Happy Birthday to Me!..My Birthday Adventure

Vineyards

January 3 is my birthday.  52 years ago (dare I say my age?!) I came bouncing into this world with bright red hair and blue eyes with an Irish twinkle in them.  I was born into a large Italian Catholic family and my three sisters and I spent all our holidays up in the wine country in Northern California, visiting my cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents. The towns were  sleepy vintner towns, before the yuppies came and turned them into art, wine and mud bath havens for wealthy tourists.

On my birthday, I decided to have an adventure.  I drove up to my family’s home town in my bright red Zip car, for a fun day of celebration.  My plan was to bike around town and visit all the old sites.  My grandparents house, their graves and do a little wine tasting.  It had been 7 years since I had been back or seen any of my family members who resided there.

This town has a town square complete with gazebo and park benches, to sit and soak up the sun in. Around the square I was surprised to see art galleries and wine tasting rooms in number. I set out in the surprisingly freezing cold morning on my bike to begin my adventure.

I biked to my grandparents’ house across from the high school and stopped.  There was the orange tree I used to climb in front of the old house on the corner, where home movies show me toddling with my Easter basket to pick up Easter eggs.  I walked around the corner to the lot where my Papa had his garden.  It was completely gone and I felt sad. I used to love to hear Nana say “Go out and pick me some fresh green beans for dinner.”  She made the most delicious vegetable soup which we would eat with warm bread fresh from the bakery.

Memories flooding my mind, I biked the short distance to the cemetery behind the sports field.  Nana and Papa died within six months of each other, she at 90 years and he at 95.  I had only been to the cemetery once since they had passed and I was anxious to find the plot.  I pushed my bike through the crumbling gravestones, looking for the family name. I walked up and down trying to vex my memory as to where the plot was located.  I prayed, Holy Spirit, please help me find the graves.

As I was about to give up, I saw a plot in the corner by the fence.  Yes, I remembered this from the funeral.  And there it was.  Catherine and James, devoted wife and husband.  Someone had put a Christmas wreath on the grave and I added my remembrance stones, as was typical to put on a Jewish person’s grave.  My Jewish heritage comes from my father’s side, and Nana was my Jewish Italian grandmother, though it was never discussed openly.

I was completely surprised what happened next. As I was telling my grandmother how much I missed her, I  broke into tears.  I began to sob how I wished I could talk to her about how the family relationships had all fractured since I shared the abuse I survived as a child.  How she would be the one person who would have told me the truth about what happened and confirmed my memories for me, which had been repressed for many years.

I know it would have broken her heart to hear what had happened to me. I could have cried on her shoulder over the horrible pain and devastation I experienced from the sexual trauma that happened to me as a child, a secret I had been forced to keep quiet all my life to prevent family shame.

Nana was the one person who instilled in me her strong faith in Jesus and prayed for me constantly.  She passed the faith torch to me, and I was the first person in my family to become born again and receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  She struggled with my decision to leave the Catholic Church and join an evangelical one.  But she never stopped loving me, or praying for me. How I missed her phone calls always telling me I love you.

After awhile, my crying subsided. I prayed one last prayer, asking her to help heal our family from Heaven.  I then said goodbye to my grandparents and biked away toward the town square.  I visited three or four art galleries, talking with the local artists and enjoying their art.  I love to view art with an artist’s eye and I was not disappointed.  Beautiful landscapes of grape vines in fall colors exploded on canvases as I walked by each painting.

Bread pudding

Feeling hungry, I stopped at a seafood tapas restaurant and had barbecued bacon wrapped scallops, followed by the most divine bread pudding, for my birthday dessert.  I love trying bread puddings wherever I go and this one definitely pleased.  Croissants soaked in creme brulee sauce with a layer of bananas and melted chocolate on top.  Yum!

After lunch, I walked around the corner and tried one of the local wineries’ tasting room, that had food pairings with each glass of wine.  I was the only one present and a very knowledgeable and friendly host welcomed me.  Liking only white wine, he began to serve me six different tastings, each with its own cheese sample.

Oh, the smooth taste of a light white wine, coupled with cheese topped with sea salt and truffles.  My taste buds exploded all over the place!  I had to laugh as I saw Jesus in my mind’s eye next to me enjoying his own glass of wine, experiencing both the joy and sadness on my special day.

By now, the sun had come out and the town had come to life, as others joined me in the tasting room.  I strolled back to my Zip car, with a smile on my face and contentment in my heart.  It had been a day of memories and closure, a town I no longer had to avoid because of my pain, as my heart was now whole again.

Jesus had come during a New Year Eve’s church service a few days earlier and healed my shame and heart over my abuse.  I didn’t think it was possible to put together my shattered heart but He did it!  I was now able to receive the love of God as my Heavenly Father, an image that had been distorted by my own father’s actions.

Every year on my birthday, I ask the Lord for a special Scripture to commemorate my day, and for the year ahead.  This year he gave me Psalm 45:13-15.

All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. With many colored robes she is led to the King, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along, as they enter the palace of the King.

Yes, I now felt like a special princess for the first time in my life. I had discarded the dirty robes of shame for a robe interwoven with gold.  Joy and gladness did indeed fill my heart as He blessed me with His love on my birthday.

Do you need healing from sexual abuse in your life? Confidentially reply to me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com and I will share resources and help for you to find healing in your life.

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The Holidays are here…Come see my Scripture art!

Fall Lancaster Tree Ecclesiastes 3:1 'For everything there is a season and a time and purpose under Heaven"

The Halloween decorations are up and the Christmas ornaments are on display, yes it’s that time again, THE HOLIDAYS!  However, this is good news for me. I look forward to the holidays as it is a time to feature my art in person and help sell it for a good cause.

Here’s your chance to see my art in person:  My biblical Scripture Art will be for sale at my church, Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mt. View, California on October 27 and 28th after each service. (call for times 650 625-1500) This is a fair that partners with Heavenly Treasures which sells arts, crafts and jewelry made by women and girls who are rebuilding their lives from trafficking, abuse and poverty.  It is a great place to come and do all your holiday shopping in one stop!

I have dedicated my art to supporting ministries that help victims of human trafficking.  I donate my paintings to these ministries for their auctions at their galas to raise money. I also have committed to donating 50% of each painting to She is Safe, an international ministry that prevents and rescues girls and women from slavery and exploitation in the hardest places of our world, like India, China and Africa.  They work to stop child marriage, female genital mutilation, selling girls into sexual slavery and infanticide of girls, to name a few of their wonderful deeds.

SheisSafe.org

SheisSafe.org

I am an advocate for them here in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be starting an advocacy group on the Peninsula where we will study God’s heart for exploited girls and women, pray, and raise money for a cause close to my heart:  orphaned girls in China whose parents have died from Aids and are in danger of being trafficked.

With our raised money, She is Safe’s partners in China will step in and shelter, clothe and feed the girls and most importantly send them to school so they can break the cycle of poverty and abuse.  We will pick one other country to support such as India, where transformation groups that empower women and teach them the love of Jesus, are being started. For more information on the group, contact me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com

Cross at Sunset "And by His stripes we are healed" Isaiah 53:5

I ask you this holiday season to consider a purchase of a Scripture painting to be a part of God’s answer to the work of rescuing these girls and women from the darkness in their lives, allowing the love and light of Jesus to shine in.  Come on out to the holiday fair if you can or you can shop online at www.giftsofhisglory.com.  I ship anywhere in the USA and beyond! Remember each painting has a Scripture to bless the viewer whether if is hanging in your home, office or classroom. God’s Word will not return to His void. (Isaiah 55:11). And they make wonderful gifts for that seeking friend or family member.

(I know some of you are saying “Miriam it is hard to see what the paintings really look like online. I am afraid if I buy one I won’t be happy.”  Well, I assure you the paintings are more colorful and pretty in person! I have a seven day return policy for any reason. I will refund your money, minus the shipping fees. Just ship it back to me. The Scripture references in each painting are hand printed in gold or color metallic ink by me. Each collage includes textured paper, making them two dimensional).

Let’s remember those less fortunate than us this Holiday Season and bless them with the love of Jesus, as after all, He is the reason for the season!

To view my art, go to ‘my art‘ above or click here.

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My devotion is published!…a love letter to the Lord..

My love letter to the Lord

My sweet Lord, such love and goodness happened this week. Your miracle of allowing me to show my art at my church’s mission holiday fair after all. And yesterday finding out some of my writing is being published on the national level.  Oh, and not to mention the possible job.

I love how faithful you are, that in the dry seasons of our life, when we are so anxious for you to open a door, you open three at once!  I love how you have a way of raining down blessings, and how I know from experience you wait till the last possible moment, yet your timing is perfect.  I have seen you come through when I am down to my last few dollars in my savings account and I don’t know where money will come from for next month’s bills.

From Pinterest

My heart overflows as I watch your perfect sunset of my favorite colors, pink and purple tonight.  I saw a pin on Pinterest today that said God is a designer. How true.  You are the ultimate Artist and Creator.  Every sunrise and sunset you paint a canvas of color for us, and every evening you hang the moon and stars in a navy blue sky.  I have enjoyed so much walking at night and riding my bike under the bright moon.

I have noticed I see things more clearly with an artist’s eye now, with your eye, such as how the seasons change and the beauty of each.  Fall, one of my favorites, brings baking, homemade soups, quilting while sipping pumpkin lattes and crunchy gold, red and yellow leaves on the ground.

This evening, I realized how blessed I am to do the things you do, be an artist and writer.  It took 51 years to get to this place but I love painting and I love being a writer, and now an author.  WOW, author.  It was nine months ago I picked up my pen and stated writing my book, on a rainy day in January at Peets Coffee.  Nine months of joy, frustration, rewrites, editing, critiquing, writer conferences, blogging, subscribers, plug ins, Facebook cartoons, statistics, submission, rejection and now finally acceptance.   An editor felt my devotion “Our Sweet Fragrance” was good enough to publish.  In a book.  That many will see, read and grow closer to you because of it.  WOW.

As an author, you write our names in your book , our tears in your book and our days in your book.  My art contains your Word in Scripture, knowing that my word that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void. (Isaiah 51:11)  How is it I am growing to be more like you and your image everyday? (smile)

I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys - Song of Solomon 2:1

Thank you Jesus for being my sweet fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:15), and my Rose of Sharon (Songs 2:1). For giving me the words to write the beautiful devotion to you and the ability to paint a Scripture painting to go along with it, entitled Rose of Sharon.

For giving me a vision of you tossing dozens of red rose petals all over me as I rolled on my bed in glee, over finding out my devotion was accepted for publication in Penned from the Heart*.  Of confirming my dream and encouraging me in my journey with you. My heart is full of gratitude and love for you. Ani Ohevet atah Yeshua.
Your love, Miriam

Rose of Sharon is for sale on my website giftsofhisglory.com.  Click here or above on ‘my art’ to see all my Scripture paintings that make wonderful holiday gifts.

Yearly Christian devotional for 2013

*I am sorry I cannot publish my devotion here on this blog until after it has been printed and published in the devotional book.  Rules of the publishing game!  Devotional books can be ordered beginning in December for the 2013 version in which my devotion appears,  at www.gloriaclover.com.  Retail at $9.95)

Leave me a reply:  What dream has the Lord given you?

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I am interviewed! Helping girls in sexual slavery…

There comes a season when the Lord blesses your ministry and gives you free publicity and brings Glory to himself.  Such is the season that She is Safe interviewed me and GIfts of His Glory on my art ministry since I am now an advocate for them helping rescue girls in sexual slavery and abuse.  I was thrilled it went to hundreds of people who had a heart for human trafficking.  Will you help share even more by sharing this with your friends and clicking LIKE/facebook or twitter below?  I and the Lord would so appreciate it. The interview is below:

She Is Safe has posted a new item, ‘Gifts of His Glory

We are thrilled to see artists using their gifts to free and empower enslaved women and girls. Miriam Sarzotti is an artist and writer who learned about SIS and decided to dedicate 50% of the income from her sales to the work.

We were deeply impressed by her decision, and we are big fans of her work, so we asked her if she’d be willing to do an online interview to tell us a little more about her work, how she connected with SIS, and where she sees it all going. Read on to learn more about this gifted artist and her advocacy work for SIS:

“Pink Potted Tulips” by Miriam Sarzotti

When did you begin painting, and what role does it play in your life today?

I began painting at the tender age of 3!  There is a picture of me at the easel in nursery school, with my paint-spattered apron on, painting away.

I painted through college then stopped for a long absence, starting my art ministry Gifts of His Glory, which features Scripture, two years ago. I feel the Lord has given me back my gift of painting after all these years and I now use it to give Him glory. I paint often today, and enjoy being inspired by the Holy Spirit in my artwork, believing each painting is an evangelistic tool expressing God’s beauty and His Word which “will not return to Him void.”

How did you connect with She Is Safe?

I met Kay Marshall Strom at a Christian Writers Conference in northern California when I took her “Write with Sizzle” class.  I saw her books, Daughters of Hope and Forgotten Girls in the author’s bookstore, co-written with SIS President Michele Rickett. It intrigued me to read about other women in ministry around the world who were being persecuted. I had served as a Christian missionary in Israel and knew persecution as a messianic Jew in Israel, as well as the persecution of Arab Christians in Israel. When I returned home, I read Forgotten Girls, and my heart was broken for the girls and women trapped in sexual slavery.

We love your idea of creating and selling artwork to help SIS work around the globe. Where did this idea come from?

After reading Forgotten Girls, I had such a burden for your work.  I prayed and asked the Lord what I could do to help.  I was  praying  for a new vision and purpose for my artwork at the same time.  His answer was for me to dedicate the art ministry to Christian ministries dealing with human trafficking through donation of paintings for their auctions and fundraising venues.  In particular He directed me to give 50% of my sales to SIS and your work around the globe and to become an advocate for you here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Do you think that working for this cause will motivate you or influence your art?

Yes it will motivate me! I have a particular heart for the orphaned child victims, and as I paint, I imagine how the money from the painting will go to help rescue them.  I know I am doing my small part to end this horror of human trafficking. I am also motivated to attract a Christian art merchandiser to turn my art into posters, greeting cards and such, bringing donations to SIS.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the SIS family?

“Cross with Petals” by Miriam Sarzotti

YES!  I am currently writing my first book on my life experiences including the trauma I experienced, both in my childhood from sexual abuse and on the mission field in Israel, and how the love of Jesus Christ healed and restored my life.  I am blogging on my writing and art journey’s on my blog www.giftsofhisglory.com/ miriamsblog .

I am working to start an advocacy group on the San Francisco Peninsula for SIS work. We will study Forgotten Girls and then raise funds for selected SIS work.  We will begin meeting in early fall, so anyone who lives in the area and has interest can e-mail me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com.

To look at or purchase Miriam’s artwork, learn more about her story, and follow her writing, you can visit giftsofhisglory.com. If you have ideas for how you can put your gifts to work t0 help free and empower women and girls, leave a comment or drop us a note at info@SheIsSafe.org.

You may view the latest post at
http://sheissafe.org/2012/08/gifts-of-his-glory/