My Summer Adventure: Sculpting

img_1469This past July, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a sculpting class at the local junior college, College of San Mateo. I was looking for a holiday adventure that would be fun and refresh me from the year-long doctor appointments from my car accident and melanoma.

Hmm…sculpting, that sounds fun. I have always wanted to see how artists sculpt out of stone or glass…and make statues. I am going to sign up.

img_1451For the next six weeks, I found my hidden gift of sculpting. 20 students and I, almost all younger ‘kids’ in their teens and early twenties, learned how to sculpt a nude statue out of red clay. Our professor, Rory, a famous sculptor himself, warned us it would take two hours to make a foot. And it did. Not having any experience with this, I thought as an artist, it would be easy. It was not.

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img_1459We met twice a week from 9-3:30 and boy were we busy! I came home every day bone tired form the mental and physical energy it takes to sculpt, to sit and stand all day long. But I was delighted to find how excited I was to come to class and do art all day in studio with other artists. This was an exhilarating experience for me and I felt completed as an artist.

We had to pick one medium to use so I chose glass. Rory warned us that “glass is fussy” but I did not heed his warning! I learned how to buy glass with a trip to the local glass store and chose my three projects: a blue/white Star of David plate for Jewish img_1516holidays, a cross and glass base, and a Jewish mezuzah with Scripture, which hangs on doorposts of Jewish homes. I shared my faith as a Jewish Christian, and while most were accepting, some gave me funny looks!

img_1475Sculpting with glass is an extremely frustrating thing to do, and with just some instructions from the professor, I was off, soon begging for help from Helen and Peggy, volunteers in the class. Wearing goggles, I measured my designs, then cut and sanded them. Then the next foray was to fire them in the kiln. Firing is a lot like Christmas morning, you don’t know what you are going to get until you open the package, or in this img_1499case, the kiln! My blue Star of David plate melted over the corners, a no-no, but I liked how it looked, so kept it that way. My purple marbled cross came out beautifully contoured and I was pleased.

I next made a mold outimg_1519 of clay and plastered it, filled it with cut green glass and fired it, making the base for the cross. I filled the mezuzah mold with colored glass bits, and fired it, satisfied to have it for my new home in France one day.img_1502

img_1473Other classmates sculpted stones, made plaster masks out of their faces, and fused metal. I loved learning from the younger kids, listening to their dreams and stories of their lives.

Our grade was based on all of our work, and I was happy to get an A- in the class. My clay statue, Gabriella, was given a “B” because her arms were not totally img_1528proportional. Oh, well, I did my best, and while she turned out looking like an idol, she sits on my bookshelf now at home.

img_1540We celebrated the end of our class with a potluck and photographs on our iphones. I am now ready to lay my paintbrush aside, and hope to continue in glass once I move to France where I will give God the glory through my art. Enjoy the pictures! img_1533

So see my art click on ‘my art’ above of go to giftsofhisglory.com


Packing by Faith…My Latest Adventure.

I sit at my desk surrounded by boxes packed and waiting to be sealed up. I am planning on moving after 13 years at my apartment in downtown San Carlos which has been both a blessing (location) and curse, facing many trials. But in my prayer time, the Lord finally whispered to me its time to move.

“Where, Lord,” I have petitioned Him over and over. My heart has been to go to Paris and finish my book by writing the ‘afterward’ at a cafe where famous writers have written their best sellers, such as Hemingway. I have wanted to go to walk the Siene river and paint where Picasso and Monet painted. It has been my dream trip and a door I believe the Lord will open for me soon.

My heart is also in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, amongst the quiet lifestyle of the Amish and farm country. Visiting four years ago, I feel in love with the people and the fall season of leaves turning red, yellow and orange, so unlike here in Northern California. I have desired to marry, to quilt, make my own soap, sew my future children’s clothes and get fresh milk from the dairy. I know it is a dichotomy to want to live in France and the Bible Belt of America. But those are the two sides of me.

God is good that way. He plants the desires of our heart and then gives them to us. Often waiting a VERY long time, as I have, for my dreams to come true. “How will you survive the long, snowy winters, Miriam? my friends ask. “Hopefully with a break and trip to Palm Springs desert,” I reply laughing.

So I began to pack up my apartment, not knowing the next step as to where God will first lead me, but I know He will. Over and over He gives me the Scripture “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I know he can do more than I ask or imagine, including bringing the resources I need to move; finances, home, plane ticket. I am trusting Him by faith. Sometimes God asks us to take that first step of faith, even though it seems strange or crazy to others.

After all, my relationship is with Him and I strive to be obedient. He knows the plan and the future, and that it is good. “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Stay tuned for my destination in my next blog post!

What step of faith is God asking you to take today? Leave me a comment and let me know!

To see my Thanksgiving and Christmas greeting cards with Scripture, see ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com. Special price on bundle of 6 cards! They make great gifts too!christmas poinsettias 5 x 7 greeting scan final


Christmas already? My Christmas Cards are Here!

Please don’t hate me.  I know it is only October and Halloween hasn’t even happened yet.  But it you are like me, you like to do your shopping early and avoid the crowds and hassle.

So today, I am introducing my Christmas holiday painting and greeting cards for you to purchase.  Entitled Christmas Poinsettias, with the Scripture verse from Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given,…And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace,”  they will brighten any heart that receives them.

Why not give the gift of a card with an original art print and greeting to all your family and friends this year instead of those boring boxed cards?

Each card comes on a lovely canvas paper and can be framed with other cards to make a nice picture for a home. I have written a lovely Christian themed greeting inside or if you prefer you can get them blank to write your own special greeting.

You can buy a set of  6 cards that comes wrapped with a holiday bow, perfect for a gift, at a special discounted price.

Visit my website giftsofhisglory.com or click on ‘my art’ above, to see all 14 cards perfect for many occasions. And know you can shop securely through my online store.

This Scripture art painting would look lovely in your home to fit your holiday decor or as a gift… that keeps on giving because of the lovely Scripture verse that will bless all those who enter the home it hangs in.

Won’t you bless those in your life with the Word of God embossed in a beautiful painting of His creation today?

Please help me promote my holiday cards by sharing this post with your friends by LIKE TWEET PINTEREST or GOOGLE?  thank you!

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It’s Pumpkin Time! My Fall Cards are Here…

I love the fall…bright orange pumpkins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, just pumpkin galore!  I love how the light has changed with Indian summer days and brown, red and yellow leaves that crunch under my tires as I bike down the street.  Fall in Northern California is not like the those on the East Coast, with the spectacular fall colors as the trees turn.  But it is still special here. We have the beautiful coast side, where bright sandy beaches and pumpkin farms reside,along with an annual pumpkin festival in Half Moon Bay where you can see the largest pumpkin grown in the United States.  And it’s big!

Pumpkins also bring on the holiday season, yes, just around the corner is Thanksgiving!

To honor the seasonal change, I have designed and painted a new Scripture

Mums in Pumpkin Painting...For sale...Psalm 106:1

Art painting entitled “Mums in Pumpkin” with Psalm 106:1 entwined.  “Oh, Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”  Yes, He is a merciful and kind God.  And Yes, we should give thanks to Him for all He has given us.

For me this season, I am giving thanks for the opportunity to design and publish a line of Christian themed greeting cards that feature my art.  It has been a dream since I was a little child to write greeting card messages one day and the Lord has allowed me to publish them myself.  I am happy I can now ad to my   publication credentials: “greeting cards.”

The Mums in Pumpkin card is perfect for sending to your friends and family for the fall and thanksgiving season.  It comes with a thanksgiving greeting or blank to write your own.  You can purchase it on my online store at Etsy.com, along with 12 other greeting cards for all occasions. Click here to check them out or go to ‘my art’ above.  (Etsy sells handmade items by artists, crafters and vintage collectors and offers secure transactions through PayPal).

Wondering about Christmas cards? This week I will be busy painting my Christmas holiday painting that will also be offered as a Christmas card.  So this year, plan on ordering beautiful Scripture art cards to celebrate the birth of our dear Savior, Jesus.  Stay tuned to an announcement here soon!

Please share my post to help promote my new greeting cards with your friends! LIKE TWEET PINTEREST or GOOGLE.

What do  you think of my new painting and cards?  Leave me a reply…


The Kiss. The Thinker. And the Gates of Hell. A Day in the Life of an Artist…

It was a beautiful fall day, clear blue skies with a soft breeze, as I waited for the train with my friend Sylvia.  “What exhibit are we going to see today at the Cantor Museum at Stanford?”  I asked her.  “I think the Rodin statues.” she mused.  “Hmm…Rodin, didn’t he sculpt the famous The Kiss and The Thinker?” “Yes, and the Gates of Hell,” Sylvia replied.  Excitement began to grow as the train rushed us to the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto.

The Tinker and Me

We met up with my fellow artists from our Arts of the Covenant group, a faith based group of artists who meet monthly and exhibit our work in gallery shows.

As we began our tour, the docent, an elderly lady with a walker, surprised us all by the fascinating story she told of Auguste Rodin, complete with pictures of him throughout his life.  The museum has 200 ‘casts’ or bronze statues of his work, the largest collection outside of Paris.

As we passed through the galleries, I was pleased to see his statue The Kiss and The Thinker and took my photo by it.  Next we came to his work Gates of Hell and I was overcome with emotion. These large

doors depicting the Gates of Hell had over 20 figures and took him 20 years to sculpt. I said a quiet prayer of thanks, that I would never have to go through those gates, as I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and His free gift of eternal life.

“I wonder how he kept the clay wet all those years?”, I commented to my fellow artisans.  “How do you even make a cast?”I pondered. I grew up working with clay and throwing pots on the potters wheel but hadn’t specialized in ceramics, so was unsure. “His talent is remarkable, how he molds his subjects in such likeness and beauty.” I reflected.

It got me thinking. We are referred to as lumps of clay in the Bible and God as the potter, molding and making us into a beautiful image of Himself.  “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)  Like Rodin, God chips away at our imperfections, refining us through the process.  We need to admit our powerlessness in His hands and give Him permission to shape us as He wishes.  But we often fight Him, trying to jump off the potter’s wheel and take charge of our lives.

The Bible also refers to us as jars of clay. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7) His Holy Spirit shines out through the cracks of our pots leading other to Him. Just like Rodin’s sculptures reflect his creative mastery, so God’s creative mastery shines through us, His creations.

As the tour ended, we gathered for lunch in the cafe, and then for a walk amongst statues in the garden. I thanked the Lord for His gift of creativity that allowed me to point others to His love and saving grace through my artwork and writing. Yes, even as a cracked pot.

Do you need to ask the Lord to use your brokenness and pain to be a vessel for his love and light to others?  Do you need to ask His forgiveness for trying to be the potter in your life rather than the clay?  If so, please pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I admit I have tried to run my own life and have made a mess of it.  I want to ask you into my heart as my Lord and Savior, forgiving my sins and mistakes and filling me with your Holy Spirit. I receive your free gift of eternal life with you in Heaven. Thank you I will not have to enter the gates of hell and have eternal separation from you. Have your way in me as your child and creation.  Amen.

Art Greeting Card

To see my Scripture paintings and greeting cards, visit ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com I invite you to purchase my art and share His light with others in your life.

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My Big Dream…getting my book published…and how you can help…

The road to Mt. Hermon

Every year there is a wonderful Christian writers conference in March amongst redwood trees at Mt. Hermon in the Santa Cruz mountains south of San Francisco.  It is every writers dream to go as it is the most prestigious conference in the United States.

I was blessed to go last year for the first time, a nervous first time writer with the first draft of my newly written book Running from the Witches: How the Redemptive Love and Power of Jesus Christ Healed my Life. I was what they call a newbie, not knowing what to expect for the jam packed five day conference.  They assigned me a buddy who was there to help orient me and support me throughout the conference named Rebecca.I checked into my room, met my roommate Laura, and went for a hike to ask God what His will for me was during this time.  Of course, like every writer, I wanted to sell my manuscript.  THE BIG DREAM.  How naive I was.  God had other plans. Rewrites to be specific..and trusting Him in the process of getting published.

This past year He has been faithful and blessed me to have one of my devotions published, making me a published author (see my publications tab above). I have developed many writer friendships from the conference that encourage me in the writing process.

This year I am hoping to return to the conference and find an editor and agent for my now rewritten and polished manuscript. I will have a chance to pitch my story in five minutes as I eat lunch and dinner with editors and agents.  I will be able to submit my book proposal for review by publishing houses. Network with other writes and take a zillion workshops. All amongst the redwood trees and fresh air of the mountains. Glory.

My manuscript has been edited, critiqued and professionally looked over by my critique partner, Jenni, and my dear author friends Kay Marshall Strom and Dan Kline, who I met last year when they both took me under their wings to help guide my path.  I took Kay’s How to Write with Sizzle Class at the conference and Kay helped me turn my book from a memoir into a memoir with self help genre which it now is.

My book highlights my experiences on the mission field in Israel and the trauma I endured, the abuse I suffered as a child, and how God came and healed me from it all through the love and power of Jesus Christ.

It is a great read filled with adventures in Israel and England, but mostly it is a love story of how God came and found me, this little Catholic girl lost in the dysfunction of my home, and began an intimate journey with me that has lasted five decades. The best part is the book has self help notes for the reader at the end of each chapter on how to overcome all the issues I have dealt with in my life, including depression, abortion, sexual abuse, eating disorders and dating “Hell boys”!

(You can read excerpts from my book in the archive section of my blog)

In order to go to this year’s conference, I am asking you my readers, who are blessed by my blog, and want to help get my book published, to financially sponsor me to cover the $1000 fees to attend. (This covers room, meals, conference fees and incidentals).  As a faith based ministry, I am trusting the Lord to move on hearts to help me go.

Will you sponsor me?  It’s simple, you can make a donation online securely on my website www.giftsofhisglory.com using your credit card or pay pal account. I ask for donations by February 28, 2013.  However, you can still donate after that date to help support my art ministry as well. I will give you a autographed free copy of my book once published as a way of saying thank you for your donation. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father. James 1:17

Whew!  It’s always hard asking for money!  But I think I did o.k. (smile).

Thanking you in advance for your gift and giving Glory to God for what He is going to do at this year’s Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I am expecting miracles!  http://mounthermon.org/event/122

Your friends can help send me to the conference too!  Click LIKE or TWEET below.

 

 

 


Blessings, Paintings and Spooks…Oh My!

 

Me and Michele Rickett of She is Safe

Halloween is not a favorite holiday of mine.  I hate how it celebrates the Devil and his works.  Every week right before Halloween I feel the intensified evil in the air as witches and satanists do their ritual sacrifices in the forest areas around my home. Spooky ghosts and goblins decorations on nearby homes sends a shiver down my spine. So this week I am celebrating how God used this season to glorify Himself.

It started Thursday night. Excitement was in the air as Michele Rickett of She is Safe, the ministry I advocate for, came to speak at my church to people who were interested in hearing more about human trafficking.  I was invited to show my art, as a percentage of my art goes toward the work they are doing in China with Aids orphans.  These are precious little girls who have lost parents to Aids and are in danger of being trafficked.

I call them ‘my girls’ as in “gotta sell a lot of paintings for my girls” and “Lord please bless my paintings and bring people to buy them for the girls” and “oh goody, sold another painting, more money for my girls.” I get so excited and can’t wait to make the donations via their website SheisSafe.org.

Michele’s speech was great and we had a good crowd.  As I stood in front of the group,  I shared how my goal as an advocate was to rescue one girl and support her for one year.  I imagine one little girl in East China around 6 or 7 years old, malnourished, living in poverty and unwanted because she is a girl.  She is vulnerable to being sold in child marriage by her family or to a trafficker and then brothel.

I imagine how the money I am raising will go toward the $1 day it costs to educate, feed, shelter and clothe her.  While it doesn’t seem like much to rescue one girl, this is one girl rescued from the ravages of darkness and the clutches of the Devil.  Just imagine if we all did this and rescued one girl, what an impact that would have on ending the evilness of human trafficking. And after that I will rescue another little girl, then another. (God was faithful and paintings were sold.)

“Miriam, what can I do to help?  It seems so overwhelming and impossible to stop?”  Here are some immediate ways you can help:

Purchase a Scripture painting on my website giftsofhisglory.com.  What says unique gift more than an original piece of artwork with Scripture in it? (think holidays around the corner)  $50 of each sale will go to help ‘my girls’. That’s 50 days of her being ‘safe’.

Forget Me Not Tulips Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

Donate money. Visit She is Safe’s website and click on donate.  What I love about SIS is that you can donate directly to a specific work or area of the world via their work page map.  So if you have a heart for helping former Muslim women in Indonesia learn a trade and become self supportive or want to reach out to children in India being tutored and taught about the love and value Jesus has for girls, visit this page.

Become an advocate like me. Click on Advocacy for ways to get easily involved. Consider hosting a Village Gathering party, where you host a group of friends in your home and sell jewelry made by rescued girls that goes to support them in their new lives in Jesus Christ.  Or organize a Run to Rescue to raise money through a walk or run sponsored marathon.  Better yet, get your children involved at home or in your Sunday school or classroom by doing Read to Rescue, raising money by reading books, yes reading books!

Rescue beads and earrings for your Village Gathering party

Subscribe to their blog and keep yourself informed on what is happening in the world of abuse and exploitation of women and the wonderful work SIS is doing. Then pray regularly for their work. You can also read the interview they did of my art ministry Gifts of His Glory.

Join an advocacy group in your area. I will be leading a new group on the San Francisco Peninsula soon.  We will raise money as a group for the China Aids orphans and study the book Forgotten Girls, written by Michele and my friend Kay Marshall Strom. For more information email me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com. (Many people signed up to join!)

LIKE and TWEET this post below so your friends can hear about how they can help too!

SheisSafe.org

I recommend She is Safe because I love how they PREVENT girls from being abused and trafficked into sexual slavery.  Won’t you help through one of the above ways and make a difference in these precious children of God? They are suffering in the worst possible ways and are crying out to God and someone to help them.  Thank you!

 

 

 


Bridges and Connections

Bridges and Connections…

San Francisco is  my town.  I was born at Kaiser Hospital on Geary Blvd, 51 years ago!  I love sailing on the Bay, the cable cars, Christmas at Union Square and biking at the Presidio right under the Golden Gate Bridge.  That beautiful Golden Gate.

Gets me thinking of other bridges and connections in our lives, namely Jesus, our bridge to peace with our Heavenly Father and to Heaven.  One day we will travel that bridge in the Spirit to the other side and meet Him face to face.  Can’t wait, how about you?
So when my Arts of the Covenant group decided to have our next gallery show to celebrate the Golden Gate’s 75th birthday, entitled “Bridges and Connections: Manmade, natural, and metaphorical” I pondered on what type of painting I would do.

So I thought of painting the bridge, but rejected it as being too hard.  Other famous bridges?…no, didn’t want to do them either.  Ahh Ha!  yes, I will do one of my Scripture paintings of…..No, I am not going to tell you!  You will have to come out and see it at the Gallery show on July 21 and 22nd in downtown Menlo Park, (the old Bank of the West Building at 950 University Avenue) where you will find a beautiful show by artists of faith along this theme.  At the same time, the City of Menlo Park is having its annual art marketplace so there will be lots of art to see and things to do.  Come have a cool glass of lemonade and mingle with me and my fellow artists at the reception.

Speaking of art, I just finished a new piece today entitled “Orange Tulips” with Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”.


Orange Tulips Proverbs 3:5
 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths
It is for sale for $100 at my art website (click above) or go to www.giftsofhisglory.com.  I give you a peek at it above…(remember:  50% of art sales go to She is Safe to help orphaned girls and women be free of abuse and sexual slavery and trafficking.)

When you think of bridges, what comes to mind for you?  Leave me a reply, would love to hear from you!