My Book Becoming Miriam is Now For Sale!

isJust in time for Christmas and Hanukkah, that perfect present for a loved one or even yourself (think stocking!) BUY HERE

img_1397I am happy to announce that my first book, Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God is now for sale on amazon.com! It was a five year labor of love. Here’s the book synopsis:

A Surprising Discovery. A Journey of Faith. God’s Healing Touch.

Born into a Catholic family, the author Miriam discovers a family secret, only to embrace her true heritage along her journey of faith.

Discover how God miraculously appears throughout her life, from her dark valleys of child abuse, clinical depression, and being deceived into witchcraft, to her peaks of missionary work in Israel and abroad. God shows His steadfast love and faithfulness at every turn, bringing healing, deliverance, and restoration to her broken heart and damaged life.The good news is He can do this for you,too.

Find steps to healing from issues Miriam overcame, ones you struggle with today: abortion, eating disorders, loneliness, sexual abuse, anxiety, depressions, PTSD, addictions, abandonment, and cult/occult involvement.

Experience hope and miracles only God can bring, as you get to knowis-1 and build an intimate relationship with the Healer Himself.

Bonus: Learn how to write and publish that book God has placed on your heart, as well as how to start a ministry that brings Him glory!

Praise for Becoming Miriam:

“Miriam, you describe your intimate relationship with Jesus with such sweet tenderness and affection. Although God allowed for some very dark times in your life, it is clear that His arms were always outstretched waiting for you to come back to Him. Yours is a very
powerful testimony of how God is with us even amidst the storms of our lives.”

Patrice, El Granada, California

“Miriam, your book is the most inspirational and motivational book I have ever read! I couldn’t put it down and read it in ten days! It helped me so much as I have gone through much of what you have. I highlighted Scriptures and parts that touched my heart and I am referring back to them to find the healing you have found. I discovered God again reading your faith journey, and I am so grateful to you for writing your story.”

Wendy, Sunnyvale, California

BUY NOW ON amazon.com

Please share this post with your friends and help them find healing and miracles too!


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


God can Heal your Broken Heart

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

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

This is why He is our Savior and Healer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Writers Conferences: A Writer’s Best Tool

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

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

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

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

Jenni and I at last year's conference

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

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

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

Donor Name and Address for Free Book

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

 

 

 

Donor Name and Address for Free Book

What are you reading this summer? Here’s my recommendations!

A breezy warm summer day is perfect for laying around the house reading.  I love nothing more that to snuggle on my bed with a bowl of cherries beside me, lost in the pages of a good book.  I guess I associate summers with reading, as I remember sitting up in my tree in the front yard as a child, a book in hand. If I am honest, there is nothing better than a good book and CHOCOLATE at your side, but I tend to eat the whole bag, so cherries are better. The pits slow you down!

I tend to read fiction during the summer to ease my conscious from reading only non fiction books that better me during the rest of the year. As a writer, I  love to read my friends’ books, or those recommended to me by them.  Long on my list has been to read

Ginny Yttrup’s book WORDS. I was a little worried about reading it as I had heard it was her story of sexual abuse as a child and having been a victim to it as well, I wondered if it would stir up bad memories.

Trusting the Lord, I opened it and began to read.  I was immediately intrigued with the author’s main characters, young Kaylee and motherly Sierra.  I was swept away into the Redwood Forests of Northern California where her story takes place, and where I make my home.  I felt the pain of Kaylee as she experienced her abuse; the fear, despair and shame. I too struggled with these most of my life.  I cried along with her, my tears on the page.  I identified with Sierra’s pain from the loss of her child due to her bad choices, something I too had experienced.

But mostly, I was carried along by the theme of God’s love and faithfulness to us when we step out in faith and follow His plan. I have found this to be so true in my life. Another theme in the book is our need to tell the truth in life, even in difficult situations and that “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free”. (John 8:32)  The truth the Scripture is referring to is Jesus, as He is Truth, and only He can set us free from our wounds, our addictions, our painful pasts.

As the character of Kaylee struggles to tell her story of truth, she finds peace in the process of doing so.  After reading the novel, I realized telling my own story of truth was the right thing to do, and finally found peace in my heart.  I write about my journey of wholeness from sexual abuse in my new book Finding God in the Midst of My Mess:  My Love Story with Jesus which I plan to self publish soon. Take a peek at my blog posts Happy Birthday to Me and Answered Prayer in the Most Unlikely Way where I share part of my story.

Do you need to tell your story of truth to someone?  Will you allow Jesus to come in and heal those dark places of fear and pain?  He promises to give us a new life in Him if we agree to follow His will for our life.  Only He can take our shame and replace it with His acceptance and love.  Don’t let the enemy of our souls, the Devil, keep you in silence anymore.  Tell a friend.  Contact a Pastor or Priest.  Find a Christian Counselor.  Leave me a confidential reply below or at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com and I will help you.  God doesn’t want you trapped in darkness.  He is the light and wants to bring you into that light.

In the novel WORDS  Sierra tells Kaylee how she can ask the Lord to come live in her heart and give her a new life in Him.  Would you like to do this too? If so, pray this prayer below:

Dear Jesus:  i ask you into my heart today.  Please come take my sins and give me a new life and relationship with you.  Heal my heart and wounds of the past as only you can do.  Fill my life with your love and Truth and lead me each day in your way.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

I recommend Ginny”s book WORDS to you as a great read on God’s love and redemption. Or pass it along to a friend who you know has suffered abuse and help them find healing. You can find it at ginnyytrrup.com.  I have already started reading her next book Lost and Found and can’t wait to read her third book Invisible.

Please share this post with your FB friends who might need to know Jesus’ healing touch by LIKE, TWEET, GOOGLE or PINTEREST.

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

 

 


When Pigs Fly – My Blog’s 1st Year Anniversary!

Do you know pigs can actually fly?  I saw them today. Alaskan piglets running around a track, flying over the hurdles put in their path, on the way to a reward of Oreo cookies. I would fly for Oreo cookies too, wouldn’t you? I was at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton on my annual summer adventure.  As I walked through the gardens designed by creative flower types, I realized it was one year ago I started writing my blog.

One year, already?  Wow, who would have thought I would become a writer in that time?  Or have a weekly blog?  Or readers like you who faithfully log on each week to read my latest post?  It got me thinking of the journey it has been, a winding road of ups (845 viewers in one day) and downs (my blog crashing), of giving God the glory and leading others to Him.

It started out slow, with articles I wrote for my writers group, picked up speed around the holidays with miracle stories (always popular) and my art, went into a straightaway of evangelical posts that dealt with deep personal issues such as abortion and sexual abuse and finished the year with stories about a writers life.  I discovered  statistics along the way, praising God for the average 100 viewers a day and 6000 views a month that only He could bring.

I got a good chuckle over my two most popular posts:

#1 The Counterattack, the Devil Strikes Back (not surprising given our society’s fascination with the occult, but I don’t like giving the devil press)

#2 When You Are So Mad You Could Spit! (not very professional title Miriam, but hey I was mad when I wrote it, and if you can’t write such a post on your own blog, where else can you?)

Wanting to continue the journey in the year ahead, I would like to dedicate this post to YOU, MY READERS. Will you continue reading and celebrate with me? (Throw some confetti or something, or better yet leave me a reply wishing me Mazel Tov, congratulations in Hebrew!))

Writing is a lonely job, but you have kept me encouraged with your replies and enthusiasm and knowing somehow I am touching your heart.I have lots of laughs over myself and my writing, watching it improve over the year. I now have more boldness. A style of my own.

You have brought me much joy.  I LOVE blogging and being inspired by God to write each and every post for you.  It has become a ministry to me, a new mission field, where I can lead you in prayer for your deepest need, a relationship with God and His healing touch.  It is a blessing to be able to write, a gift from above, one I am eternally grateful for.  So thank you.

To bless you I would like to share a typical day at a County Fair here in the United States  for my readers all over the world who have never experienced one.  I suspect you have something similar, but enjoy my slice of American life!

Fresh Marionberry Pie..YUM

Alaskan Pigs Flying

 

Winning Quilt at Quilt Show

 

Art at the Art Show by local artists like me! To see my art click 'my art' aboev.

 

Corn Dog (Hot dog on a stick with cornbread -an American Classic)

 

Ferris Wheel Ride - My favorite

The part I love most about blogging is taking pictures, wondering what my readers would like to see and capturing those priceless moments for you.  Do you enjoy them too? Leave me a reply and let me know!

For my anniversary, will you share my blog with your friends and help me increase my readership?  click LIKE TWEET PINTEREST or GOOGLE

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


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.

 

 

 


Human Slavery, how do we end it? Here’s how…

Slavery. How do we end it?

This question jumbled in my mind as I drove my red Zip car over the bridge to attend the Bay Area Freedom Summit, where I was an exhibitor for my art ministry Gifts of His Glory and She is Safe.  It was my first summit on human trafficking and I was not sure of what to expect.  I hoped to sell some art, as I give 50% of each sale to She Is Safe, to rescue orphans in China who have lost their parents from AIDS and are in danger of being trafficked and sold in child marriage. I also hoped to have some divine appointments. (meetings arranged by the Lord’s hand).

my booth

As I set up my booth, other friendly exhibitors came and introduced themselves.  I was surprised and happy to see that many safe houses for victims of human trafficking were being established in the Bay Area, such as Freedom House, and in other parts of the state.

The Expo soon opened and people came up to my booth interested in the art and large banner of a chubby-cheeked Chinese girl advertising the China Aids Orphans project. I shared with those stopping by how I had come to be an advocate by reading the book Forgotten Girls by President of She Is Safe, Michele Rickett and my author friend Kay Marshall Strom.  The book shares the stories of girls and women around the world who are rebuilding their lives after abuse and exploitation.

Book Forgotten Girls

The book has sections on steps you can take to stop exploitation, one being to dedicate your craft to benefit an organization involved in stopping trafficking.  After reading the horrors of what happens to these girls and women especially in sexual slavery, I prayed and felt the Lord’s direction to dedicate my art to this cause.  Another suggestion from the book was to hold a booth at a conference such as the Freedom Summit, and here I was now doing that very thing!

Soon it was time for the general conference. I was struck by the stories how ordinary people became heroes as they took steps of faith to start organizations to help stop trafficking.  I listened with compassion to women who shared their survivor stories of how they had been miraculously rescued from sexual slavery and how God was using their witness to help save others.  I gasped in horror as I heard how little seven year old girls in India are strapped to a table and gang raped until they die.  I cheered as the Department of Defense is now making it a punishable offense for any US soldier to frequent a prostitute or sexual slave.

The Scripture verse for the conference was from Psalm 10:8-9 depicting slavery:

He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
     like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net  His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.

The theme of the conference was what you can do in 10 minutes,10 days and 10 months to stop trafficking. You might now be asking, Miriam, what can I do in these time frames?  Well, here’s what you CAN do…

10 minutes:

Put the national hotline for human trafficking on you cell phone 1-888-3737-888 right now as you read this blog!  You can report any tip of suspicious activity or pass the hotline number along to someone you suspect might be a slave and help them get rescued.  Who could be a slave?  A nanny or domestic in your neighborhood, a restaurant worker at your favorite restaurant, that young girl visiting truckers at a truck stop, a carnival worker, or the women standing on a street corner as you drive by. They are all over. Over 3000 people trapped in slavery have called this hotline to ask for help alone. You can also call to connect with anti-trafficking services in your area or to request resources or training.

Purchase the book Forgotten Girls at SheIsSafe.org and while there sign up to their blog to stay informed on the global cause of human trafficking.

10 days:

Purchase a biblical Scripture painting from my website giftsofhisglory.com.

Forget Me Not Tulips Philippians 4:13 Scripture painting www.giftsofhisglory.com

(or by clicking on ‘my art’ above). 50% of each sale goes to the China AIDS orphan project. Bless yourself or gift others in your life with an original piece of art embossed with Scripture.  It’s easy and safe to shop online and I ship worldwide!

Join a She Is Safe advocacy group to participate in fundraising and prayer to rescue and restore girls and women in the hardest places like China and India.  Contact info@SheIsSafe.org to find one  in your local area.  If you live in the Bay Area, I am hosting one in my home in San Carlos on a monthly basis where we will also be studying the books Forgotten Girls and Daughters of Hope.  Contact me at miraim@giftsofhisglory.com.

Purchase and consume only Fair Trade Products that are made with no enslaved labor.  To my dismay I discovered chocolate was.  And coffee.  And clothing.  Find ratings on products and brands you buy at free2work.org.  Discover how many slaves work for you and what you can do about it at slaveryfootprint.org.

10 Months:

Visit or Invite The SOLD Project, an interactive exhibit on human trafficking run by the International Justice Mission, to your church, organization or event. This exhibit was held at the Freedom Summit and had a powerful, heart breaking effect on me as I spent 40 minutes walking through each room and listening by audio to the testimonies of slaves around the globe, particularly children. I recommend this for every person and parent to see. It is currently traveling around the country. Visit www.thesoldproject.com

Free one girl and help her to build a new life at $365 through SheIsSafe.org.

Attend a conference in your area on human trafficking and become educated. Get involved in one project in one part of the world.  Just start somewhere.

 

Once back in my booth, I was blessed to do my first radio interview with KLOVE, the local Christian radio station.  What fun I had sharing my story and getting a plug in for my prepublished bookas well!  A videographer approached my booth and filmed me for a documentary on how high school and college students could use their gifts and talents to help stop trafficking. WOW! My art work was admired, many people took my business card and I sold some paintings, all in all, an educational yet saddening experience.

What the Lord most impressed on my heart during this conference was that I, too, was a survivor of sexual abuse and while I didn’t have a voice back then as a child, I now was able to be a voice for those trapped in sexual slavery today.  A voice for the voiceless. What a gift.  I have come full circle in my healing.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.

Psalm 10:12-14

If you are a victim of any kind of slavery, please leave me a confidential reply and I will help you find freedom.

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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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