08 October 2015

'THE BEST GIFT OF ALL' by Julie Lessman - Reviewed by Bonnie Roof





Bonnie reviews 'THE BEST GIFT OF ALL' by Julie Lessman 
IN Home for Christmas: Christmas Historical Romance Collection 
5 Stars *****

"I need 'you', Lizzie - your laughter, your encouragement, your gentleness, your love - and not just in my bed. I need you in my heart and my mind, to feel your love like before, when it was just you and me. I need to be close to you, hold you, talk to you, pray about where I've been in my mind lately." (The Best Gift of All).


Boston, Massachusetts  - 1934

It's 9 p.m., Lizzie Brady sighs as her husband, John, is late getting home from work - as on so many previous nights. During the Depression many people are pressed to work long hours, as does John with his business partner Collin McGuire, Lizzie's brother-in-law, at their printing business. John - previously always gentle, kind, and steady - has become irritable, Lizzie feeling he is no longer the perfect spouse, mentor, and lover. Even six-year-old Teddy and four-year-old Molly have noticed their father's "grumpiness". Lizzie, has put baby Sara to bed, Teddy and Molly are hoping to stretch bedtime long enough to show their father their artwork. Lizzie is fatigued, due to her advancing pregnancy and caring for three children; this pregnancy affecting her worse than the previous three.

Work isn't the only thing contributing to the changes in John. When Molly gets out of bed repeated times, having problems sleeping - Lizzy gets in bed with her, John's resentment of the attention Lizzie gives their children - reappears. Until Lizzie's current pregnancy, John felt he had the perfect marriage - Lizzie's feelings near worship (one look or kiss being all it used to take to make her "swoon"), they almost never fought.

He loves his children, yet his jealousy of them fills him with guilt, shame, and makes him feel weak - the attention Lizzie gives them leaves little for him; he doesn't know how to tell her without sounding selfish. "What kind of man resents his children? A man who needs his wife." Lizzie is the best mother he knows, but sometimes he needs a wife, sometimes - their children need to learn the love of he and Lizzie come first. He was always a man who inspired trust - now his own lack of trust could destroy him and the love of his wife. He can be prideful, continue to withdraw into his work, forget his convictions and God, watch his love being strangled through his resentment; but chooses to beseech God to free him of jealousy, restore his heart and the peace and harmony he and Lizzie have always known. 

Lizzie doesn't feel their marriage can be the same as it was before they became parents, with responsibilities to their children. When she invites a former boyfriend, Michael, John's estranged brother who betrayed both of them - to their house, in the hopes of renewing John's relationship with his brother, tensions are stressed to the max. She feels a stranger to her own husband, weak, an imperfect mother, and a failure as a wife. Feeling, also, John has a clean heart and pure love - unlike her - and doesn't love her as much as he once did.

Two people struggling to mend the lines of communication, and their love - in the process. Julie Lessman has written a beautiful, heart-warming fiction that is based on fact from a friend's story, and one that, unfortunately, many people are now confronted with on a daily basis. I loved visiting with the warm, endearing, members of the O'Connor family again - enjoying all the other elements I've come to expect in Julie's stories: passion, romance, drama, unexpected twists, anguish, humor, forgiveness and redemption - through God's love and seeking His plan for one's life. 'The Best Gift of All' will be an inspiration to all!

And they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. Mark 10:8-9.

'The Best Gift of All' is part of the 'Home For Christmas', Historical Christian Romance Collection, available at Amazon. NOTE: We hope to review some of the other fine novellas in this collection soon! Ruth Logan Herne, our front-runner for Angel's Heart Award (Julie won our first one!) has Second Chance Christmas, Pam Hillman, who we've also hosted on OWG blog has All Aboard: Destination Chrismas (Which sounds great!), and Janet Dean has A Daddy for Christmas (sweet!)--so be on the watch!!!

PRE-ORDER NOW from Amazon - Kindle copy for only $2.99--Releases October 10th!!!


Giveaway: Julie has generously offered an ebook giveaway copy of 'The Best Gift of All' to one blessed commenter!! Question: What book of Julie's is your favorite?  

117 comments:

  1. Thank you for the great review, BONNIE! I loved this story and I'll never know how Julie Lessman packs so much into a novella. My favorite story of Julie's? Tough question! But I would have to say A Light in the Window. That book was filled with two of my very favorite things -- Christmas and romance!

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    1. I loved it too, Diana - as with all of Julie's books/novellas. Isn't 'A Light in the Window' sweet and beautiful?? I shed tears when I first saw the video, before I even read the book, and then again during the reading. Julie's husband did such a beautiful job with the cover and video for it. I so agree re: all Julie packs into a novella- the passion, inspiration, and beautiful characters of each of her books/novellas always tugs at my heartstrings!! Thanks for your beautiful comments, Diana.

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    2. Bonnie and Diana -- what can I say? You guys ALWAYS blow me away with your incredible support and amazing reviews. Each time I think you can't top the last review you gave me, you make me tear up and read with mouth ajar.

      Bonnie, I am soooooooo thrilled that you -- one of my dearest friends -- enjoyed The Best Gift of All, so THANK YOU for this amazing review. I am blessed by your kind words and doubly blessed to know and love you.

      Love ALL you guys to pieces!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. Thank you so much, Julie - we at OWG love you to pieces, too!! We love your books, and so appreciate your always taking the time to respond to our reader's comments, as well as providing giveaway copies of your books - you are always such a wonderful supporter of OWG.

      It's always a joy to review any of your books - I only hope mine do them justice - I never tire of sharing about them, it's always an honor to have a part in making new readers aware of your beautiful, inspiring writing!! Trust me, dear Julie - "I" am the one who is always blessed and inspired by your beautiful words, continual prayers, and sweet friendship!! Love you!!

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  2. BONNIE, thank you for the fantastic review! The Best Gift of All sounds like the perfect novella to read this holiday season.

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    1. Thank you so much, Caryl!! 'The Best Gift of All' IS the perfect novella to read for Christmas, and any other time of the year - it's full of family and heart-warming characters redeemed by a loving God - as all of Julie's books are. You'll also receive 3 other beautiful stories in the collection. Warning: if you haven't read any of Julie's books, they're like eating popcorn - read one, and you'll want to read them all!!

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    2. Hey, CARYL, thanks for coming by, and The Best Gift of All is a Christmas story, but there's a very serious side to it because it's a very real problem in some marriages. I saw it first-hand with a dear friend whose marriage was all but destroyed by it, as were the children's relationships with the dad. But the good news is that God sent His Son with Whom all things are possible, especially the healing of a marriage.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  3. I haven't read any of Julie's books but so want to I I think this would be a great one to start with!By the way I do have "Light in the window" in my pile to read

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    1. Oh, Debbie - please move 'A Light in the Window' to the top of your TBR pile, it has a Christmas setting in it also, and is one of Julie's sweetest and most beautiful books. It sets the tone, and is an introduction to, her Daughters of Boston series - the first book being 'A Passion Most Pure'.

      You will love 'The Best Gift of All', it is based on 2 characters from her Daughter of Boston series - however, you don't have to have read the other books to enjoy this novella. As I told the previous commenter - once you read any of Julie's writing, I feel you'll want to read everything she's written. Her passion is addictive!! Thanks for your comments!!

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    2. Debbie, once you read one of her books I think you will be hooked and want to read more.
      Blessings, Tina

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    3. Amen, Tina!! You know how addictive Julie's books are, don't you, lol??

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    4. Debbie, I am SO glad you have ALITW in your TBR pile because with Christmas coming, I encourage you to do as Bonnie said and move it to the top. And to motivate you further, here is a link to the video my artist hubby did for ALITW with my daughter as the model in both the video and on the book cover. I hope it convinces you to read it soon. And when you do, I would love to hear if you liked it. And if you don't? Uh ... well ... never mind! ;)

      A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW VIDEO

      Hugs and Happy Reading!
      Julie

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  4. I can't pick which of Julie's books is my favorite! Maybe Faith's story since it was the first one I read by her.

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    1. Hi, Kate!! It's a tough question - no doubt - choosing a fave "Julie" book, kind of like having to choose a fave child, lol!! You will love adding this novella, and the novellas of the other 3 authors in the collection, to your books. Cross your fingers for a win, and please leave a way to contact you - should you be the winner of this beautiful collection. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. KATE!! Sounds like you've read a number of my books, so THANK YOU, my friend -- MUCH appreciated!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  5. The only one I have read thus far is A Light in the Window and I loooved it!! But I recently purchased the three novels in the The Heart of San Francisco series when they were on sale, which I am very much looking forward to. Also super excited about Isle of Hope!! :)

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    1. If you loved 'A Light in the Window' - you will love everything Julie has written, Sydney. She writes with the same passion, family scenes, heart-warming characters, drama, angst, story twists, romance, humor, happy ending, and characters redeemed through the grace of God - in everything she writes.

      The Heart of San Francisco series is a little lighter than The Daughters of Boston series, yet still has all the above elements I mentioned. I think her first contemporary, 'Isle of Hope', will prove to be just as beautiful, or more so, than her historical fiction - and will draw in readers from both genres. Julie has her own writing style, and puts so much of herself in each thing she writes - it will come across in all genres. I'm anxious to read the Western series she's writing - that will be a new kind of enjoyment from her also.

      Thanks for your enthusiastic comments, Sydney!!

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    2. SYDNEY!!! Sooooo fun to see you here, my friend, and I'm soooo looking forward to seeing what you think of Isle of Hope. Thanks again for being SUCH a rock star when it comes to blog tours, girlfriend. :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. Thanks Bonnie! I look forward to reading all of Julie's books some day! :D

      Thanks Julie. I am super excited about Isle of Hope.

      Forgot my email address before so here it is: sydneyjames68 [at] gmail [dot] com

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  6. Great review Bonnie!
    The Best Gift of All sounds really good. As to which book of Julie Lessman is my favorite, that is hard to answer. of my favorites is Love at Any Cost--The Heart of San Francisco Book 1 and A Passion Most Pure--The Daughters of Boston book 1.
    Blessings,Tina

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    1. I totally understand - they're all wonderful, aren't they, Tina?? You will love 'The Best Gift of All' - but how could you not?? Julie Lessman, romance, faith, and Christmas - need I say more, lol?? Thanks for your kind comments, I so appreciate your encouragement and shares!!

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    2. MRS. TINA ... that's always a good thing when it's hard to pick a favorite, so THANK YOU!! And blessings right back to you, my friend. :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  7. I haven't read her books yet. I hope to read one very soon. fishingjan9at0aol9dot0com

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    1. Hi, Jan!! So glad you stopped by - you have a reading treat ahead. As you're new to Julie's books, you're blessed to have the opportunity of reading each of the books in her 3 series back-to-back, without having to wait a year in between each one for the next release. That, to me, is indescribably joy!!

      'A Light in the Window' is the story of the parents of the O'Connor children, who each have a book written about them. The 1st series on the O'Connor's is The Daughters of Boston, the books in it are: 'A Passion Most Pure' (Julie's first book), 'A Passion Redeemed', and 'A Passion Denied'. The 2nd series on the O'Connor's is Winds of Change, the books in it are: "A Hope Undaunted', 'A Heart Revealed', and 'A Love Surrendered'. Julie's 3rd series is The Heart of San Francisco - about the McClare family. The books in it are: 'Dare to Love Again', 'Love at Any Cost', and 'Surprised by Love'. Each of these books is historical fiction. Julie has written a couple of novellas about characters from her historical fiction series - 'The Best Gift of All' is about characters from the O'Connor family. Her first contemporary fiction release is 'Isle of Hope', which releases Nov. 1st. Julie also runs contests to have characters in coming books named after her readers - check out her website, and blog - journaljots.com - for more info. Each of her books is beautiful, please enjoy them all - good luck in the drawing!!

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    2. P.S. Jan, as there is more than one Journal Jots site, it's probably easier to go to Julie's home page at julielessman.com, then click on Journal Jots from there. You can also read a chapter of her coming release, 'Isle of Hope' - from her home page.

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    3. JAN!!! Oh, girl, you are JUST the type of reader I'm looking for -- new blood! ;)

      If you don't win here, I highly encourage you to consider downloading the ebook for A Light in the Window because it's on sale right now for only 99 cents. And to motivate you a wee bit, here's a link to the video my artist hubby did for ALITW with my daughter as the model in both the video and on the book cover. I hope it convinces you to read it soon.

      A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW VIDEO

      Hugs and Happy Reading!
      Julie

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  8. 'A Light in the Window'.. I would like to read this one too :)
    dkstevensne AToutlookDOT Com

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    1. So many people love 'A Light in the Window' - it more than deserves each of the awards it's won, Deanna. Your name is in the drawing for Julie's 'The Best Gift of All' - you'll love it, and the other 3 beautiful novellas in the Home For Christmas collection too!! Thanks for your comments.

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    2. Trust me, DEANNA, I would like for you to read it too, so I encourage you to check the video out below that my artist hubby did with my daughter as the model, then hop on over to Amazon to download the ebook for a mere 99 cents. I promise if you don't like it, I will refund your money. :)

      Hugs and Happy Reading!
      Julie

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  9. I, too, enjoy these "visits" with the O'Connor family; they are such wonderful characters. I like all of Julie's books but I guess my favorite would have to be A Passion Most Pure since it's the book that started them all. Thanks for the chance to win this Christmas story about Elizabeth and Brady.

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    1. It's a treat to revisit the O'Connor's, isn't it, Pam?? Julie's characters are so heart-warming and 'down-to-earth', they take up residence in my heart and soul - leaving fond memories of their stories. It's hard to say whether 'A Passion Most Pure' or 'A Light in the Window' would win the most votes - they are 2 faves, for sure. 'A Light in the Window' hasn't been out nearly as long, but as you commented, 'A Passion Most Pure' is the book that started Julie's characters on their paths - for many people, such as you, that makes it their fave. There's no doubt that each of Julie's books is special. Thanks for your wonderful comments!!

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    2. PAM!!! You're about due for a win, my friend, so fingers crossed!

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
      Julie

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  10. I love the book "A light in the window" What a great Christmas story. It made me cry in some spots and smile in others. Congrats on your newest book. Good luck. Thank you for the for the great giveaway.

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    1. Thanks for your beautiful comments, Tammy!! You're certainly not alone with your love of 'A Light in the Window' - yes, it's such a beautiful, sweet Christmas story, and also a wonderful book to be read any time of the year. As with you, I've found myself both laughing and shedding some tears while reading each of Julie's books. She knows how to wring every kind of emotion out of her readers, with that passion of hers, lol!!

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    2. TAMMY, thank you SO much for your sweet comment and for your best wishes -- I sooooo appreciate them!

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest. :)
      Julie

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  11. A Passion Most Pure for certain. 1, it was one of my first Christian fiction and reading about very real passion is very authentic. 2, First book of Julie's and loved it. 3, the O'Connors was a family I fell in love with. Every one of them.

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    1. JUST COMMONLY, I am SO glad you enjoyed the O'Connors -- I love them, too, and look forward to continuing their story with WWII trilogies about each of the cousins.

      Here's to a win, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. You sound like a girl "after my own heart", Just Commonly!! I had only read one other author in Christian Fiction when I read my first book of Julie's - 'A Passion Most Pure'. As with you, I fell in love with her writing style and all that "authentic" passion - with the first book - and of course, with each member of the O'Connor family also. I get a warm feeling just thinking about the O'Connor family members.

      Thank you for your sweet comments!! Please leave a way to contact you, should you be the winner of the novella collection - which includes 'The Best Gift of All'!! Please visit us again.

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    3. Thank you Julie and Bonnie! There's more!! Fellow readers, did you hear (read) that?! I'm so excited! And thank you both for a win! I'm looking forward to reading a Home for Christmas! Blessings to all.
      justcommonly (at) gmail (dot) com

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  12. Bonnie, great review of "The Best Gift of All". Love, love, love Julie's books! It's SO hard picking one that's a favorite, but I have to say that "A Light in the Window" is probably my favorite, with "Dare to Love Again" coming a close second. SO happy that Julie has been continuing on with the O'Conner family series. Love that family! :) Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

    bookwarp(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. ANG!!! I'm with you, girlfriend -- it's been a blast for me to continue on with the O'Connors because they are like family to me, so I promise you lots more stories in the future. I have next year's Christmas novella already dreamed up, about Katie and Luke, so I'll keep them coming if you keep reading them ... :)

      Hugs and more hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Thank you for your kind comments, Angi!! I love, love, love those books of Julie's too, lol!! They're all beautiful, aren't they?? You belong to a large family of readers in love with the O'Connor family - as with you, I'm thrilled that Julie will continue to write about them - as well as some new families.

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  13. I haven't read any of Julie's books yet, but based on the above comments and reviews that I've read there all fantastic books!

    Would love to win!
    Lientjie

    lientjiehuman(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au

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    1. LIENTJIE, trust me -- would love for you to win, too, my friend, so GOOD LUCK in this contest. But if you don't win, I encourage you to check out A Light in the Window, my Irish Christmas love story that is on sale for only 99 cents right now. And to motivate you further, here is a link to the video my artist hubby did for ALITW with my daughter as the model in both the video and on the book cover. I hope it convinces you to read it soon.

      A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW VIDEO

      Hugs and Happy Reading!
      Julie

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    2. Oh, Lientjie - you have no idea what reading treats are ahead of you, with Julie's books!! The emotion in them will touch your heart, the faith will inspire your soul, the characters will be become friends with which you don't want to part. Your name is entered in the drawing - please purchase 'A Light in the Window' (even if you win 'The Best Gift of All'). It's one of the best reading bargains ever - especially for the sale price of $.99!! But be warned - you're going to want to read everything Julie's written, once you read one of her books, lol!! Enjoy them, and please stop by and visit with us again soon.

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  14. What a generous giveaway - perfect for fall reading :) My favourite Julie Lessman book is Dare to Love Again! The chemistry between Allison and Nick is spunky, spontaneous, and unpredictable! I love playful hot and cold chemistry and to read that in a book is amazing! I am rereading Dare to Love Again right now :)

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    1. Allison and Nick - those two gave me some laughs, for sure; I loved their tender moments too. Elia, you described the chemistry between them perfectly: spunky, spontaneous, and unpredictable. So glad you found them "right up your alley", so much so that you're reading their story again. I would love to re-read each one of Julie's books - if I only had the time, they're all beautiful. Good luck in the giveaway, thanks for your beautiful comments - please stop by to visit with us again.

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    2. A CUP OF NOSTALGIA -- I can tell we get along fine in our romantic-fiction tastes because I LOVE stories with lots of head-butting and "hot and cold chemistry" too! Which is why Katie and Luke and Charity & Mitch in my O'Connor family saga (along with Alli and Nick!) are my absolute FAVES, so I hope you've had the chance to read them also. My all-time favorite movie is Gone With the Wind, and movies like McClintock where John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara butt heads are soooo fun, which is why I soooo love writing stories like that. :)

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
      Julie

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  15. I'm looking forward to reading all the novella collections coming out this winter from so many authors I love! One of my favorite books of Julie's is A Light in the Window.

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, HEIDI, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you are going to LOVE the three other novellas in HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Janet Dean, Pam Hillman, and Ruth Logan Herne -- all award-winning authors!

      Good luck!
      Julie

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    2. Isn't it a fun time of year for reading, Heidi?? Novellas are wonderful as their length allow you to read more stories, from more authors. As Diana commented - Julie packs a lot of story into her novellas, the Seekers novella collections are always wonderful. Thanks for your wonderful comments!!

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  16. I am very particular about my choice in novellas, especially holiday themed collections. It is easy to get bogged down with the thrust of Christmas stories coming out. I'm also have an affinity for long, epic, heavily detailed reads. It isn't very often that a novella can pull me in and then I never want to leave. That being said, the quote at the beginning of the review from Julie's novella, The Best Gift of All, brought tears to my eyes. THAT ONE QUOTE! I'm seriously hormonal or this is my one must-read Christmas collection this year. It doesn't hurt that I love, love, love Julie Lessman and Ruth Logan Herne's books and their outward and overflowing love for the Lord. I haven't read anything from Janet Dean, but Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman was a must-read for me this year. Thanks, Bonnie for the emotion-inducing review. :)

    tlhcoupon (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. LOL, TLHCOUPON, you had me at "I also have an affinity for long, epic, heavily detailed reads"!!! I knew right then and there that you either ARE a reader friend of mine or desperately need to be!! ;)

      Thanks SO much for reading my books, my friend, and I think you are going to LOVE these novellas, so GOOD LUCK!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Thank you so much, Terrill!! That quote choked me up too, Julie's books always do that to me - and most of her other readers, I'm sure. Readers are rewarded with a wealth of emotion and detail, even in her novellas. That emotion is one of the reasons I love to read them, the other is the faith in them - as you commented, the faith in Julie's books is "outward and overflowing". It shows so vividly because Julie is led by God in developing characters redeemed by a loving God in each of her books, she puts so much of herself into them also. However, as with you, I love spending the time to become totally engrossed with the characters in one of her long books too.

      All of the Seeker novella collections are wonderful, Terrill - enjoy!! Thanks for your emotion-filled comments, sounds like you and I are a lot alike, lol. We'd love to visit with you again soon!!

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  17. That is really not a fair question! Lol! The answer is all of them! But I will pay along and pick one! A Passion Most Pure, the first book I read of Julie's. And this novella seems to hit a topic that a lot of marriages face at one time or another. Can not wait to read it! I love Julie's wisdom and insight. And the O'Conner family, makes it even better! I am so glad she is continuing on with their stories! Yay for us!

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    1. Aw, NANCE, you are SUCH a sweetheart, my friend -- thank you for your sweet comment! And I don't know how much "wisdom" is in involved, but certainly PLENTY of insight after I bungled so many marital situations in my own life over the years, so hopefully my readers will learn from MY mistakes!

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
      Julie

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    2. Amen, Nancy - yay for Julie's readers, as she continues to write about a family we all love. Julie is too modest, she has much wisdom and insight - especially spiritually. It's important we learn from our mistakes, and hopefully, use them to inspire others, which Julie does so beautifully with her books. 'The Best Gift of All' will inspire many people - it's topic truly is one which plague many marriages. What better time to address it than with the coming Christmas season - which is so family connected??

      Lol, Nancy - I have to agree, it wasn't a fair question. All of Julie's books are faves with me too. Thanks for your comments, please leave a way for us to contact you - should you be our giveaway winner.

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    3. Oops! Forgot to leave my email. Julie you are fabulous! Bonnie is right! Nancycooks4u ( at ) gmail ( dot ) com

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  18. Julie's books for me just keep getting better and better! I love the O'Connor family so A Light in the Window is my favorite, the beginning of a beautiful legacy! Can't wait to read more! Thank you, ladies for the review and giveaway!

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    1. Gosh, BETH, thanks SO much, my friend, I sure hope so, but I wouldn't bet any money on it ... ;)

      It's really a blessing to hear that ALITW is a favorite of so many of my reader friends because it's the sweetest and simplest of all my books, so I wasn't sure how it would be received.

      Here's to a win!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. A beautiful legacy, indeed, Beth. We never get tired of those O'Connor's - do we?? Julie's books DO seem to get better and better, don't they - although Julie addicts, like myself, wonder how that is possible, lol?? Sweet stories that seem to work like a sugar addiction - the more you read them, the more of them you want to read. You will love 'The Greatest Gift of All' for it's sweetness, as well as it's beautiful message.

      We'd love to give you this beautiful collection, if your name is drawn - please leave a way to contact you, should you be the winner. Thanks for your sweet comments, we'd love for you to visit again!!

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  19. Julie's books for me just keep getting better and better! I love the O'Connor family so A Light in the Window is my favorite, the beginning of a beautiful legacy! Can't wait to read more! Thank you, ladies for the review and giveaway!

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  20. I love all of Julie's books! So it's hard to pick a favorite. So I guess I would pick A Light in the Window as the real beginning of the Boston series.

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    1. Thanks, GRAMS, for your kind comment, but let me just say -- your pic does NOT look like you could be a "grams"!!

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
      Julie

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    2. Hi, Grams!! There are a lot of reader friends who will agree with you in the difficulty of picking a fave book by Julie, loving them all. Although not written first, 'A Light in the Window' IS the true beginning of the O'Connor family, such a beautifully sweet book it is!!

      Please leave a way to contact you, should you win this beautiful collection. Thanks for commenting, we'd love for you to visit again soon!!

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  21. It's difficult to choose one of Julie's books because I love all of them. I love both of her series but the book that tops the bunch for me is A Passion Redeemed. It is beautiful to see Charity's journey as God brings healing and love to her.

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    1. STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT, we are TWO peas in a pod on that one girl, but we are definitely in the minority. APR is my fave in the DOB series and Charity is my favorite character that I've written so far because of that very reason you state -- her journey to God! And, of course, the fact that she's a royal hoot! :)

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
      Julie

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    2. I love chatting with fellow Julie book lovers, and I LOVE Charity's transformation and journey to God, Starlight Starbright!! Such a beautiful story, as is the story of all who have taken that journey. The reader's condemnation of Charity turns to joy at her transformation and humorous antics in future books.

      Thanks for your great comments, come back soon!! Please leave a way to contact you - should you be the winner of Home For Christmas.

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  22. My ABSOLUTE favorite by Julie is A Passion Most Pure! So good, I was IMMIDIETLY hooked!

    / Swedish reader friend Clara

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    1. WOW, CLARA, thank you SO much! A Passion Most Pure is definitely the clear frontrunner on the favorite book among my reader friends, and I think part of that is because it was my love letter to God when I wrote it. I wanted to create a character whose faith -- and failings -- reflected mine, so Faith O'Connor was "born"! :)

      Thank you SO much for your sweet comment and just for reading my books in the first place!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. So glad to meet you, Clara!! Such talent and passion Julie has - it only takes one of her books to "hook" her reader friends. I love 'A Passion Most Pure' for it's beauty and sweetness, but even more so for it's testimony from it's author: "it was my love letter to God, I wanted to create a character whose faith -- and failings -- reflected mine, so Faith O'Connor was "born"!

      We'd love to chat with you again at OWG, Clara!! Good luck in the drawing, please leave a way for us to contact you - should you be the winner.

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  23. Thank you for your lovely review Bonnie! I haven't had the chance to read it yet, so I stopped myself from reading all of your review because I only wanted a little taste... And oh, how delicious it sounds too!! ;) Soon as I finish off the review I'm working on, I'll be devouring The Best Gift of All... Hope it's edible!! ;) Oh and in answer to the question... The Daughter's of Boston series. I know that's 3, but I can't pick one!!!

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    1. LOL, NOELA, that's okay -- you selected just one series, so you're good! ;) I'm anxious to see what you think, my friend, so HAPPY READING!

      Hugs and more hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Thank you for your beautiful comments, Noela!! Hold on to your "reading hat and seat", my friend, lol - my review only contained info from the first chapter or two. As Diana commented, Julie "packs" a lot into everything she writes, including this beautiful novella. You'll love it - it's a delicious thing for the eyes to devour!! YAY for The Daughter of Boston series!!

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  24. I couldn't pick a favorite. I'm being honest. I've read them all and loved all of them. And the fact that this compilation has two of my absolute favorite Christian fiction authors is making it very difficult to stick to my book buying moratorium. :-) (Julie and Ruthie- love their sense of humor and how real their characters are.

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    1. FROM SNOWFLAKES TO HOTCAKES ... let me just say I LOVE your name!!! Tooooo cute!!

      And thanks for your kind comment, my friend, I sure hope you win because I'd hate to break your moratorium OR see you go without reading Lizzie and Brady's story! :)

      GOOD LUCK & hugs,
      Julie

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    2. A lot of people with the same problem, it seems, lol - always glad to meet another lover of Julie's books, From Snowflakes to Hotcakes!! Lifelike characters and humor - 2 book elements from 2 gifted authors, loved by their readers.

      I hope you'll break your moratorium and purchase Home For Christmas - if you're not our winner, yet, we'd love to give it to you, if you are. Please leave a way for us to contact you, thanks for your comments-visit us at OWG again, soon.

      P.S. I so agree with Julie, such a cute name you have!!

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    3. Aw, thank you so much! I am just smiling all night, seeing that sweet remark! And Bonnie, you know I love you to pieces! I'll keep company with you gals over here anytime!

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    4. And such an accurate remark it is, Ruthy!! You and Julie write such life-like characters into your books, the reader feels akin to them - they take up residence in one's heart, there to reside for an indefinite amount of time. And that sense of humor, who doesn't enjoy and appreciate it - especially, when going through some of life's trials, as we all do, from time-to-time. I love you too, dear Ruthy, and that optimistic joy of yours (your books aren't half bad, either, lol). We'd love to have you hang out with us at OWG any time you'd like!! Thanks for stopping by - can't wait to read your 'Second Chance Christmas'!!

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  25. I am not sure I could possiblely choose a favorite! This story sounds wonderful and I would love to win.
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, BETTI, then I won't make you try! ;)

      I'd love for you to win, too, so here's hoping I can send you this novella collection -- GOOD LUCK!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Thanks for visiting with us again, Betti!! A fave not needed if your name is drawn as the winner of this wonderful collection. 'The Best Gift of All' is a beautiful story with an amazing message - you'll enjoy, and be inspired by, it.

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  26. My favorite, I think, is The Light in the Window. I have loved all of your books!

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    1. Thanks, COURTNEY, it's one of my favorites too, as I hope Lizzie and Brady's novella will become as well, so GOOD LUCK! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Thank you, Courtney - a lot of votes for 'A Light in the Window' today. Welcome, to a fellow lover of Julie's books!!

      We'd love to give you another story from Julie - to love - if you're our winner. Please leave a way for us to contact you, and stop by to chat with us again soon!!

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  27. Love at any cost is my favorite so far. But I do enjoy all your books.

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    1. Thx SO much, Kim, for reading my books, & here's hoping I can send you my latest if you win, OK?

      Hugs! Julie

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    2. Aren't Cassidy and Jamie wonderful characters, Kim?? They gave me laughs starting with the opening line in 'Love at Any Cost': "Sweet thunderation - deliver me from pretty men"!, but were wrenching the emotion from my heart soon after. Each of Julie's books is such a joy!!

      Thanks for commenting, stop by and leave a way of contact - should you win Home For Christmas. Good luck!!

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  28. So HARD to pick a favorite, but I'd lean towards the one about Luke and Katie. That might be because I like the setting so much and those two characters invest a lot in needy children.

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    1. Love your name, J:-)mi!! 'A Hope Undaunted' - another beautiful book, don't the children in Julie's books bring out the reader's smiles and tears?? Having worked as a houseparent with abused and neglected children for almost 7 years, I have a heart for children with any kind of need - so 'A Hope Undaunted' touched me in a special way too.

      I appreciate your sensitive comments - please visit us again. Also - leave a means of contact, should you be our blessed winner of Home For Christmas.

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    2. J:)MI ... I lean towards Katie and Luke's story, too -- it's my fave of all the books I've written, so thank you for thinking so too. :) Of course Luke does have something to do with it too -- he and Mitch are my favorite heroes I've written. :)

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
      Julie

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  29. I ADORE Julie's writings!! They're always so realistic and nail biting with sweet romance and redemptive moments! Love!! My favorite I think, is probably Surprised by Love but it may just be because I love the name Jamie and that was my first book that I had read of Julie's. My mom is hooked now too! I can't wait to read this one!!

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    1. Hi, Nicki!! Was the book you're referring to: 'Love at Any Cost', Cassidy and Jamie's story, rather than 'Surprised By Love'?? I think there is a special attachment to the first of Julie's books read, for the reader. You're right on with your description of her books: realistic, naiI biting, sweet romance, redemptive moments. I hope you'll read all 3 of the books in The Heart of San Francisco series, if you haven't already - each is special, in it's own way. If Julie hasn't used your name for one of her characters, it's a possibility - if you're the winner of the contest she runs with the coming release of each new book. Check it out on her website. I make my appearance in 'Surprised by Love', starting on page 90, lol!!

      I so appreciate your sweet, enthusiastic comments, please leave a way for us to contact you - should you be our winner of Julie's novella. Kudos for encouraging Mom to read Julie's books!! Stop by again soon.

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    2. Aw, NICKI, thank you SO much for your sweet comment -- I "adore" reader friends like you, girlfriend, so it's a mutual admiration society for sure. :) The Heart of San Fran series was SO much fun for me to write, so i appreciate that you enjoyed it too. And it tickles me to no end that you hooked your mom into reading my books too -- YAY!! That blesses me. :)

      Here's hoping I can send you Lizzie and Brady's story if you win!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  30. Great review!!! I haven't read the other 3 stories in Home for Christmas. Can't wait. And it releases TOMORROW! Yay!!

    We're all SO excited! :)

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    1. I appreciate your sweet comments so much, Pam - thanks for taking the time to stop by and visit with us!! All 4 of you authors - Julie, Ruth Logan Herne, Janet Dean, and yourself - have a right to be excited, the Seeker novella collections are always so beautiful, heart-warming, and inspiring. I can't wait to read the other 3 novellas in this collection, including your 'All Aboard: Destination Christmas' - I enjoy your writing so much!! Yay, indeed!!

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    2. PAMMY!!! I can't wait to read the other novellas either, because I LOVE your work, Ruthy's and Janets, so color me excited as well! Thanks for coming by, my friend.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  31. I (big, puffy, heart) love all of Julie's books. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be the one which started it all, A Passion Most Pure.

    Have a great day! I can't wait to read this new book!

    Wendi

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    1. Welcome, Wendi!! Love that comment - big, puffy heart - that's what Julie's books do to the ardent followers of her writing, right?? 'A Passion Most Pure' is the historical book of Julie's heart, and of the heart of many of her readers too, I'm sure!!

      Thanks for your beautiful comments, hope your day was great - also. I'm sure winning 'Home For Christmas' would make another great day for you, also. Please stop by to chat with us again soon, also please leave a way to contact you - should you be our winner.

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    2. LOL ... a "big, puffy heart"? That is sooooo darn cute, girlfriend, THANK YOU!! A Passion Most Pure is definitely the favorite among my reader friends, so you're in the majority, my friend.

      Good luck in the contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. Thanks, ladies!

      Silly me for not leaving my contact info...what can I say, Julie's books make me forget what I'm supposed to do :D

      wowendi{at}gmail{dot}com

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  32. THIS BLOG IS HOPPING TODAY! Oh my stars, Julie and Bonnie know how to pack 'em in! First, this is a delightfully wonderful Julie Lessman novella, it's filled with the warmth, love, light and passion we expect in her work.... and I'm crazy delighted to be in this collection with her, and to call her friend!

    Bonnie, as always, a wonderful job here, your heart for God, for Christ, for your sisters in fiction is just a wonderful thing. You bless so many people. I thank God for putting you and this beautiful blog in my path! Keep up the good work!

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    1. Lol, while I might like to take credit for all these beautiful comments, Ruthy - I think the credit probably goes to your friend Julie (her charisma is like the "Pied Piper", lol), along with you, Pam, Janet and all the other Seekers - with your beautiful novella collections, and of course, Carrie - who developed this beautiful blog, and my team members: Diana, Teresa, and Noela. I feel God has a big hand in it, also - because of the writing gift He has given the authors who appear here, and His direction of those who visit us here.

      Thank you so much for your sweet comments, I'm humbled and tearful!! God uses the writing gift he has given each of you authors, to draw people into a closer relationship with Him. I don't take what little part I may have in sharing the knowledge of that writing with readers - lightly. I'm so grateful to Him for the blessing of every moment of education, joy, and inspiration I've received through reading Christian Fiction - you and Julie are a huge part of that. I thank Him for putting the 2 of you in my path also, everyone at OWG is blessed to have the beautiful, inspiring books you and Julie have written, and your joyful visits and comments here. Thank you!!

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    2. RUTHY!!! Ditto, my friend -- you are one of my favorite authors, girl, so right back at you! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  33. Hello girls. Been missing you. Was offline for 12 days. Finally got things fixed. No one would turn down one of Julie's books. I would love all of you to put me on your prayer list. I never get hungry but has been this way over 20 years. Therefore I don't eat as good as I should. While my hubby was still I had to cook for us, and if I got busy and didn't notice the time he would remind. But I've been sick a lot for the last several years so got worse with my eating. I have gone from a size 16 to size 6 in some and 8in others according to the brand in the last year and a half. The doctor has not seemed to worry or help me as I kept losing. I know this is not normal to lose for no reason. I always had a hard time even when I tried to lose a few pounds. Thought I had found a doctor who might help recommend by a special friend but they wouldn't take my OMB card that goes with my Medicare so have to look some more. I have asked GOD to help me to start getting my hunger back but not happened yet. My friends just tho't I looked good, but they haven't seen me in my undies. Look like those girls who get like that on purpose.I am trying to find something that will help me get hungry. PLEASE keep me in your prayers. Also that I can find a good doctor that won't just shrug it off as nothing. Love you all. And, I have tried to get on here and other blogs today and it would never bring them up and not as many of the blog links as usual. GOD bless each of you. (((Hugs))) Maxie

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    1. Dear Maxie, I've missed you too! Glad you're back online, and you can be sure I'll be praying for you for those things!! Big hugs sweet lady. xx

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    2. MAXIE!!! I definitely am saying one for you, my friend, because that is a scary thing, but I am somewhat relieved that the doc is not worried. Will pray you find a great doc who will help put your fears to rest. One summer my husband was under a deadline to finish our basement so we could have an out-of-town wedding reception there (150 people!) for our son, and he worked so hard that he lost 20 lbs. in a month, and I thought something was desperately wrong. Turns out he was so busy trying to meet the deadline that he often forgot to eat (which NEVER happens!!), thus the weight loss. So maybe the same thing is happening to you -- maybe you could even be a bit depressed, which will sap your appetite. Or it could be just a natural progression as we get older and our bodies change. That happened to a number of women I know who dropped a lot of weight quickly it seemed, including my MIL. Will pray for a resolution and an appetite. :)

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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  34. Oh, Maxie - I am so sorry you're having this problem!! I've missed your comments on OWG - I'm praying God will restore your hunger, will give you peace, and will lead you to a doctor that can help you. I will let Carrie and the other Angels know your situation so they can be praying for you. I don't know the medical reasons for your problem, however, I do know that part of eating is habit. I live alone also, and know it can be harder to maintain the discipline to do things one should do to maintain good health - when living alone.

    Due to some health issues, I'm in the midst of restructuring my entire diet and eating plan. Foods I don't frequently eat, or have never eaten, are now my entire diet. It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do - I'm not a young woman, old habits are hard to break. I've been told by more than one person that my taste for certain foods will change if I can maintain the discipline to eat the things I need to eat. I've been praying for God to change my food desires. Please force yourself to eat, gradually increasing the amounts, until you are eating a healthy diet - it may eventually help increase desires for food, and should make you feel better, overall. Include some foods that are more apt to put weight on you, drinking a supplement or other help - such as Ensure - between meals. I don't know how active you are physically able to be, but some form of daily exercise might increase your appetite also. Do you have a neighbor, friend, relative, etc. you can arrange to spend time with, and eat with, more frequently?? Just being around others can lift one's spirits and possibly increase the desire to eat. I'm not a doctor, but hopefully, these things will help you - my parents have problems eating also, it's an issue I'm not unfamiliar with. Eating healthy food on a regular basis will, hopefully, become a habit for you.

    As our blog title suggests, it is possible to overcome our issues with God's help - many have testified here, as to how this has happened for them. I know from the things you've posted here that you are a believer in this, at times - it is easier to become discouraged than others. Please continue to pray, asking for God's help in the areas we discussed, asking also that He show you the things He would have you do to help yourself. God's timing isn't always our timing, however, He will reward those who are patient and faithful in seeking His plan for them. One other thing - please ask other Christian friends to pray for your issues, putting your name on church prayer lists, etc.. Love, hugs, and blessings to you too - from your friends here at OWG, Maxie!! I'm adding your name to the drawing for Julie's beautiful novella.

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  35. What book of Julie's is my favorite???? That's a hard question....Which ever one I'm reading. ;P I love, love, love, love, love Julie's books.

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    1. Love that answer, Apple Blossom!! A diplomatic, but true one, it seems that way to me, also, lol. Maybe it's because we're so thrilled to have new books written by Julie, although - as one person commented, each book Julie writes seems to get even better than the last. I second those 5 loves of Julie's books. Thanks for your fun comments, stop by to see us again.

      I'm dropping your name in the drawing - please leave a way to contact you, should you be our winner!!

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    2. ABI!!!! I sent you two emails about my blog tour for Isle of Hope, HOPING you would be a part of the tour, but I haven't heard back from you, so I'm guessing I have the wrong email address? Also, I left a comment on your blog, so PLEASE let me know if you'd like me to add you to the list, okay? And do give me your email address in a spam-free manner, okay?

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  36. That's easy: A Passion Most Pure. You have to love the 1st book in a series or you won't continue to read the rest of them!
    Julie, thank you for writing such wonderful books, and for offering this giveaway. Keep up the good work and God bless you!

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    1. Aw, AMY, thank YOU for reading them in the first place, my friend -- I soooo appreciate it! I hope you like Isle of Hope AND I hope I can send it to you if/when you win! ;)

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  37. That's easy: A Passion Most Pure. You have to love the 1st book in a series or you won't continue to read the rest of them!
    Julie, thank you for writing such wonderful books, and for offering this giveaway. Keep up the good work and God bless you!

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    1. Good answer, and good reasoning, Amy!! There are certainly many readers who fell in love with 'A Passion Most Pure'. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

      Visit us again soon, and good luck in the giveaway - please leave a way to contact you, should you be the winner of 'The Best Gift of All'.

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