rather than the sweet, nurturing type like my sister Katie. Think Charity vs. Lizzie, and you get my drift.

So I spent many years browbeating myself until I realized the greatest truth about mothers -- biological or not. And that is, the greatest thing we can give our children -- spiritual or otherwise -- is a Godly example to follow. And if I did nothing else, I did try to do that.

Praying over their cribs constantly for the right mate, the right friends, for them to have a heart for God, etc. Praying at the drop of hat (like the picture my husband took to the right, when Amy and I were praying over something while on a boat ride), making prayer the first resort to problems instead of the last, no matter where we were. Trying desperately to keep my heart clean (which was and is a VERY big job. Teaching them how to live via application of God's precepts (repenting/apologizing when I was was wrong, which was and is a VERY big job) so that my heart -- their schoolroom -- would be clean and full of the wisdom they would need to live their own lives.

To me, that is what a true mother -- a true nurturer, a true teacher -- is, which is what I tried to show in Marcy O'Connor, the mother of the O'Connor clan. To me, Marcy is everything I aspired to be as a loving mom, but mostly she is what I aspired to be as a spiritual mom. A woman who works hard to keep her heart aligned with God's for the sake of her marriage and the sake of her children.

So, in honor of Mother's Day today, I've chosen one of my favorite Marcy scenes where she forgives Patrick after he has spent over a month rejecting her (after a horrendous fight) by sleeping at the Herald instead of with her at home, unbeknownst to their children . She and Patrick had just become grandparents for the first time at the beginning of this scene, so she thought that would soften his heart towards her, bringing him back to her bed instead of the hard couch at the Herald. But it didn't, and it's in this scene that her marriage, her family, and her faith hang in the balance, waiting for her to be the "mother" God had called her to be.

I hope you enjoy it, and I wish each and every one of you a blessed Mother's Day!

Hugs,
Julie

A Scene from

A Passion Denied, by Julie Lessman

Marcy shut her daughters' bedroom door and paused, her fingers hovering on the knob. Was that a light on downstairs? Her stomach tightened. No … please, Patrick wasn’t planning on leaving again, was he? Not after what they experienced tonight …

Her throat constricted as she moved to the landing, and her eyes spanned wide at the light streaming from the parlor. In a catch of her heart, she skittered down the steps like a little girl at Christmas, hands shaking when she finally reached the door. She bit her lip, suddenly shy. “It’s almost midnight, Patrick. You must be exhausted. Are you … will you … come to bed?”

He looked up from his paper, eyes limp pools of exhaustion. In fact, everything about him bespoke fatigue—heavy lids, sagging cheeks, drooping shoulders. As if he hadn’t slept in days. Or weeks. A mere husk of a man, except for one thing: the hard line of his jaw, now shadowed with a day’s growth of beard. He continued reading. “Not for a while. You’ll probably be asleep when I come up for my things.”

She listed against the door. “Y-you’re leaving?”

He glanced up. “You know that.”

“But I thought … the babies … you and I …”

He turned the page, his tone as steeled as his jaw. “Go to bed, Marcy. You need sleep.”

She blinked, unable to fathom the depth of his coldness. She had done as he asked, left him alone for weeks on end. To sort out his thoughts and give him time. She had cried out to God and dealt with his rejection, praying with Mrs. Gerson to let it all go. “Keep your heart free of bitterness,” Christa had warned. And she had. Obedient to a fault, weeping and forgiving until she thought she would die. And, now … he wanted her to go?

Something deep inside snapped, defying all reason. With a low groan, she raised her fist and flew across the room, bludgeoning him with her rage. He leapt to his feet to ward her off, but she only struck harder, too blinded by tears to see the look on his face. “You want to leave? Well, then, go! And don’t come back!”

He gripped her wrists and glanced at the door. “Stop it!” he hissed, “You’ll wake the children.”

“Pretense,” she screamed, thrashing against his hold, “That’s all you care about. Well, I won’t live with it anymore, do you hear?”

He forced her to the sofa and she bit his hand. He lunged away. His shock congealed into cold fury. “Really? Well, I’ve lived with it for twenty-six years.”

For endless seconds, she couldn’t breathe. She started to shake, but forced her chin up in cold defiance. “No,” she whispered, her voice as steely as his. “That would be the next twenty-six.” She rose and turned her back then—on him and their marriage—moving to the door like someone he couldn’t possibly know. A stranger with head high and back stiff, hardened by the very bitterness she’d fought so hard to avoid. With cold deliberation, she mounted the steps, making her way to the room they no longer shared. In an effort to purge herself of him altogether, she collapsed on her bed, seeking solace in tears. She slammed her fist to his pillow. “I hate you!” she sobbed.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

“I don’t care!” She rose up on the bed, her face streaked with tears and her body shuddering with pain. “Over and over I’ve tried, and I can’t bear it anymore.”

Love … beareth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things …

“No! I have endured, for over a month now, and forgiven until I’m blue in the face. How many times can one person forgive?”

Silence pounded in her ears.

Seventy times seven.

Comprehension seared the air from her throat. Seventy times seven. God, no, please …

She tried to breathe, but the air was too thick, panting from her lips in a faint, feeble rasp. She pressed a hand to her chest, tight with the burden of decision. A choice. To lay down her pride and forgive. Or to embrace the hurt and strike back. Obedience or sin. She squeezed her eyes shut, torn by the prompting of his Spirit and the pull of her flesh. Oh, God, I can’t! Help me, please …

Thoughts pelted her brain. His cruelty. His indifference. His rejection.

She put her palms to her ears, desperate to shut them out. “No! I choose to forgive.” Gasping for air, she staggered from the bed, her mind set on a course that would cost her her pride. She groped for the light, then shielded her eyes from the glare, lips moving in silent prayer. Her pulse raced while she gathered his things, a clean shirt, pressed trousers and a favorite tie. She bundled them in her arms. The scent of him rose, sweet to her senses, and her heart flooded with hope, purging the grief he had caused. “Oh, God, help me …” she whispered. Her breathing became deeper, unrestricted as she moved to the bureau. By God, he would have clean socks and underwear.

And she would have a clean heart.

Her pulse beat steady and strong as she padded down the stairs, no longer afraid of the light in the hall or the stranger in the parlor. She drew in a deep breath.

Perfect love casts out fear.

He seemed so haggard as she entered the room, and her heart longed to hold him. Instead, she placed his things on the couch, grieved at the anger she still saw in his eyes. She looked away, unable to bear it. “Forgive me, Patrick, for losing my temper. I love you … and I will forever.” She moved to the door, suddenly spent, pausing only to speak over her shoulder. “Good night, my love. Please get some sleep.”

And without another word, she returned to their room and silently dressed for bed. When she laid her head on the pillow, it wasn’t to sleep. No, it was first to pray, and then to weep. Because she knew, all too well. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

He stared at the empty door, unable to comprehend the love he’d just seen. His pulse droned in his ears as he slumped in the chair, body buzzing and mind numb.

She’d forgiven in the face of her anger. He dropped his head in his hands.

In total obedience to God. Unlike him. And total love for the man who spurned her.

Wetness welled in his eyes and he choked on a sob. An aching realization stabbed within, but its pain was kind, unlike the agony of guilt. Conviction lifted the blindness from his eyes, and he knew he had failed. He’d turned his back on God as well as his wife. And for what? Wounded pride that had yielded nothing but his demise. And hers.

Two souls for the price of one sin.

He heaved with pain, barely able to breathe. His mind grappled for the verse Mitch had given him. He closed his eyes and it suddenly pierced his thoughts, allowing a sliver of light to shatter the darkness.

The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul.

Oh, God, the law. To forgive. Could he really do it?

He opened his eyes in shock, revelation prickling his spine.

The law is perfect. Like God’s love, Patrick thought, and hope surged in his chest.

He thought of Marcy, and for the first time in weeks, he could see her clearly, unscathed by his anger. A woman, pure of heart and strong of character, loving God while loving him. He thought of the damage he’d done, and his heart fisted in grief. Oh, God, forgive me—I don’t deserve her.

He leapt to his feet, sin no longer weighting him down, and bounded the steps, two at a time. The hall was dark, but his step was light, and he prayed for mercy as never before. He neared their room and could hear her weeping, muffled and wrenching his heart like it should. He stopped in the doorway, staggered by what he’d done, and watched as their bed shivered with her grief. She didn’t hear him until he knelt by her side, and when he spoke, she jerked in surprise. “Marcy …”

The hitch of her breath was harsh in the dark.

He pressed a hand to her wet cheek, sick inside at the pain he’d caused. “God knows I don’t deserve it, but can you … will you … forgive me for being a fool?”

His heart stopped when she didn’t move or blink, seconds of agony as she stared, motionless in the dark. And then with a pitiful cry, she lunged into his arms, landing them both on the floor. “Oh, Patrick,” she sobbed.

He crushed her to him, and his voice broke. “I love you, Marcy, and I swear, I will never hurt you like this again.”

He picked her up and laid her on their bed, desperate to cradle her in his arms. Neither spoke for a long while, but their silence whispered volumes. He breathed in the clean scent of her, and a rush of love overtook him. He held her face in his hands. “I don’t deserve you, Marceline, but as God is my witness, I will spend the rest of my life trying to come close.”

Wetness shimmered in her eyes. She kissed his mouth, softly, gently, stroking his face with the tips of her fingers. “I love you, Patrick, with all of my heart. And as God is my witness, you are the first man I have ever really loved, and you will be the last. I thought I loved Sam when I married you, it’s true, but I was wrong. You taught me what real love is—with your kindness, your caring … your commitment. From the day I became your wife, I have felt nothing but safe and whole and cherished.”

He groaned and pulled her close, his voice raspy with regret. “Until recently.”

He felt her smile in the crook of his neck. “Yes, until recently. But even this, my love, has served us well. Losing you, Patrick—if only for a month and a half—forced me into the arms of God in a way I’d forgotten. Sometimes, in the midst of my love for you, I tend to forget that he is my source, not you.” She pulled away to search his eyes. “I’ve missed you, Patrick. Life is not the same without you.” Her lips curved softly. “And I need my sleep.”

He kissed her again, his husky groan muffled against her mouth. “Explain to me what that is, will ya, darlin’? I seem to have a lapse of memory.”

She feathered his throat with soft, lingering kisses. “Really? I would have thought cold, cramped leather would have been the perfect bedding for a thick-skinned Irishman like you.”

He skimmed his hand down the curve of her hip until flannel gave way to skin. Her soft moan matched his as his kisses became urgent. “No, darlin’, not for sleeping … or otherwise.” The silky warmth of her skin against his lips caused him to shudder. “And God knows how I’ve missed you, Marceline. And ‘otherwise.’”

10:44PM

Friday, April 29, 2016

"The ladder of success

is best climbed by stepping on

the rungs of opportunity."

-- Ayn Rand

Have I ever mentioned that I'm afraid of heights? Well, I am. A veritable baby when it comes to anything off the ground. 

Like the summer my 12-year-old daughter talked me into an innocent chairlift ride at the Lake of the Ozarks, billed as a "relaxing scenic adventure" over a pretty ravine of trees and wildflowers. Yeah, right. Pretty? Maybe, if I had kept my eyes open. Relaxing? Not even close for either my daughter or me, the poor, scarred child whose mother had a death grip on her, forcing her to sing Amazing Grace while I hyperventilated and muttered “In Jesus’ name” over and over under my breath. I wanted to throw up once my feet hit solid ground, and I vowed I would NEVER go there again.

So when I became an author, I knew I wanted to climb the ladder of success, but I wasn't prepared for the nausea and dizziness that sometimes goes along with scaling the heights. Unfortunately, the ladder I was trying to climb was the world's ladder -- wobbly, rickety, and prone to crashing to the floor, taking me along with it.

That's when I took a sabbatical in 2014, laying aside all those "rungs of opportunity" -- be they pitching proposals to my publisher, entering contests, or living on the Internet to promote my books -- to climb a different "ladder of success": God's.

And boy, oh boy, let me tell you, what a perspective shift!

I remember once when I became an on-fire Christian at the age of 23, I was struggling with a problem or decision that I don't even remember now, but I do remember what God whispered in my thoughts one day when I was fretting about it. I was at a stoplight, probably crying, knowing me, not sure what I was going to do. "God, You gotta help me here, please -- what should I do?"

The light turned green, and I made a left onto a pretty steep upramp to the highway, when all of a sudden I had this odd sensation that my car was lifting, lifting, lifting into the sky like it was going to fly. I can't explain it, but this overwhelming sense of excitement, peace and joy filled my soul. That's when I heard this Still Small Voice in my mind that said, "Look up, Julie, and raise your perspective to Mine. Don't look at the problem. Look to Me, for My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).

That's the day I got my first glimpse at God's "ladder of succes," where climbing higher means raising our perspective to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2) instead of focusing on our problems, decisions, or even dreams and desires. Because that's the ladder to true success, and a perspective shift I have never forgotten. To this day, I think of that object lesson and God's faithfulness every single time I go up that particular upramp, which became to me -- in a sense -- a stairway to heaven.

So, what are the "rungs of opportunity" on God's ladder to success? Nothing so shallow as a new job, new book contract, new boyfriend, new car or anything else the world deems as success. Nope, God's rungs include every problem, every heartache, every disappointment or failure we ever encounter, each designed by the father of lies to rip us to shreds. Only God views them way differently -- each and every one as an opportunity to bless the socks off of those He loves. You ... and me.

How? By PRAISING Him in the midst of our trials, shifting our focus and perspective from them unto Him because "He inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm. 22:3) and praise looses His power in a situation.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened”  (Acts 16:25-26).

Did you see that? "Everyone's bonds were unfastened." Just like praising God in the midst of our problems will do for us.

AND by THANKING Him so He can "guard our hearts and minds."

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -- Philippians 4:4-7

So next time a problem hits -- be it trials and tribulations or just fiery darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16) such as jealousy, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, carnaltiy, etc. -- shift your perspective to Gods to see them as a "golden opportunity" to climb His ladder of success. Just like Mrs. Gerson taught Faith in A Passion Most Pure in the clip below, showing her how to scale heights like never before. And trust me from personal experience -- these are one type of heights that will not make you dizzy.

Hugs and Happy Climbing!

Julie

A PASSION MOST PURE by Julie Lessman

“Do you know what I see, Faith?” Mrs. Gerson asked, leaning forward in her chair.

“No,” Faith responded curtly, “what do you see?”

Mrs. Gerson smiled a broad smile. “I see a golden opportunity, my dear.”

Faith stared at the old woman, and for the first time in her life, a hint of irritation rankled. “And what would that be, Mrs. Gerson?” Faith asked, tone clipped.

The old woman’s smile remained unwavering. “Why, an opportunity to put God’s Word to the test, of course! A golden opportunity, my dear.” Mrs. Gerson hovered on the edge of her seat, her face aglow with the same excitement Faith had once known herself. “You’ve always encountered problems with your sister Charity as long as I’ve known you, and you were always faithful to return love for the pain she inflicted. But this …” she said, stretching her hands out in front of her, “this, my dear, is the answer to your prayers. It’s the way home, the resolution! You have an opportunity here to take the narrow path Jesus spoke about, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that you, Faith O’Connor, will choose life!”

Faith bristled, wondering if Mrs. Gerson had always spoken in riddles like this. What on earth was she rambling on about? “I’m afraid I don’t understand your point.”

Mrs. Gerson ignored her terse tone and smiled, picking up the Bible next to her chair. She held it aloft. Reluctantly, Faith reached for the book, surprised that her heart jumped as she touched its leather binding. 

“Open it to Deuteronomy 30:15, please,” Mrs. Gerson instructed.

Faith sat back in the chair and flipped through the pages of the book she’d read so often, up until a week ago. She found the passage and read it aloud.

         “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

in that I command thee this day to love Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, that thou mayest live and multiply, and that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.  But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days in the land …

 Faith’s voice trailed off, and Mrs. Gerson lifted her face, her eyes glowing. “Read on, Faith, the next paragraph, please.” 

Faith rolled her eyes and puffed out of sigh.

         “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed …”

Faith couldn’t go on. Her tone balked as she slapped the book closed. “These are just words, Mrs. Gerson. I don’t even know what they mean.”

The old woman bent forward, teetering on the edge of her chair, her eyes shimmering with joy. “It means, my dear, that every moment of our lives we have the opportunity to reap blessings from the hand of Almighty God. It means you have a choice in your future, Faith, that every decision you make shapes the course of your life, whether there will be joy or sorrow, blessing or curse. He’s begging you, Faith––He begs each of us––to choose life! Choose His way, the way of forgiveness and prayer. In the face of pain such as you’ve encountered, my dear, the choice is clear. You can choose to hate your sister and Mitch and hold on to your bitterness, or you can choose to forgive and be set free. If you choose hate, your heart will grow hard and cold as I suspect you’ve already seen, and you will be destroyed. God is very clear about that. But, if you choose life––His way and His precepts––you choose blessing, not only for your own life, but for the life of your children after you.”

Faith shook her head. “I can’t forgive them; it’s too hard.”

Mrs. Gerson chuckled. “Skip up to verse ll, my dear.”

         Faith scowled as her fingers slapped through the pages once again. When she found the verse, she cleared her throat. “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”

Mrs. Gerson’s face was rapt with excitement, and Faith’s eyes blinked wide. She slumped in the chair and pushed the hair from her face, the Bible splayed in her lap. Could it really be that easy to reap the blessings of God? With all of the hurt and hate within her, was it really within her reach to forgive? It was not an impossible thing to do––He was saying it right there in His Word. It was not too difficult or beyond her reach. No, His Word, which commanded her to forgive and love, could be in her mouth if she spoke it, and then in her heart to perform it. It was simply a decision, a choice, one that God himself begged her to make. And all because He wanted to bless her. 

 

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Glimmer of Hope
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The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. Ayn Rand
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand163085.html?src=t_ladder
The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. Ayn Rand
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand163085.html?src=t_ladder
The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. Ayn Rand
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand163085.html?src=t_ladder
The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. Ayn Rand
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand163085.html?src=t_ladder
11:39AM

Saturday, April 23, 2016

 "Grandchildren are the dots

that connect the lines from generation to generation."

-- Lois Wyse

Whoops ... I missed a week of Journal Jots posts, but I have a good excuse, I promise!

You see I spent last week in Spokane with my grandbabies, and would you believe I actually thought I would have time to write or respond to emails or post a JJ?

YEAH, RIGHT!!

But I'm not complaining, trust me. Last week was one of the best weeks I have ever spent, and I have lots of pix and great memories to show for it.

My little granddaughter Rory was my shadow day and night, breaking my heart the last night we were then when she broke down and cried, clutching my legs for dear life. "I don't want you to go; I want you to live with us," she said with a wobble in her voice, and is it wrong to say I was both crying and smiling???

A few nights later, my daughter-in-law texted that Micah, my 2-1/2-year-old grandson asked his mom where "Juju-Papa" were. I think it's so cute how they run the two names together like Keith and I are one. Well, I guess we are in God's eyes, so the kids have it right! Anyway, my DIL told him that Juju-Papa had to fly on an airplane to go home. "They need to come on airplane back to our house," he said, and my heart took flight just like that airplane that whisked us away!

I always worried that I would never be a very good grandmother, because babies were never my thing. Remember how Katie O'Connor complained to her sisters that and she Charity didn't get the "mother gene"? Yeah, that's how I felt, too. Until I had my own grandkids. Now I'm the only grandmother (or mother for that matter) that I saw playing troll on the swinging bridge at the playgrounds, getting stuck on the slides, and climbing the monkey bars, making a real monkey out of myself. I always knew I was a juvenile delinquent inside because I LOVE to act crazy on the playgrounds!! So suffice it to say that Juju had a blast with her girl while Papa spent most of his time playing trains with his boy. From chalk pictures, hopscotch, movies, and books, to walks, coloring, playgrounds, Play-Doh, and getting ready with Juju's makeup -- I felt like a kid again and SO grateful to God for my family!

It was especially great to see my own "kid" and "kid-in-law," sharing a number of deep conversations that brought us closer than ever before. So in every way, it was a magical week for which I thank God!

So if you will forgive me, I am a wee bit behind on deadlines and such, but I am happy to tell you that not only will I have a Christmas novella coming out this year in an anthology called Frontier Christmas Anthology with Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Anna Schmidt with Gilead Publishing, BUT Gilead is also interested in my Western series, Silver Lining Ranch, so look for a western trilogy from me on that as well down the road. Meanwhile, I'm cranking like crazy to get book 2 of the Isle of Hope, Love Everlasting, out by September, so prayers appreciated because I'm not known to be a fast writer. :(

Okay, that's all I have for you today, but I will leave you with some pix from my trip to Spokane, so happy viewing and HAPPY WEEKEND!

HUGS,

Julie

Rory referred to Papa as "Papa-Bridge."

My "angels" with glow-stick halos. :)

Whoops ... Papa caught us playing hopscotch without our knowledge.

At least it was BEFORE I toppled over! ;)

Micah is crazy over trains and bemoaned Papa's departure desperately!

Rory loves riding Papa's shoulders & trying to cover his eyes with her skirt, the stinker!

Juju-Papa taking a breather ...

The only negative was I got sick (fever and sore throat) the 2nd last day, and I felt horrible. Keith took a pic and said I looked like a bag lady, coining the phrase. "Yes, officer, she's all mine."

Such a handsome family, if I must say so myself! ;)

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation. Lois Wyse
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/grandchildren.html
Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation. Lois Wyse
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/grandchildren.html
Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation. Lois Wyse
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/grandchildren.html