Smile and Say “Head Shot”

One of the fun things of being a writer is having head shots taken.  A head shot is just that, a photograph of your head, hopefully smiling and looking professional.  They are used on  book jackets,  blogs, Facebook and other social media pages and for publicity.

How I came to have mine taken is a God story.  And I would like to share it with you.

I came to realize that I needed a professional head shot if I was going to be taken seriously as a writer.  It is year two for me on writing my book and I am almost ready to self publish.  I knew it was time to upgrade from the fuzzy digital camera shots that graced my Facebook and blog pages, you know the ones taken with your own arm extended out capturing yourself in the shot at the local flower gardens?

So I asked the Lord in prayer one day. “Lord, I need a good head shot, but don’t have the money to pay a professional.  Will you help me get them when I am at Mt. Hermon’s

Picture A

Christian Writer Conference coming up in a few weeks?  Knowing my prayer had been heard, I promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to the last day of the conference,  I was exhausted and had slept in late.  I was hurrying across campus and saw a photographer set up outside taking what appeared to be head shots. I stopped dead in my tracks. “Oh are you taking head shots today for us?” I asked the kind looking photographer.

picture B

“Actually we are shooting staff photos today but I would be happy to take yours for you.”

“Really?  Gosh, I couldn’t today,  I look a mess, have no makeup on and haven’t slept well for five nights.” I gushed. “I live locally, could I come another time?”

“Sure, give me your business card and I will email you and arrange a time and date.”

He introduced himself as Dan Dawson, the official webmaster and

Picture C

photographer at Mt. Hermon.  “We were actually thinking of offering head shots at next years conference.  Would you be willing to take a short survey to help us determine what to offer and how much to charge? We are thinking of offering hair and makeup as well.”

“Oh, I would be happy to” I smiled.  “But Dan will you photo shop out my double chin for me?

“Yes Miriam, I will be happy too”. he smiled.

I laughed out loud as I hurried to breakfast. God had answered my prayer in such a miraculous and last minute way!

Picture D

Two weeks later, I zipped over in my red Zip car and met up with Dan at the studio.  We took some inside shots in front of a dark and light screen for book jackets then went out into the sunny yet breezy spring day.  I sat on a park bench with a beautiful purple azalea behind me as he clicked away.  I posed all my former Miss Belmont of 1979 poses and tried to look like a fun but serious writer.

At one point, the wind came up and blew my hair all over just like I would get with a wind machine in studio.  I let the joy of the Lord smile out of my eyes and escape in the

Picture E

softness of my laugh.  I felt beautiful and special. What fun I was having.

Today I got the proofs back.  I was very pleased how Dan made this fifty something year old woman look gorgeous.  I sent seven photos of my favorites back to  him to photo shop out those frown line and double chins!  I guess I am still a vain beauty queen down deep. 🙂 But God loves me as I am, and He loves you how you are.  We are all beautiful to Him.  He has made everything beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Will you help me?  Share in my God story by voting for which shot you like best.  Leave me a reply by clicking on comments below with your choice. A, B, C, D, E.

And praise God with me for answering prayer in the humorous way He knows best!  My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

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Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I Want to Write Greeting Cards, How about You?

There are days that are just surprises. When the Lord throws you a curve ball and all you can do is laugh and say Really?   But watch out ,laughter got Sarah in trouble and one year later she had Isaac at 90 years old! (Isaac means laughter by the way) God had told Abraham and Sarah they would have a child in their old age. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6.

“Miriam, I want you to write greeting cards for the Christian market” the Lord whispered to my heart. A loud chuckle slipped out of my mouth. Really, Lord?

I had just returned from Mt.Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in Santa Cruz, California. While there, I took a workshop on How to Write Greeting Cards for XYZ Publishers (not their real name).  One of the largest Christian publishing houses for greeting cards, my critique partner Jenni Brummett had written some ideas for them which I helped edit. They liked what they saw and published a few of her ideas. Secretly I thought, if Jenni can do it, so can I (shh don’t tell her)!

So I found myself before a cracking fire with a group of other wannabes in the workshop, being led by the lovely editors. They explained writing Christian greeting cards is a ministry that serves to bring God glory and healing to hurting hearts through Scripture from the Bible. The editors told us, first, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words and inspiration to touch the heart of someone in need. Encouraged to try my hand at a sample, I prayed and diligently started to write. I have a sensitive ear to the Holy Spirit, I think I will enjoy writing these.

This week I sat at my computer and began to write the words that flowed out of my soul.
-For the loss of a child….The Lord hears your cry and cares about your loss…He promises to be close to the brokenhearted and a bruised reed He will not break…the card went on. Hmm, that was fairly easy, I’ll try another…
-For a mother sending their child off to school…While our children are apart from us each day, they are in our heart and prayers….WOW, I am enjoying this. Four more flew out of my hands.

I sent them off to Jenni to critique and with her edits and encouragement, I forwarded them to the editor at the publishing house. Usually it takes weeks to hear back from a publisher but to my delight and surprise, there was an email waiting for me when I returned home.

I clicked the mouse on my email and…..Voila!  I found a rejection letter stating my ideas where too similar to other copy they had used for previous cards, but they were well written and please submit again. Ouch. A rejection. Wait.  Stop Miriam. Well written. Submit ideas again.  Encouragement filled my heart. I then began to laugh. Holy Spirit, these were your ideas….you need to come up with something more unique and different now if I am to get published.  I think He laughed too.  I know God has a sense of humor.

I felt a nudge to start writing cards for other publishers, including secular ones with a religious line, to earn some income. Oh no, I thought, you mean like one of those writer’s who is so poor he can’t eat and is waiting for his royalty check to come in the mail?   “Miriam, remember last night I reassured you that I would open doors for your calling?  And that I am calling you to have a wiring ministry?” Yes, Lord, I remember. “Start writing Child and I will meet all your needs as you step out in faith.” Gulp.

So this afternoon, I sat in the air conditioned library at my computer again, praying and asking the Lord to inspire me with words that touch a hurting heart and bring Him glory.  I obey because I love Him and I don’t want to end up like Sarah writing a book one day entitled My Isaac.

Do you have a dream of writing greeting cards?  As a small child I thought it would be a fun job and here I am doing it now!  The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him.  (Psalm 37:4) Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Here are five things you can do to start pursuing your dream:

Pray and ask the Lord if He is calling you to write greeting cards. If you have a ‘yes’ or peace about it, give it a try. Don’t give up after a few rejections.  Rejections are part of the writing game.

Attend a Christian writers conference and take a workshop on writing cards like I did.  You will find them across the country (and world) and are a great way to meet editors and get your foot in the door.  My favorite and most renowned in America is Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference held each spring in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California.  The contacts you make will be immense and you can also find a critique partner there.

Read The Christians Writers Market Guide by Jerry B. Jenkins.  This is the Bible for writers and has a list of all greeting card publishers, including secular ones looking for religious cards.  It lists the writers guidelines, the types of cards they are looking for and what they pay.  You can buy it at amazon.com or online at www.christianwritersguild.com.  They are updated each year. (This is also a great help for book, magazines, and gift ideas publishing.)

Take a writing correspondence course on greeting cards.  You will find a list within the Christian Writers Market Guide listed above.

Join a critique group of other writers who can give you feedback on your writing and might be writing cards as well.  They are a great place to find support, tips and ideas from other writers, who are a unique kind of people!  Google critique or writers groups in your area to find one, or start one like I did.

Happy Dreaming and Writing!

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