My Book is Completed, and so I wait….

Celebrate with me the completion of my book: Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God. After two and one-half years of hard work, tears, laughter and editing…and rewrites…and editing…and rewrites, I have completed my manuscript. Now the fun part starts…waiting.

Waiting to hear from the Lord how I am to publish it. Waiting to hear back from the agent I just mailed my manuscript to, to see if he wants to represent me and if my book is marketable to the Christian Booksellers Association (CBS) Is it too dark a subject? Do I have more than one book within my book?  Is it well-written enough? All these questions form in my mind, knowing it will take 6-8 weeks to hear back. If I hear back.

I am blessed with a wonderful mentor, Kay Marshall Strom, a well-known Christian author of fiction and non-fiction, who has guided me and critiqued my book along the way. At this year’s Mt. Hermon Writers Conference, she gave me the thumbs up on my book, as did another writer friend, Joseph Bentz. With this encouragement, I sent my manuscript with sample devotions and greeting cards I had written, off to the agent I met my first conference. He kindly gave me permission to send my book proposal to him when I was done. So I did that this week.

And now, I am taking a rest. The Lord whispered to my heart yesterday to take a break from my art and writing ministry and enjoy the summer. After all, it is His book, and He will publish it when He is ready, whether by a traditional publishing house or self published by me.

Same with the art. I am seeking to license my art and recently got back my first rejection letter from a well known art publishing company.  Tears and disappointment filled my heart. They said they had an artist already with my style.  With my style? Really?  Is that possible someone else paints the same prophetic paintings I do?  I think it was a form letter, and it just wasn’t the right fit. I saved it in my rejection letter file.  Yes, I have one of those. Every writer/artist does. Just to wallpaper the bathroom with when we do finally get published.

So you ask, what will I do with my summer? First read. I have a stack of my favorite John Grisham novels to devour.  Then I will read some of my author friend’s books. Next go to the Pleasanton County Fair, which I go to each year, as they have incredible art. Then I will paint a picture of something different, not just my Scripture art. Go to a Giants game, by train, with my bestie Anne. Buy wine and cheese and listen to the Friday night concerts in the park nearby my home. Write fun and whimsical blog posts that don’t have anything to do with my creative talents! Go on bike rides all over the Bay Area.

And hopefully, go to Paris, and write my final chapter, my afterword. It has been my dream to sit in a Parisian cafe and write. To see all the beautiful art and architecture of the city for writers and artists (and lover’s too!)  Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? So I wait…

What are you doing this summer? Any great ideas for me?  Thank you for supporting my blog and I hope you will enjoy my blog posts this summer….as I wait 🙂


God can Heal your Broken Heart

Today, while I was watching my Beth Moore bible lesson video on my laptop, I heard the wonderful news:  God can heal your broken heart, your pain, you mental anguish over wounds from your past. I stopped the tape and sat for a moment. He never meant for us to stay wounded, if fact that is why He died on the cross for our sins and was wounded for us.  He took our woundedness so we don’t have to carry it any longer.  This profound truth settled into my heart.

He knows what it is like to have emotional pain, mental anguish, and the physical pain of nails driven into his hands and a sword pierce his side.  There is nothing we have gone through or are going through that He hasn’t experienced himself.

This is why He is our Savior and Healer.

As I sat on my sofa in my living room, looking out the clear glass doors at the white fluffy clouds float by in the bright blue sky, I bowed my head and humbly asked the Lord to heal my wounds. He placed His hand on my heart and healed me through His Holy Spirit.

He withdrew the sword that had pierced my heart when I was abandoned by my family over my illness. He took the pain of losing my nieces and nephews in my life when I came forward with my sexual abuse from childhood.  He soothed the hurt when an old high school friend took advantage of my vulnerability and betrayed me. He knit together my wounds through His healing balm in one afternoon, that began as an ordinary day, and turned into an extraordinary one. And He can do it for you too.

Once I turned the video back on, Beth shared that Jesus calls us away to a solitary place and time with Him to be able heal our wounds in the quiet of the moment.  We need to make time out of our busy lives to just sit with Him and be still.  Only then can he show us our wounds and the love in His eyes as He desires to heal us.

Even if your heart is shattered into a million tiny pieces like mine was, He can still knit it together because he promises in His Word, the Bible to. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)  and
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)  Even if you are suffering from depression and despair, He loves you enough to heal you as He did me.

Please pray this prayer:  Dear Jesus. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and took my wounds upon yourself.  Please heal my broken heart and damaged life from all my pain, anguish and despair.  I open my heart to you today and invite you to come in as my Lord and Savior at this special time of Easter when you died and rose from the dead so I could have eternal life with you.  Please touch me now even as I pray through the power of your Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus for loving me.  Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, know God was faithful and began the work of healing you. Sometime He heals instantly as He did for me today, other times it is a process that takes time. Here are some practical ways to seek healing.  I share these in my my pre-published book: Finding God in the Midst of My Mess: A Love Story, to be published in 2015.

-Attend a church that has healing prayer groups and ask for healing.

-Read Leanne Payne’s books: The Healing Presence; Restoring the Christian Soul; Listening Prayer and The Crisis in Masculinity (for men) all on emotional healing.

-See a Christian counselor who can incorporate healing prayer into your sessions. Google you local Christian Counseling Center or ask your Pastor for a referral.

-Take a Beth Moore bible study for healing such as Breaking Free available online at www.lproof.org.  You can take them online or at a local church that offers her classes.

-Call the Minirth-Meir New Life Clinics 1-888-7 CLINIC (1-888-725-4642) for a counselor or inpatient program in your area, especially if you are suffering from depression or chemical dependency.

-Attend a Christian 12 Step group to find support and healing for addictions through a local church.

-If you in a crisis pregnancy Google your local Christian Pregnancy Center and make an appointment for a free sonogram and find help in choosing life for you and your baby.

-If you need healing from an abortion, some Christian Pregnancy Center’s  offer post-abortion counseling where you can find forgiveness and healing from God. I took such a class and found so much freedom. On your own you can read the book and workbook Forgiven and Set Free, and for men, Healing the Father’s Heart by Linda Cochran available at Christianbooks.com,

You can also contact me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com for a confidential reply to your need or problem for healing. I am happy to pray for you.

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Special Easter Greeting Card available with Christian message. www.giftsofhisglory.com.

To see all of my Scripture art paintings and greeting cards click on ‘my art’ above.




Writers Conferences: A Writer’s Best Tool

Now that the new year is upon us, my mind is focusing on this year’s writers conference this April at Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center in the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California.  This will be my third year attending and it is a delight and blessing to be able to attend this premiere conference.

Every year about 300 writers converge to network with literary agents, editors and publishers, to pitch their books or writings.  The conference is five days of workshops, morning tracks, and critiquing of your work.  I have met wonderful writer friends who have encouraged me and critiqued my work along the way.  For the past two years I have led a writers group on the San Francisco Peninsula, and hope to meet others this year who will want to be part of the group.

I am writing my first book, my memoirs, particularly on my time as a Christian missionary in Israel.  Tentatively titled:  Finding God in the Midst of My Mess:  My Love Story with Jesus, it tells my life story, the traumas I have faced in childhood and on the mission field, and how God has healed and restored my life.  I am writing the book to bring healing to others who have suffered the same things I have, like depression, sexual abuse, and addiction, through the love and healing power of Jesus.

This year at the conference my friend and mentor Kay Marshall Strom will be leading a morning class on writing memoirs.  I will be there expectantly, to learn how to strengthen my manuscript, and hopefully complete it with a fourth rewrite.  Writing is all about rewriting.  I began my book journey two years ago

Jenni and I at last year's conference

this January and have rewritten it three times.  I was blessed with a talented critique partner, Jenni Brummett, who helped me make my story more compelling and refined my grammar and flow.  Now I am seeking how to engage the reader more effectively in my story.  I know Kay, a renowned Christian author, will have those tools for me to do so.

As a small Christian art and writing ministry, money is tight and I need to solicit donations from others who believe in my book and would like to see it published.  The cost of the five day conference is $1100 which includes room, meals, transportation and the conference. Would you prayerfully consider helping me with a donation? As a way of saying thank you, I will send you a free copy of my book once it is self published 🙂

Secure donations can be made through Pay Pal below. My deadline to raise the money is April 9, 2014. Thank you so much!

Donor Name and Address for Free Book

To see my Scripture Art paintings and greeting cards go to www.giftsofhisglory.com or ‘my art’ above.

 

 

 

Donor Name and Address for Free Book

My New Creation: Scripture Art Greeting Cards!

It has been one of those weeks, you know when the Lord is testing you faith and the devil

is trying to destroy it?  Yes, besides a heat wave (and i can’t tolerate the heat), I found out I had Intermediate Uveitis, an inflammation in the middle part of my eye which is quite serious, causing floaters and diminished eyesight. This is in addition to the jelly part detaching.  (See Lord Open My Eyes)

My top doctors at Stanford are running blood tests for some pretty scary diseases, like Cancer, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis, which can all cause inflammation. Treatment:  Chemotherapy.  Oh no.  Never Lord.  I can’t go through that. How will I see to write and paint? I implored of Him. On top of all this my internet went out today. Can anyone say Devil?

In spite of all this, I did manage to create my first samples of my art greeting cards:  Christian greeting cards featuring my paintings with Scripture. The Lord gave me a vision to combine my paintings with verses I write, and pitch them as a new greeting card line to publishing companies.

I was amazed I figured out how to print them right side up, not down, and get the inside verses on the right page.  They looked beautiful when I was done.  See for yourself!  God has been faithful with my art and writing ministries and it is very special to be able to combine both in one new creative form to give Him glory.

I spent yesterday in the cool air conditioned library researching publishing companies to send to. Later at home I took pictures of my samples turning them into jpeg files so I could submit them via email to the editors.  Some I mailed out via snail mail, feeling like I was turning my babies over to the US Postal Service, hoping they would arrive safely into the editors hands.

With a prayer and a wish, I now leave the outcome in the Lord’s hands as to if and when they will be published.  But one thing I know, His Word will not return to Him void, and the Scripture embossed on each card will touch hearts and deposit seeds of faith as only God’s Word can do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Would you pray for me my readers? 

I have placed my eye in the Lord’s hands and ask you to pray for His healing power to heal the inflammation in my eye and restore my eyesight to normal.

For peace for me as I wait for the test results.

For favor with the editors as they view my sample greeting cards.

For boldness as I volunteer with Jews for Jesus in their online chat room the month of July.

And for protection from the Devil and his schemes as I step out in faith to further the Kingdom of God.

Whew that is a lot to pray for!  It comforts me to think of you all around the world lifting me up to the Father. Thank you, my friends. (smile)

To see my Scripture art click on ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com.

Won’t you spread the word about my new ventures and have your friends pray for me too?  LIKE TWEET PINTEREST or  GOOGLE.


Lord Open My Eyes…Finding God’s Perspective on Your LIfe

Today I woke up in a funk. I knew I needed to get back on schedule and write, but I didn’t want to. I was irritated about my eye and the partial blindness I am experiencing. As you can imagine, as an artist and writer I need my eyes to see and accomplish the tasks God asks me to do. I spent all day yesterday at the doctors to discover the jelly part of my eye had totally detached, causing a wall of floaters, flashing lights and dimness.  It was difficult for me to see and read.  The doctor told me it would take 3-4 weeks for the eye to calm down and restore to a more normal state, however the floaters would remain. He informed me I was prone to having the retina detach, and going blind in my eye. Great. That’s all I need now Lord. Will you heal my eye please Lord?  I am scared and don’t want to lose my sight.

Hoping to pull myself out of my bad mood, I went to Peet’s Coffee to spend some time in God’s Word.  I opened my bible study Write His Answer, A Bible Study for Christian Writers by Marlene Bagnull,  I laughed, seeing today’s lesson was on Proclaiming Freedom and sight for the blind. I knew this was not a coincidence. The chapter quoted Luke 4:18-19 from the Bible when Jesus first spoke in His hometown of Nazareth at the Temple.  He was handed the book of Isaiah and began to read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor, he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce the captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors and that God is willing to give blessings to all who come to Him.”  He then said “These Scriptures have come true today in Me” and sat down.

Jesus was proclaiming He is the ultimate freedom giver.  He came to heal the blind, the brokenhearted, the captive. Sometimes, however, Jesus wants to open our eyes to spiritual truths my Bible study read.  Hmm, I think I need some spiritual truths this morning, I thought as I sipped my coffee.

He showed me I was not seeing His perspective on my writing ministry or the time he was giving me to stay home and write full time. I was complaining about the financial sacrifices I had to make to do so.  Having so little money and living on a tight budget.  Was it worth it?, I wondered. He gently corrected my ‘sight‘ as I spent time in His Word. My Child, it is a blessing to help bring freedom to those who are blind, brokenhearted and captive each and every time you write My Truth. I am giving you the freedom in this season to do this.” “Yes Lord, I see that now. I am sorry for grumbling.” I replied. “You can trust me to heal your eye physically in my timing, as I am the God that heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) “Thank you Lord, I will hold tightly to your promise.” I said.

What about you?  Are you seeing things clearly or is you vision blurred?  Do you need him to touch you and heal you so you can see life from His perspective? He is a God….

“who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”  (Psalm 103:3-5)

To correct your vision, simply pray:  Lord, please give me your perspective on my life.  Show me the areas I need to repent of and heal my heart and soul from the pain and hurts of the past. Give me freedom from any negative thoughts and patterns. Show me your love and compassion. I want full freedom in you. I ask you to remove any spiritual blindness I have and show me your Truth by coming into my heart as my Lord and Savior, to forgive my sins and give me eternal life in Heaven with you.  Come walk side by side with me as my Friend every day through your Holy Spirit.  I trust you Jesus.  You are faithful.  Amen.

Help your friends open their eyes by sharing this post by LIKE TWEET PINTEREST OR GOOGLE.

To see my art click on ‘my art’ above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com

Leave me a message by replying below if you found a new freedom in Jesus so I can share in your happiness.


 

 


A Mother’s (and Father’s) Day Story: Finding life after abortion…

This mother’s day I will be doing something different in celebration of my daughter Lynley.  I will be standing on Mother’s Day Sunday at church when they ask all the mothers to stand.  You see Lynley was my sweet baby who didn’t live outside of the womb.  I aborted her when I was 30 years old.  The shame that I hadn’t given my baby life always kept me from acknowledging I was a mother.  But not this Mother’s Day.

I am able to do this as I have received healing and forgiveness for my abortion.  I want to offer that same healing to women (and men) who are reading my post today.  I know this is not an easy topic to address, but one I feel the Lord wanted me to share with you.

Before I became a born again Christian, I lived a very worldly life.  Sexual relationships with unhealthy men was my norm. A fast paced life as a MBA in the corporate world running after success and money.  This coupled with carrying the pain of an abusive childhood  caused me to crash and hit bottom at age 30.  I was diagnosed with a clinical suicidal depression and hospitalized. In the midst of this, I got pregnant by my boyfriend who my doctors were trying to seperate me from because he was abusive.

I was so happy to be pregnant when the home pregnancy test came back positive.  Joy filled me.  I had always wanted to be a mother, but wondered how could I possibly me one now.  I was so ill and depressed, fighting for my life every day.  My doctors, fearing I couldn’t sustain a pregnancy,  recommended a ‘therapeutic’ abortion, to save the life of the mother, me, over the unborn child.

My Catholic psychiatrist even told me the Catholic church, which I had grown up in, would agree.  I was so worried the baby would be deformed on the powerful medications I was taking.  My parents did not offer me any help, refusing me shelter to raise my baby in.  Helpless, on disability I did not know where to turn.  I did not know about Christian crisis pregnancy centers or help within the Christian community.  I listened to the worldly advice and scheduled the abortion at my hospital.

A few days before, I changed my mind and wanted to keep my baby.  My parents and boyfriend refused me any promise of financial help or shelter.  I was alone and abandoned.  Trapped.

I cried the whole way through the abortion as my baby was suctioned out of me.  My girlfriend held my hand and her knuckles were white from my grip.  I screamed in pain and afterward threw up in the sink.  My baby was gone.

But there is hope in my story.  You see my baby, whom I named Lynley, had a soul and spirit upon conception.  In the Bible it says of God: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13.)  God breathed life into her.  She had a beating heart as early as 21 days.  She was not a blob of tissue as Planned Parenthood will tell you.

When I aborted her, her soul and spirit returned to God where she is alive in Heaven, waiting for me to join her.  How do I know this for certainty?  God promises us in the Bible: “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.  (Ecclesiastes 12:7.)

I was blessed to find healing through the love of women at a Christian pregnancy center near my home. I read and worked through the workbook entitled: Forgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women by Linda Cochrane with a class of women. I found healing for my abortion 22 years later.

We studied Scripture that told me who I was in Jesus, and that I was forgiven for even the sin of aborting my child. I learned others had sinned against me by not offering help to me and their child and grandchild.  I found comfort in knowing  they would be held accountable by God one day but God was calling me to even forgive them.

I found understanding of the grief process a woman (and man) goes through. How to be set free from the horrible shame, secrecy, and darkness I felt. I learned Jesus came to shed His healing light into our darkness.  To free us from the bonds of guilt, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, all symptoms of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. (PASS).

Jesus in Heaven

I was overjoyed to discover that I get my daughter back. I know I will spend eternity with her as I have received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  He promises us eternal life, free of any pain or tears, if we trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

This means we ask Him for forgiveness of our sins, sins He took on the cross for us so we could spend eternity with Him. Because He rose from the dead on the third day, we are promised that same resurrection when we die, to receive a new glorified body in heaven, where there is only light.((1 Corinthians 15:44; Romans 6:5: For since we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing in His resurrection).

If you have had an abortion, or played a part in a decision for abortion, asking for and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness is the key to healing.  If so, please pray this prayer.

Dear Jesus: I thank you that you have received my baby’s (babies) souls into Heaven where I can see them again one day.  I ask you to forgive my sins and come into my heart as my Lord and Savior today.  I believe you died on the cross for me and rose from the dead so I could have eternal life with you in Heaven.  Heal my heart from the pain of my abortion(s) and set me free so I can live a life free from the past.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

If you are pregnant, know there are options for you besides abortion.

Contact a Christian crisis pregnancy center or pregnancy resource center and go for an appointment.  Google on the Internet or look in the yellow pages for their number and address.

Call a confidential pregnancy hot-line such as 1-800-BETHANY. They will help you understand your options for either adoption or keeping your baby and help you with resources to do so (even if your family abandoned you and you are homeless).  And most likely give you an ultrasound of your baby where you can see its heart beating. All for FREE.

Talk to your pastor or minister in confidence.  Tell a trustworthy friend.

Give life to your baby and for you too!  Abortion doesn’t just murder your baby, it murders your soul as well.

If you have had an abortion:, Attend a class for post abortive women (or men) offered at a Christian pregnancy resource center or church. Many have classes and retreats you can take to help you work through the process of healing. There is also a workbook for men entitled: Healing a Father’s Heart: A Post-Abortive Bible Study for Men by Linda Cochrane.

Lynley's resurrected spirit painting

As part of my healing process, I celebrated the life of my child in Heaven.  I was encouraged to do something creative to thank Jesus for keeping care of my daughter.  I decided to paint a picture of Lynley’s resurrected spirit to thank Him and bring me peace.

I also planted a tree for her in Israel through www.treesfortheholyland.com. I am a Jewish Christian and love Israel, having been in ministry there for many years.  Planting a tree is a symbol of giving life.  In Judaism, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value.  The letter Chet equals the number 18. Chai which means life consists of the letter Chet symbolizing the number 18. Therefore, it costs $18 to plant a tree and give life. In return for doing so, I was blessed with a beautiful watercolor reproduction of a Jerusalem scene with a commemoration of my daughter. It read :

Tree Planted in Holy Land poster www.treesfortheholyland.com

A Tree had been planted in the Holy Land, In Celebration of Lynley, my daughter, For her heavenly homecoming, April 1991, Planted by Your ima (mother) Miriam.

I now have peace when I look at it framed on my wall.  I no longer feel shame or guilt. I can acknowledge myself as a mother and tell others about my daughter now. I am excited to see her one day soon and hold her in my arms for the first time. I am forgiven and set free.

Will you find the peace and forgiveness only Jesus can bring to you today?

 

If you need a confidential ear please feel free to leave me a private message at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com.  I am here to help you.

Please LIKE TWEET or PINTEREST my post to bring healing to your friends as well…

To see my art click on my art above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com

 

 

 


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)

Help me get lots of votes by sharing this post with your friends by LIKE or TWEET or Pin below or above.

 


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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Meeting God Amongst the Redwood Trees- My Week at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference

My head hurts from all the talking and conversation.  I look up at the tall Redwood trees and take a deep breath.  Do I have the courage to approach one more editor or agent and have my manuscript edited or rejected again?  Can I eat one more bit of chocolate without exploding?  Should I self publish or go for a traditional publishing house?  Is my writing good enough for publication?  All these thoughts rolled around in my mind this past week at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

My critique partner Jenni Brummett and I arrived early Friday morning and checked into our cute cabin like rooms just up a little hill from the main conference center.  We were excited to see what divine appointments the Lord had waiting for us.

my roommate Laura at our room

We met up with my roommate Laura Bennet  and we quickly became the three musketeers. We would gather each evening in our room, and compare notes in our PJ’s, while eating the sugar confections they served us right before bed.  Did you hear how that one man used the phrase “watch out or you will go to hell” in the learning to write greeting cards class? I asked, as shock registered on all three of our faces. We burst into giggles, not believing a writer would write that!

The week flew by as I went from appointment, to workshop, to critique, to picking up my manuscript with its comments from editors.  One kind editor met with me and showed me that my life story had many books within it and I should break it up into three or four books.  WOW, that was an unexpected suggestion.  But as I met with my author friends such as Kay Marshall Strom and Joseph Bentz, I realized she was right.

Add more characters to your story, Miriam, and weave a universal theme throughout, Kay suggested.  Rewrite your first chapter starting with your time as a missionary in Israel and include the bombing story, to catch your readers attention, Joseph told me.  Your writing is publishing quality and you write better than some of our current authors we are publishing, one editor told me. Music to my ears, I broke out into a big smile at this news.  However, Miriam, a non fiction narrative like you are writing needs fiction techniques such as showing, suspense, characterization and dialogue, Liz told me.  I can do that, I thought to myself.  My head swam with suggestions and ideas.

But what to do with my original manuscript of my life story that I believe the Lord told me to write, that would help many people, especially woman, all over the world?  I couldn’t let go of my story, it was my baby. The Lord spoke through my roommate Laura.  Have you heard of Create Space, the self publishing arm of Amazon the popular online bookstore?  You can basically design and publish you book for free, it was started to help authors like us publish our own books, she shared.

Immediately, I felt a peace flood my heart and knew this was the answer to my prayer.  Unlike other self publishing companies where you are left with a garage full of books, Create Space allows books to be printed on demand and even have an ebook feature for their Kindle readers.  I felt a release to self publish the book and go on to write other books for the Lord through traditional publishing houses in the future.

Jenni and I networking at the dinner table

The Lord was faithful to answer each and every one of my prayers, from getting free head shots to meeting and inviting other non fiction writers to the writers group Jenni and I have started after last years conference.  Big smiles of happiness met my invitation to the group by fellow writers who would find encouragement and free critiques of their manuscripts there.

After our talented and funny speaker McNair Wilson spoke for the last time on

me amongst the redwoods

Tuesday morning, the leaders asked us to stand,  They prayed over us and commissioned us to go forth as writers for the Lord, bringing Him glory.  My heart beamed with joy realizing I have the privilege to minister to others through my writing, to express His love in our fallen world.

May you find His love for you this Holy week as we celebrate the redemption of the Lord through Passover,  Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  He came to save us from our sins on the cross.  Three days later He Resurrected so we too could have eternal life.

Resurrection Sunrise Cross Painting I Corinthians 1:18 www.giftsofhisglory.com

All it takes to receive His free gift of grace is to ask Him to forgive your sins and place your faith in Him.  You can pray the salvation prayer below to ask Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior right now.  Won’t you come join the family of God and have the promise and hope of eternal life this Easter week?

Pray with me:  Dear Jesus.  I ask that you take the darkness of my sin and replace it with your light to shine deep within my heart.  I believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead, with the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.  I ask you to be my Savior and Lord over my life today. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love and giving me peace with God through you. Amen.

Angels are rejoicing over you as you step into the family of God.  Welcome!

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To see all of my biblical Scripture art click on ‘my art‘ above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com.

 

 


Spring is in the air….Here’s my latest paintings…

Orange Daffodils Revelation 21:5 Behold I Make All Things New

I love springtime.  It is my favorite time of year, when all the daffodils bloom bright yellow and the magnolia trees blossom, with their heavenly scent.  I happily shed that winter heaviness and the cold of the air to welcome the early California warm weather.  It is also biking time again, when I can get out and ride without the drizzle of rain.  But mostly for me, springtime is about painting.

I recently returned from a trip to Palm Springs (see Marilyn, Elvis and God post) where I was able to snap some beautiful plants in the desert.  I paint all my biblical Scripture art from original photography I take, often at Filoli Gardens near my home.  Right now I am working on an orange bougainvillea bush, a color I rarely get to paint in, so this excites me!

Spring means new beginnings as well.  Easter with its brightly colored eggs and deviled

Resurrection Cross Ephesians 2:8-9

eggs, celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection and promise of eternal life to all who believe. Passover with the Seder plate and story of God’s redemption for the Jewish people from slavery.

It’s also a new beginning for me as I search for work outside of ministry, wanting to work in an art environment using my artist background and somehow have children involved (I am a former elementary school teacher and have taught a lot of bible camps here and abroad)  It is exciting to send in my resume, praying God will open the right door for me for this new career.

It is also an exciting time as I prepare for a new beginning of hopefully selling my book and finding an agent at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference in one’s weeks time.  I am happy to be rooming with my writer friend from last year, Laura Bennett and can’t wait to meet up for coffee in the ice cream parlor or amongst the redwood trees with my Facebook writer friends whom I haven’t seen since last year’s conference.

I am believing the Lord for divine appointments as only He can bring.  I anticipate learning a whole lot about publishing while I sit in workshops that range from how to become a freelance speaker, to how to write greeting cards and what really happens to your non fiction book behind closed publishing doors!

Mostly, I look forward to what the Lord is going to do with my heart while there. I plan on taking quiet hikes along the creek bed, listening to what is on His heart for me.

Off course, I hope the book sells, and I get a nice big fat advance (oh, the new car I can now buy and that trip to Israel my soul wants to take). But if it doesn’t, I know the Lord will bring a new beginning as I start to rewrite my manuscript, having the knowledge from my classes to now do so.

Open Tulips Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love...

Recently the Lord has been putting a Scripture on my heart from Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness.  Yes, I sense His love and kindness in my life as I step out in faith to the promise of new beginnings and hope.  So much so that I included this Scripture in one of my latest paintings for your enjoyment.  It is titled Open Tulips Jeremiah 31:3 and sells for $100 at my art website www.giftsofhisglory.com. (or click on ‘my art‘ above)

Come see all my new artwork for sale and bless yourself or a friend with the gift that keeps on giving:  an original piece of art with biblical Scripture embossed within it. For the Lord said: It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. Isaiah 51:11. New Living Translation.

Happy Spring!

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What is your favorite part of Springtime?  Leave me a reply…