Do you love a great Zoo?

Bon Jour! Zoos are some of my favorite things, visiting them wherever I travel. How about you? Today, I will take you on a tour of famous zoos, including one in Paris!

I remember as a teenager visiting my older sister Kathy in San Diego and spending the day wandering the huge San Diego Zoo, happy to see the animals in natural habitats. My favorite animal is the seal or otter, and I love to see them swimming around while barking. And of course, I often travelled to the San Francisco Zoo, taking my students when I was teaching elementary school.

Then one day while staying in Jerusalem during my missionary days there, I took the bus to the The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to explore. It was November, and warm with a cool breeze, like the Fall gets there. Colorful leaves blew around my feet as I debarked the bus. I paid my 10 shekels to enter and was so surprised to see the native animals of the Bible, one after another. Each habitat had a sign posted with the Scripture from the Jewish Bible that mentions the animal, and where it came from, which was fascinating to see! God’s Word at the Zoo! King Solomon brought many of the animals on his great ships into the port at the tip of the Red Sea, now know as Eilat.

The zoo sees its primary goal as the conservation of endangered species. These include animals mentioned in the Bible which are now extinct in Israel, such as the Asian lion, the Syrian brown bear, the Asiatic cheetah, the Nile crocodile, and the Persian fallow deer.

Finally, I reached a large open reserve where animals roamed freely together. I rested on a bench overlooking the reserve nearby an Orthodox woman, in her long sleeves and skirt and wig, nursing her baby. I was shocked as I had never seen an Orthodox woman breastfeeding. She smiled at me, and I smiled back. Such peace and tranquility until an Israeli fighter jet flew overhead, breaking the silence and scattering the animals. A spark of fear settled in my heart, wondering if an attack was imminent. Just a typical day in Israel, I reminded myself.

And in the spirit of keeping everything French and highlighting some fun things to do if you get to Paris, may I recommend the Melagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Zoo & Gardens), the oldest zoo in France, right in the heart of Paris. In 1793 the Jardin des Plantes, which was originally a botanical garden, became the first public zoo in France. The compact 16 acre area, with formal 18th-century landscaping, was retained when the Jardin was renovated between 1918 and 1939. It holds some 1,100 specimens, including the rare Przewalski’s horse. It was the personal zoo of the aristocracy, who selected many animals to reside there from all of Europe and beyond.

I plan on visiting when I take my trip to Paris in the near future while enjoying the beautiful botanical gardens. I hope to paint some of the flowers there with my pastels and include them in my art greeting card collection. I wonder what animal and flower will be my favorite? Restez à l’écoute – stay turned! Au revoir mes amis. – Goodbye my friends!

Check out my book/memoirs: Becoming Miriam: A life transformed by God – click above
or for sale at Amazon.com.

To see my art greeting cards, click here


Paris: The Inspirational Story Behind My Book:

Don’t you love to find out how an author chooses to write their story or memoir? I was inspired to write my pre-published book, Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God from a Hollywood movie. Yes, it’s true! I share below how my desire to go to Paris, France, came into being along with my first book. Enjoy!

Writing my story – January 23, 2012, San Carlos, California.

Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old, Behold I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

th-3I had just returned from a one night retreat down near Carmel, which sits on the ocean in Central California. I came away from the retreat feeling renewed in my spirit. While there, the Lord whispered to my heart that when I came home there would be a blessing waiting for me that would make me cry. I eagerly opened the mail and found the movie Sabrina, waiting in my mailbox from a mail order movie service.

th The next day, I watched the modern story of Sabrina with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford (not the Audrey Hepburn version). As Sabrina ran off to Paris to find herself, I told the Lord i wanted my freedom to do this too, not always waiting on His perfect will do do whatever He asked of me.

Deep down I was miserable, living an oppressive life of financial disability, spiritual oppression and feelings of futility. How I wanted to run off to Paris and do the Paris artist thing. To paint and draw and hang out at the cafe. To walk the Seine th-4and all its 23 bridges, finding my favorite to journal on just like Sabrina did.

Deep inside, I felt the Lord say, “Do you really want to run away from me and my will for your life? For there in the center of my will you will find safety.” I realized this was the answer to my feelings of insecurity all the time. “No, Lord, I don’t want to run away from you,” I said with tears in my eyes. He tenderly replied, “I want to give you the desires of your heart, all of them, as your Heavenly Father who loves and adores you, I know you want to travel the world and i will bring a large provision for you to do so.”

Excited now, I realized my deepest desire was to write, but what? I implored of the Lord what to write. “Write your life story; speak the truth and many others will find hope in your story of redemption and healing from abuse, mental illness, and ministry.”

With the Lord’s permission now, I excitedly jumped on the bed like a child, praising Him for His goodness and loving me enough to give my my heart’s desire. I would trust the Holy Spirit to show me how to write my story, and what to include in the chapters. I promised to use this gift of writing He had imparted in me to bring Him glory. I felt a new freedom to do what my heart desired and take a break from ministry.

th-6The next day, I sat at Peets Care with my morning coffee and began to write my story. I found an application called “Ulysses” to organize my book. As I sat down to write, I felt an anointing from the Holy Spirit.The story just flowed from my fingers. I wrote the forward, inspiration, and the highlights of what my story would tell. It just flowed out in perfect order from my heart. Bowing my head in gratitude, I prayed, “Lord, I will wait for the money to go to Paris and will be faithful to write every day as it rains here in January.

I faithfully awoke each morning, happy to have a project to work on that brought me such joy. The sense of futility I had suffered lifted. I realized God’s financial provision through my disability that allowed me stay home and write my book. The bigger picture came into light and I felt the Lord’s hand on my life.

One morning, He reminded me of a Parisian cafe around the corner that had just opened. Taking my laptop with me, I visited the cafe to find the French owner, th-1Geoffrey, welcome me with a loud. “Bon Jour Madame”. The menu was full of french comfort food and French music played in the background, I sat and ordered a french cafe, or coffee, and felt as if I had stepped into Parisian cafe. If I couldn’t go to Paris, the Lord would bring Paris to me! I vowed to come every day to write as I sipped the french campaigned the owner blessed me with! Oh La La!

Within two months, my entire story had poured out of my soul and I had my first draft of ten chapters with an intriguing title, “Running from the Witches: How the Redemptive Love and Power of Jesus Christ Healed my Life”. (Later to be changed!)

I found it healing to write all parts of my story; the trauma I experienced on the mission field when I was a missionary to the Jewish people, both here and in Israel,th-5 and the trauma I incurred as a child. While writing through the trauma, tears would fall from my eyes and wet my hands on the keyboard as I relived the evil abuse I suffered. I knew I was writing this book to give Glory to the Lord for healing my life and redeeming me from the pit I had been in.

Hope and love flowed through my heart as I realized one day this book would be published and my life restored. It encouraged me to know I would bring hope and healing to others. I knew now my life with all its valleys and mountain top experiences, had been for a reason. My life was a tapestry the Lord was weaving together; on the back it looked like a bunch of twisted strings, but on the front side a beautiful painting of a whole and full life was appearing.

th-2Today (July, 2015), my book is finished, except for the afterword. I plan to write it in Paris at a cafe where Ernest Hemingway wrote. I’ll then be able to say, I did indeed write my book in Paris! I continue to await his financial provision to go.

I have experienced the struggles of a writer; the ups and downs, the set backs and victories, the blogs and tweets. I remind myself every day how blessed I am to fulfill my lifetime dream of writing a book. Thank you Jesus.

To see my Christian art and greeting cards, go to ‘my art’ above or giftsofhisglory.com


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 🙂