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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome Revell Author Julie Lessman!

by Julie Lessman


When Gina invited me to guest blog today, I was thrilled, not only because I love Gina and the Inkies, but because I love this blog and its focus on writing and God. She told me I could write about "anything related to faith," so I was excited because I LOVE talking about my faith and the amazing things God has taught over my many, MANY years.

But, life happens, as we all know, and I ran out of time. That’s when something in my spirit whispered the words, "Windowsill Jesus." Now if you have read my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, you may remember the acknowledgment at the back of the book to Windowsill Jesus, a true character from my childhood about Whom I wrote a story for a fiction class ten years ago. This is both His story and mine, and as far as I am concerned, there is nothing more "related to faith" (mine, anyway) than what Windowsill Jesus did for me—a young woman desperately groping in the dark before He brought her into His glorious light. And so, without further ado, I give you Windowsill Jesus—the best friend this girl has ever had.



~*~

The Plight of Windowsill Jesus

Mama always said I had an imagination like a runaway train. Wild, out of control and guaranteed to get somebody hurt. She never smiled when she said it. Just shook her head in resignation, her tone flat and lifeless. Not unlike, I often thought, her feelings for me.

She was right, of course. I still remember the night of ‘the call’. To this day I swear I wasn't asleep, only drifting on my bed somewhere between contemplation and slumber. The rain pelted against the window like angry tears while I lay in the dark. Somewhere in my head, a phone rang. I never moved a muscle, except in my mind's eye, where I calmly lifted the receiver to my ear.

"Hello Julie, this is the Devil. I'll be there in five minutes." Click.

I jolted up in bed. My ragged breathing slashed the silence while my heart pumped in terror. What should I do? I couldn't call Daddy—I’d get the belt for waking him in the middle of the night. After all, a doctor had to be well-rested to care for his patients. And I knew better than to call for Mama, a woman with little patience for the 3:00 a.m. hysterics of an eight-year-old drama queen. Besides, all of her comfort and care was reserved for the little girl sound asleep in the bed next to mine, the one Mama was sure was an angel sent from above.

Mama was right again. Who wouldn't love a dimple-cheeked cherub like Katie? Stack one sweet-natured, flaxen-haired five-year-old against a spindly, mousy-haired ‘angle-shooter’, and the contest was over. All hail, Queen Katie. Long live the Queen!

I wanted to hate her, but I couldn't. I wanted her gone, but she was all I had. Katie, a blue-eyed moppet with a sweet smile. She could chase the Devil away with grins and giggles and games of Fish until the pale light of dawn crept through our bedroom window. Only then would we fade into sleep, safe and secure in the cocoon of each other's arms.

Of course, Mama always yelled when she found me asleep in Katie's bed. "You could have smothered her," she’d accuse in a stern voice reserved especially for me.

"But, Mama, Julie had a bad dream," Katie defended, an urgency in her little-girl voice.

It always amazed me how quickly Mama's eyes could shift from steel gray to the softest blue when addressing her youngest daughter. "But Mama doesn't want anything to happen to her little chicken," she would whisper, scooping Katie up in her arms. They’d leave the room then, and all I could see was Katie’s sorrowful eyes, watching me over Mama’s shoulder.

Moments like that drove me—not to my knees, but to my windowsill. Nose pressed hard against the screen, I’d squint out of the corner of my eye, imagining Jesus sitting on the outside ledge of my parent’s room. All I could see were His sandaled feet dangling and the hem of His white robe fluttering in the breeze, but it was enough. We'd talk for a while; mostly me, of course. I’d tell Him how much I needed Mama to love me. Since Sister Cecilia always said God was love, I sort of figured He was in the business, anyway. Why couldn't He make Mama love me, after all? I asked Him to talk to His Dad and the Ghost, you know, just to see if there was anything They could do. He never answered, but I figured He must have heard, because somehow I always felt better for the asking.

Once, when Mama came home from a day of shopping, she piled a tower of boxes on the kitchen table. We squealed with delight as she opened each to reveal its contents. A dress for Katie, a sweater for me, another dress, skirt and blouse for Katie, a hat for me, the latest fad for Katie, nothing for me.

"Mama," Katie said, eyeing my token pile, "I have more than Julie."

"Well, Julie's so hard to fit—I never know what to get her.” Mama absently patted my head. “You'll just have to go with me next time, so you can try things on." She turned away, unscrewing her clip earrings as she left the room. I blinked away the blur in my eyes and felt Katie's hand on mine as she looked at me with soulful eyes.

That night, Windowsill Jesus got an earful. He took it rather well, although the sandals seemed to droop more than usual. For a guy in control, He sure didn't talk much. No matter. I had more than enough to say for us both.

I knew it wasn't Katie's fault, but sometimes I made her pay for Mama's love. Like the time we fought over who got the bed on the inside wall next to Mama’s room. No way did I want the bed by the door where I was certain monsters loomed at night. But all Katie had to do was shed a few tears, and Mama would descend on me like a Missouri thunderstorm.

"She's just a baby,” Mama would say, “Stop being selfish and take the bed by the door." Katie sniffled as Mama gave her a squeeze. "It's okay, little chicken, you can have the bed next to Mama's wall. I want my little girl close."

Before she left the room, Mama would give me the eagle eye, defying me to argue.

"You heard what Mama said … I get the bed by her wall,” Katie said.

"No problem," I’d say, smiling and plopping on the bed by the door, legs casually crossed. "I don't want to sleep by Frank, anyway."

Katie blinked. "Who's Frank?" she asked, her voice wavering.

"You know, Frank—as in Dr. Frankenstein? He sleeps in that closet by your bed."

Her eyes widened in terror as she crouched against the headboard. "He does not," she whispered, her face as pale as porcelain.

"Sure he does. Ever notice that big, square trap door at the top of the closet? That's the attic. Frank lives up there. I thought you knew that. But don't worry, he only comes out at night."

"I don't want this bed," she wailed, "I want the bed by the door.”

"But Mama said you had to –"

"No! I want the bed by the door."

And so I won, as always with Katie. It was only fair, I reasoned. After all, Katie may have had Mama's heart, but I had the bed by her wall.

Over the years, my visits with Windowsill Jesus became as infrequent as my attempts to win Mama's love. And then one day, both stopped altogether, deliberately tucked away at the age of fourteen into the dark recesses of my ‘orphan's’ heart. I replaced them with makeup and movies and the all-important quest for a boyfriend.

What I lacked in love, I made up in creativity. My gangly body, just beginning to bud, burgeoned into buxomness when enhanced by bobby socks sewn in where needed. Heavy eyeliner, guaranteed to produce the come-hither look, ribboned my eyes. Through it all, Katie would sit for hours, Indian-style on her bed, watching while I teased my hair and slinked into tight sweaters. Oh, how she would giggle when I’d pucker up, applying enough pale lipstick to produce perfectly pouting lips. I could tell she was fascinated by the evolution of her older sister. A stark contrast to Mama, whose casual indifference was only occasionally punctuated by comments like ‘boys don't marry tramps’. A sentiment always echoed by Daddy. When he was around.

When Katie hit her teens, her relationship with Mama hit the skids. Overnight, she transformed from Mama's sweet-faced angel into a celestial beauty anxious to try out her wings. No longer content to be Mama's ‘little chicken’, Katie dreamed of freedom to follow in my footsteps. I shouldn’t have, but I reveled that her dreams became Mama's nightmares.

More and more, Mama seemed to float in and out of depression. On days when she had the energy, she would blame her ‘little chicken's’ demise on my bad influence. If Katie sassed her, it was my fault. If Katie rose to my defense, Mama accused me of stealing her baby. Mama's attacks still managed to produce a mournful look on Katie's face, but their sting no longer penetrated the steel casing around my heart. Her words would fly, and I would simply turn and leave while Mama squandered her final reserve of energy on silent screams.

The day Mama died began like any other. Daddy left for work early, as usual, and Katie and I slept late. As late as Mama would allow. It was summer, after all. That didn't seem to mean a lot to Mama, who always appeared at our bedroom door promptly at 10:30 a.m. In her mind, we were nothing but ‘bed jockeys’ who wanted to sleep the day away. In our minds, we were far away in our own personal dreams, romanced and sought after by boys who couldn't live without us.

I awoke that morning to Katie's frantic cries, her arms flailing at my bed covers. "Julie, wake up, wake up—Mama's not breathing! God, what are we going to do?" She stood there, her face contorted in panic, dragging her fingers through the blonde ringlets as if she were going to rip them out by the roots. I lay there in a stupor until the meaning of her words invaded my conscious. I could taste the fear in my mouth as I shot off the bed, pushing past her to Mama's room down the hall.

She looked so peaceful. Not at all like the depressed woman who had taken to crying jags and pacing aimlessly through the house. Just peaceful. In a surreal blur of sirens and doctors and mournful crying, Mama was taken away. An aneurysm in her heart, the doctors decided. A heart that would never know how much I longed to be within it. For the first time in a long time, I thought about Windowsill Jesus. So much for prayers answered. Close the casket on this one, boys, 'cause the God of Love blew it big time. Pack up your prayers, little girl, and move on.

And move on I did. Onto broken curfews, bottles of booze and the notorious free-love era of the 70s. The Devil didn't call me on the phone anymore. No, he just pulled right up to my front door and took me riding. Most nights I'd come home and collapse on my bed, the taste of vomit ripe in my mouth. I remember the room spinning out of control, like my life. Someone was always there, though, holding my hand and wiping my lips with a cool cloth, whispering everything would be all right. Even through a haze of Jack Daniels, I swear Katie looked like an angel. "I love ya, Kate," I would slur before the haze began to dim.

"I know you do, Julie," she would say, "and I love you, too. More than anything in the world. Always have, always will."

I closed my eyes and smiled. Windowsill Jesus smiled back. "Always have, always will," He whispered.

***

I rolled the window down, and the cold, autumn air misted my face like a dream. I stared at the house I once called home and watched the shadows of dusk cloak it in darkness. Blinking back the tears, I leaned out my car window. I could almost smell the cloves and cinnamon from the bourbon pumpkin pies Mama used to bake at Thanksgiving. Almost. Grabbing a Kleenex, I wiped the wetness from my eyes. True, I hadn't felt loved or protected in this home, but it had given me something. Rolling the window up, I turned the key in the ignition and buckled my seatbelt, ready to head home.

Home. Where toddlers clamored for my attention and a husband's eyes lit up when I entered the room. Where perennials bloomed and Katie and I enjoyed prayer luncheons on my cedar deck. Where memories of Mama had softened and deepened and forgiven, just like me. And—most importantly of all—where Windowsill Jesus still kept vigil.

~*~

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction” at http://www.borders.com/online/store/ListView_best2009favefiction. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied, as well as the recently released A Hope Undaunted, book 1 of her brand-new “Winds of Change” series. You can contact Julie through her website at http://www.julielessman.com/.

A HOPE UNDAUNTED
 
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?
 

60 comments:

  1. Wow, Julie. Awesome short story. And so...you. So many emotions flowed while I read it.
    Gee whiz, girlfriend, I wish I could write like you.

    Thanks for spending a day with us.

    Anita Mae.

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  2. That was a very touching story. I felt sad for the little girl that wanted her mother's love so much and eventually found it in other places. Isn't it so amazing how God loves us so much and waits for us even though we push him aside. That's so reassuring to know.
    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

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  3. So well written, Julie! My heart aches for Julie, the little girl. But I know that she has a happy ending. She was a captive who has been set free! Praise the LORD!

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, and letting us take a further look into your heart. You're a very special woman, Julie Lessman!

    Hugs,
    Michelle

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  4. Julie,
    I HAD to stop by AGAIN to say that you are awesome! This short story was one that both made me smile and made my sad =(=)

    I loved it and am loving everything you write! Thank you for sharing it!!!

    Blessings and hugs to you!
    Molly
    Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

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  5. Thanks for sharing this. I could relate to the feelings of the little girl wanting to be loved.
    And that is why I read... to know I'm not alone.

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  6. I was hooked from the beginning. It saddened me how Julie didn't feel loved.
    gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

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  7. Wowsers! Thanks, Julie for coming by the Inkwell, and for sharing with us your heart. You made me smile and tear up and... and connect to words on a screen. Thank you for the gift of your words.

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  8. Beautiful. Will take me a while to get the tears out of my eyes. I so enjoy when we have a story on Inkwell.

    I really enjoyed meeting you at ACFW.

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  9. GINA AND THE INKIES: Thank you SO much for having me here today -- it is ALWAYS a pleasure to be on a blog where I LOVE so many of the writers involved.

    And, ANITA MAE ... thanks for your kind words, but I already know you have your own special "Anita Mae" voice that the world needs to hear, and think how truly boring it would be if we all wrote like me??? Gosh, I'd take up golf instead of reading!!

    CYNTHIA ... Yeah, I feel sad for the little girl, too. In fact, I cannot read this story without sobbing my heart out, but that's because it's "my" story, I suppose. But the good news is that we have a God Who is SO incredibly good at redemption, and He redeemed me ... from a hard, sad, bitter little girl ... into a woman of light who could NOT live without Him.

    Thanks, MICHELLE, but you know what? Each of us in our stories have a similar "sad, little girl" that God has to heal and love and bring back to "Life." Some come, some do not ... and I thank God EVERY day that this little girl came to Him. And "special"? Thanks, sweetie, but the truth is that we ALL are special ... to Him. The apple of His eye, every one of us. And it's my hope and prayer that I can relay that message to as many people as I possibly can.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  10. MOLLY ... grin ... I do believe you would read a grocery list if I wrote it, girl, because you are something else, you know that?? I am blessed to have such incredible reader friends like you and each of the dear friends that support me and my books. How lucky am I???

    CHERYL SAID: And that is why I read... to know I'm not alone.

    I hear you, Cheryl!! Which is why Christian fiction is the main thing I read because without the faith element -- the "hope" element -- nothing, not romance, not supspense, not women's fiction, is worth my time if it doesn't draw me to Him. Good luck in the contest!

    ADGE ... Thanks, my friend. And, yes, "wanting to be loved" is pretty much a universal theme in this world. Which is why faith in Jesus Christ is SO incredibly important.

    LISA ... I made you "connect to words on a screen"?? That is a TRUE compliment, my friend, so THANK YOU!! I do like to emote and make others emote, I guess ... I suppose I just hate to be the only one crying in the room, you know??? :)

    DINA!!! The woman I am still friends with despite the fact that she looks 20 years younger than she actually is!! I enjoyed meeting you at ACFW too ... uh, all except the really young looking part!! Makes me feel old ... but then, that's because I am!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  11. It is always such blessing when others share their own struggles with so much honesty and transparency. I was blessed with a wonderful relationship with both my parents - but you are so on the money when you say we are all "sad little girls" that God has to heal. Like the song says... we have a God-shaped hole.

    Well said.
    Cindy

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  12. Wow! gripping! i felt like i was right there, a bug on the wall. God has given you a great talent!

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  13. Tough story to read, but it was simply beautiful. Thank God that even though we may sometimes ignore Him, He never ignores us.

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  14. wow... at a loss for words - such a touching story... you really need to write your life story Julie! trying to hold back the tears, after all I am at work! you are simply amazing with words..my heart breaks for that little girl that wanted so badly to be loved by her mother... so thankful that girl found Jesus and was able to forgive her mother and now look how God is using you! Keep writing!

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  15. AMEN, CINDY, and I am SO glad you said that about having a wonderful relationship with your parents and yet we ALL still have that "God-shaped hole" that only He can fill!!

    Your comment is particularly stirring to me because that "God-shaped hole" is in each of us no matter if we had a good relationship with our parents, have a great marriage, great kids, or are blessed enough to have your heart's desire (like I do in writing for God!). NOTHING fills it, NOTHING. I have friends that look at my marriage and say, "Julie, if only my marriage was like yours, I'd be happy."

    Uh, no. Not true. Not even close. Yes, I do have a wonderful marriage, great kids and I have the privilege and blessing of writing for God ... but NONE of it satisfies like Jesus, NONE of it, trust me on this. This is a lesson that Emma Malloy tries to convey to Sean O'Connor in my next book A Heart Revealed. Yes, these things are nice and contribute to one's happiness, it's true, but my real JOY comes from Him and only Him, and it is the same for each of us. And, OH ... blessed are those of us who know it!!

    BEX ... "a bug on the wall, eh?" A very pretty bug, I might add. Thank you for your kind words. And when God uses us to reach others for Him, the "great talent" is all His, for sure!! Good luck in the contest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  16. CHRISTY ... YES!!! Thank God, indeed, "that even though we may sometimes ignore Him, He never ignores us." My mom used to refer to God as the Hound of Heaven (which comes from a poem called "The Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson), and boy, it's true. He NEVER stops trying to win our love. What an AMAZING God we serve!!

    JOETTA ... gosh, you sound like my sister Pat who sends me umpteen e-mails a year, begging me to write our family's story. And I hope to some day, truly. But right now I am in the "Calgon, take me away" phase of my writing, not a "slice of life" one, and to be honest, our family story is pretty darn hard to hear, much less write. God will have to prepare me for that one, I'm afraid. :) But ... He's good at that, right??

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. Yes, looking 20 will always be my Julie Lessman claim to fame. But if you recall, the waitress at the hotel bar that night did not card me, so clearly your perspective is a bit skewed, my dear :)

    I've decided it must be a laid back beach lifestyle thing. I've been paying attention, and we have lots of young looking ladies in this area. I might pass for 30 here, but never 20.

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  18. the "Calgon take me away" comment was funny because I had commented on that very aspect in one of my reviews of your book! I LOVE that you don't just write romance that takes you away to a faraway, impossible place - but you bring true romance to my sometimes mundane, boring life...grin! you remind me of the truths in the Bible, but in a positive, uplifting, encouraging way - a "can't put the book down, gotta finish this book now!" kinda way!
    I will keep praying for you that God will give you the words to write and what to write about...

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  19. julie,
    what a beautiful story...you truly have the gift of the word...
    blessings to all.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  20. Julie, thanks for visiting us today and sharing your story! Wonderful!

    I love the Hound of Heaven comment. I'd heard it before but forgotten it, and today's one of those days when I needed to be reminded that God's with me and pursues me, even when I turn my back. Thank you for blessing me.

    I'm looking forward to digging into your new release!

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  21. Wow! Thanks for sharing this story, Julie!! I'm one of those people who have lots of 'sad little girl' stories! These last 3 months have brought a lot of them back to my memory as we've been going through difficult times with my parents. One thing I have realized is that from very young I must have cried out to God because I see His hand on my life right the way through. I love in Psalm 27 that it says, "When my mother and father forsake me, then the Lord will hold me close." He so did that for me! My life now is proof of that...cause without God I would be totally messed up! Not that I have it all together, I am very much a work in progress! Ha! But it's so obvious when I look at what is now - well, it could & would have been so very different if not for the Lord! He is awesome!! And yes, how true that ONLY HE can satisfy! Learning that to a greater extent at the moment as friendships I thought I could rely on are being shown up to not be ones I can trust. Thank God that we can ABSOLUTELY RELY on HIM to never leave or forsake us!!

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  22. DINA!!! Your "Julie Lessman claim to fame"??? Oh, honey, you're in BIG trouble!! :) And like I would notice about not being carded ... it's been going on with me for so long now, that I just thought they stopped doing that altogether! :) And I'm sorry, but I disagree TOTALLY about you not being able to pass for 20. I can't remember who it was I was talking to about how young you looked, but when they found out your age, they freaked out too, thinking you were late teens, early 20s, just like me. So it's not just me gushing here, kiddo. Of course, it could be that both me and this other gal are long overdue for the eye doctor, I suppose ...

    JOETTA!!! Two comments in one day -- girl, you're gonna spoil me!! :) I do remember reading that in your review, as a matter of fact, so THANK YOU!! And you know how I covet your prayers, my friend -- thank you for that too ... ALWAYS!!

    KAREN!! Gosh, girl, we have to win you a book, TRULY!!! I'm sayin' another prayer for you ... :)

    SUSANNE ... Sorry it's been "one of those days when (you) needed to be reminded that God's with (you) and pursues (you)," but the beauty of those kinds of days is that they always bring us back to what's truly important -- Him, and only Him!! And, bless you for "digging in" to AHU -- I hope you enjoy it!

    Oh, ELIZABETH, I don't like to hear that you have "lots" of sad, little girl stories, but it's often those of us who have the most are in the most dire need of God and thereby are relentless in our pursuit of Him ... just like your addy implies -- "In Pursuit of His Excellence." LOVE IT!!

    And, ah, the "friendship" disappointments. Been there, done that, but God brings much good from it when we pray for those who hurt us. Recently I had a situation where another writer wrote some hurtful things about me, so I nailed her in prayer, for God to bless her and help me to forgive her. Then He gave me the opportunity to befriend her at a conference, and now she has become a supporter of me rather than a detractor. That could never have happened without God's directive to "pray for those who hurt us," which I have every confidence that (knowing you!) you already do. God's abundant blessings on you, Elizabeth, and may some of them be good friends who will cherish you.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  23. I love having a short story on the Inkwell and think we need to do more of them.

    Julie, I SO enjoyed reading this. You have given us a special treat today. Thank you!

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  24. Julie,
    Since reading this short story, I feel that I now understand why your books express true passion. The passion you feel for your Savior flows through the pages of your books! The passion for your Lord and your husband is felt by all of us readers, and we greatly appreciate you sharing your heart with us!!
    God Bless You,
    Charlotte
    charsaltz (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  25. Wow! I echo the other comments . . . thank you for sharing. I almost feel like you should write a book about your life --Come on people, wouldn't you read an autobiography of Julie Lessman? ;-) I can relate to having my baby sister more favored (in my case, by my aunt) and I was so jealous when I was younger. Not to go into details, but I think it was because that was her first niece that she was able to see and form a relationship with from the time she was born --so they had that connection (we moved back near our relatives a couple years before).
    Fortunately, as I got older, I understood the situation more, so I grew out of it (and I sorta feel sorry for "L" 'cause Aunty's nickname for her has always been "precious" and ever since we saw the Lord of the Rings movies, our family sometimes jokes about Golum's "my precious" line (one of my brothers does the best impression) whenever my Aunt calls her "precious" --cause my sister's middle school aged now, and she's grown out of it (except to Aunty, LOL).

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  26. Incredible! Mrs. Lessman, that brings tears to my eyes... why do we always feel like we must compete with our siblings? You write so well... I love it! = ) Thank you for posting this!

    kristia4(at)hawaii(dot)edu

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  27. Julie, I was saddened by the story. It is funny how each of your siblings have a different perspective on life in your house growing up. I did enjoy learning about you a little more. I hope more short stories could come out from time to time. I am thankful that in your life the Lord is glorified and he can bring us out of our darkest places. I love you, Patty
    patty_goersch@yahoo.com

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  28. DEBRA!!! Well ... actually, when Gina invited me to guest blog today, I was thrilled, not only because I love Gina and the Inkies, but because I love this blog and its focus on writing and God. She told me I could write about "anything related to faith," so I was excited because I LOVE talking about my faith and the amazing things God has taught over my many, MANY years.

    But, life happens, as we all know, and I ran out of time. That’s when something in my spirit whispered the words, "Windowsill Jesus." Now if you have read my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, you may remember the acknowledgment at the back of the book to Windowsill Jesus, a true character from my childhood about Whom I wrote a story for a fiction class ten years ago. This is both His story and mine, and as far as I am concerned, there is nothing more "related to faith" (mine, anyway) than what Windowsill Jesus did for me—a young woman desperately groping in the dark before He brought her into His glorious light.

    But, yeah, everybody usually likes stories, don't they???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  29. Oh, CHARLOTTE -- beautifully put, my friend!! I DO have a ton of passion for my Savior because He truly pulled me -- and every one of us! -- out of the pit. I simply cannot NOT talk about Him without being passionate!! :)

    LADY DRAGONKEEPER -- Oh, I am SO sorry to hear you went through some of the favoritism stuff too!! It is NOT fun AT ALL and can leave some pretty deep wounds. But it sounds like you have a handle on them, girl, so I'm proud of you! And you know what?? I believe when we apply God's precepts in a situation like that, He turns around to give us favor with someone else. My Aunt Julie (my mom's sister) always favored me in the family, which I know upset some of my sisters at various points in time. To be honest, that doesn't feel real good either. Favoritism STINKS in any situation, which is why God is no respecter of persons!!

    KRISTIA ... thank you, sweetie. I think competition between siblings is natural because we all want attention and love so badly, that sometimes our humanness takes over. But I can tell you and LD have a good relationship, which blesses me.

    PATTY!! You came!! It feels SO good having one of my family here, truly. I knew the story would sadden you because you lived through it with me, although I know that my perspective is far different than my other sisters' perspectives, especially your mom's. But the one who went through it with me is Katie, so she knows all the deep hurts I wrestled with. And, YES ... I am thankful that HE can bring us out of our darkest places ... imagined or real.

    Love you!
    Your "Aunt Julie"

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  30. Julie, thanks for sharing the story. So true to life. God ever-present when we pull back the curtain to look.
    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

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  31. Wow, I have enjoyed all the blogs recently in promoting AHU. This story tops them all....thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and time with us these past few blogs, Julie. Have a great weekend....you deserve it. I, too, would love to read your life story....meantime, I will continue to enjoy all your books and journal jots! And blessings on you and your family!!

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  32. Julie, I loved your story. You have an amazing ability to tap into readers' emotions even if they haven't experienced life exactly like you.

    You motivate me.

    Thanks for sharing this story with us. :-)

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  33. ANN ... Unfortunately, it is true to life in more cases than it needs to be, but God has a way of correcting that, doesn't He, though??

    JACKIE ... thanks, my friend, this story is as Ann said above, like pulling the curtain back to look at where I used to be before Christ cleaned me up ... AND gave me His joy!! You have a good weekend, too, sweetie, and see you at the Jots!! :)

    GINA ... Now don't you go getting all emotional on me -- you're my go-to gal for humor, along with Mary C., so I don't want you getting weepy sentimental, okay? I already have enough of that for the both of us!! Uh , and you with your incredible humor??? We're talkin' MAJOR motivation here, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  34. Oh man, that story just breaks my heart, Julie!
    I wept for the little girl yearning for love her Mom didn't give.
    I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Isn't it wonderful that we serve a God who heals?
    Hugs...I love you girl!!

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  35. CAROLYNN ... Yeah, I weep for her too, every single time I read it. BUT, we both know how the story has a happy ending, so YES, I am eternally grateful that we have a God who heals!! Thanks for coming by, my friend, and I love you too! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. Hey Mrs.Lessman!
    I just had to stop by and check out the short story you wrote. I wasn't even past the third sentence before I started crying, and I still am. That story struck many a chord in me, and I hate thinking you had to experience such pain like that. But, God will and does deliver us and take us out of the fires reach, and into the safety of His arms. There is a Scripture verse I thinking goes right alone with this, but for the for the life of me, my brain can't remember(thank TV).
    Oh, and thank you so much, Mrs. Lessman for opening up the comments for JJ! I unfortunately, as I was just about to post another comment, best-friend called me (yup at 1:00am)and I guess I missed the cut off time. But, it's okay.
    Well, it's off to the Greek Festival for me tomorrow!
    Have a great weekend, Mrs. Lessman.
    Love Ya,
    Ashley

    P.S.
    Sorry for writing such a long comment. I just get carried away sometimes, you know?

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  37. ASHLEY!!! First of all, did you REALLY write this at 3:00 AM???? You are a night owl for sure, girl, but I thank you for taking the time to come by and leave a comment nonetheless!!

    Your comments ALWAYS make me laugh or smile because you are SUCH a hoot -- do your friends think that too??

    Thank you for your kind comment here, and on my open-comment day on Journal Jots yesterday -- you are a real blessing in my life, you know that???

    Have fun at the Greek Festival ... I think Greek salads are to die for!!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  38. Late to this, and suc a beautiful story from a beautiful person. Julie, when I met you you were nothing like I expected and so very much better, which is saying something, since I'd heard how awesome you are.

    Thank you for this story and for sharing it. I related on several levels.

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  39. Hi Julie, I have your other awesome books and would love the chance to win a copy of ‘A Hope Undaunted’. Thanks!

    purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

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  40. LAURIE ALICE!!! Thank you SO much for coming by -- what a privilege this is for me because you are such an inspiration to me.

    And I have to smile at your comment that I "was nothing like you expected," because I felt EXACTLY the same way about you!! I had heard your name bandied about and seen you in pictures once or twice, but in person you are SO much more powerful in your presence and your gentleness!! I am so thrilled I got to meet you and get your book. It's close to the top of my very tall TBR list, but I am anxious to get to it. I hope we get to meet again soon.

    DOREEN!! You better watch out, girl, because you are liable to win a book this way ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  41. First this story made me cry for Mama's cold heart and for those who have felt they were never first with anyone. Then I cried to think I may have been stingy with my love and thanked God He is "greater than our hearts" and can heal!

    Thanks for being brave enough to trust windowsill Jesus and for sharing this with us, Julie! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  42. Thank you for the kind words, Julie. I was quite terrified meeting everyone in person, knowing I'd shock a few people, and the Lord blessed me with the people I met like you, so much I'm still overwhelmed.

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  43. WOW, RENEE, I certainly got the part of feeling badly for those who have "felt they were never first with anyone," but I honestly never wandered into the realm of being stingy with one's love -- what an insight!! I shutter to think of the times that I might have done that with my own children when I was "too busy" to give them the attention they wanted. The truth is we are all creatures who are starved for love, created by a God who is starved for ours. Thanks for coming by and for your depth of insight.

    LAURIE ALICE ... terrified??? Well, girl, it never came across that way, which is only one of the many things I admire about you. Just goes to show how far a little of God's grace can take us, eh? :)
    Have a blessed day!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  44. Julie,

    So brave of you to share this obviously painful story of your childhood. I have a really good friend, a couple of years older than me, who just lost both her parents within 3 months of each other. The fourth and youngest child, she was born as a 'late in life' baby - a baby I presume her mother didn't want. All her life, my friend has tried everything to make herself special in her mother's eyes, and in the end, she didn't feel she ever got there. Even being her father's favorite didn't make up for her mother's dislike and disapproval. She went through the wild youth as well, dating married men and not caring. I hope some day she can find the peace and forgiveness that you have found.

    Thanks for sharing! And by the way, just finished A Hope Undaunted and I loved it! As usual!

    Cheers,

    Sue

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  45. Oh, SUE, I am SO sorry to hear about your friend's situation, and I am saying one RIGHT NOW that God gets a hold of her like He got a hold of me, giving her His peace and forgiveness too.

    And I am thrilled that you enjoyed A Hope Undaunted. It's my favorite of all my books so far, as you probably know.

    One thing I want to mention is that since A Hope Undaunted is book 1 of a new series, I am trying to get as many people as possible to post reviews about it on Amazon.com and CBD.com, so if you are prone to doing that type of thing, then please have at it with a couple of lines about how you liked the book, okay? BUT ... only if you do that sort of thing!!

    And I noticed you are not on my newsletter list (I send out about 3 or 4 a year, if that) and am currently running a review-posting contest where you can win having a character named after you in my next book, a $50 CBD or Amazon gift card and a signed copy of A Heart Revealed when it comes out. The person who posts the most reviews, of course, wins the big prize, but it only takes posting one to be entered for a random drawing of Sean and Emma's story, so if you are prone to posting reviews, I would love it. If not, no worries, okay? Thanks for coming by, Sue!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  46. Wow. That's all I can say. Amazing story of God's grace. Thank you.

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  47. What an amazing story, Julie. I'm practically teary. I'm so glad your life story has a real HEA.

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  48. What a touching, beautiful story. I hope I never, EVER do that to my kids.
    I'm so glad you found Real Love though. Feels good, huh? *grin* Thanks for sharing!

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  49. It's a wonderful story, Julia. I was so caught by every word.

    Thank you.

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  50. Oh Julie, thank you for sharing such an amazing story. It hit very close to home. I am so thankful that God loves us, no matter what. Bless you for writing for the Lord. I haven't read your books yet but I will certainly do so now!
    Blessings,
    Janet

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  51. Hey, SHARON, thank you SO much!! And, yeah, it is an amazing story of God's grace, but we all have them, don't we?? Which is why one of my favorite hymns is "Amazing Grace." It's the only song I ever sang to my babies when I rocked them. :) Thanks for coming by, my friend -- so good to see you here!

    CARA!! Always love seeing my Seeker buds on these blogs, so thanks for coming by. Trust me, I'm glad this story has a HEA too -- I couldn't have written it otherwise, because it would have been too painful, but now it's just an amazing testimony to the power of God's love!

    JESSICA ... Somehow I can't imagine you doing that to your kids, but then you and I have an intimate relationship with Jesus to help knock off the rough edges of who we are as mothers!! My mom didn't have that like we do, but I know deep down that if she had, things would have been totally different ... like they will be in heaven.

    MARY!! Thanks for coming by, my friend. See?? Who would have thought?? I can write something without romance!! :)

    JANET ... I guess it hits close to home because none of us are strangers to rejection, no matter the story. Isn't ironic, though, that it was the act of Jesus being rejected and crucified that sets each of us free from the rejection in our pasts?? He is a God who never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for coming by and expressing an interest in reading my books. Maybe you'll win one in this contest!! Good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  52. Julie, thank you so much for giving us this beautiful story of how our Lord reaches us wherever we are. People will always fail us, but He promised to never leave us. And He had us marked as belonging to Him way before we ever had a clue. I have had your book on my "to buy" list for a time, now. It would be wonderful to win it!

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  53. Julie,
    What a beautiful testimony of God's passionate love for you. His faithfulness and redemption are ours - hallelujah!

    You did a marvelous job in writing your testimony!

    Blessings!

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  54. Wow, Julie, I had no idea. Heartbreaking. And beautifully written. We just never know the burdens others have been through, do we?

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  55. Hi Julie, I thought you were telling my story when I was reading. My Mom was not a demonstrative person and I really can't remember her saying I Love You and it was yrs ago that I told her and when she died in 06' I would have given anything if I could have told her one more time.
    She was thoughtful, helpful, making sure we had balanced diet, nice clothes, etc and I knew she loved all three of us but her way of showing was by doing things for us. She was always sending everyone goodie bags with their favorite candy, gum and something special for all occasions. If you told her you liked M&M's you would always get these.lol, Even my dauhters friends that she met would get a goodie bag. She sent every member of our family, her siblings, in-laws and their children, etc a birthday card every yr and always Christmas cards. I did not know until after she died that my sister felt the same way. In fact for yrs when I was young I though I was adopted. I am sorry to say I am more like my Mom than I thought. I am trying to show my love by hugging and saying I love you to my children more often as well as helping them when possible. She was almost 84 when she died and she died in her sleep very peaceful. She had been to dr and shopping with my sister which was one o her favorite things.
    Your testimony was very moving. Thanks for sharing with us.
    I love A Hope Undaunted and have had on my wish list since the first review I read.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  56. LoREE ... you are SO right!! He "HAS had us marked as belonging to Him WAY before we ever had a clue." I look back on my life now and I can see His hand in situations from early on, protecting me, loving me even if I felt my earthly parents didn't. We are His ... and He is ours. And, OH, the joy when we come to fully realize it!! Thank you for stopping by and for putting my book on your "to buy" list. Maybe you won't have to!! Good luck in the contest!

    EDWINA ... I know, it just makes you want to shout, doesn't it?? His faithfulness and redemption always brings tears to my eyes ... but then I tend to be a weepy type as it is ... :) Thanks for taking time to read this story and comment, my friend. I hope there's a win in it for you!!

    TRISH ... So nice to see you here!! And none of us really have much of an idea about each other's hurts, do we, which is why being a writer is such a high calling -- we can express our own hurts and failings in a story that hopefully God will use to draw people to Him. We are SOOO blessed, aren't we, though??? Thank you for coming by!

    Miss Kallie, you know what?? You are so right!! You said your mom was not demonstrative, but that her way of showing love was "doing things" for you. I'm glad you realized that and I appreciate you telling me. I'd forgotten that one of the ways I later came to realize that my mom probably did love me somewhat were things that she did for me like sunlamp treatments with olive oil in my scalp when I got psoriasis in the 2nd grade. It was a lot of work for her, as I recall, but she did it -- over and over. I forget about things like that, but thank you for reminding me.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  57. Wow, tears are streaming down my face. I can so relate to what you've written. Thanks for sharing from your heart. I too sat by the window talking to Jesus when the trials and troubles of my young life were too much for me to carry. He met me there, and I will be forever grateful. Love you, Julie!
    Carrie

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  58. What a wonderful story, you always give me something to think about!

    ~Lauri M (LuLu)
    http://knitsandreads.blogspot.com
    l_meinhardt@yahoo.com

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  59. Wow...wonderful yet heartwrenching story.

    ~Steph
    soklad@hotmail.com

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  60. CARRIE!!! Thank you for coming by, my friend. And you talked to "Windowsill Jesus" too??? I knew I liked you right off the bat, girl!! And I love you too! :)

    LAURI ... you're making the rounds again -- good girl!! Let's just see if we can't get all of the DOB books in your library, okay??

    STEPH ... thank you SO much!! It definitely was "heartwrenching," and the wonderful??? Well, it's still going on now that God is part of my life. :) Good luck in the contest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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