Journal Jots – Blog

Welcome to my Journal Jots blog! This is 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! From news on sales, freebies, giveaways, new releases, and excerpts from works in progress … to my thoughts on my walk with God, daily devotionals, or photos of my family, this is where you’ll find the most current glimpse into my books and my life. I invite you to subscribe in the “subscribe” box on the right side of this page to automatically receive an email whenever I post a blog. Till then, God bless and HAPPY READING!

Friday, May 3, 2024


WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO?

HELP PICK A TITLE FOR MY DEVOTIONAL & GET A BOOK!

FREE DOWNLOAD OF ISLE OF HOPE!

HALF-PRICE SALE ON HENRY’S STORY, A DARE AND A PRAYER!

RACHEL HAUCK AND CARA PUTMAN GIVEAWAYS!

DENISE HUNTER PAPERBACK WINNER!

HIST. CHRIST. ROM. WRITERS’ ONLINE CONFERENCE!

EXCERPT FROM MY NEXT BOOK!

Read my prior blog including excerpt from Henry’s story HERE!

 

🌷 What Have I been Up To?

WHOO-HOO … Happy Spring, Everyone!  Well, we’re back at The Lake of the Ozarks where we live, and I’ve been busy spring cleaning, spring gardening, and “spring”-ing into my next book, which as you all know, is my devotional.

I am now halfway through, and although I am not keen on writing nonfiction, I have to admit, the spiritual excerpts from my novels that I am including in this “novotional” make me cry every single time. I’m hoping that’s because they are Holy Spirit anointed and not because they are bad. 😉

I’m praying to wrap this novotional up no later than mid-summer, which means I’m not all that sure that I will be able to get a novel out this year, but maybe a Christmas novella for Steven and Annie (and yes, Lynne, that is for you!). Prayers appreciated for whatever God has in mind.

 

SO … WANT TO RECEIVE A FREE E-BOOK?

I would like your feedback on titles for this novotional. Originally, I was going to call it The Plight of Windowsill Jesus based on my childhood perception of God, but I’m still not sure what the title will be, so I’d like your opinion on the choices below that I came up with.

BUT FIRST … read the excerpt at the end of this blog, then shoot me an email through the CONTACT JULIE tab of this website with your first and second title choices, and I’ll send you your choice of my indie books (any of my indies except my latest, A Dare and a Prayer).

ALSO … if you like, you can shoot me some of your own suggestions, and if I use one, I will send you a signed paperback copy of ANY of my books—indie or Revell (based on my supply) including A Dare and a Prayer PLUS include you on the dedication page with a free signed copy.

SUGGESTED TITLES FOR JULIE’S NOVOTIONAL

1.) The Plight of Windowsill Jesus
A Novotional:

A Devotional with a “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity

 

2.) What’s the Story Morning Glory?
The Story of You … By the Book

A Devotional with a “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity

 

3.) The Story of You … By the Book
A Novotional:
A Devotional with a “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity

 

3.) My Story … By the Book
A Novotional:
A Devotional with a “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity

 

4.) Living Life … By the Book
A Novotional:
A Devotional with a “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity

 

5.) A “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity
A Devotional Novotional

 

 

🌷 Mark Your Calendar!
Free Download May 12-16

Isle of Hope

 

🌷  BookBub Article, “16 Christian Romance Novels
Readers Are Guaranteed to Love.”

🌷 Family Fiction Magazine’s “Top 15 Novels of 2015.”

FREE ROMANCE DOWNLOAD, so if you or someone you know hasn’t read Isle of Hope yet—book 1 in The Isle of Hope Series—now is the time! A perfect Mother’s Day Gift!

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 tables—and hearts—
lead the way back to “hope” for them all?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “ABSOLUTELY the best book I’ve ever read by any Christian author.” — Anneta Allen, Amazon Reviewer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Isle of Hope is a sassy tale with a swagger of a plot and impossible to resist!” — 9 Minute Books Review Team

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Talk about a sucker punch of spirituality … clear your calendar and be prepared for an emotional ride of a lifetime.” — Best Reads Blog

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Isle of Hope will tear out your heart and put it back together… emotional and raw and convicting … but healing … and may in fact, be not only Julie’s best novel so far, but also her most important.. — Reading is My SuperPower Blog

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I don’t think anyone can walk away after reading this book without being changed.” — Best Reads Blo

FREE DOWNLOAD HERE MAY 12-16!

 

 

Half-Price Sale on
A Dare and a Prayer

Yes, it’s true—Henry’s ON SALE, a 50% reduction over the release price FOR A SHORT TIME ONLY! Trust me, since this is my longest and MOST favorite book, it’s a honey of a steal because Henry is guaranteed to “steal” your heart and more than a little sleep. So, I hope you take advantage to get this 4.7-star World War 2 novel that’s drawing amazing reviews like the following:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “LESSMAN HAS CRAFTED AN EXQUISITE MASTERPIECE! This novel is a must read for those who are praying and believing for prodigals to come home. Henry and Amy’s story is edgy and raw. However, hope softly whispers though the pages. Lessman has gracefully handled the child trafficking issue. This is not an easy story but a necessary one. It is Ms. Lessman’s best work to date!”— Caryl Kane, Amazon reviewer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Five plus stars is what I will be giving A Dare and a Prayer. I believe fans of historical romance with strong emphasis of strong women during the World War II era, will definitely want to give this one a read.” — Locks, Hooks, & Books blog

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “The spiritual lessons pack a punch, they convict, they remind, they are full of the rich truths of God’s Word. When I finished the last page I literally wanted to go back and read it again because I missed the characters so much.” — My Favorite Pastime blog

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I cannot give enough praise for Julie Lessman’s newest book, A Dare and A Prayer. This is by far her best novel yet. She delivers big on the romance, character arc, and justice.” —LiteraryScape


FREE E-DOWNLOAD A DARE AND A PRAYER  HERE

PAPERBACK OF A DARE AND A PRAYER  HERE

Bk. 2, E-BOOK A HOPE AND A PRAYER, $2.99 HERE

PAPERBACK A HOPE AND A PRAYER  HERE

BK. 1, A WING AND A PRAYER, $2.99 HERE

PAPERBACK, A WING AND A PRAYER HERE

VIDEO TRAILER FOR A WING AND A PRAYER HERE

 

Whoo-hoo, We Have a Winner!

My sincere apologies for the LONG delay in announcing the winner of Denise Hunter’s latest book, Love Unscripted, a giveaway from my February newsletter.

But SUPER CONGRATS to the following lucky winner picked by Randomizer!

Jan Tomalis

Jan, I will be contacting you via email soon to get your mailing address.

 

 

Historical Christian Romance Writers’ Mini Online Conference

Hey, do you want to build an author platform, but are not sure where to start? Well, The Historical Christian Romance Writers’ Mini-Online Conference is here for you!

Building, growing, and sustaining an author platform that serves your readers well starts with baby steps. Join Crystal Caudill, Misty M. Beller, and Melissa LaShure for three 1-hour training sessions followed by 1-hour hands-on workshops with the experts. You’ll walk away with the skills to plot and write your magnet reader, create images with Canva for your platform, and grow your email list with avid readers, so I highly recommend it!

Cost:
Training Sessions – $17 – Unlimited seats
Workshops – $47 – There are only 10 seats per workshop.
 
Join the HCRW online mini conference created for the aspiring author of historical Christian romance. 

Learn more and register at: 
https://www.literaryscape.com/events

 

Rachel Hauck & Cara Putman Paperback Giveaway

My good friends Rachel Hauck and Cara Putman are both offering giveaways (Sorry, U.S. only, no international) of their latest novels, so do NOT miss out on this great opportunity to read two of the best authors in the CBA! So, all you have to do to enter is shoot me an email at CONTACT JULIE, and you’re in the draw!

Here’s the jacket blurb for THE BEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES:

Twenty years ago, the summer of ’77 was supposed to be the best summer of Summer Wilde’s life. She and her best friends, Spring, Autumn, and Snow–the Four Seasons–had big plans.

But those plans never had a chance. After a teenage prank gone awry, the Seasons found themselves on a bus to Tumbleweed, “Nowhere,” Oklahoma, to spend eight weeks as camp counselors. All four of them arrived with hidden secrets and buried fears, and the events that unfolded in those two months forever altered their friendships, their lives, and their futures.

Now, thirtysomething, Summer is at a crossroads. When her latest girl band leaves her in a motel outside Tulsa, she is forced to face the shadows of her past. Returning to the place where everything changed, she soon learns Tumbleweed is more than a town she never wanted to see again. It’s a place for healing, for reconciling the past with the present, and for finally listening to love’s voice.

Next, we have Cara Putman’s newest release. My friend Cara Putman is celebrating the release of her latest novel The Vanished with a large giveaway of books from many of her writing friends as well as The Vanished, an artsy book bag and an artsy book journal, so be sure to go to her website to enter here: https://www.caraputman.com/celebrating-giveaway/.

BUT … I am also giving away a copy of The Vanished, so once again, just shoot me an email at the CONTACT JULIE link, and you’ll be in the draw for that giveaway too.

Here’s the jacket blurb for THE VANISHED:

Janae Simmons left the small town of Kedgewick, Virginia, ten years ago to pursue her legal career and never looked back–until a professional mistake leads her to her grandmother’s historic carriage house and to the town where her past threatens to find her. The quiet streets echo with her grandfather’s sterling reputation, one that conflicts with fresh questions that claw at Janae, launching her on a reluctant journey to unearth his secrets. When her new job at a local law firm doesn’t live up to expectations, she wonders if coming home was the right decision.

Carter Montgomery starts his art preservation career with the only job he can get–director at the Elliott Museum of Art. At least Kedgewick is a nice enough town to provide him and his nephew with a safe place to grieve the loss of Carter’s sister. But Carter’s calm days disappear when an elderly woman claims two paintings in the museum’s collection were stolen from her family during World War II.

Carter enlists Janae’s help to unravel the legal labyrinth of art ownership, and the peaceful facade of Kedgewick morphs into a hot bed of secrets. When an attorney turns up dead and Janae uncovers another painting, what began as a simple legal issue spirals into a race against time. As the web of intrigue tightens, the duo must confront a looming question: What dark truths lie beneath the surface, waiting to be exposed

 

Excerpt From My Next Book!

As mentioned above, I am halfway through my “novotional,” so I thought I’d give you a sneak peek. Keep in mind that I’m not sure if this is the final title or Table of Contents yet, and certainly, this is only a rough draft.

The Plight of Windowsill Jesus

A Novotional

A Devotional with a “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity

 

Table of Contents

Dedication: Why I Wrote This Book

Introduction: Application of God’s Word (Precepts) in Everyday Life

Chapter One: The Plight of Windowsill Jesus: My Background

Chapter Two: From Dark to Light: My Testimony

Chapter Three: From Fury to Faith: Overcoming Anger, Bitterness, Self-Pity, Worry

Chapter Four: From Hot Mess to Healing: Deep Dive into Healing Heart and Soul

Chapter Five: From Hurt to Healed: The Footpath to Forgiveness

Chapter Six: Herb Therapy: Application of God’s Precepts in the Workplace

Chapter Seven: From Promiscuity to Purity: Being Single in an Amoral World

Chapter Eight: From Single to Married: Marital Boot Camp

Chapter Nine: Clean Heart, Dirty Diapers: My Struggle with Infertility

Chapter Ten: Writer’s Conference CPR: Cry, Pray, Repent

Chapter Eleven: The Pitfalls of Parenting

Chapter Twelve: My Life as an Author: Slaying the Dragons of Jealousy and Bitterness

Chapter Thirteen: From Sibling Rivalry to Restoration: Healing Sibling Sorrow

Chapter Fourteen: From Ailing to Hailing: Physical and Spiritual Healing

Chapter Fifteen: From Hardship to Hope: Finding Hope in Every Situation

Chapter Sixteen: The Abraham Factor: Letting Go and Letting God

Chapter Seventeen: Eternal Perspective vs. Earthly Perspective; Eternal Speech vs. Earthly Speech: The Key to a Successful Story

Chapter Eighteen: Spiritual Warfare: For We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood–Ephesians 6:12.

 

Why I Wrote This Book

The Real Story:

“Juju, tell us another story!”

I glanced over at my three precious grandchildren who watched me with expectant eyes, then back at their father, my son, and couldn’t help but smile. I’ve been telling and retelling “my life stories” to my children for years now, but even so, I was a bit surprised when my son asked me to tell them to his children too. Frankly, I didn’t think that at the ages of ten, eight, and six, my three grands would be all that interested.

Boy, was I wrong!

They were ravenous for all my quirky stories, each and every one packed with spiritual lessons God had taught me along the path of my life. And, in fact, the same quirky life lessons I put into every one of my novels.

But when I told one of my life-lesson stories at a Bible Study a few weeks later, I have to admit, I was surprised to see a few tears in the room, including my own. But nothing could have prepared me for two of the ladies coming up to me after to insist I needed to write my biography.

Excuse me? “Oh, no, my life is not that interesting,” I said, quite sure that the life of a CDQ author (caffeinated drama queen) wouldn’t hold much interest, even if I had been a wild child of the 60’s and 70’s.

But apparently sweet Teena Thompson and Karen Lester would not take no for an answer, insisting over and over that I needed to do this. “The story you just told us taught me more about forgiveness than any church sermon or Bible Study,” Teena said, which pretty much shocked me. So, I promised to pray about it and ask God to confirm these ladies’ suggestion with a second sure-fire sign.

“But I hate writing or reading nonfiction,” I muttered, all but moaning under my breath the next day when I did, in fact, pray about it, not too excited about the prospect of laying aside my second WW2 novel to tackle a nonfiction book.

And then, BOOM! In the middle of my Bible reading that morning, I had this overwhelming urge to read a particular scene from one of my books—something that never happens. “This is so weird,” I said to myself as I searched for the scene from A Passion Denied, where the mother from the book discusses with a godly neighbor how her husband’s lack of forgiveness toward her was calcifying her own heart. I was stunned when I sat there and read the entire scene with tears in my eyes, sobbing my heart out by the end.

“What’s wrong?” my husband said sharply when he came outside to see me weeping, and I told him how the spiritual lesson in this particular scene (loosely based on a similar event in my husband’s and my marriage, mind you) pierced my heart anew with such power, I knew it had to be the Holy Spirit.

That should have been enough confirmation to convince me to write this nonfiction—first my son asking me to tell his children my spiritual stories, secondly, the encouragement of the two sweet ladies from the Bible Study, and thirdly, God directing me to one of my scenes that reduced me to sobs.

But it wasn’t. (Have I mentioned how much I dislike writing and reading nonfiction??) No, I had to ask God for one more confirmation, and it came within one hour by way of the most encouraging email from a new reader named Jacqueline Davis. Here’s what that incredibly sweet lady wrote to me that day:

“Dear, Julie, I am new to your books and absolutely love them! I just finished A Hope Undaunted, and it changed my spiritual life. I found the freedom to place my life in God’s hands, something I used to be so scared to do. The book also assured me of the power of prayer. I found a calm reassurance when facing uncertainties after reading this book, and I credit God working through your book, showing me that prayer can sustain. Thank you for eternally impacting me. Your influence goes beyond your books and lasts forever.”

Okay, by this time I’m a puddle on the floor, completely convinced that despite my own objections, this was something God obviously wanted me to do, a certainty further confirmed by my daughter, Amy, and my dear friends, Marlene Dickerson, Grace Johnson, Charlotte Vernaci, Deana Dougherty, and Brenda Morton-Gordon.

But … despite all the encouragement, I wasn’t really sure where to begin.

“It will be fiction and nonfiction combined,” the Holy Spirit whispered within, and just like that, the idea for this book took flight.

First, I would tell the “real” story behind the life-lesson stories in my novels, then I would follow it up with the excerpt from my books where I teach the life lesson to my characters, finally culminating in corresponding Scriptures, a bulleted “Takeaway” list, and a related prayer. Thus, The Plight of Windowsill Jesus: A “Novel” Approach to Practical Christianity was born.

So, to illustrate the format, I thought it would be appropriate to use the very scene mentioned above that had me sobbing as my first example, especially since it is one of the most important lessons God has taught me in my life.

Therefore, the format for each chapter of this book, as well as this page, will be as follows:

  • The Real Story (How I learned the spiritual lesson in my own life.)
  • The Novel Story (The scene where I teach the spiritual lesson to my characters.)
  • The Scripture Story (Scriptures related to the spiritual lesson.)
  • The Takeaway Story (Bulletized points in easy-to-read-and-apply format.)
  • The Prayer Story (Specific prayer related to the spiritual lesson.)

So, here we go!

***

The Novel Story:

Because my husband, Keith, and I are total opposites, I’ve always thought we were perfect together because we complement each other so well. I mean, he likes dark-meat chicken, and I like white; he likes burnt cookies, and I like underdone; he likes calm and steady, and I like lots of passion, drama, and angst, which, by the way, I put into my books instead of my marriage, thank God!

But … there is one “opposite” that didn’t work out quite so well for us, at least in the beginning. You see, after a fight, I tend to forgive and forget rather quickly, while Keith needs time to get over the pain. Granted, we’ve had a number of pretty dramatic tiffs in our marriage, most of which are in my books, much to his distress!

But the one fight that hurt the most—and did the most damage to our marriage—was a time when I hurt his feelings deeply. The poor guy wouldn’t talk to me or look at me for days, so much so that I felt like there was a glass wall between us. For the first time in my life, I knew real fear about the possibility of divorce because it was as if all the love and affection I’d always taken for granted was suddenly gone.

So, being the drama queen I am, I packed my bags and told him I refused to live in a house with someone who would not talk to me or even acknowledge me. That did the trick—and we finally hashed it all out, although it did take some time for Keith to get over the pain completely, which in and of itself, taught me a very valuable lesson about my husband.

So, the following scene, which is based on my experience above, is not only the scene God directed me to read after I prayed whether I should write this book, but it’s also the scene where God taught me a truly valuable lesson that has served me well in my marriage ever since.

Scene Set-Up:

The mother of the O’Connor clan, Marcy O’Connor, is a godly woman who always applies God’s precepts in her marriage and life. But when she inadvertently wounds her husband, Patrick, he leaves each night after the children are in bed to sleep at his workplace for five weeks, The Boston Herald, where he is the editor-in-chief. As a result, Marcy’s and Patrick’s once-deep and passionate love suffers greatly, calcifying both of their hearts to the point of near destruction of their marriage. Here is the scene where Marcy is ready to give up on her husband—until the Holy Spirit speaks to her through the kind and gentle advice of their blind neighbor, Mrs. Christa Gerson.

Note: Because of my personal reverence for God, I will always capitalize God’s pronouns in my independently published books, but this is not the norm for publishers in the Christian market (including the publisher of nine of my books, Revell) or any other market. Consequently, you will see God’s pronouns capitalized in some of the excerpts within this book and not capitalized in others.

***

Marcy stood at Mrs. Gerson’s kitchen window, in bleak harmony with the rivulets of water that slithered down the pane. It was a slow and steady rain, endless weeping from a gray and dismal sky, and Marcy felt a kinship with it. It showed no signs of letting up, much like the grief in her heart over the loss of her husband. A silent mourning over a spouse who was still very much alive, but whose love was as cold and dead as any corpse.

She felt the chill of a shiver and clutched her arms to her waist. A shrill whistle pierced the air, and she turned to see Mrs. Gerson rise to serve the tea. Marcy watched her blind neighbor move with the ease of a sighted woman and knew she had come to the right place. Small and frail, Christa Gerson could barely see more than shadows, but she possessed a vision far beyond mundane tasks. She hobbled to the table with the teapot and smoothed a wrinkled hand across the surface until she located the cup. A soft smile lifted the corners of her mouth as she poured, first one cup and then the other. “Sit, Marcy,” she said quietly. “The tea will warm you.”

Marcy buffed her arms and sat down. “Warm” was something she hadn’t felt in quite a while now, despite the sweltering summer days. Not since Patrick had left her bed almost five weeks ago, depriving her of a love that had been as constant and second nature as the beat of her pulse. His departure—emotionally, if not physically—had left her plunging into a dark hole, beginning with heartbreak and grief, and bottoming out with anger and bitterness. She could feel a thick callous taking form on her heart, and it scared her. Love was a fragile gift, too easily hardened. And too easy to slip away …

She took a sip of her tea and focused on Christa, who waited patiently, a painted china cup held to her lips. Her snow-white head bent as she blew on the hot liquid. Steam misted vacant eyes that were half closed. Marcy suspected she was praying, and the thought warmed her more than the cup in her hands. Mrs. Gerson had been a godsend for her daughter Faith during those troubled years that Faith had struggled with her sister Charity, and Marcy marveled now at the wonder of God’s provision in their lives. Reading the Bible to the blind woman down the street had changed her daughter’s life forever, infusing her with a passion for God’s Word like Marcy had never seen. That passion had carried her daughter through some of the worst times of her life. She swallowed another taste of tea and set the cup down. And Marcy as well.

She hadn’t realized she’d expelled a heavy sigh until a wrinkled hand lighted upon hers. At Christa’s touch, wetness sprang to her eyes, and she fought it back with a lift of her chin. “No, I will not cry,” she said in a harsh tone. “Patrick O’Connor has already wrung enough tears from my eyes.”

“Like this dreary rain outside, Marcy, your tears will cease. Now suppose you tell me what happened,” the old woman whispered.

Marcy nodded and started at the beginning, spanning from her relationship with Sam O’Rourke before she’d met Patrick, to the night her husband had left after Sam’s visit. It felt so good to unleash all the hurt and loneliness that night had wrought, but as she disclosed the coldness of her husband’s behavior over the last weeks, her voice took on a steely quality. “I’ve tried, Christa, to reach him in every way I know how. I’ve begged his forgiveness over and over again, but it’s as if his heart has turned to stone.”

Christa nodded. “In a way it has. Bitterness will calcify a heart faster than anything.”

Marcy hesitated. “Yes, I know. I’m experiencing it first-hand. And I can’t help but worry … that our love will never be the same.”

The old woman leaned forward. “Bitterness is a natural reaction, Marcy, given Patrick’s rejection. But for your sake and his … you must fight it. Your marriage depends upon it.”

Marcy shot to her feet. Her voice was shrill. “Why me? Why not Patrick? He’s the one who’s bitter, Christa, the one who started this. I have begged for his forgiveness more times than I can count, and yet I’ve done nothing wrong! It’s him. He’s the one who needs to deal with his bitterness … he’s the one who’s wrong!”

“Yes, Marcy, he is. Patrick has allowed his own hurt to blind him to the truth, which is shocking, because we both know he’s not that kind of man. Which merely underscores the true depth of his hurt. A hurt now steeped in sin.”

Marcy sank back into her chair, her anger abated by sorrow. For the moment. She drew in a cleansing breath and exhaled. “So, what do I do?”

“Well, you have no power to change him or the bitterness that’s taken root in his heart. But you do have power to change yourself.”

“What do you mean?”

Mrs. Gerson took another sip of tea and smiled. “The same bitterness closing off Patrick’s heart wants to close yours, but you will not let it. You will fight it for the sake of your marriage because Patrick is too hurt to do so. Because you see, Marcy, the kind of love you and Patrick have is deep and abiding. A set of scales, if you will, with Patrick on one side and you on the other.”

She held out her hands evenly, palms up. “A choice, really. Do I love him enough to forgive? Or do I love myself more, wanting to hurt him like he’s hurt me?” She tipped her hands off-kilter, one up, one down, and then smiled. “The kind of love you and Patrick share always tips the scales in the other’s favor. Patrick can’t do that right now, Marcy, but you can.”

Marcy swallowed hard. “How?” It was a whisper, a faint surrender.

“Fourfold, my dear. First, you repent for any bitterness you’ve held up until now. Secondly, you learn from the Master. Once, when Jesus was asleep in a boat with his apostles, a storm threatened. The Bible says that Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. You will do the same. When bitterness comes, you will rebuke it in Jesus’ name, and he will send the calm.

Thirdly, you will put feet to your faith, because action speaks louder than words. And love, my dear, speaks louder than anything. That means you will demonstrate your love for Patrick—a love note, a favorite dessert, a kind tone—regardless of how he treats you. And finally, my dear, you will pray. Pray for God to soften his heart, to wrest him free from the grip of sin, and to bless him. And this, Mrs. O’Connor, is the most powerful step of all. Because if you are faithful to the first three, your prayers will unleash the power of Heaven.”

Marcy’s spirit quickened.

Mrs. Gerson rose to retrieve the tea, then turned at the stove with a sparkle in her eye. She stared straight at Marcy as if she could really see. “And do you know why?”

Marcy held her breath and shook her head.

A soft chuckle rumbled from the old woman’s lips as she hefted the teapot with an elfin grin. She toddled to the table, and Marcy could have sworn she saw her wink. “Because, my dear, like natural laws of gravity, there are also spiritual laws. Such as ‘the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’ or ‘if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’” She settled into her chair with a peaceful smile and leaned forward. “Which simply means, my dear Marcy, if you do your part …” She nodded heavenward. “As sure as the sun rises … He will do his.”

***

The Scripture Story (Pick a Scripture or two to memorize when you need it/them):

Bitterness/Repentence:

Ephesians 4:31 NIV: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4:32 NIV: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Hebrews 12:15 NIV: See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Colossians 3:13 NIV: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Psalm 37:8 NIV: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Jesus Rebuking the Wind:

Mark 4:39 NIV: He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Luke 8:24-25 NIV: The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters, and they subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” He asked.

Putting Feet to our Faith:

James 2:14-17 NIV: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:18 NIV: But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

James 2:26 NIV: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

1 John 3:18 NIV: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Galatians 5:6 NIV: The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV: Do everything in love.

Psalm 143:8 NIV: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:14 NIV: Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV: And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:19 NIV: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

1 Peter 4:8 NIV: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Romans 12:10 NIV: Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Prayer:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV: 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.

Colossians 4:2 NIV: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Jeremiah 29:12: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Romans 12:12 NIV: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Luke 6:27-28 NIV: But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

James 5:16 NIV: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

1 John 3: 21-22 NIV: Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. God answers prayer because we do the things that are pleasing in his sight.

John 9:31 NIV: We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.

***

The Takeaway Story: How To Fight Bitterness and Unforgiveness.

1.) Repent for any bitterness or unforgiveness you have towards a person or situation or if you can, ask God to help you to do it.

2.) Bind and rebuke bitterness or unforgiveness, commanding it to leave in Jesus’ name.

3.) Loose love and forgiveness instead in Jesus’ name.

4.) Pray for the person you are bitter toward, that God will bless them.

5.) Put feet to your faith with a loving action (a note, a kind deed, etc.)

6.) Repeat.

***

The Prayer Story:

Dear God,

I am so very sorry for my bitterness/unforgiveness/anger toward _______________ because I know that not only does it hurt You, but it hurts the effectiveness and power of my prayers, so please forgive me.

Just like Jesus rebuked the wind, I now say to any spirits of anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness—the Lord rebuke you! According to Matthew 18:18, I now bind these foul spirits and command them to leave in Jesus’ mighty name, and I loose instead, love and peace, and forgiveness within me.

Lord, help me to forgive __________________, and I ask that you bless them and also open their eyes to You in this situation.

Finally, please give me ideas as to how I can put feet to my faith and return blessing to them via action in addition to my ongoing prayers, and then the grace to do it.

And thank you, sweet Jesus, for being Lord of my life. Amen.

***

My deepest thanks to everyone listed in the dedication above who both encouraged me and prayed for me before and throughout the process of writing this book—from Charlotte Vernaci who years ago told me I should publish a daily devotional of my prayers, to everyone else listed above who played a part in God’s plan for me to write a nonfiction. I hope and pray it blesses its readers as much as you have all blessed me.

Hugs,

Julie

♥️ February 14, 2024 ♥️

 

🩷A Quick Reminder!

 

GABE’S GOING FREE FOR FIVE DAYS ONLY— FEBRUARY 14-18 — SO PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!

AND … those of you who haven’t read her story yet have no excuse because it is the perfect kick-off for this exciting 4.7⭐️ series that leads up to the piece de resistance of this series and one of my top-fave books I’ve ever written—A Dare and a Prayer!Here’s the truly dramatic TRAILER/VIDEO my very talented hubby did if you haven’t seen it yet!

SO … head on over to Amazon FEBRUARY 14-18 for a FREE DOWNLOAD of A Wing and a Prayer at the following link, then check out the reviews that follow:

A WING AND A PRAYER

FREE DOWNLOAD HERE!


♥️ “
A fun and wild ride … enjoy the ride!” — Sarah Sundin, award-winning WW2 author

♥️ “A Wing and a Prayer isn’t just a great novel, it’s an epic story that follows star-crossed lovers through the dangerous times of World War II”MaryLu Tyndall, award-winning author of Legacy of the King’s Pirates.

♥️ “A Wing and a Prayer is set against a thrilling stretch of time. Two characters at odds with each other … with an attraction so powerful it can’t be resisted, though they certainly try.” —Mary Connealy, award-winning author of Brides of Hope Mountain Series

♥️ “Julie Lessman is a masterful author. A Wing And A Prayer … is a powerful Christian historical novel that explores love and trust in God in times of war.” –The Christian Bookaholic

♥️A Wing and a Prayer is a well-researched, captivating glimpse into life during World War 2 … a fun but meaningful romance from the Kissing Queen herself, A Wing and a Prayer is a must-read for fans of Sundin, Breslin, and Gohlke! –Reading is my SuperPower Blog

 

🩷And … Don’t Forget Hope & Henry are on Sale Too!

FREE DOWNLOAD ON BK 1, A WING AND A PRAYER HERE!

$2.99 SALE ON BK 2, A HOPE AND A PRAYER HERE!

$4.99 SALE ON  BK 3, A DARE AND A PRAYER HERE!

 

♥️ HUGS AND HAPPY READING!

Julie

February 4, 2024


SO … WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO?

VALENTINE’S MONTH SALES AND GIFT-CARD GIVEAWAY!

VALENTINE’S DAY FREE DOWNLOAD!

WRITER’S CRAFT 5.0 NOW 99% OFF & 3-CHAPTER EDIT!

DENISE HUNTER ARC PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY!

BOOKS ON MY NIGHTSTAND!

Read the following components from prior blog including excerpt from Henry’s story HERE!

 

♥️ So … What Have I been Up To?

WHOO-HOO … Happy 2024, Everyone AND Happy Valentine’s Month — I hope your holidays were as wonderful as mine!

We visited Omaha and Birmingham for Christmas with both sets of grands, then St. Louis with Keith’s fam before we headed south to Florida for more quality time with my fam, so we are blessed.

Haven’t done a lot of writing other than a bit here and there on my devotional, which I hope to finish this spring before tackling my next novel.

Uh, and what will that “next novel” be? Well, I’m sorry to say your guess is as good as mine because for the first time in my writing career of 15 years, I have NO CLUE what I am going to write next! Up until now, God has always given me a clear path to the next book, but this time I’ve hit a wall even though I’ve prayed about it nonstop. In my spirit, I feel like He’s basically told me that until I finish the devotional that He has mandated I write (on which I’ve been dragging my feet since I don’t like to read or write nonfiction), He will not give me the next book to begin.

Sigh.

Yes, I do have some sketchy ideas here and there and would love your opinion of the following options if you are so inclined.

1.) I can continue on with Mitch and Charity’s family, finishing up with Winnie and Julia OR …

2.) I can go the O’Connor chronological-cousin route by writing a trilogy about Faith and Collin’s girls.

3.) I can finally finish up the Silver Lining Ranch Series with Book 3, Love’s Silver Spoon (in keeping with Book 1, Love’s Silver Lining, and Book 2, Love’s Silver Bullet), which will be both Shaylee and Dash’s love stories with both Gray and Grace) OR …

4.) Embark on a new historical series set in post-Civil War Charleston which I’ve been tossing around in my mind for a year or so. It will be called A Candle in the Dark and it is about a genteel and classic widow in her late 30s who is the head of an exclusive girl’s school and pursued by a no-nonsense Police Chief. Their love story will be similar in tone to Cait and Logan from The Heart of San Francisco Series, a secondary mature love story that overarches an entire trilogy (like Cait and Logan’s), which then focuses on three younger teachers at the girl’s school and the love interests they encounter.

So … what would YOU like to see me write??

AS FAR AS WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO PERSONALLY?  Well, as you can see from the montage below, LOTS of fun with my six grand kids and their parents from being jailed in Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri … to a hair-raising venture at the St. Louis Magic House … and finally Estero, Florida! Also, I am now a “pickle-ball widow” since my husband has gone over the edge on that very addictive sport, which actually is okay by me since he gets more exercise and I get more time to write! 😉

 

And finally, I couldn’t resist a few pics of the only “baby” I have left among my grands (she just turned two!), Miss Millie Jules, who I must admit, made me both deleriously happy and guilty when she was disappointed that her mom picked her up from daycare rather than Juju per the second picture below.

 

♥️Valentines Month Sales & Contest!

Because it’s Valentine’s month, I decided to run some sales on my latest series, The Cousins O’Connor. PLUS there will be a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card (see details below), so if you haven’t read them yet, now’s your chance as these will be the lowest prices of the season on this 4.7⭐️ WW2 Series, even for my latest release, A Dare and a Prayer, which has been reduced by $2.00, so get it before it goes back up.

♥️ ATTENTION THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY READ THE SERIES. If you liked this series but haven’t yet posted a review on Amazon, I would sooooooooo appreciate a brief (1- or 2-line review is great!) saying you liked it and you can even post the same generic review for all three books. And if you DO post a review for all three books, let me know so I can send you your choice of a free indie e-book, okay? PLUS … your name goes in the hat for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

♥️ ATTENTION GOODREADS READERS WHO HAVE POSTED REVIEWS FOR THIS SERIES ON GOODREADS, BUT NOT ON AMAZON. Those of you who have read it and have left a review on Goodreads but not Amazon, I would love for you to just copy and paste your Goodreads review on Amazon because that’s where the rubber meets the road for authors as far as book sales go. And if you DO post a review for all three books, let me know so I can send you your choice of a free indie e-book, okay? PLUS … your name goes in the hat for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

$ .99 SALE ON BOOK 1, A WING AND A PRAYER

$2.99 SALE ON BOOK 2, A HOPE AND A PRAYER

$4.99 SALE ON  BOOK 3, A DARE AND A PRAYER:

 

♥️ Free Valentine’s Day Download 5 Days Only!

YEP … GABE’S GOING FREE FOR FIVE DAYS ONLY— FEBRUARY 14-18 — so those of you who haven’t read her story yet have no excuse because it is the perfect kick-off for this exciting 4.7⭐️ series that leads up to the piece de resistance of this series and one of my top-fave books I’ve ever written—A Dare and a Prayer!


Here’s the truly dramatic TRAILER/VIDEO my very talented hubby did if you haven’t seen it yet!

SO … mark your calendar for FEBRUARY 14-18 for a FREE DOWNLOAD of A Wing and a Prayer HERE, then, check out these reviews:

♥️ “A fun and wild ride … enjoy the ride!” — Sarah Sundin, award-winning WW2 author

♥️ “A Wing and a Prayer isn’t just a great novel, it’s an epic story that follows star-crossed lovers through the dangerous times of World War II”MaryLu Tyndall, award-winning author of Legacy of the King’s Pirates.

♥️ “A Wing and a Prayer is set against a thrilling stretch of time. Two characters at odds with each other … with an attraction so powerful it can’t be resisted, though they certainly try.” —Mary Connealy, award-winning author of Brides of Hope Mountain Series

♥️ “Julie Lessman is a masterful author. A Wing And A Prayer … is a powerful Christian historical novel that explores love and trust in God in times of war.” –The Christian Bookaholic

♥️A Wing and a Prayer is a well-researched, captivating glimpse into life during World War 2 … a fun but meaningful romance from the Kissing Queen herself, A Wing and a Prayer is a must-read for fans of Sundin, Breslin, and Gohlke! –Reading is my SuperPower Blog


ATTN WRITERS! Writer’s Craft 5.0 Farewell Sale Feb. 6-13: Win a 3-Chapter Edit from Yours Truly!

So … my good buddies over at Infostack just released their latest writing super stack, Writer’s Craft 5.0!  This incredible writer’s resource is packed with over 35+ top-tier resources from bestselling authors (including my writers’ workbook, Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets), book coaches, and editors valued at a cool $5,700+.

But here’s the deal – they’re offering it at a massive 99% off this week ONLY!

Be sure to mark your calendar for this Tuesday, February 6th through Tuesday, February 13 when the sale begins to check back here for the link to access this amazing deal.

HERE’S THE LINK TO CHECK IT OUT ON TUESDAY, FEB. 6!

PLUS … if you purchase the Writer’s Craft 5.0 Infostack materials, you are automatically entered to win a 3-chapter edit from me whenever you’re ready.

So … be a Writing Pro – Get your bundle before it’s gone!

 

Denise Hunter Arc Giveaway

My good friend Denise Hunter has a new book coming out on March 12 called LOVE UNSCRIPTED, and she is giving away one ARC copy to one lucky winner who has never read any of her books before.

So … if you have never read Denise before (and I have to ask why because not only is she one of my favorite authors, but she’s one of the CBA’s best-selling authors as well), then you are eligible to enter for yourself OR someone you know who reads Christian romance, but has never read Denise before.

Simply send me an email via the CONTACT JULIE tab on my website to give me your name or the name of someone for whom you’d like to win the book, and you’re in the draw! I will announce the winner in my next Journal Jot blog.

And honestly, check out this blurb, because it sounds like an AWESOME plot:

 During the filming of her book-to-movie adaptation,
an author finds herself falling for the swoonworthy hero she created.

 

Books on my Nightstand!

I’ve got some prettttty amazing books on my nightstand that I have read or am getting ready to read, so have you read any of these? If not, I highly recommend each of these authors because they are some of my faves!

 

IF I DREAM by Anne Perrault:
A VERY unique and fascinating love story that takes place in Arabia!

Her destiny is determined by her family.
Her dreams are overshadowed by her duty.
Until, one night, it all changes…

 

THE BEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES by Rachel Hauck:

All the romance, heartache, and hope of the best summer ever. Celebrate the songs of our hearts, the joys of love, and the threads of friendship that tie us all together…

 

 

 

THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE by Laura Frantz:

In a land torn apart by conflict, can love mend the tattered pieces?

 

 

 

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS by Elizabeth Camden:

Amid the hushed city, two hearts must navigate danger and deception, bound by a love that outshines the stars.

 

 

 

THE RESOLUTE by MaryLu Tyndall:

Swashbuckling adventure. Swoony romance. Danger and intrigue and a fast paced plot. It’s all here, folks. But the best of all is the message of hope and faith that shines like sunlight on the high seas. A satisfying conclusion to this piratey series! —Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Man of Shadow and Mist

 

ROCKY ROAD by Becky Wade:

Escape to Maine for this swoon-worthy “fake romance”! Banter, humor, perfume, and a mystery from the past intertwine in this sweet Sons of Scandal love story.

 

 

 

 

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