Meeting God at the Fair

thIt had been two of those hellish weeks, when everything was difficult and the Devil was trying (and succeeding) to attack and discourage me. I felt overwhelmed with scary landlord issues, getting new carpet installed, the internet going out, starting a challenging new volunteer job, and 103 degree heat. All I could do was cry out to God: “Help”.

And then God moved. I attended my acupuncture appointment after a month had passed, the longest I had gone without a session. As the needles did their magic, God whispered to me answers to my prayers and encouraged me with visions of my new life in France. I relaxed and breathed again. Yes, He was still in control.

IMG_0810And then in rained. On the day I was planning to go to the local county fair with my friend Patrice. I was longing for a day of fun, to be like a kid again. So I put on my waterproof hat, not to be deterred, and off we went.

We were first to arrive. As the rain came down, the blessings began. We had the fairgrounds almost to ourselves. No crowds, no heat. Not your usual fair, right? We picked out tasty food, Greek fries (yum) for me, and chicken gyro for Patrice. We IMG_0805talked and shared stories. Then we wandered over to the animals and had such good belly laughs at pigs deep in slumber and turkey Tom strutting his stuff. Of course, we took pictures with our iphones and sent them on Facebook right away to our friends.

Then we stumbled upon the butterfly tent. Inside where hundreds of butterflies butterfliesfluttering around. We were given a Q-tip to dip in nectar to feed them. Did you know butterflies eat with their legs? Yes, it’s true. I had a “God moment” when two butterflies alighted on my pink shirt and stuck to me like glue. I took a deep breath and told Patrice, “I think they are attracted to the Jesus light in me.” Yes, indeed, they knew the presence of their IMG_1276maker, God, creator of all things. I was struck by God’s tenderness to me, to allow me to experience a new and glorious thing: feeding butterflies! Knowing they live such a short life span of 14 days, reminded me of the preciousness of life, and put things into perspective.

IMG_0812I felt his presence in Patrice’s laughter as we next watched the pig races, a first for her, and what she most wanted to see. Giggling, we next rode the carousal, me picking a horse with pink roses on its mane, and she picking a zebra. As we bobbed up and down to the music, I felt the IMG_0822Lord’s presence and threw him a kiss, so happy to be with Him, as He washed our dry land with plentiful rain.
IMG_0820

In the art gallery, I saw his beauty in the creation of paintings and photographs that displayed His glory and was humbled by the artistic craftsmanship of the quilts, mine being no where as good as these! Finally, we ended our day with treats no fair experience is good without: a soft ice cream cone for me; and a chocolate dipped banana with nuts for Patrice, as the rain dripped steadily on our faces. Our feet were tired as we left the fair, joking as we walked along that we might be old, but not too old to get on and off the merry-go-round!

God is all around you and wants you to cherish His presence about you. Can you take a minute today and ask Him to show himself to you? The God of the universe loves you and wants to be in personal relationship with you, if you only ask. His son, Jesus, jesusandusinheavenwill come make His home with you, forgive you of your sins, and give you eternal life in Heaven with him. Simply open your heart and invite him in today. It’s that easy.

I wish you a summer full of God appearances. May you find His joy at the most unlikely places, as I did at the fair!

To see my paintings and greeting cards, click on ‘my art’ above or giftsofhisglory.com

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How God Paints Our Lives with Pastel Crayons

thEvery artist goes through stages when they are ready to move on to a new type of art. I found myself in this stage a few months ago, when I no longer felt led to continue my Scripture Art paintings. I needed a new start after an eight month recovery period from my hand and shoulder injuries. I could now paint again and remembered the pastel crayons I had bought a few years ago sitting in my art box. I thought it would be fun, using crayons to paint, just like in Kindergarten!

So one day I got them out, all shiny and new, and smelling the wonderful chalky smell of pastels. The box had 24 colors, all of the color spectrum, so I knew I was ready. IMG_0564But, what to paint? Being that I love to paint God’s creation, especially flowers, I took my iphone camera and went out to snap some pictures. This began the process of putting myself on a schedule, and thus Painting Mondays began. Sunday night, I would select a flower scene to paint and first thing Monday morning, I would sit down with my laptop with the flower on the screen, my box of crayons, and a cup of coffee. Putting praise music on in the background inspired me to worship God both through my gift of art and song.

IMG_0588What I discovered as I drew and colored, is that I could smudge the colors with my fingers, reminding me of finger painting, which was my favorite type of painting as a child. Didn’t you love putting your fingers in the cold goo and spreading it all around on the paper? Painting with pastels is kind of like that. They are soft and leave a chalk like residue that I have to blow off periodically, and sometimes it gets on my laptop keyboard and then I have to blow it off that!

Unlike painting with acrylics or oils, you cannot mix the paint to form another IMG_0623color. You have to pick your color and then color over it with another color to lighten or darken your color of choice. I grew to love making a soft pink color by starting with magenta and lightening it with a white crayon. I discovered I could ‘mix’ the crayons in a new and fun way.

As I ‘painted’ I realized God, the ultimate Artist, paints a picture of our life everyday, and often He will ‘smudge’ our hearts with his healing touch, taking away th-1our pain and wounding, just like with a pastel crayon. He likes to ‘color’ over our mistakes with His forgiveness, and blow away our tears. And in the process, he makes a beautiful picture of our life, for all to see. For are we not His ultimate masterpieces? Aren’t you grateful He doesn’t just color within the lines, but gives us grace every day?

And when the painting is done, I spray it with a protective sealant that keeps it from smudging and remaining the beautiful picture it is. Just like God does after He heals us and saves us, He places His love and Holy Spirit as a protection that no one, not even the devil, can steal away.

IMG_0688My new pastel paintings are for sale for $50 each and you can contact me through my website giftsofhisglory.com under ‘contact Miriam’.

Perhaps I will turn these into new greeting cards as well. God knows what He has in mind for me, and you too! He sees the blank canvas of your life every day and will ‘color’ His will for you unto it, if you surrender you will and life to Him as your Lord and Savior. He wants to color over all the blackness of your sin and mistakes IMG_0649and give you a heart white as snow. Would you let Him today do this for you? If so, please pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus: Thank you that you are the Creator of all things, including me. I want to live a new life, with you in the center of my heart and life. Please forgive my sins, I believe you died on the cross for me and rose from the dead so I could have eternal life with you. I accept you as my Lord and Savior today and ask you to make my life a beautiful masterpiece. Amen.

To view my Scripture paintings and greeting cards click on ‘my art’ above.

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Book Review: “The Amish Clockmaker” by Susan Meissner and Mindy Starns Clark

Part of the fun of being a writer is when you have the opportunity to review the latest novel of a writer friend and are given a complimentary copy by the publisher to do so. Today, I will be reviewing The Amish Clockmaker by author Susan Meissnerth and Minday Starns Clark. I met Susan at last year’s Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference and we have become Facebook friends. I was happy to respond to her request for reviewers of her third book in the series, The Men of Lancaster County.

As some of you may remember, I have visited Lancaster, Pennsylvania and hope to make my home there one day amongst the quiet life of the Amish. I learned to quilt there IMG_0294and continue my hobby to this day. So when the book arrived in the mail, I quickly poured a cup of tea and climbed on my bed to read. I was intriqued that it featured an Amish man as the main character and was a mystery/suspense, which I enjoy.

I think the book jacket explains the storyline best, so will quote it here:

“Newlywed Matthew Zook is expanding his family’s tack and feed store when a surprising property dispute puts the remodel on hold-and raises new questions about the location’s mysterious past.

Decades earlier, the same building housed a clock shop run by a young Amish clockmaker named Clayton Raber. Known for his hot temper, Clayton was arrested for the murder of his beloved wife, a crime almost everyone-including his own family members-believed he committed, even after the charges were dropped. Isolated and feeling condemned by IMG_0228all, Clayton eventually broke from the church, left Lancaster County, and was never heard from again.

Now the only way Matthew can solve the boundary issue and save his family’s business is to track down the clockmaker. But does this put Matthew on the trail of a murderer?”

Susan and Mindy write so beautifully. My favorite part of the story is the love story of Clayton and Miriam (my namesake!) as he rescues her from the shame of an unplanned pregnancy by a ‘worldly’ man, and her subsequent postpartum psychosis that tears them apart and leads to her death. I admire how the authors chose to deal with a serious mental illness that is not much written about.

God’s character is seen throughout the book. We see the faithful love of God exemplified in Clayton’s love of Miriam. We witness God’s redemption as Matthew attempts to unite Clayton and his estranged family. This gave me hope that one day the Lord may bring truth and understanding to my own estranged family situation. We see God’s faithfulness to bring good out of a bad situation, even many years later, giving every reader hope for their own future.

I became enthralled with the suspenseful storyline and read the book in three days! I particularly liked how I knew each town she mentioned in the story, as I had been

me in Amish buggy ride

me in Amish buggy ride

there personally. Susan creates and weaves the beauty of Lancaster County and the simplicity of Amish life throughout the story, which any reader would enjoy.

I highly recommend Susan’s The Amish Clockmaker. Don’t you love it when you find a new author and can’t wait to read all of their published books? I am now reading the second book in her series, The Amish Blacksmith, which tells the story of a ‘horse gentler’ or horse whisperer. To find out more about Susan and her published novels, visit her website: www.susanmeissner.com

To see my Scripture art and greeting cards visit my website at giftofhisglory.commeadow  5 x 7 scan

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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


On Pins and Needles… God’s Healing Through Acupuncture

acupuncture needles

acupuncture needles

Every Tuesday I take the train to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto for an acupuncture sessions with Dr. Huang. Now this is a miracle. I was always one to doubt Eastern medicine, figuring it was ‘phu phu’ stuff, involving centering your energy and ‘Chi’s’. Until I injured my hands, arms and shoulder from overuse. In pain, not able to write, paint or bike, or even get to the grocery store without a friend taking me, I found myself in a humble spot with the Lord.

My conventional doctors could only give me cortisone shots and the possibility of surgery, which I did not want. Physical Therapy did not help. So when my pain doctor suggested Acupuncture, I prayed about it.

“Really, Lord, acupuncture? Isn’t this dangerous to do spiritually?”

Hearing the Scripture over and over, “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” (Proverbs 3:5-6), I felt God was leading me to try this, so I made the appointment. Wondering how I would pay for it, as my insurance did not cover it, I was offered a 80% discount by Stanford, a welcome surprise.

And so it began. Dr. Huang, with his Chinese accent and sense of humor, studied the practice in China before he began practicing at Stanford 20 years ago. I was a bit nervous, as I did not know what he was doing, placing up to 14 needles all over me, but I trusted God would use his hands to help heal me.

They say acupuncture works for some and not for others, but my very first session, I felt its magical effects. I felt my life force or ‘energy’ as they call it, move and center me. I felt a deep peace and calm come over me. After the very first session, for which he was treating my carpel tunnel in both hands, with pain radiating up to my neck, I was able to write on the computer without pain for 15 minutes, which believe me, was a miracle.

To work on my frozen shoulder, he asked me if I could take a ‘big’ needle. I assured him if I could take a cortisone shot in my wrists, I could take this needle.

“Now don’t kick me,” he said, as He placed the needle in my right shin.

“O.K. I won’t” not knowing what to expect. He turned it twice, and i felt my nerve travel into my foot and my foot kick up, luckily missing him.

“Now, move your shoulder through all the pain points for one minute.”

I did this, and low and behold, all my shoulder pain was gone! I could move my left arm. I was pain free for four days! When I told my orthopedic doctor, Dr. Roh, he exclaimed;

“I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it…but give me his name as I have a patient who want to try it.” I laughed all the way home from the doctors office.

images-2The best part happens while I lie on the table for 45 minutes after the needles are placed in various places. I hear the Holy Spirit whispering to me above the relaxing Chinese meditation music. I hear words of comfort, as He also moves through my soul, healing it from past hurts and trauma. I feel deep peace and calm come over me and all my worries float away. I see Jesus in a vision, sitting at my feet, touching my body as His healing power flows through me. Tears spring from the sides of my eyes, as my heart expresses my gratitude to the Lord for this provision of healing to me: body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Huang puts two needles in my head and he tells me this aligns and balances my energy. Do I believe it now? Yes, I do, as I have seen how my emotions have stabilized and my mind is clearer and calmer.

God works in mysterious ways. He can take an unbeliever like myself and turn me into a believer, when I see His power and majesty move on my behalf. Dr. Huang jokes with me by saying, to heal my depression he would have to sick a long needle into one ear and out the other, to which I laugh. But it is no laughing matter to be able to type this whole blog post, to be able to ride my bike again on occasion and to paint with my pastel crayons. images

God is in the business of restoring broken parts and places with whatever means He chooses. I give Him all the Glory. I share my testimony with you today, hoping you will trust Him with your broken places, asking Him for His healing touch in whatever way He brings it, including ‘pins and needles’. Amen.

To see my Scripture art and greeting cards click on ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com yellow daffodils 5 x 7 scan

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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 🙂


Love Works.

Today a miracle happened.  I faced one of my biggest fears and God completely delivered me from it.  You see, 14 years ago, I came off the mission field after spending two years in England and parts of the United States, involved in a prophetic underground movement, that turned out to be a cult.  I came home bruised, beaten by the devil, and very ill with depression and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). My family, not wanting to be burdened with me, dumped me on the County mental health system, and I found myself homeless in a shelter.  Yes, a shelter.  I write about this in my prepublished book of my journey of faith entitled,”Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God.”

I share this with you today to encourage you how the redemptive love and healing power of Jesus Christ can heal even the most wounded soul and damaged life.  I was told I would never recover from these illnesses and the fear that gripped me.  I felt like God had abandoned me and the devil had put me out to pasture, never to be in ministry again.  But there is hope in my story, as God did bring healing and restoration to my life, and can for yours too.  It starts with a seed of faith, to believe in Him as your Lord and Savior, and ask Him to forgive your sins and come dwell in your heart.  Jesus was all about healing during His time on this earth, and He still heals today through the power of His Holy Spirit, that resides in believers.  You are sealed with the Holy Spirit and redeemed for all eternity when you are born again (John 3:7)

So what was the miracle Miriam?  Today I went to do a LOVE WORKS project with my new church at a homeless shelter for people with psychiatric illnesses.  I was a bit afraid that it would trigger bad memories of that time in my life, the great pain and depression I was in, and the spiritual torment I was under.  Deep down I feared that somehow I would end up homeless again.

Well, you know what? God’s love worked, as I showed up to paint the shelter rooms.  I looked around the place in amazement, how clean and well kept it looked, how sunny and bright.  I fellow-shipped with two women residents at lunch, then asked them if I could peek in the women’s dorm.  When I pushed open the door, I was met with the sight of new wooden wardrobes at the foot of each bed, unlike the old metal lockers that had been there before. I shared my testimony how I had been in this very same shelter 14 years ago. God had met me there, when one summer day a black pastor from the church down the street stopped by and invited me to his church.  I went and found my way back to Him and church, and the rode to recovery began.

As I stood in the dorm, Shivon* and Cathy* asked me to pray for them, so we formed a circle and held hands, I prayed for God to protect them, to open doors for housing and jobs, and to heal their mental illnesses. I saw God’s love work in their hearts, and mine.

I had come full circle. I stood there strong in His love, sharing it with others who needed it that day.  My fear of being homeless again just dissipated, as the Lord healed my heart.

*not their real names.

The residents saw God’s love through our serving them.  I hope one day, one of them will say, “You know, it was when that church group came and painted our shelter, and shared their testimonies of hope in Jesus, that the turning point came for me.”  Just as it had for me that summer day years ago.

May LOVE WORK in your life and through your life to others today…

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To see my Scripture Art and Collage, click on ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com

 


Back in the (Writing) Saddle Again…

Rain, rain, go away come back some other day…Do you remember this little ditty from your childhood?  I do.  And that’s exactly how I feel.  We have been having a drought in Northern California where I live, and I am grateful for answered prayer, but the last three days it has been raining steadily and I am climbing the walls.

I sewed on my quilt, with all the frustration sewing brings, while I watched movies on the DVD machine.  Then I napped.  Then I ventured out to get a coffee at Peets.  Then I sewed some more. Repeat for three days.

But today, I finally logged on to my computer and opened the manuscript of my book.  Yes, that book, my memoirs, lovingly referred to as Finding God in the Midst of My Mess:  My Love Story with Jesus.  It’s been five months since I set it aside after finishing my third rewrite last summer.  It has been sitting in my desktop files as I knew it needed some additional work, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.

In two months time, I will know how.  I will be taking a class on writing memoirs at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference in April.  Yes, God has been faithful and blessed me with the money to attend.  Thank you to those of you who donated to my art and writing ministry, Gifts of His Glory. www.giftsofhisglory.com.

I am now on a writers roll.  There is nothing like typing away on my laptop as the creativity flows through my fingers and the rain pours down on the roof.  Did I say rain?  Yes, bring on the rain!  I love to write in the rain!  Not actually outside in the rain, but inside with a decaf coffee, a few pieces of sugar free chocolate, some inspirational music, and I am set.

I wrote the first draft of my book while sitting in a French cafe in my hometown, drinking French coffee, and listening to French music play in the background. I pretended I was in Pairs and wrote the book in two months straight.  Oh how easy writing is, I thought at the time, only to discover that what I lovingly referred to as ‘my book’ was actually called a ‘first’ or ‘crappy’ draft in the industry!  Yes and crappy it was!

Fast forward two years: one critique partner, two writers groups, three rewrites, many edits and now here I sit.  Not to mention building a social platform – BLOGging, TWEETing, FACEBOOKing and PINTERESTing. On top of writing devotions to get ‘published’ in order to ‘get book published’.  The Lord was faithful and three of my devotions were published.Smile. Oh and I forgot, the need to establish a speaking ministry.  So far I have spoken twice and will have more opportunities to speak once the book is published. WHEW, are you tired yet?  I am!

All to fulfill my dream of writing a book one day.  Don’t let anyone fool you and tell you it is easy.  Because it is hard work, with oodles, and I mean oodles, of rejection.  But in the end, I will have my story, a testimony of the healing power and redemptive love of Jesus Christ.  And it will bring healing to others and Glory to God.  Making it all worthwhile.

Thank you Lord for the rain.

Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Acts 14:17.

To see my Scripture art paintings and greeting cards go to ‘my art’ above or click here.

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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

Why Are All the Santas Deflated?

This morning I awoke to bright sunshine and warm weather, typical of  Northern California at Christmas time.  I decided to take a bike ride through the neighborhood on my way to my favorite cafe, La Tartine, in the next town over.

As I pedaled my bike under a bright blue sky, I marveled at the Christmas decorations at each house-colorful ornaments hanging from tree limbs, dazzling in the sunshine, red and white candy canes lining the driveways and a slew of wire reindeer looking naked without their twinkling lights.

And then it struck me.  Many of the houses I passed had huge, inflatable Santas, faced down on the lawn. Why were all the Santas deflated? My mind raced.  Did someone pop poor old Santa as a prank?  But wait.  Frosty the Snowman was down also.  I grew more confused. Perhaps, I wondered, they were inflated with air each evening, only to dissipate like a melting snowman come light of day?

Then it dawned on me. We too are like those deflated Santas during Christmastime. We get all pumped up about the tinsel and gifts, the chocolate and peppermints, and the sparkling lights at night. Then we find ourselves depressed, with the air let out of us. Maybe, it’s an unkind word or act of meanness by our boss. Deflate.  Or most likely, that hurtful thing said by our dysfunctional family member.  Pop.   Perhaps, the school kids didn’t like our home baked cookies or even the Costco bought cookies  Flattened.

But there is good news!  We don’t ever have to be deflated again!  God fills us with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, when we believe in His Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.   He fills our hearts with Joy, Peace, Love, Patience, Kindness and Goodness. And hope. All the things Christmas is supposed to be about.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16.) 

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14.) 

Immanuel means “God with us.”  Jesus came to earth to dwell with us. He takes up residence in our hearts and promises to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5-6.)   We can ask him to refresh our spirits and He will do so.  He will comfort our pain, encourage our discouragement, and shed grace and light on our difficult situation. We never lose His presence in us and He is immediately there when we ask anything of Him.

Do you want His joy, peace and love in your heart?  Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to accept God’s free gift of salvation, knowing Jesus came as a baby, just for you, to forgive your sins and reconcile you with God?

Yes? then pray the prayer below:

Dear Jesus:  I know I am a sinner and ask you to forgive my sins.  I invite you to come dwell in my heart as my Lord and Savior.  I want to be filled with your Holy Spirit and know you as my God.  Thank you for coming down to earth to save me and for loving me so much.  I love you Jesus.

Do you know angels are rejoicing in Heaven right now because you’ve entered the Kingdom of God as His child?  Merry Christmas-you have received the most perfect gift of all!

And a special Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you be transformed by the miracle of His birth this season…

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