“A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.”

— Jackie Robinson

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

— Mother Teresa

I know this is going to shock quite a few people, but in addition to being a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), I can also be a CDF (caffeinated detail freak), which means if I go to a McDonald’s drive-thru for breakfast with my poor husband, I MUST have the following with my Egg McMuffin meal: 1 strawberry jelly (not grape), a knife, four ketchups, one salt, one pepper, two creamers, a stirrer and at least four napkins. Period. Any one of those items missing, and my poor guy cringes with a look that says I am also a CPIB (caffeinated pain in the butt).

Sigh. Any of you prayerful types out there may consider adding my husband to your list because yes, I am known in my household as “high maintenance,” but I prefer the term, “passionately aware of what I need to be happy.” Or, just plain “passionate” will do, whether it manifests itself in writing a book in every Christmas card I sent (which is why I gave up Christmas cards twenty years ago) or giving my publisher 135 title suggestions for A Passion Most Pure when they asked for only a few. Yep, I’m a bona fide COA (caffeinated overachiever) who gives everything my all, no question.

BUT … I’m not exactly sure how much of it is personality and how much is just the need to prove my self worth. I don’t know, blame it on the fact that I was #12 out of 13 kids, a skinny DQ who was fun to tease maybe, or being the brunt of jokes and cruelty in the 2nd through 4th grades because I had psoriasis a la Katie O’Connor in A Hope Undaunted. Whatever the trigger, I am driven to achieve, perhaps subconsciously to prove to my parents, my family, myself and the world … that I am a success.

But you know what? It’s a funny thing about success. God measures it WAY differently than we do, and that point was driven home this week in a conversation I had with my husband after taking Aunt Julie to the dentist … uh, for the fourth time!

Let me tell you, my sweet 93-year-old aunt has been a busy bee the last couple of months. She’s chipped one tooth, two temporaries and has been fitted for two crowns, plus broken two hearing aids, necessitating lots of drive time. The good news? The little dickens is doing so well and is so content, she’s eating everything not nailed down, plumping her former frail body up by a solid 20 to 30 pounds. Unfortunately because of that, I threw my back out trying to help her into my car from her wheelchair one day last week, which is why Keith came along on this most recent dental visit.

So we’re driving away from Aunt Julie’s facility home, and I am berating myself for all the moaning and groaning I’ve been doing over extra drive time for AJ errands, knowing full well massive revisions on Steven’s story are waiting at home. “Cut yourself some slack, Julie,” Keith says in his usual supportive way, “After all, she’s not even your mother and yet you’re the responsible party out of your family despite being the only one with a career. I for one am proud of you, and I know your mother would be too.”

Tears sting my eyes. Proud of me? My mother? The thought hits dead center, wrenching my heart. “Maybe,” I say reluctantly, “possibly because I’m an author.”

“No, not proud of you being an author, Julie,” my husband stresses with a sheen in his eyes, “but of the person you are.”

Oh. My. Goodness. Where are my Kleenex?? Frantic, I rifle through my purse while tears stream from my eyes.

“Think about it, Julie,” he continues with a sideways glance that’s almost as moist as mine, “When a person dies, people don’t talk about how many books they wrote or how many awards they won, they talk about how that person affected their lives.” How they encouraged them, was kind to them, a simple smile, a sincere compliment … or even taking them to the dentist five times despite an occasional moan and groan.

Let me tell you, the floodgates opened that day, and all the Kleenex in the world couldn’t stem the waterworks. Because for the first time in a long while, I thought long and hard about the true measure of a man—not in his own eyes—but in God’s. As I walk through this life, I need to ask myself what will God be proud of? The six books I’ve written, the endless blogs? The gardening contests I won when I actually gardened or how many times my name comes up when I Google it? Nope, His ways are not our ways, as we all know, and I gotta feeling His pride swells every time I smile at a stranger or leave an encouraging comment on a blog. When I pray for a one-star reviewer or a guy who just cut me off on the highway. And somehow I can almost feel His grin when I greet a Wal-Mart greeter or stop to talk to a wheelchair resident at my aunt’s nursing facility. Because you know what? Like Mother Teresa said, each one of them really is Jesus in disguise.

So, how are you going to make God smile today? One of my dear reader friends, Angi G. made Him smile yesterday when she contacted me to say she wanted to donate my book she won on the Seeker blog to someone who couldn’t afford it. Yeah, that’s just the caliber of person she is and I love her to pieces. As a result, I am holding a contest today to send a signed copy of any one of my books to someone who hasn’t been able to buy it due to financial circumstances. So if you are such a reader OR you know of such a reader, PLEASE send an e-mail through my website to let me know, and I will enter you or them in the contest. Winner will be announced next week in Journal Jots, and a HUGE thank you to Angi for her kindness.

FAVOR REQUEST: I have a blog giveaway going on through Monday, 10/24 on a secular website called RomCon, which is a pretty cool blog for romance readers. The good news is that they have an Inspirational section in which I have a brief article/giveaway posted. Since this is primarily a secular site, I would very much like to show them that there is a huge audience for Inspy fiction out there, so if you have the time to go leave a comment, I would be MOST grateful. To leave a comment, you will have to register with your name and your e-mail, but like I said, it’s a pretty cool site, so you may want to visit it more often anyway. PLUS, one comment enters you into my drawing for TWO BOOKS, a signed copy of any of my books plus your choice of top CBA book from my personal library. Thank you and GOOD LUCK!! Here’s the link:


ATTN. ASPIRING WRITERS: For those of you who did not see it, I wrote a Seeker blog entitled “The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly: Memories of a Published Writer” a week or so ago that shocked me when so many people responded in such a positive way to the tips I gave for aspiring authors. The giveaway is over, but if you need a little encouragement on your road to publication, you may want to read this blog. Hopefully it will bless you like it apparently blessed a number of other people … PLUS you can see what I look like in a cowboy hat and a gun! 😉 Here’s the link:


ONLY TWO MORE DAYS … for an interview/giveaway at Book Reviews by Lady Katy blog to win a signed copy of any of my books including my current release, A Heart Revealed, so don’t miss out! Here’s the link:


Here’s to a crisp, colorful and wonderful autumn weekend and remember, dole out the smiles and the compliments like Halloween candy wherever you go. Because Jesus will be watching … and smiling … right along with you.