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

 

12:19PM

Friday, February 5, 2016

❤️ Love never fails.❤️

-- 1 Corinthians 13:8

Which is why Valentine's Day is SO important to the human race. And why the romance genre romance sales exceed $1.08 billion each year.

Because people love "LOVE"!! 

So to celebrate Valentine's Month -- the official month of "LOVE" --  I have a whole bunch of LOVE-ly sales and giveaways I'd like to tell you about. 

But first ... let's announce the winner of my LOVE LETTERS giveaway from last week, who will receive an early ecopy of A Glimmer of Hope WAY before it releases. Thank you to everyone who came by to say "hey" -- I wish each and every one of you could win. But unfortunately, only one person can, and that person is:

Lynne Feuerstein

So, SUPER CONGRATS to Lynne! As soon as I have the formatted ecopy, you will be sent a copy, which will probably be next week. :)

 

💜❤️💜 

SALES, GIVEAWAYS, & NEW RELEASE!

💜❤️💜

It’s Valentine’s Month, so how about a little love??

 

❤️ HALF-PRICE SALE!

Here’s the chance to get my brand-new contemporary, Isle of Hope, for 50% off the normal price for five days only — FEBRUARY 7-14, 2016 -- so mark your calendars!!

Can a wild girl gone good

rebuild bridges with a good boy gone bad? 

She’s the girlfriend serving up temptation.

He’s the pastor’s kid bent on serving God.

Till tragedy separates them for eight long years.

Now she’s a woman of faith, back to make amends to the father she defied,

the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she betrayed.

But can a turning of tablesand hearts—

 lead the way back to “hope” for them all?

ORDER ISLE OF HOPE HERE AT 50% OFF FEB. 7-14, 2016!

SEE CHARACTER PIX AND READ FIRST CHAPTER HERE! 

 

❤️ 2/3 OFF-PRICE SALE!

Blake "The Rake's" story, "GRACE LIKE RAIN," is ON SALE at 66% off the orginal price, so DO check it out in the WITH THIS KISS HISTORICAL COLLECTION, ESPECIALLY since you also got novellas from four other award-winning authors, including Mary Connealy, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, and  Ruth Logan Herne. AND be sure to check out the WITH THIS KISS CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION as well, ALSO 2/3 off the original price! Here's the links for both collections and HAPPY READING!!

WITH THIS KISS HISTORICAL COLLECTION

WITH THIS KISS CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION

 

❤️ PRE-ORDER SALE FOR NEW RELEASE!

A prequel novella to Isle of Hope?? Yes, it’s true, A GLIMMER OF HOPE is on sale for only 99 cents until it’s release date of March 1st, 66% off of the release-day price, so take advantage! 

She’s a wounded girl

serving up trouble.

He’s a pastor’s kid

bent on serving God.

But can they find a glimmer of hope

for a future together?

PRE-ORDER

A GLIMMER OF HOPE HERE!

 

❤️ FOUR GIVEAWAYS!!

Here’s your chance to win a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards, gift baskets, a character named after you in my next book, twelve books by top CBA authors, more free books, and a whole lot more!! How?

 

1.) BOOK LOVER’S GIVEAWAY

      February 7-13, 2016:

       Win TWELVE paperback books by the following TOP CBA

        authors (& moi!):

Hannah Alexander, Tamera Alexander,

Colleen Coble, Robin Lee Hatcher, Rachel Hauck,

Denise Hunter, Julie Lessman, Cara Putman,

Deborah Raney, Beth Vogt, Becky Wade,

Susan May Warren

 

JUST CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW ANYTIME DURING FEBRUARY 7 – 13 AND GOOD LUCK!!

BOOK LOVERS GIVEAWAY

 

2.) IT’S TIME TO FALL IN LOVE TREASURE HUNT

     February 10-29, 2016:

Join Debbie Lynne Costello, MaryLu Tyndall, and me as we celebrate the release of our latest books with some fabulous prizes, including 2 Kindles,     Amazon gift cards, gift baskets, and books galore!  

VISIT EACH OF OUR BLOGS ON THE SCHEDULED DATES ABOVE FOR RULES AND TREASURE HUNT CLUES … AND GOOD LUCK! 

DEBBIE LYNNE COSTELLO

JULIE LESSMAN

MARYLU TYNDALL

 

3.) BLOG BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY/CONTEST!

      February 5 through February 11

Come help me celebrate blogger Jasmine Augustine’s birthday with a giveaway of A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN MY NEXT BOOK and your choice of an ecopy of Isle of Hope or A Glimmer of Hope! Contest starts today, February 5 through February 11, so come on by! Here’s the link:

JASMINE’S BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY/CONTEST!

 

4.) SEEKERVILLE GIVEAWAYIVEAWAY!

      Wednesday, February 10th

         Join me on Seekerville when I celebrate Valentine's month with a blog entitled
       KISSES, KISSES, KISSES, where I will highlight different types and some of my
       favorite kisses. Hope to see you there! Here's the link:

 

HUGS AND HAPPY WEEKEND -- GO WIN A BOOK!! 

JULIE

8:41AM

Friday, January 29, 2016

“Bitterness is a cancer, Lace, and in my world,

if someone really and truly loves someone, why on earth

would they feed that bitterness and help it to grow?"

-- A Glimmer of Hope by Julie Lessman

YES, it's true ... there is NOW a  prequel to Isle of Hope! And guess what? It's on presale right now for only 99 cents, 66% less than it will be on release day, March 1st, so PLEASE take advantage, my friends, because I did that especially for YOU!

Since I promised a sneak peek at the first chapter, I am including that below, but please keep in mind that the sweet, godly heroine you know from Isle of Hope was once a bad girl, so this story is about Lacey B.C. (before Christ reallllly got a hold of her heart). I will admit it was pretty difficult to make Lacey likable as a bad girl, but hopefully I accomplished that. However, even if I didn't, I'm praying the first chapter of Isle of Hope -- which I am including at the end of the novella -- will do the trick.

So, the first chapter is at the end of this blog, and please cut Lacey some slack, okay? Because frankly that was ME before I came to Christ, which just proves what a miracle worker Jesus Christ is, right? ;)

Hugs and HAPPY WEEKEND!

Julie


❤️❤️❤️ VALENTINE GIVEAWAYS GALORE!!❤️❤️❤️


FEBRUARY 1, 2016:  Join me on Keiki Hendrix's  Vessel Project blog, where I will kick off a month of LOVE LETTERS TO THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. Various authors will be featured every day of the month of February, each posting a love letter to their husband or significant other. So come by on FEBRUARY 1st to leave a comment on my "Love Letter" blog, and you'll be entered for an ecopy of Isle of Hope or an early ecopy of A Glimmer of Hope. Winner announced on my Journal Jot blog on Friday, February 5th.


FEBRUARY 7-13, 2016 -- BOOK LOVERS GIVEAWAY! 

How would you like to win TWELVE novels from TOP authors in the CBA?? Well you can, and all you have to do is click on the link below and enter to win -- TWELVE BOOKS -- one from each of the following authors:

Hannah Alexander, Tamera Alexander, Colleen Coble, Robin Lee Hatcher, Rachel Hauck, Denise Hunter, Julie Lessman, Cara Putman, Deborah Raney, Beth Vogt, Becky Wade, Susan May Warren

SO ... ON FEBRUARY 7TH, COME ON BY TO CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW AND GOOD LUCK!!

BOOK LOVERS GIVEAWAY

(LINK TO COME)

 

FEBRUARY 10-29, 2016: "IT'S TIME TO FALL IN LOVE" TREASURE HUNT! 

Welcome to the “IT’S TIME TO FALL IN LOVE” treasure hunt where MaryLu Tyndall, Debblie Lynne Costello and and I are celebrating the release of our latest books with some fabulous prizes, including a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards, gift baskets, and books galore! 

JUST VISIT EACH OF OUR BLOGS ON THE SCHEDULED DATES BELOW FOR RULES AND TREASURE HUNT CLUES! 

Debbie Lynne Costello

Julie Lessman

MaryLu Tyndall

TREASURE HUNT SCHEDULE:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016 — Winner’s Announced


AND NOW ... THE FIRST CHAPTER OF:

 

A Glimmer of Hope

By Julie Lessman


For I know the plans I have for you,

declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil,

to give you a future and a hope.

—Jeremiah 29:11

 

Chapter One

Isle of Hope, Georgia, Spring 2007

 

“Come on, Lace, I dare you.”

Eighteen-year-old Lacey Carmichael glanced up in the bathroom mirror through red-rimmed eyes, her cousin Nicki propped against the door behind her with a threatening fold of arms. The challenge in Nicki’s hazel eyes was as potent as the bottle of Jack Daniels peeking out of her purse. With a ghost of a sigh, Lacey’s swollen lids flickered closed, her gut instinct to tell Nicki no. The last thing she wanted was to go to a party, especially one given by heartthrob bad boy, Royce Barrister, who didn’t take “no” for an answer. At least when it came to Lacey.

Not unlike Nicki.

“Just look at yourself—blotchy face, red eyes, and a face so pitiful, you look like you just lost your best friend.”

A heave caught in Lacey’s throat. That’s because I did …

Nicki stamped her foot. “For crying out loud, Carmichael, get a grip! Jack O’Bryen is not worth it. I could maybe see you blubbering over somebody like his cousin because let’s face it, Matt Ball is flat-out hot, but his preacher-boy cousin? No way, so I think this could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.”

The best thing that’s ever happened to me? The heave in Lacey’s throat bullied its way into a choked sob, slumping her shoulders as she put a quivering hand to her eyes. That would be Jack.

But it sure isn’t me for him.

At least, according to Daddy.

“Aw, Lace …” Nicki hugged her from behind, sweeping Lacey’s long blonde hair aside to rest her chin on her shoulder. “I know you’ve been over the moon for Jack forever, but you can’t let him run your life, sweetie, which is what he’s trying to do. You need a boyfriend, not a minister, always badgering you to do what he wants you to do.”

What’s going on, Lacey?” Jack’s voice came back to haunt, their argument a painful reminder that she’d just broken up with the guy she’d been crazy about since the age of twelve. “Jess said Barrister was all over you at that party last week, and it’s gotta stop, Lace, or else ...”  

Or else. A single tear slid down her face to well in the corner of her lips, the taste salty like all the tears she’d wept in Jack’s arms the last two years after she and Daddy had fought. Only these tears belonged to sweet, level-headed Jack O’Bryen, who had given her an ultimatum that all but guaranteed “or else.” She blinked in the mirror, barely seeing her tear-stained face for the resistance roiling in her mind. He, better than anyone, should have known ultimatums always triggered her temper, detonating that streak of rebellion she usually reserved for her father.

Or-else?” she had bit out in a tone as threatening as Jack’s, “or else what, Brye? I already have one father trying to control my life—you trying to make it two?”

“You’re my freakin’ girlfriend,” Jack shot back, the hint of temper in his voice matching her own, “I should be the only guy hanging all over you and nobody else.”

“Yeah, but that’s just it, Jack, you never do. You’re too busy protecting your own precious virtue to worry about mine.” Her jibe had been almost a hiss, still ticked that he’d put her off his last time home, when all she wanted was to give him her love. Well, Royce Barrister sure wouldn’t turn her down, and Jack needed to know that. Needed to know she was desperate for love from a man who actually cared.

Because Daddy sure didn’t.

“Come on, Lace,” Nicki whispered, jolting Lacey back to the present when she squeezed her in a side hug. Her hazel eyes pleaded in the mirror. “Royce Barrister is crazy about you, and most girls would kill to go out with him, so this is your chance.” Nicki’s lower lip protruded in that pouty look she always used to get Lacey to see things her way. “And I promise, if you’re still hung up on Jack after that, then I will personally call him to plead your case, telling him I was to blame for leading you astray.”

A shadow of a smile hovered over Lacey’s lips. “He already knows that. I sure never went to any parties before you moved to Isle of Hope.”

Nicki’s chin nudged up. “And never had any fun either. Not with some stuffy preacher’s kid, who only gives you a peck on the cheek and calls it a kiss.”

“Knock it off, Nick,” Lacey countered, wondering why in the world she was defending a boyfriend whose prudish notions were holding their relationship back. “Jack kisses way more than my cheeks, and you know it.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right.” Nicki’s short punky curls wagged back and forth as she bobbed in time. “On your forehead … on your nose … on your hair …”

Lacey finally chuckled, shaking her head. “I’ll have you know, Nicolette Phillips, that Jack O’Bryen’s kisses are deadly, melting me into a puddle every time he lets himself go.”

The smile on Nicki’s face faded. “But that’s just it, Lace, he never does, does he?” Sympathy softened her tone. “He’s too busy saving himself for God while his girlfriend is starving for love.”

“I am not starving for love—”

Nicki arched a brow, and Lacey puffed out a sigh, slumping in the mirror. The truth was Nicki was right—she was starving for love. Yes, she and her mother were close when bouts of depression didn’t drag Mom down. But as far as having the love of a father that every little girl craved? Lacey was an emotional anorexic, starving for the love of a male figure that cherished her, thought she was pretty, wanted to love her, protect her. A glaze of saltwater welled in her eyes, and she quickly blinked it away. All Daddy ever wanted to do was berate and belittle her, making her feel like she was worth nothing at all.

 “Don’t think you’re anything special. Any street walker can get ’em excited.”

Her jaw automatically hardened at Daddy’s favorite phrase, and bitterness coursed through her bloodstream like adrenalin because it wasn’t true—she was special. At least to Jack. She closed her eyes to ward off another sheen of moisture. Jack was the only one who made her feel that way, like she was worth loving at all. But even he couldn’t fully understand why she needed so much of his love. His was a loving family, where laughter and encouragement were as common as air, so he didn’t know the type of emptiness she felt in her soul. The hurt. The rejection.

As a daughter.

As a woman.

“Wipe that black stuff off your eyes—you look like a whore.”

She squeezed her eyes tight, unwilling to let any tears fall over a father who had already bled her heart dry. No, as kind and sweet as Jack was, he couldn’t possibly comprehend why she craved his affection to the extent that she did. Which hurt all the more when the boyfriend who claimed to love her refused the closeness she needed to feel that love.

Nicky gently turned Lacey around, compassion etched into every pore of her cousin’s face. “Look, Lace, Jack loves you, we all know that. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on his way home right now after your fight despite the fact he has finals next week. But the truth is he needs a wake-up call, and going with me to Royce’s party tonight could do the trick.” She ducked her head, peering up with soulful eyes. “He’s already jealous of Royce, so why not use it to your advantage? You do want Jack to commit to you, don’t you?”

Lacey nodded, chewing on the edge of her lip. Of course she wanted Jack to commit—body as well as soul—because that would bond them together, proving he loved her, wanted her.

Wouldn’t it?

 “Well …” Nicki moved around to plop her purse on the bathroom counter, yanking out the bottle of Jack Daniels to retrieve her makeup bag. She shoved the bag at Lacey with a slant of a smile. “Then I suggest we try a new tactic, kiddo, because you’ve been trying to light a fire under Jack O’Bryen since I came home, so whatever you’re doing obviously isn’t working, agreed?”

Sucking in a shaky breath, Lacey released it again in a show of consent, well aware she needed a little more than pouts and peach bath oil—Jack’s favorite—to make her his girl all the way. “Agreed.”

“Well then, I say we take advantage of this breakup, which we both know won’t last, right?”

A tiny grin tickled the edge of Lacey’s lips. Because heaven knows if two people were ever crazy about each other, it was Jack and her, and although Lacey’s temper always prodded their breakups, they both knew it wouldn’t last. From his very first kiss on her sixteenth birthday, they’d known they were soul mates forever. Now … all she needed was the commitment to go along with it …

Nicky stashed the Jack Daniels deep in her sack purse and headed for the door. “So get dolled up and let Royce Barrister fawn all over you tonight, because when his cousin runs back to tell Jack he could really lose you this time, I think jealousy is gonna build a bonfire under our boy like you have never seen.”

 “You think?” Lacey nibbled a piece of dead skin at the edge of her smile, biting it clean through.

“Oh, honey—I know.” Nicki opened the door and gave her cousin a knowing wink. “And I can smell the lighter fluid right now …”


PREORDER 

 A GLIMMER OF HOPE

  HERE

FOR ONLY 99 CENTS,

66% OFF THE RELEASE-DAY PRICE.


8:44AM

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity."

-- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

And, boy, oh boy, have I had a growth spurt this week! ;)

As an extremely wired CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), I used to get pretty anxious about a lot of things, but my faith in God has really help temper most of it over the years, thank God. And then, of course, the spiritual sabbatical I took in 2014 reallllllly helped to mellow me out ... uh, at least as mellow as a CDQ can be!

But this week, if I must say so myself, I grew A LOT! So when I read the above quote in my daily devotional one morning, I had no idea just how true it would be.

You see, I have just finished writing A Glimmer of Hope, the prequel novella for an Isle of Hope, and I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about it. I hope to release it February 14 and post the first chapter and cover next week, God willing, so be sure to stop by then. But this week I wanted to tell you just how that novella helped me to grow, not only in my faith, but in my my hope.

For those of you who have already read Isle of Hope, you know that it's a story about a woman who returns home after eight years to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only this time, the tables are turned because now she’s the Christian and her ex-boyfriend is the bad boy. Here's the jacket blurb:

Can a wild girl gone good

rebuild bridges with a good boy gone bad? 

She’s the town flirt serving up trouble.

He’s a pastor’s kid bent on serving God.

Until tragedy separates them for eight years,

turning tables—and hearts—

to restore hope for them all.

In many ways, the prequel was a bit difficult to write because the reformed heroine in Isle of Hope was easy to like, but to show her before God got a hold of her wasn't easy. But it was definitely therapeutic to explore that aspect of Lacey Carmichael because in so many ways her wild-child life mirrored by own before Christ.

Now, A Glimmer of Hope is actually what is referred to as a "teaser" novella, which basically means I've given the readers a taste of Jack and Lacey in the past to hopefully motivate them to read about this couple's future in Isle of Hope. That said, this prequel novella is very important to me because if new readers don't like Lacey (I already know they're gonna love Jack! ;)), they may not want to go on to read Isle of Hope. 

Enter the "anixous" ...

Now I'm reallllly thrilled to say that so far, Isle of Hope has gotten some amazing reviews and currently has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 94 reviews. But ... as we all know in this biz, you can't please everybody, so the three "not-so-good" reviews I got put a bit of a blip in my perspective, mainly because two of them specifically reprove the "language" I used in Isle of Hope.

I'll be honest and say right off the bat that when I included expressions like "freakin', flippin', friggin," in Isle of Hope, I had NO idea they would offend anyone. As a historical writer tackling her first contemporary, all I was striving to do was paint a realistic picture of today's young people with actual expressions used to express emotion because heaven knows how I LOVE to express emotion! So to say I was shocked when I read that two reviewers took offense over these words, is an understatement. I am most grateful that the one reviewer (who mentioned the language in the book) was kind enough to spare me a 2-star like the other reviewer gave me, stating, "There are some wonderful characters and a beautiful story of forgiveness ... but some readers will be offended by substitute swear words."

Wow ... what an eye-opener for me! I mean honestly, how many times have I said, "oh my gosh!," never once trying to slip anything past God by secretly meaning to say His name in vain. Seriously?? To me, words like darn, gosh, gee whiz -- and yes, freakin', flippin', and friggin' -- are not meant to disrespect God in ANY WAY, but to protect His holy name instead, with words that can stop some people from actually using His name in vain. 

So ... being the type of person who would rather die than hurt someone's feelings, I really and truly regret that I upset those two reviewers and any of you reading this post today who feel the same. So much so, in fact, that I was blue for a couple of days and very "anxious" about the prequel, which also has a few of these words.

And here 's where the "growth" comes in. For a space of a couple of days, I allowed the devil to beat me up over this situation, focusing my attention on those two reviews rather than on Jesus. Will I try to tone down the so-called "language" in my books in the future? Yes, I probably will, but God also reminded me that He has called me to march to a different drummer than most Christian authors. Yes, my books are more romantically passionate than most romance novels in the Christian market, but they are also more spiritually passionate than most too.

And that's because I long to reach women like I used to be -- utterly lost without Him. The same woman who would no more read a Christian romance than fly to the moon. And yet, although many believe in God (1 in 9 women in the U.S. profess some form of Christianity according to a Barna Group survey), many of those same women worship at the world's altar instead of God's (aka Fifty Shades of Grey and the like), living their lives according to the world's standards rather than His. Those are the women I long to reach with my stories of passion. Mainstream inspirational stories that hopefully will not only draw women like that closer to the God, but teach (through lessons learned the hard way in my own life) practical application of God's precepts to those who love Him as much as I do.  

So would you do me a favor? Would you consider saying a prayer that God will help me reach mainstream Christian women for Him? I would SO appreciate that!

And remember:  Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. -- Hebrews 12:2

Hugs and Happy "fixing"!

Julie





 

8:30AM

Friday, January 15, 2016

“Oh, Jack,” she whispered, eyes shining 

 with the same steadfast assurance 

he’d once espoused himself, 

 “you should know better than anyone—

 there is no hope without forgiveness.”

-- Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman

As most of you know by now, my new contemporary novel, Isle of Hope, is a story about forgiveness and how without it, there is no hope of reconciliation, no hope of healing, and no hope for hope.

And we all need hope, right?

I wrote Isle of Hope because of the invaluable lesson God taught me about forgiveness with my own father, so I hope each of you get a chance to read it because for me, it's more than a novel that entertains. It is a life lesson in forgiveness -- one that God not only proved true in my own life, but will prove true in yours as well.

Want proof?

A few weeks ago I got an email from a sweet reader friend by the name of Bethany Hanger, who allowed me to tell you what she wrote:

"The theme of the book as a whole was touching! My short but heartfelt journey throughout the book was awakening! Having all of the characters show some sort of forgiveness through each of their difficult tragedies showed me that forgiveness is always on the horizon through God's timing! I have had difficulty forgiving a life long friend for betraying my trust and ditching me. While reading this book, I realized that I needed to forgive her and start over! I called her today asking to meet sometime soon so I could apologize and also give her the chance to explain. We are meeting next Sunday. Could you please keep this particular situation in your prayers?"

Could I??? Oh, you bet I could!!! And did, rejoicing the entire time that God had used my book to not only touch a reader's life, but hopefully change it for the better as well. Trust me -- there is no letter from a reader better than that!

Imagine my joy when I received this response from Bethany a while later:

Dear Julie,
Sorry I haven't gotten back to you about my meeting with my friend. It has been crazy this week trying to adjust to going back to school.
My meeting with my friend, Sophie, went great! I talked to her about how I was feeling and how hurt I was towards, not just her but myself. I told her how much I beat myself up about not being able to forgive her for so long. She understood, and we both just sat and talked for hours. It was so great to just catch up with her after not talking to her for 1 year!
While we were talking, you actually came up in conversation. I told her about Isle of Hope and how encouraging and beautiful it was to read! Sophie told me that she wanted read it, so I bought it for her. It was kind of like an I'm sorry/ I miss you gift. Sophie read it and totally loved it! After she finished reading it, we talked, laughed, and cried about our favorite parts of the book. I guess you could say we LOVED Isle of Hope! Thank you so much for showing Gods love and forgiveness through writing books!

Okay, I don't know about you, but I'm blubbering like a baby right now because OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! What a testimony as to just HOW powerful forgiveness is and HOW each of us holds it in the palm of our hands, just waiting to be given away!

So ... who do you need to forgive today? I challenge you to ask God to reveal if you are harboring any unforgiveness because if you are, I promise you it is restricting the full wellspring of peace, hope, and joy that God wants you to have. Trust me, I know.

Like Bethany, I also had a girlfriend who hurt me -- over and over again -- until I finally said to God one day, "Lord, I'm done. I do not want to be friends with her anymore."

You know what happened? That Still, Small Voice floated through my brain while I was on my knees in my living room, and this is what It said:

"No, Julie, you are not done because I have anointed this friendship."

I remember looking up at the ceiling in shock, saying, "You can't be serious??!!"

But He was, so I got serious, too, about forgiving this friend once and for all, telling myself that although she didn't (at the time) stack up to what I wanted in a friend, she was ANOINTED to BE my friend by the God of the Universe, so I accepted her and forgave her on those grounds. And you know what?

Today she is one of my dearest, closest friends today and an invaluable prayer partner who has blessed me immeasurably throughout my life.

So don't let satan steal from you what God intends as a blessing. Forgive. Heal. And Love. Because our God does NOT want His kids holding grudges.

I urge Euodia and Syntyche to

iron out their differences and make up.

God doesn't want His children holding grudges.

--Philippians 4:2 

And neither do I! ;)

Hugs and Happy Forgiving!

Julie

 

HEY, WILL YOU CONSIDER DOING ME AND OTHER AUTHORS A HUGE FAVOR?

Nominations for finalists in the sixth annual Grace Awards are NOW taking place until February 28, 2016, so please consider nominating your favorite autors in various categories (one per category), and if I garner one of those nominations, I thank you!

Here's the link where instructions can be found, but basically you nominate your favorite author in one or all categories, then send it in an email to the Grace Awards (email given on the Grace Awards page) along with the link to your website, blog, OR social networking site (Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Pinterest, etc.). That's it, so here's the link:

https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/reader-nominations-begin-grace-awards-2015/


AND THEN ... if you want to vote on the MOST SWOONWORTHY KISSES IN CHRISTIAN ROMANCE, HOP ON OVER TO GOODREADS TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVES!

Here's the link, and you can vote for as many as you want, so GO CRAZY!!

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/77076.Christian_Novels_Containing_Sigh_worthy_Kisses

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU (especially if you vote for me along with other favorites!! ;)

HUGS,

JULIE

 

11:32AM

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Be still, and know that I am God."

Psalm 46:10 


Happy New Year, Everyone!

And I have to say that so far—for me—it is!

Wanna know why?

Well, remember the post about three weeks ago where I talked about the little secret I discovered for getting things done with peace and joy? Well, if you don't here's the link: PEACE & JOY.

And all I gotta say is, WOW ... things are a'changin' ... and all because I'm trying to put God first.

Am I perfect at it? No way!

Am I getting better? Oh, you bet.

And you know what? So is my life!

Like I mentioned in the blog at the link above, I used to get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee (hazelnut with Half 'n Half, of course!), then mosey downstairs to our family room and putz with email while Keith and I watched the news. About 30 minutes in, one of us would make the other an English muffin, we'd eat and chat a bit, then Keith would go to work (at his desk 10 feet away). Of course there I'd be, still wading through days of emails I'd missed, stupidly thinking I could breeze through them in 20 minutes.

Yeah, right. You've read my books, yes?

Well, my emails aren't much shorter.

By the time I was done with most of the emails (some I would set aside to give my full attention to later and you know who you are!), it was time for lunch. And yet I STILL hadn't had my prayer/Bible/devotional/treadmill time (where I tackle my prayer list while listening to worship music).

So then I'd hightail it upstairs to check that off my to-do list (notice the frame of mind — it was a task I had to do rather than a pleasure spending time with the God of the Universe!). By now it was early afternoon, and because I was itching to get to writing, I felt pressured during "God's time," and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that neither God nor I benefited very much.

So like I said in the Dec. 18th blog, God got my attention by nailing me to the wall with this daily devotional that stopped me dead in my tracks:

"I desire to talk to all of My children,

but many are too busy to listen. The "work ethic" has them

tied up in knots. They submit wholeheartedly to this taskmaster,

wondering why they feel so distant from Me.

Living close to Me requires making Me your first love—

your highest priority

Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

Ouch.

That's when I turned over a new leaf, two weeks before I turned over the page of the calendar, putting God first in the morning. Now I get up still in my jammies and snuggle into my upstairs "prayer chair" (see pic) with a cup of hazelnut while I read my devotionals, Bible, and focus on God.

Which, by the way, is my word for the year: FOCUS. On Him!

Anyway, the first day of the new year that I did this, the Scripture God gave me was our quote above from Psalm 46:10 ...

"Be still and know that

I am God."

Well, I don't know if you have ever been around an overwired CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) before, but being "still" is not something I do well ... or really, ever. But all at once I swiveled my chair to lean back and look out the window, feet propped on the shelf of my credenza with a cup of hazelnut warm in my hands.

And that was when I saw — really saw — the muted dawn slowly wash across the sky in watercolor blue, naked tree limbs reaching to the heavens in holy worship. At that very moment, my spirit stilled and water stung in my eyes, a blink in time when I was fully aware of just Who He is — the Bright Morning Star Who lights up our life with His love, His peace, His  everlasting joy.

Suddenly worship welled in my spirit, pouring from my lips while tears poured from my eyes. I never really expected it, but I felt His presence, a truly magical communion between me and my Father, the God of the Universe!! The One Who longs for us to sit with Him, talk with Him, be still with Him so He can reveal Himself and His plan for our lives. To really and truly "know" Him.

Because the more we know, the more we will never be the same.

I know because so far this year, I feel so ... different. Granted, it's only eight days in, but every day this week, before I even open my eyes, I've been sensing a glimmer of excitement and anticipation for the day, as if I had something special planned. And when I came fully awake, I suddenly realized what it was.

I was going to spend time with the one Person Who cherishes me more than any other, the One whose love never fails, the One to Whom I am the apple of His eye. The God Who actually wants to spend time with me so He can reveal His plan for me, not only to guide me through my day, but through my life as well.

Imagine that!

Quality time ... with the Everlasting God ... for everlasting peace, hope, and joy!

What a way to start a new year! :)

Hugs and HAPPY FOCUSING!

Julie 


PLEASE, PLEASE VOTE FOR FAMILY FICTION'S TOP TEN NOVELS OF 2015! 

Guess what? YOU have a golden opportunity to say THANK YOU to the author who wrote your favorite book of 2015. There's a ton of great books nominated (including my latest novel Isle of Hope, so THANK YOU to all who nominated it!). BUT ... whether you vote for my book or somebody else's, PLEASE VOTE because Christian Fiction needs all the support it can get and authors need to know their readers support them! So ... 

 VOTE HERE ... AND GO, CHRISTIAN FICTION!! 

 

SEEKER BLOG GIVEAWAY!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016: To Review or Not to Review … That is the Question! Joinme on Seekerville when I explore—and answer—this question in a manner so complete, you will be sorely tempted to post a review. Ahem … it remains to be seen whether it will 5-star or 1, but at least there will be a giveaway of any of my ebooks … OR a signed manuscript copy of her new novella, A Glimmer of Hope, which is the prequel to my latest novel, Isle of Hope, that is due to release in February. 

And, YES, you read right — there's a prequel about Jack and Lacey, so more about that next week!

Hugs and HAPPY FOCUSING!

Julie