Finger pointing starts at an early age.

We’ve all done it. At one time or another, we’ve all laid blame for our mistakes or unacceptable actions on someone else.

“It’s not my fault.”

“She made me.”

“He told me it was okay.”

“I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Children fear being punished, so when caught doing something wrong, it’s not uncommon for them to lie or point the finger at a sibling or friend.

It doesn’t stop after childhood. At times, adults also have difficulty being accountable. We don’t want to look bad in front of our peers or risk rejection, so we make excuses for bad judgment.

Corporation and government structures are made up of people, so lack of accountability is perpetuated in both environments. They deny, instead of acknowledging problems or issues that need to be addressed.

But, here’s the thing…

We’re so afraid of possible repercussions, that we don’t realize how freeing it is to be accountable.

Think about how much energy it takes to defend yourself – especially when you know you’re wrong. While on the flip side, people respect those who are willing to stand up and say, “I’m sorry. I blew it. I take responsibility.”

One night I was out for dinner with my family at a nice restaurant and part of our order got messed up. The waiter went into blaming mode and said derogatory things about the cook. My son-in-law stated that he would have respected the waiter if he’d just taken responsibility, apologized, and tried to make things right. But, watching him throw his co-worker under the bus resulted in the opposite. What my son-in-law said that night stuck with me.

The other day I was gently told by a supervisor that something I’d done was frowned upon by the company. It was truly minor and the supervisor didn't make a big deal out of it. Regardless, my defenses immediately went up and I wanted to explain that a co-worker – who had been there several years as opposed to my two months - initiated the action. Not me.

But, I stopped myself in time. I knew without a doubt the co-worker had not intended to do anything that could become even a slightest issue with management.

Instead of defending what I’d done, I simply said, “Thanks for letting me know.”

The result? The defensiveness melted away. I felt lighter. I felt free.

If you screw up with your kids, your spouse, friends, or co-workers…be accountable. Own up to your mistakes, apologize, and try to make it right.

You’ll be doing yourself a favor…


What You Put In...

You’ve probably heard the saying, “What goes in, comes out.”

Eat junk food day after day and your body will show it.

Swear around a small child and the child will repeat what they’ve heard.

Fill a mind with images of violence and the result will be aggressive behavior.

Read or watch porn and you’ll have a difficult time being satisfied with real intimacy.

The opposite can also be true…

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I started a new job two months ago. It’s been a challenge to learn something so different from what I did previously. The work can be complicated and mentally challenging. Day after day, I arrived home feeling exhausted.

But, I turned the corner this past week…

I finally became comfortable with my surroundings and more confident in what I'm doing. I actually began to enjoy the work, itself. And…I didn’t arrive home as exhausted as I had previous weeks.

And the interesting thing is…I think a big part of that change was due to listening to music while at the job.

In our department, most people plug themselves into personal music through the computer – either to a radio station or CDs. I thought it would be distracting. My job involves solving problems and I need to concentrate on what’s showing up on the computer screen. As a musician, I tune into words and what’s happening instrumentally when music plays around me.

But, someone convinced me to give it a try and I invested in a good set of earphones. I was amazed. It actually helped my ability to focus on the tasks I needed to perform.

I brought in CDs and listened to contemporary Christian music all day. I’m convinced that the quiet, subtle - but spiritual messages - ministered to me all day long. What filled my mind and spirit throughout the day had a positive influence on my energy and outlook throughout the week.

We can influence how we react to stress, challenges, or life in general.

For someone like me who likes to be in control…that’s pretty cool.


Stranger Danger

Do you like meeting new people?

Are you open to talking with someone you’ve just met?

Or do you prefer to stick close to people you know?

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. I’d label myself as one. I enjoy being with people, but I need my own space – my alone time in order to re-energize. Most writers are introverts. We don’t have a problem sitting for hours in front of our computer - in our own little world – without conversation with other humans.

There was a time when I dreaded situations where I would be faced with people I didn’t know. How would I - and why would I - make small talk with strangers?

But, that’s no longer my perspective.

The change began in my work environment, where I was put in a position of meeting new people every day. With time, conversing with strangers came easier. I discovered that talking with someone I didn’t know could actually be fun.

Then I made the decision to attend the national writer’s conference for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I arrived at the conference only slightly knowing two people through email correspondence. Through this organization, I’ve been blessed with wonderful, close friendships.

Because of my involvement in the music / worship team at church, it’s easy for me to hang out with vocalists, musicians, and other close friends on Sunday morning. But, in order to stretch ourselves, my husband and I joined a couple’s group. We initally only knew a few people in the group, but we're having a great time getting to know others.

A member of our church recently died after battling brain tumors for nine years. He was married, and also left behind a teenage daughter and son. His wife and I both sing in the gospel choir. At the memorial service, as I listened to the stories and tributes to this man who attended my church for years, I realized that I’d missed out…

I had opportunities to get to know this family better, but I didn’t take them.

It’s impossible to become friends with every person who crosses our path. But, I think sometimes we just don’t take the risk. We don’t take the time to reach out.

I think sometimes…we’re afraid.

Afraid of rejection.
Afraid of looking foolish.
Afraid that conversation will be difficult and go nowhere.
Afraid that getting to know that person will somehow disrupt our lives.
Afraid the stranger might turn out to be someone we don’t want to know.

And all of that could happen…

But, I don’t want to miss out.

When that nudge comes to put myself out there and extend a welcoming hand…I don’t want to hold back. I've learned there are wonderful people in the world. People who have the potential to bring depth and richness to my life. Hopefully, I can also enrich theirs.

I don't want to live my life in fear of talking to strangers.

Do you?


Winner of the Novel, A Passion Most Pure

This past week we’ve shared a great discussion on romance, passion, and Christian women of today.

People who posted comments were entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of the novel, A Passion Most Pure, by Julie Lessman.

And the winner is… Anita Mae.

Many thanks to all of you for contributing to the dialogue!


Romance, Passion, and Christian Women of Today - A Dialogue with Author Julie Lessman

Do you think women of today can and should wait for marriage before having sex?

Do you think Christian women who aspire to wait are prudes and/or unrealistic?

Do you think women of past generations had it any easier saying no to sex before marriage?

I’m going to discuss those questions here with Julie Lessman and how they relate to her novel, A Passion Most Pure.

Julie and I began talking about what it means to be a Christian woman living in today’s world with all the pressures to be sexually intimate before marriage.

We'd love to have you join us in conversation. Anyone contributing comments will have their name added to a drawing on Sunday, April 13th. The winner will receive an autographed copy of A Passion Most Pure.

But first... here's a short introduction to A Passion Most Pure, Book 1 of The Daughters of Boston series, and one of my favorite romance novels.

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brew is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections shift, it threatens to tear her proper Boston family apart.

Julie, in the story, Faith struggles with her feelings for Collin, even though their lives and morals are very different. I think many young women are attracted to “bad boys,” hoping they might be able to change them. I experienced a similar situation as a young teenager and learned there was nothing that “I” could do to change that person.

Yes, Dawn, Faith’s attraction to a “bad boy” may not be typical for a Christian Romance, but it certainly is typical for many young women today, especially in our amoral society. And, quite frankly, it was typical for me as a young women as well, just as it was for you. What is it about those bad boys that draws so many women anyway? They’re cocky, rebellious and dangerous—just like sin, I suppose, which is why they lure us so.

But you’re right, you can’t change them, anymore than you can change sin into something good. The best thing a woman can do for a bad boy she’s attracted to is to pray for him – uh, preferably from a distance! As a new Christian in my early twenties, I learned that if I stood my moral ground, the “bad boys” pretty much left me alone, along with the heartache that always seemed to follow them!

Faith meets another man, Mitch, who grows to love her. A woman of passion, Faith still stands firm in her decision to wait on physical intimacy until married. Your book is a historical. Do you think it’s possible for contemporary Christian women to fall in love and still remain true to their convictions of waiting until marriage to be sexually intimate?

Oh my, yes! I know because I’ve lived it, proved it … and ALL during one of the most promiscuous decades of the last century – the 70’s! And it’s not like I was moral from the get-go, either. Like most young people back then, I was a wild child of the 60’s and 70’s who came to the Lord when I was 23, so morality was not something I was used to. Trust me, as a brand-new born-again Christian, it was difficult going from “free love” to “chaste love”! But I had this fire and commitment to God burning inside of me just like my heroine Faith has, and like Faith, I prayed A LOT!

Whenever I went out on date, I would set moral boundaries (just like Faith did with Mitch). I soon discovered when guys realized I meant what I said, most of them didn’t take me out past four dates. This happened once with a guy I particularly liked and had had a lot of fun with, so I actually phoned to ask him why he’d stopped calling. He basically told me that yeah, he’d had a great time, too, but that he could “find a girl who would give him a great time and sex too.” I was stunned, but soon realized that what God’s morality was actually doing for me was keeping the wrong guys away (along with the hurt) and saving me for the right one AND the right time (my honeymoon). And let me tell you—it paid off BIG TIME!! I am celebrating 30 years of wedded bliss to a man who makes me feel as if I am living my own personal romance novel.

What do you say to people who think that women who aspire to wait are prudes and/or unrealistic?

Grin. I’d say they don’t know what they’re talking about! Believe me, there’s nothing prudish about my heroine, Faith O’Connor, just as there was nothing prudish or unrealistic about me as a new Christian in my twenties. We’re talking real women with real desires trusting God’s Word to lead them to His best. Easy? No. Doable? Yes, with God’s grace! Before I was a Christian, I was honest enough to know that doing things my way had never yielded me any happiness, only heartbreak. But, WOW, once I started applying God’s precepts, the blessings started to flow and heartbreak took a hike.

You see, I like to think of God as Milton Bradley. He made the game of “Life” and wants us to win (reap His blessings), so he gave us the rules to follow (His precepts). In fact, this is the key message in A Passion Most Pure—Deuteronomy 30, choosing life or death, blessing or curse. It’s really quite simple. If you choose life (doing things God’s way), you will be blessed. If you choose death (doing things your own way), you will be cursed. God didn’t set it up like this to “lord” it over us, no pun intended, but so He could bless us with good things simply because He LOVES us!

This realization came full circle one morning seven years into my marriage. I was still half asleep and feeling down about a nightmare I had. In the dream, I’d been single and depressed about the fact that no one would ever love me. I had been the only unmarried one in a family of thirteen kids until I was 28 years old, so the loneliness and despair in that dream felt more than real! All of a sudden my husband moved in the bed beside me, and the following Scripture drifted in my mind as gently as a whisper from God: “God honors those who honor Him.” I remember lying there with tears in my eyes because once again, God had proved His Word true.

I don’t think many women understand the spiritual connection that happens when two people are sexually intimate and how much of themselves they’re really giving away.

I totally agree—most women don’t understand the spiritual connection that happens when two people are sexually intimate. To a lot of women, I think, it’s just a physical thing, but the Bible says that in God’s eyes, the two become one flesh. And when God is looking at it like that, trust me, it’s VERY spiritual! I kind of have a theory about all of this. The Bible says we are made in God’s image, male and female, so when a man and woman become one flesh, I personally believe that it is a spiritual unity symbolic of God. That said, I truly believe that sex is as spiritual as it is physical, at least in God’s eyes. And when a woman gives that away so casually, outside of God’s precepts, I believe she loses not only incredible blessings from God, but part of her spiritual self as well, making her a little emptier than before.

Do you think the world in general understands that Christian women are no different when it comes to having passion and desiring it in a relationship?

No, I don’t think the world in general does understand this. I think they perceive Christians as “goody-two-shoes” cardboard cut-outs rather than flesh-and-blood human beings who have made the difficult choice to follow their God rather than their flesh. We all live in the same world here, bombarded by sexual images in a self-gratifying society, but Christians have chosen the narrow road that Jesus talked about. When I meet a woman who has done this and stays true to God’s precepts, I am blessed and inspired.

In the book, God blesses Faith for not giving in to her passion and desires before the time is right.

Yes, because I believe with all my heart that that is EXACTLY what happens! For Heaven’s sake, I’ve lived it! I KNOW that “God is rewarder of those who seek Him” and that He “honors those who honor Him.” I may have written that message into a fictional story, but the truth of it has been more than real in my own life.

It’s not only unusual—it’s refreshing—to find a novel that includes a married couple who still experience passion in their relationship. Patrick and Marcy demonstrate their love with physical intimacy, but there’s only beauty and purity in their actions. You wrote the scenes with such taste. I love how they interact with each other in and out of the bedroom.

Thank you, Dawn. For me, Marcy and Patrick’s relationship was one of the most important aspects of this book. As a baby boomer, I get tired of the young people getting all the romance! But seriously, I actually had a close friend whose marriage is not very good tell me that she loved the book, but she thought that Marcy and Patrick’s relationship was a little unrealistic. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that is exactly the relationship that God has blessed my husband and me with. So I know that it is possible, but NOT without adherence to God’s precepts! “Wives, respect your husbands”! Not always easy, but application of this precept can unleash blessings galore in most marriages. Marcy and Patrick’s marriage was not perfect—no marriage is. But when God is at the center, I honestly believe that most marriages can truly become all that God intended them to be.

I appreciate the risk you took in pushing the boundaries of sexual tension for historical Christian romance. It makes the story even more relevant to today’s woman.

Gosh, I felt compelled to! Today’s women are floundering in a sea of promiscuity. Most young women today live with their boyfriends before marriage, and what a sad commentary on today’s society! Nine out of ten women in the U.S. profess some form of Christianity, yet the majority will never pick up an Inspirational novel. Why? Because many don’t feel they can relate to a story without realistic sexual tension. It is my hope and prayer that by writing a novel that is more relevant to the temptations women face today, I can reach them with the truth of God’s precepts applied to their lives, not only romantically, but in every way.

Thanks, Julie, for being willing to share your personal story and how it relates to the novel. I can’t wait to read Book 2 in The Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Redeemed (Coming Fall 2008) and Book 3, A Passion Denied (Coming Spring 2009)

To read more about Julie and her upcoming releases visit her website at

If you’d like to be eligible to win a copy of A Passion Most Pure, please post a comment and leave your email info (without the @ and . Example: dawnkinzer at comcast dot net) to avoid spammers or something else from glomming on to your email address!

We look forward to hearing from you!

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