Saturday, September 4, 2010

150th Post Celebration!

Welcome to the party and book discussion, everyone! Since there has been so much excitement about Julie Lessman's books recently, I hope that it's alright if we discuss the last book of hers that I read: A Passion Denied. I think many of you have read it, and if you haven't, then feel free to join in the party anyway!

Before we get started with the book discussion, though, let's get the party started! I'm sure many of you have either read or heard of the book Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad. I'm not too far into the story, but I'm really enjoying it so far! Anyway, in honor of this book, how about we go sailing?

The weather is just right, don't you think? I love the warmth with a slight breeze surrounded by blue skies! Ashley, dear, don't lean out too far! Don't tell me you're trying to get Trip to rescue you? ;)

After sailing, perhaps we can play some miniature golf! Each person pick their favorite-colored golf ball. Oh, Renee, I think I found a black one with gold spots for you!

Julia, I had no idea you were so good at this! ;) We can all chat about Julie Lessman's books while we wait for our turns.

Now, after all of the fun and games, wouldn't it be great to find a nice place for an elegant meal, with comfortable chairs set up for our book discussion? What do you think of this?

Pretty neat, huh? I think it's just the right atmosphere for our party/book discussion! As far as food goes, there's some fresh fruit (grapes, sliced oranges, and strawberries), cheese, and dainty sandwiches. And of course we have dessert! Help yourself to some "Death by Chocolate" cake, lemon cake, vanilla ice cream, and more strawberries (this time dipped in chocolate!).

Go ahead and pile up your plates while I tell you about the giveaway! I recently read Love, Charleston and one of you can have a chance to read it, too. =) Since there will be various comments not pertaining to the giveaway, remember that you must let me know you want to be entered in the drawing, you must leave your e-mail address in your comment, you must be a follower, and you must have a U.S. mailing address if you want to enter the giveaway. The drawing is for today only, and a winner will be announced on Sunday! Be sure and read my review of this book first, just so you know what sort of book this is before you decide to enter the giveaway.

Is everyone settled in now? Casey, you can get more food than that--there's plenty for everyone! And Bluerose, you are going to have a piece of the "Death by Chocolate" cake, right? Now, let's get the discussion of A Passion Denied going!

--The verses at the beginning of the book are Psalm 104:1-4 (NLT), which read, "O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and with majesty . . . You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants." What parts/ideas of the book really stood out for you as reminders that God is majestic and sovereign? And do you think the last verse describes Brady well? Why or why not? Or do you think it describes another character better?

--Who do you feel you relate to more: Brady or Beth/Lizzie? Whose struggles and hopes most fit your own?

--Do you agree or disagree with Lizzie's pursuit of Brady? Do you think she could have handled her feelings for Brady better or done (or not done) things differently to get his attention and convince him of her love for him?

--What did you learn from Marcy and Patrick's story in this particular book? Were you left encouraged and moved by how it all turned out?

There is a lot more to discuss from this book, so feel free to offer your own questions or only answer a few (or all) of the questions above. Whatever you would like to do! =)

Enjoy the celebration, and thank you for continuing to make blogging such a treat for me! You readers are wonderful!

(Pictures above are from my trip to Nevada this summer. The first is from Lake Tahoe, the second is from a golf course near Lake Tahoe, and the third is from a building--part of a former "Cider Factory"--near where we ate breakfast outside during our stay at Edith Palmer's Country Inn in Virginia City.)

14 comments:

Kav said...

Congratulations on your 150th blog, Amber!!!!! And that you have time to get all this ready for us just as you're starting college again. You must definitely be a multitasker!!!!!!

Since I love book discussions -- here goes:

Julie nearly broke my heart with Patrick and Marcy! I came to a point where I actually had to put the book down, I just couldn't read any more...for like fifteen minutes! LOL.

Throughout the series, Patrick and Marcy were my anchor. No matter what ailed the romantic lives of any of their children, I could always comfort myself with the unshakeable love of the O'Connor matriarch and patriarch. Yes, they had a few bumps along the way...but I knew that they'd work things out...until 'A Passion Denied." Julie really gave me a scare!!!! And I don't think my heart is completely hole yet!

Thoughts about Brady: He was so faith-minded. So determined to follow the Lord, sincere in his beliefs, determined to be a light to others...perfect right? On the surface, he looks like the ideal Christian EXCEPT for the fact that while he extended Christ's grace to everyone else, he couldn't apply it in his own life and that crippled him from facing his past so that he could accept a future.

That got me thinking about my own faith and I realized that I'm much harder on myself then I am on anyone else. I know Christ died for my sins and yet I can't forgive them. Does my holding onto them, deny my Saviour's sacrifice? I think in some ways, it does. At least it says I don't have the complete confidence in him that I thought I had. I know he loves me unconditionally...but do I love myself the same way? Not so much. This self-defeating circle really leapt out at me when I read 'A Passion Denied', because I feel that Brady is caught in that loop for most of the book. When he broke free -- I did as well. It was such an spiritually profound moment for me.

I think the title, 'A Passion Denied' reflects that struggle -- Brady is not only denying himself romantic passion with the woman he loves -- he has denied himself the full passion of a believer by doubting God's grace in relation to his own life.

Hope this makes sense!

Julia M. Reffner said...

ooohhh...Great party, Amber! I'll bring some NY specialties. How about the Buffalo wings? No party around here is complete without them. And some sparkling grape juice and NY cheddar.

I was quite sad about Patrick and Marcy, but I think as you said it is an important lesson. ALWAYS share EVERYTHING with your spouse. NO secrets in marriage. This is the rule we try to live by.

I can agree with Kav's statement. I, too, am harder on myself so I can relate to Brady and his struggles with guilt.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Forgot my email for the contest. Please add me in.

julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Congrats on 150 posts! That's AWESOME! Also thanks for finding me a black 'n gold ball LOL! I haven't played mini-golf in ages.

I agree with Kav. I've heard that if you can't forgive yourself how can you expect someone else and God to forgive you of them?

I really enjoyed Patrick and Marcy's story. I guess they could be an example of overcoming so much in a relationship and still mananging to make it work with God's help.

I hope that Julie is still planning on giving them their own book.

XOXO~ Renee

Ariel said...

Congrats on 150 posts! :) I haven't read the book yet, otherwise I'd join in the discussion :P

But please enter me in your giveaway!

pinkdaddysgirl[at]msn[dot]com

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Thank you so much! And I confess that doing this on the weekend was probably the best idea. ;) I watched Sleepless in Seattle in another dorm with some of my friends, and I ended up staying up really late (REALLY late) reading Surrender the Heart. So, so good!!! :D Of course, I have this horrible habit of looking ahead, especially with MaryLu's books, because I'm so eager to see what happens next...what a frustrating habit! :(

Anyway, yes, it was quite startling and hard to read about Marcy and Patrick's struggles! I'm certainly interested in reading more about them and their persevering relationship in A Hope Undaunted soon!

I'm so glad that the book touched you through Brady's struggles! You bring up some really great points about our need to trust in God and to forgive ourselves so that we can embrace the future that God has for us. You always have such wonderful insights, Kav!

I think your comment does indeed make sense, and I like what you say about the title. I guess I tended to think about the title more in regards to Lizzie--that her passion had been denied by Brady, and she had to figure out how to handle that and what to do about it. But it's great to think about the title in regards to Brady, because he is the one who is doing the denying: denying Lizzie, denying himself, and denying God's sovereign grace, as you say.

Thanks for all the great thoughts!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julia,

I'm glad you are enjoying the party, and thank you for bringing some food to share! Looks great! I might just have to pour myself a glass of that sparkling grape juice... Be right back...

OK, that IS good! Thank you! ;) Anyone else want a glass?

Anyway, you make a wonderful point about the lesson learned for Patrick and Marcy--that honesty is key for a relationship to work. That's great that you and your husband value honesty so much; you're a great example!

Thanks for your entry in the contest, and best of luck to you! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Renee,

Thank you! I am so grateful for your support from the very beginning of this blog! :)

Glad you're enjoying the mini-golf, and I couldn't resist finding you the black ball with gold spots. ;)

Patrick and Marcy's story is indeed a hopeful one, isn't it? All in all, I'm so glad how it turned out, and it provides such a moving example of never giving up, learning to be open with one another, and trusting in God. Their story could probably have their own book, as you suggest, but either way I'm glad that Julie includes so many secondary stories in her books!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Ariel,

Thank you! And no worries--we're just glad you could join the party! :) I hope you get a chance to read Julie's books sometime, though, because they're very good!

Thank you for your entry in the drawing! Good luck!

~Amber

Julia M. Reffner said...

Thanks. We are sure not perfect, but we've learned a lot in the past 10 years :)

Julie Lessman said...

AMBER!!! You pulled a fast one on me with this discussion of Denied, girl -- thank you!!

And I apologize I haven't chimed in yet, but I have been in the ER all day with my 92-year-old aunt for whom I primary caretaker and just got home. I will try to drop in either later tonight or tomorrow.

If you think about it, could you say a prayer for my Aunt Julie, that she doesn't fall again and stays stable and healthy? Thanks SO much!

Hugs,
Julie

Amber S. said...

Julie,

I was sneaky, wasn't I? ;) It was rather last minute, so I wasn't sure if I should contact you or not. (Besides, you have that awesome ability of knowing when someone blogs about you or your books.) ;)

I'm so sorry about your aunt, and I'm praying that all will be well and that she will stay healthy. I know it must be a great comfort to her to have you near!

And I'm also praying that God will give you peace as you continue to take care of your aunt.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by! I know you have been a blessing in many people's lives. :)

~Amber

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

CoNgRaTs on 150 posts, Amber girl!!
That is so awesome and I hope there will be so many more of you creative posts to come!
Shoot Amber, why don’t I get a special golf ball to use? LOL;D

Shhh... Don't let Trip hear you say that, or else he'll probably just let me drown, to serve me right. But, just look at those arms *sigh* I definitely wouldn't mind those wrapped around me, even if only to wring my neck for being so absentminded. Or so he thinks.
Oh well, a girl can dream...
I think all the times that Brady or Marcy would have doubts or break down under the pain and hurt, and there was that still voice telling them to trust in God or to forgive themselves, I think that was what the verses was saying when it "the winds are your messagers".

I can so relate to Lizzie and timid demeanor. I'm very much like that and I know how frustrating it is when you make getting someone else’s attention, and it seems they’re so oblivious to that fact that you’re even alive.
3) I think Lizzie was a little too obvious about her feeling towards Brady and I didn’t fell it was that realistic if that happened in real life, but I loved the book regardless.
Thanks Amber for a great party! And I’m so glad you invited everybody, especially you-know-how, now all I have to do is lean over this side of the boat just a little furthe... Ugh!...*SPLASH!*...

Amber S. said...

Ashley,

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoy my posts. :) I might have a rainbow golf ball around here somewhere if you wanted to play another round with me... ;)

I won't tell Trip; it will be our secret. ;)

I love that perspective on those verses, Ashley! The idea of the still, small voice being like a wind as it speaks to Marcy, Patrick, and all of us--that's a lovely image. :)

I think I can probably relate to Lizzie in some aspects, as well. And yes, I agree that it did kind of feel that she was a bit too obvious in her affections for Brady, and perhaps a bit too pushy. I enjoyed the book, as well, and unfortunately I have situations from my past that make me able to sort of relate to Lizzie in wanting to share one's affections and not hold them back. However, I think that at times she might have gone too far or said too much. But thank goodness all turned out well in the end! ;)

Thank you for stopping by the party, and...be careful!...

*Calling down to you in the water*

Don't worry, Trip is coming! ;) Hmmm...maybe I should lean over the the side of the boat a bit more, too...

~Amber