Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Greetings With Unconditional Love

Each one of us is a beloved child of God.  We were created to love God and our fellow man.  I'm praying for more congeniality, love and peace among us everywhere of every nation and tongue.  My prayer to each of my FB and Blog friends I found on the Unconditional Love page.  Pray more often and live more wisely in this new chapter of each of our lives. Practice more unconditional love and hope for peace.  Thank you for coming to visit my blog....I hope to be able to share more with all my favorite friends and family in 2012!
Many Hugs,

Jesus has a tremendously beautiful saying. He says ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of god then all else shall be added unto you.’ Don’t be bothered about anything else. People are worried about everything else except the kingdom of god — and that’s why they remain failures. They are interested in attaining the fragrance but they are not interested in growing the rose bush, in growing flowers. How can they achieve fragrance? It is impossible.

~ via Dharam Avtar Kaur

Copied from the Unconditional Love Page in Facebook.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Giveaway Week: Julie Lessman!

Hey There my Friends, today I have a very special friend to introduce to you. Many of you already know Julie Lessman and her fantastic "on the edge" writings."  Whether or not you are familiar with Julie, I'm sure you'll want to know more about her and her books after reading this posting.  Her personality glows with her love of Christ, and is present throughout each of her novels.

I borrowed this post from Charity at her AUSTENITIS BLOG, so you'll need to click over to her blog at if you care to leave a comment and enter the contest.  I earnestly hope you'll drop by AUSTENITIS and leave a comment or two and pick up a chance to win.  You'll feel honored by a personal comment back to you by Julie herself.  Ah, go on.....take a chance!

Jesus Loves You,

Christmas Giveaway Week: Julie Lessman!

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.” Chosen as #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Series of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #5 Novel of the Year and #4 Historical Fiction Author of the year. 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. Her “Winds of Change” series has recently released with A Hope Undaunted, which ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at Charity talking here...Julie does have a more recent book, the one I've been talking about, A Heart Revealed.

Julie, I'm so glad to have you here today! As you know, I've greatly enjoyed your books. :) So what sparked your interest in romance, and how has that impacted your writing?

Four life-altering words: Gone With the Wind. You see, when I read that novel at the age of twelve, I was swept away into the world of romance for the very first time. It captured me like no other book had done, and I immediately set out to write (along with thousands of other love-struck young girls, I’m sure), what I hoped would be “the great American novel.” Obviously my dreams of grandeur didn’t go anywhere, but I did write 150 single-spaced pages of a story that became the basis (some forty years later!) for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.

Today, I like to think that not only are Margaret Mitchell’s fingerprints are all over me in my religious devotion to passion, but God’s as well—merging my passion for romance with my passion for Him.

Wow, 150 single-spaced pages is a lot of writing! I'm impressed. :) Now, you've joked about being the "Queen of Rejections." Can you tell us a little about that?

Uh, yeah … anyone who attended the 2005 ACFW Conference will remember me as the poor slob who waved her hands wildly in the back of the room when Brandilyn Collins asked who had the most rejections in a year. I won hands-down with 19 (at that time) and went on to garner in excess of 45 (both agent and publisher rejections, including three received AFTER I signed a 3-book contract with Revell Publishing!). Even my agent, Natasha Kern, blanched a bit when she first signed me, realizing after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed a contract for me within six months. Imagine my shock and awe when a few years later I stood on the same stage on which I’d received that booby prize for the most rejections, to receive ACFW’s Debut Book of the Year. Go ahead— pinch me!

What a story! What would you like your readers to take away from your books?

The MOST important thing I pray readers take away from my books is the reality of how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and SHOULD be. Like breathing. These books may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It IS possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the God of the Universe. He’s crazy about us, and if most people really understood that, their lives would turn on a dime and blessings would overtake them. Believe me, I KNOW this firsthand—I used to be a hard, cynical, coarse human being before God pulled me up by the scruff of the neck and said, “Yo, Julie! Get a clue. You’re the apple of my eye!” J He’s been the love of my life ever since.

Haha, I love how He "said" Yo! :) How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I RUNnot walk … to the throne of God! He is my high tower, my place of refuge in ANY storm, be it professional or personal. For me, He has never been a last resort, but a first resort when life’s hurried pace overwhelms me. A good example is a story on my Web site about when a doctor told us he thought our college-age son had cancer. Now I am a wired individual under the best of circumstances, so this had the potential to fell me like a tree. But I sprinted to God faster than Jackie Joyner Kersee going for the gold, and the prize was God’s peace. You can read the steps I took in maintaining my sanity at

We know your husband and children are the light of your life. Do they enjoy your stories?

Well, yes, most of them … You see, my husband Keith wouldn’t read A Passion Most Pure until he could hold a published book in his hand because he hated the gargantuan binders I’d use. But once he did, I was shocked at his response. He admitted he was nervous because what if he didn’t like it??? I still remember the first day I caught him reading it—it was so weird seeing this big, hulking guy holding a romance novel. But the moment he looked up, his eyes locked on mine and he mouthed the words, “It is soooo good!” Needless to say, my heart swooned! I mean, the man’s only read two or three books in 30 years, and my book actually kept him up till the wee hours of the morning AND made him cry! Now, I’m not saying the ability to make your husband cry is necessarily a good thing, but in this case, it was pretty special!

Now my daughter? Another story altogether! Although she was an A student in college, she despises reading, so I actually had to bribe her with $20 to read the first chapter of A Passion Most Pure. But I am happy to report that it hooked her, and the rest of the book and the other two didn’t cost me a dime! J But … my son the financial advisor? He’ll probably read one of my books when I include baseball statistics or financial advice!

Oh, how sweet! I love those stories. :) Can you tell us a bit about your newest release, A Heart Revealed?

A Heart Revealed is book 2 in “The Winds of Change” series, and it’s the forbidden love story of the oldest O’Connor brother, Sean O’Connor, a confirmed bachelor, and his sister’s best friend, Emma Malloy, a battered married woman. Here’s my blurb:

The ring on her hand belongs to one man …
But her heart belongs to another.

As a battered woman, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago, seeking shelter for a heart badly bruised by both her husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a confirmed bachelor who wrestles with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy her … until she is finally set free by a heart revealed.

*sigh* I enjoyed that story. :) Readers, my review is already up! It also has a bit more about the book, so make sure you check it out! Julie, what makes Emma and Sean's romance unique?

Emma and Sean’s romance in A Heart Revealed is not my typical romance where boy meets girl and sparks fly. Instead, it is a ten-year friendship that grows spiritually and emotionally, ripening into unconditional love where two people sacrifice themselves for the other. In many ways, A Heart Revealed is a departure for me—a heroine who is scarred, both inside and out, and a forbidden love with minimal romantic interaction. You see, Emma Malloy is married, a battered woman who fled Dublin to seek shelter for a heart badly bruised by an abusive husband. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a confirmed bachelor with demons of his own, fear and shame wreaks havoc in her life until God finally sets her free with “a heart revealed.”

What are you hoping readers will take away from A Heart Revealed?

One of the basic themes of A Heart Revealed is “honesty is the best policy.” Every character in this story is struggling with some form of honesty with people they love, whether it’s guilt, delusion, deception, secrecy, manipulation or outright stubbornness. It is my hope that Sean and Emma’s story will not only “reveal” the grace and mercy of a loving God, but the healing power of His truth … which truly does set us free.

Please tell us about Emma, the gentle and scarred heroine of A Heart Revealed. How is it that you wrote a whole story about her?

Believe it or not, I never planned to write Sean and Emma’s story until three-quarters of the way through A Passion Redeemed, when Charity brought Emma home for dinner. The moment I wrote the following very innocent lines in that book, I felt a spark of something that I KNEW would grow into an amazing love story someday.

Marcy smiled and passed the rolls. “Sean, Charity brought her good friend home to stay. Emma, this is Sean, my oldest.”
Sean stood and extended his hand across the table, his smile as broad as his reach. “Welcome. Anyone who can put up with this sister of mine has to be the genuine article.”
Charity smacked him.
Emma blushed. “Nice to meet you, Sean.”
“Emma, Charity tells me you and she met at Shaw’s and that you’ve worked there forever.” Faith dolloped potatoes on her plate, then handed them off to Collin.
Emma gave her a crooked smile. “Yes, I was actually Mrs. Shaw’s top sales clerk before Charity came on the scene. Dublin’s gentry took one look at her and pushed me aside.”
“Oh, pshaw. Don’t believe her. It took me a solid six months to catch up.” Charity removed a roll from the basket, eyed the lighter one on Brady’s plate and switched it with hers. He stared her down, but she ignored him.
“What happened to your face?” Katie asked.
“Katie Rose!” Marcy, Faith and Charity’s voices rang in shock.
Emma smiled. “No, it’s a natural question and one I don’t mind answering. I got in the way of a pan of hot grease, I’m afraid.”
Katie’s eyes bugged. “How did you do that?”
“Katie, zip it,” Charity warned.
“Someone accidentally threw it in my face.”
Forks, knives and spoons stilled as all eyes focused on Emma.
Charity cleared her throat and elbowed Sean, who stared as if Emma had just announced she was from the moon. “So, Sean, Mother tells me you finally wrangled a promotion.”
He chewed slowly, his eyes still fixed on Emma. He swallowed and turned to his sister. “Yeah, I did. Don’t look now, sis, but you’re rubbing shoulders with the Assistant Manager of the largest hardware mercantile in south Boston. Not to mention future manager of a new store.”
One of her brows slanted up. “Well, well. Must be those dangerous good looks drawing all the ladies in to buy nuts and bolts.”
He grinned and chomped on a roll. “Must be.”

Oh, and by the way, Emma’s name was originally Myrna. I know, I know, not as appropriate as “Emma,” but keep in mind that originally, Emma was to be just a comical bit character in the beginning of A Passion Redeemed. However, just like Cluny McGee was only meant to be a bit character in A Passion Denied (but charmed me into making him a huge subordinate character), “Myrna” charmed me as well when she came to Charity’s defense over and over again. I fell in love with her gentle loyalty so much, that I made her a critical part of the story in A Passion Redeemed.

I'm so glad you changed it to Emma! And I. Love. Cluny McGee. Just sayin'. :) Loved that excerpt from the book...definitely have to read it! The part about Charity switching rolls...oh my word. Lol! How can readers find you on the internet and/or get in touch with you?

I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can contact me through my Web site at, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including one right now to have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” (, which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog (, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.
Awesome, thanks so much, Julie! It's been a real pleasure to have you here!

Back to Charity from here on. :) Julie has kindly offered a giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment here for Julie! The winner will be announced in January, right here on my blog. And the winner will be contacted by Julie, so please leave an email address! Otherwise, you can't be entered. ((side note: make sure you leave it in this form to avoid spammers: charityu.austenite[at]gmail[dot]com ))
You could win your own copy of A Heart Revealed!

So just leave a comment, with your email, for Julie! She will be coming by to reply to you, so make sure you subscribe to comments. :)

Extra entries? Definitely!

If you posted about this week of giveaways, you get +2 entries!

+2 if you post about this particular interview and giveaway!

+2 if you follow Austenitis!

Now go ahead and enter! This is an international giveaway, that ends at midnight on December 31. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finding God in the Star of Bethlehem

Was the star of Bethlehem a myth created by the early church? Or a real astronomical event? The DVD “The Star of Bethlehem: Unlock the Mystery of the World’s Most Famous Star” explores the science behind finding God in the star of Bethlehem. When attorney Rick Larson’s daughter asked him about the Bethlehem star,  he set out to find answers. What he found astounded him. Because the story of the star in the Bible includes King Herod, much of the research is dependent on when Herod died. The events that involved him obviously must have occurred previous to that date. Many scholars dated “Herod the Great’s death…no later than March or April in 4 BC”, but Rick Larson found Herod may have died a few years later, opening up an additional couple of years to search the celestial skies for an event that might have been the Star.
Larson combined a careful search of the book of Matthew with use of astronomy software he purchased to run on his computer. He discovered what those in pre-computer generations never could view: an astronomical event that may have led the Magi to Jesus.
The FAQ page, which appears on both the web site and The Star of Bethlehem Facebook’s “Extended Info” page  says this:
“Christ’s Star, described in the Book of Matthew, correlates precisely with celestial events we know occurred in 2 and 3 B.C.”
Viewing the skies from ancient Babylon (where the Magi may have originated), Larson says:
“A magus watching Jupiter that September saw two objects moving so close that they appeared to touch. This close approach of celestial bodies is sometimes called a ‘conjunction.’ Our Middle Eastern viewer saw Jupiter coming into a close conjunction with the star, Regulus. Regulus takes its name from the word root which yields our word ‘regal.’ The Babylonians called Regulus Sharu, which means ‘king.’ The Romans called Regulus Rex, which means ‘king.’ So to start things, at the beginning of the new Jewish year, the Planet of Kings met the Star of Kings.”
Rick Larson talked about how this conjunction moved through the constellation Leo the Lion, and that Jesus’ earthly ancestry is the tribe of Judah, known as the Lion.
Here on Finding God Daily back on November 16, 2011, we talked about how this very same star, Regulus, is currently in conjunction with Mars in our article “Finding God in Mars.”
I viewed “The Star of Bethlehem” DVD with friends the other night and I loved it. Rick Larson’s research shows, once again, that God’s universe is crafted with the precision of the most accurate watch and everything is ticking away just as He determined it to do from the beginning.
I highly recommend the DVD or the live presentation of “The Star of Bethlehem.” Much of the information is also on the web site. If you view the DVD with your friends and family, I’m sure you will see them finding God in the Star of Bethlehem.
See here “The Star of Bethlehem” DVD promo video:
Related articles:  Finding God in the Sounds of the

I hope you enjoyed this blog and all the incredible information.  As I said,  I was led to this blog by the Star.....LOL!

May your Christmas be filled with hope and your New Year be filled with peace and blessings of joy.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Hello Friends,

Kathi Macias is a most admired Christian writer of mine, surely many of you have read her writings. If not, go to her blog site and find out about the most "on the edge" authoring she is capable of. Kathi writes the kind of story you won't want to put down. She allows the Holy Spirit to quote and interject the Word where it has the most spiritual effect. Today, she wrote this beautiful epitome that touched my heart and I hope she doesn't mind my sharing with you.

I'm quoting her comment on Facebook this morning that brought to mind many thoughts about.....well, just thoughts.... Here is what Kathi had to say, encouraging you to visit her blog and read what she had to say.

"Is there someone you need to call or visit today, someone who needs to hear "I'm sorry" or "I love you"? Do you have regrets about the past or apprehensions about the future? Stop by my "Easy Writer" blog today and read my post "What a Difference a Year Makes":"

Some of you may remember this picture from Christmas 2010.

One year ago on Christmas morning, my husband snapped this photo of me with my 89-year-old mother. Just over six months later, on July 2, 2011, we all gathered together to celebrate her 90th birthday. Then, on August 3, just one month and one day later, Mom "graduated to heaven," where she is now spending Christmas with the One whose birth we now celebrate.

Wow. What a difference a year makes! Or even a month or a week or a day. We aren't promised any time beyond this moment, at least so far as our temporal life here on earth, but we are promised eternity with Christ if we receive Him as our Savior and turn our lives over to Him.

Mom did that when she was fifty years old, and she lived the last forty of her years as a child of God. That's why, as Christmas 2011 closes in on us, we can rejoice for her even though our celebration is tinged with the sadness of missing her. We know where Mom is at this very moment, and one day soon we will join her there. What a great and precious promise!

If you haven't already settled that "forever issue" in your own heart, don't let another minute go by without doing so. None of us knows where we will be this time next year, but if we know the One who holds the future in His nail-scarred hands, we can rest in His eternal security. Just ask Him to forgive you, to be your Lord and Savior, to keep you close to His heart for all eternity--and He will faithfully do so. And then, if there's someone you need to visit or call or just makes things right with, do it now...while you still can. Trust me; you'll be glad you did.

Merry Christmas, beloved ones, and a joyous New Year to all of you!

Thank you, Kathi! We wish you a Christmas full of hope and lots of love in the New Year.

Hugs to All,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pam Hillman's Stealing Jake KindlePalooza!!!

Only 3 days left to enter the Stealing Jake KindlePalooza! Winner receives a Kindle and 12 of the 2012 ACFW Book Club picks throughout the year. The winner will have their choice of Steallng Jake by Pam Hillman, Digitalis by Ronie Kendig, The Chair by James L. Rubart, Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay, Pursued by Lillian K. Duncan and more! You do not have to be a member of the ACFW Book Club to enter.
What's a KindlePalooza? It's big! It's better! It's A-Palooza!