She opened her eyes, and like a lens to a blind eye,

it all came into true focus.

—Julie Lessman, A Hope Undaunted

True Focus. Seeing things God’s way, through the eyes of a grateful heart. All too often I find I rush through life without really and truly seeing (i.e. appreciating) the blessings God has provided for me.

For instance, when I was a new mother nursing my first child, I had a heck of a time because my infant son wanted to nurse every two hours throughout the night. And then, the little stinkpot would take his time, dawdling for an hour or longer, which meant by the time I finally got back to bed, I only had an hour or so to sleep before the next feeding. Needless to say, I did not enjoy nursing at night and almost dreaded it.

Until I adjusted the “lens” to see more clearly. “Lord,” I said one day, “I feel like a rotten mother because nursing is such a chore at night. Can you please help me to like it?” Focus, the thought came, as if every time is your last … because one day it will be. Do you know that single thought, that shift of perspective, that “true focus,” changed my whole attitude on nursing? After that I would rock that little boy in the dead of night, softly singing “Amazing Grace” while precious memories embedded in my brain—that of his soft baby scent or the curl of tiny fingers grasping my thumb or those tiny, little grunts he’d make, assuring me he was all boy! From that point on, I treasured each and every moment with a heart of gratitude for that fussy, little guy in my arms, day or night, and when the “final” nursing came and went, I had no regrets, only wonderful memories.

Or there was that time when I was 26 years old and the only single person in my family of 13 kids. “Lord,” I’d say with a whine in my voice, “I am so sick of being single, and I long for a love of my own.” Your single life is short term, Julie, the thought came into my head, why are you throwing it away? Why, indeed? Here I was, exactly where God wanted me for the moment and instead of focusing on it, enjoying it, I was wishing it away, complaining instead of thanking God for the gift of single life. So, you know what? I made up my mind then and there that I was going to “enjoy” my single life by focusing on the men I dated instead of myself—you know, really listening to them, praying for them, trying my best to give them the best date they could possibly have without physical intimacies. How’d that work out? Well, for one solid year, I had a blast and the best time of my single life, which ended up being very “short term,” indeed. Almost one year to the day, the guy all the girls went ga-ga over in the company where I worked asked me out, and my single life came to a screeching halt. Like the nursing incident above, I had seized the opportunity to really “focus” on where God had me at the moment and give it my all with a heart of gratitude. Oh my, what a difference that makes in the joy factor of one’s life!

A few weeks ago, I received an incredibly touching message from a dear reader friend, Doretha Campbell Stroud, who I didn’t know had lost her husband. She wrote a very short message that stirred my heart and brought tears to my eyes, not only because of her loss, but because of the message she brings to each one of us. Focus on where God has you at the moment and revel in the joy before you, which is a true gift from God. See each situation—be it a belligerent child, a sink full of dishes or work deadlines to meet—for the gift that it truly is. Not a belligerent child, but a gift from God that millions of infertile women would give anything to have. Not a sink full of dirty dishes, but the food and family they represent. Not stressful work deadlines to meet, but a job in an economy where too many people are unemployed. There’s always a flip side to every situation, and all it takes is a little “focus” to gain the right perspective and glean the joy in what is ultimately a blessing from God.

I’d like to end this Journal Jot with Doretha’s very touching note, and may it remind us all that we need to focus and “get lost” in the moments of our lives that God has given us, cherishing each and every one with a heart of gratitude. Because “gratitude” is merely perspective … and a true key to joy. Thank you, Doretha, for sharing the following beautiful story with each of us.

Been wanting to post this for some time now, hope it doesn’t sound preachy, I just want to share. This time of year is always hard for me as I really miss Coy during the Christmas season. So what I really want to say to all my married friends, or those with significant others….. Take time to get lost. I know this is a busy season and we think we have to do everything perfect, but its not the …things you miss when someone is gone, it’s the person. What I mean by taking time to get lost is……Many mornings as Coy and I sat drinking our morning coffee he would look at me and say, let’s get lost today. What that meant was, please leave the dishes and the house work and lets find some back roads and see where we wind up. We had some of our best days doing this. Driving slowly, taking time to just talk and LISTEN to one another. I would love the chance to have one more day to “get lost” with him. So during this busy season, leave the dishes in the sink, go for a ride with your spouse, I promise the benefit is well worth the messy kitchen once in a while. Take advantage of every moment you can grab with your love, what if it is your last?

What if, indeed?



DECEMBER 8-27, 2011

Join me at Project Journal blog for my final interview giveaway of 2011 to win a signed copy of one of my books including my new release, A Heart Revealed AND a copy of the very detailed handout from Ruth Axtell Morren’s and my ACFW Workshop, “A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss.”



Join me in Seekerville when my topic will be “HO-HO-HO, FUNNY YOU SHOULD SAY THAT … Laughter and Fun in our Stories.” This is your FINAL CHANCE to win your choice of any of my books PLUS a copy of the very detailed handout from Ruth Axtell Morren’s and my ACFW workshop, “A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss.” Hope to see you there! Here’s the link:



Come chat with me for a full hour at a great romance website called ROMCON that has an Inspirational section!! Get all the scoop on The Cousins McClare, ask all the questions you’ve been dying to ask — this is your chance! When the chat is over, I will award one chatter their choice of my books PLUS a top CBA book from my library, so hope to see you there!! Here’s what you do:

MONDAY, DECEMBER 19th — 9 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain and 6 p.m. Pacific:

Go to and click on the “enter chat room” selection under the book club menu.  You will be asked to log in or if you are not a member, you can become one by “creating a free account” with simply your name and e-mail. Then log in and click on “enter chat room.” I’ll be there to chat up a storm and pick a winner, so put the date down on your calendar, and hope to see you there!

Happy Weekend, Happy Shopping and Happy “Focusing”!!