Scroll down for Christmas Giveaways!
“Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder …
But gratitude is straight from the heart of God.”
— Julie Lessman
🦃 Holy moley, can you believe Thanksgiving is just seven days away?? 🎄 And then the day after that, Christmas is less than a month away?? YIKES — where did the lazy, hazy days of summer go??!! If you’re like me, you’re staring at the calendar goggle-eyed, wondering where in the heck this year has gone!
But … there’s a lot to be said for twinkle lights over my hearth, a wood fire crackling in the fireplace, snowflakes dancing outside my window, and snuggling with my honey on the couch watching Hallmark movies. So, all right, okay … I guess I’m over summer! 😉
Ah, Thanksgiving and Christmas … there really aren’t anything else quite like them. And you know what? Despite all the extra duties they bring (shopping, cooking, baking, extra Christmas book promos, etc.), I am actually enjoying this holiest (and busiest) of seasons. Why? Because the older I get (and I am realllly old, people, breathing on 70!!), the more I focus on the Reason for the season rather than the season itself.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sweet angels in heaven, I see it all around me. In the precious smiles of my grandchildren, in the peaceful joy in my daughter’s eyes when she looks at her brand new son, and in the little-boy excitement I see in my husband’s face every time he records another Hallmark movie (because, yes, I have one of those rare husbands who loves to watch what I like to watch, including musicals, so just one more thing to thank God for!).
But it’s my gratitude to the God who gifted me with all these people and things that truly has taken precedence for me this year, and the result is a quiet joy and peace unlike anything the world has to offer. As author Ann Voskamp says in her amazing bestselling novel One Thousand Gifts: “God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.”
A heart of gratitude—one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received from the hand of God, and the gift that makes Thanksgiving and Christmas all they should be … and all the Savior meant them to be. And not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas either, but every single day of the year.
In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything? Surely he doesn’t mean the cold I’m fighting or the cancer my girlfriend just found out about or even the fact that another friend is facing divorce? God didn’t mean those things, did He? Why on earth would we thank Him for things that are awful? Well, let me give you two of my favorite reasons:
1.) Because God said so in the Scripture above and in so many, MANY others.
2.) Because He knows that gratitude not only unleashes His blessings in our lives, but it unleashes His power in our prayers as well. And not just thanksgiving, but praise as well.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
— Psalm 100:4
Which is why I’ve always been a huge proponent of praising and thanking God in all circumstances. Some of you may remember the story I told in one Journal Jot where I was making the bed one day and stubbed my toe on the steel leg. Now I don’t know how many of you have sensitive feet, but I have very touchy toes that are so tender, they even hurt if the blankets are too taut on them when I go to bed at night. So when I actually stub my toe, we’re talking excruciating pain that throbs for 30 minutes or more.
Anyway, when my toe connected with that steel, I wanted to scream bloody murder, and I did. Only instead of employing colorful words that don’t glorify God, I fell on the bed and winced out the following words through gritted teeth, “Praise God, praise God, praise God …” over and over until something remarkable happened. I started laughing. LOUD. And in the midst of this rush of joy I experienced, I had this mind vision of me stomping on the devil’s head with each word uttered, grinding him into the ground by praising God instead of doing what the devil and Job’s wife wanted him to do: Curse God and die.
I know it sounds crazy, but it was a pretty emotional experience (okay, everything with me is pretty “emotional,” granted), but also spiritual because I won the battle in the midst of pain. And the weapon that defeated the devil and the pain was PRAISING and THANKING GOD no matter what. And guess what? The toe pain left almost immediately, which made me laugh all the more, amazed at how God has blessed those He loves with such a simple remedy in the midst of trials.
Praise & Thanksgiving.
So, when I pray, the first two things I do are praise and thank God in the circumstance no matter how bad it may be because it’s in the bad situations that we need all the power we can get, right? And it’s through praising and thanking God in the face of bad things (rather than getting angry at God like satan wants us to do) that releases God’s power and peace into the situation.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7
And here’s something else pretty cool. Did you know that research proves what God knew all along — that grateful people are healthier? Yep, and if you don’t believe me, check out this article from the Wall Street Journal entitled
So, as you enjoy your turkey dinner with all the trimmings next week, be sure to enjoy your “thanksgiving” with all the trimmings, too — lots and lots of praise to go along ALL year long!
Happy Thanksgiving — I am SO grateful for all of you!
👏 We Have Winners!
SUPER CONGRATS to the following Randomizer-selected winners of my Journal Jot Blog-Tour Contest and thanks to all of you who took the time to enter — I wish each and everyone of you could win. Winners — I will be in touch soon.
1st Place, $15 Amazon g.c., 6 Christmas e-books, character named in my next book:
2nd Place, 6 Christmas e-books, character named in my next book:
🎁 Christmas Giveaways!
JOURNAL JOTS CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY! Here are EVEN MORE chances to win a $15 Amazon gift card, all six of my Christmas e-books, your choice of any one of my indie e-books, and a character named after you in my next book, so come on by all of the following giveaways for lots of chances to win!
🎄 DEC. 1-12 — TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY: Join me and 11 other Christian authors for Alexis A. Goring’s holiday series on the God is Love blog, where you have 12 chances to win! Just stop by each day to enter Alexis’s Rafflecopter contest featuring wonderful authors such as Becky Wade, Allie Pleiter, Toni Shiloh, Mary Manners, and more! Each book giveaway will last for a total of 4 days.
AND … if you leave a comment that you are a Journal Jot reader, you will also be entered in my own JOURNAL JOTS CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY listed above. Here’s the link and hope to see you there!
*Please note that this giveaway is only for e-books that can be downloaded to the winners’ Kindle device. If you do not have a Kindle device, you can download a free Kindle app for your iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, or Droid at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/kcp
🎄 MONDAY, DEC. 9 – MONDAY, DEC. 16 AT 11:59 EST — CHRISTMAS SCAVENGER HUNT ROUND-ROBIN. WHOA, BABY, win an Amazon gift card in the amount of $300 for first place, $150 for second place, or $75 for third place in this fun and easy scavenger hunt! It all begins DECEMBER 9TH AT 6 AM EST at a URL to be announced soon, so stop Journal Jots before Dec. 9 to get that link and GOOD LUCK!
🎄 TUESDAY, DEC. 10 — INSPIRED BY LIFE & FICTION BLOG. Stop by to leave a comment that you are a Journal Jot reader and not only will you be entered to win the Christmas giveaway on Tamera Alexander’s blog for that day, BUT you will also be entered in my own JOURNAL JOTS CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY listed above.
🎁 A Gift Like No Other
Have you read A Gift Like No Other yet? If not, here’s what the reviewers below are saying about this Christmas novella that is truly “a gift like no other.”
🎁 “IF LESSMAN WROTE A MARRIAGE COUNSELING BOOK, I would definitely read it and recommend it to others.” — Pause for Tales blog
🎁 LESSMAN REALLY PUNCHES THE READER IN THE GUT with the truth & reality of what real life marriage relationships can be like. It can be hard and painful, but it can also be wonderful and glorious. — Singing Librarian Books
🎁 THIS STORY WAS A GIFT LIKE NO OTHER! Full of love, laughter, forgiveness, and spiritual growth! I laughed so hard when the sisters all gathered together to discuss life! The scripture Julie used to back up her spiritual lessons were perfect!! Pure fun! Pure passion! Pure joy!! A must read!!! — Amazon reviewer Kelly Brown
🎁 AS ALWAYS, LESSMAN GOES FULL TILT WITH SWOON-WORTHY ROMANCE (on the “spicier” side of Christian Romance) equally matched with a strong spiritual thread. — The Artist Librarian Blog
🎁 THIS IS BEYOND 5 STAR WORTHY NOVELLA! If you’ve never read a Julie Lessman novel, then run, don’t walk, to grab this one up. Ever since her first novel, where Lessman gave prominence to parents Marcy and Patrick’s relationship besides her younger main couple, I’ve grown to appreciate her attention on married couples, which you don’t often seen in romance novels: What comes after the “happily ever after.” — Cover-to-Cover Cafe Blog
🎁 “THE HONESTY OF THIS STORY IS THE BEST PART, with its message of trust and cherishing the gifts god has given.” – The Green Mockingbird blog
So, give yourself “a gift like no other” by downloading A GIFT LIKE NO OTHER HERE & MERRY CHRISTMAS!
🙏 StoryFest ACFW!
ATTENTION CHRISTIAN FICTION READERS!! Do we have a deal for you! This year at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in St. Louis, MO September 18-19, 2020, there will be an intimate author/readers retreat that you will NOT want to miss! ACFW is literally crawling with every Christian author you have ever wanted to meet or have coffee with, so check out the following fun events included and mark your calendars.
PLUS … you will receive a $20 discount if you use my author code (JLESS) when you register, so check out all the details on registration and pricing right here: STORYFEST ACFW
🎄 Keynote speaker LIZ CURTIS HIGGS!
🎄 Meet & Greet with 40-50 of your favorite Christian authors such as Rachel Hauck, Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Mary Connealy, Dani Pettrey and many others including MOI!
🎄 Bookstore & Book Signing!
🎄 Games, Panels, Giveaways!
🎄 Group Breakfast or Lunch with Your Favorite Author!
🎄 Worship Time with Your Favorite Authors
🎄 Chance to Attend ACFW Gala (like the Oscars for Christian Fiction!)
Hope to see you there!