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.

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

 

 


Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I Want to Write Greeting Cards, How about You?

There are days that are just surprises. When the Lord throws you a curve ball and all you can do is laugh and say Really?   But watch out ,laughter got Sarah in trouble and one year later she had Isaac at 90 years old! (Isaac means laughter by the way) God had told Abraham and Sarah they would have a child in their old age. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6.

“Miriam, I want you to write greeting cards for the Christian market” the Lord whispered to my heart. A loud chuckle slipped out of my mouth. Really, Lord?

I had just returned from Mt.Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in Santa Cruz, California. While there, I took a workshop on How to Write Greeting Cards for XYZ Publishers (not their real name).  One of the largest Christian publishing houses for greeting cards, my critique partner Jenni Brummett had written some ideas for them which I helped edit. They liked what they saw and published a few of her ideas. Secretly I thought, if Jenni can do it, so can I (shh don’t tell her)!

So I found myself before a cracking fire with a group of other wannabes in the workshop, being led by the lovely editors. They explained writing Christian greeting cards is a ministry that serves to bring God glory and healing to hurting hearts through Scripture from the Bible. The editors told us, first, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words and inspiration to touch the heart of someone in need. Encouraged to try my hand at a sample, I prayed and diligently started to write. I have a sensitive ear to the Holy Spirit, I think I will enjoy writing these.

This week I sat at my computer and began to write the words that flowed out of my soul.
-For the loss of a child….The Lord hears your cry and cares about your loss…He promises to be close to the brokenhearted and a bruised reed He will not break…the card went on. Hmm, that was fairly easy, I’ll try another…
-For a mother sending their child off to school…While our children are apart from us each day, they are in our heart and prayers….WOW, I am enjoying this. Four more flew out of my hands.

I sent them off to Jenni to critique and with her edits and encouragement, I forwarded them to the editor at the publishing house. Usually it takes weeks to hear back from a publisher but to my delight and surprise, there was an email waiting for me when I returned home.

I clicked the mouse on my email and…..Voila!  I found a rejection letter stating my ideas where too similar to other copy they had used for previous cards, but they were well written and please submit again. Ouch. A rejection. Wait.  Stop Miriam. Well written. Submit ideas again.  Encouragement filled my heart. I then began to laugh. Holy Spirit, these were your ideas….you need to come up with something more unique and different now if I am to get published.  I think He laughed too.  I know God has a sense of humor.

I felt a nudge to start writing cards for other publishers, including secular ones with a religious line, to earn some income. Oh no, I thought, you mean like one of those writer’s who is so poor he can’t eat and is waiting for his royalty check to come in the mail?   “Miriam, remember last night I reassured you that I would open doors for your calling?  And that I am calling you to have a wiring ministry?” Yes, Lord, I remember. “Start writing Child and I will meet all your needs as you step out in faith.” Gulp.

So this afternoon, I sat in the air conditioned library at my computer again, praying and asking the Lord to inspire me with words that touch a hurting heart and bring Him glory.  I obey because I love Him and I don’t want to end up like Sarah writing a book one day entitled My Isaac.

Do you have a dream of writing greeting cards?  As a small child I thought it would be a fun job and here I am doing it now!  The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him.  (Psalm 37:4) Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Here are five things you can do to start pursuing your dream:

Pray and ask the Lord if He is calling you to write greeting cards. If you have a ‘yes’ or peace about it, give it a try. Don’t give up after a few rejections.  Rejections are part of the writing game.

Attend a Christian writers conference and take a workshop on writing cards like I did.  You will find them across the country (and world) and are a great way to meet editors and get your foot in the door.  My favorite and most renowned in America is Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference held each spring in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California.  The contacts you make will be immense and you can also find a critique partner there.

Read The Christians Writers Market Guide by Jerry B. Jenkins.  This is the Bible for writers and has a list of all greeting card publishers, including secular ones looking for religious cards.  It lists the writers guidelines, the types of cards they are looking for and what they pay.  You can buy it at amazon.com or online at www.christianwritersguild.com.  They are updated each year. (This is also a great help for book, magazines, and gift ideas publishing.)

Take a writing correspondence course on greeting cards.  You will find a list within the Christian Writers Market Guide listed above.

Join a critique group of other writers who can give you feedback on your writing and might be writing cards as well.  They are a great place to find support, tips and ideas from other writers, who are a unique kind of people!  Google critique or writers groups in your area to find one, or start one like I did.

Happy Dreaming and Writing!

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Eternity in Our Hearts

Colorful Zinnias Ecclesiastes 3:11

He makes all things beautiful in its time….He places eternity in their hearts..
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Yes He does.  Jesus that is.  He is in the business of making all things new.  Including me and you.  We are his precious works in progress, once we accept His free gift of grace.  He forgives our sins.  He places the Holy Spirit into our hearts to restore and renew all our fuzzy places and sinful spaces.  He changes us into the image of Himself.  And to give us hope, He puts eternity in our hearts.
What beautiful Words.  I thought a lot about this Scripture as I painted my next biblical Scripture painting today.  As always, I prayed about what to paint as a subject and what Scripture to go with it.  This time it was the colorful zinnias in a patch at Filoli Gardens.  I was drawn to their colors and sizes and how beautiful they were in the sunshine, with their petals reaching upwards to the sun.  How we will be one day in the glory of the Lord’s brilliance as we step into Heaven.  I imagine His smile of happiness on seeing me will be so bright. And I will radiate happiness and light in my new glorified body. Halleluiah. Just like the zinnias.

Do you ever think about eternity in the day to day struggles and problems of life here on earth?  I have to be honest and admit it is a passing thought now and then but lately I have been thinking of it more,  Maybe its getting older.  Knowing my time and work here on earth is going to come to an end.  Thinking thoughts such as “Lord, I feel I am not making enough impact for the Kingdom here on earth.  It seems I spend so much time waiting on you (!) and so little time leading others to you. Will my life matter in the scope of things?”
And then He whispers this Scripture in my heart….”I make everything beautiful in its time”….and I realized just for today, I used His gift of creativity in me and made a beautiful painting of His creation to bring joy to someone else’s heart.  And my life was made more beautiful for today…and I realized eternity IS in my heart.  I imagine seeing my Nana again and my baby daughter Lynley who did not live past the womb.  I imagine talking to Jesus’ mother Mary, who is my namesake of Miriam, (the Hebrew way to say “Mary” ). I will ask her to tell me what Jesus was like as a little boy, how it felt to be used by the Holy Spirit for a miracle. I imagine what it will be like to live FOREVER in peace with no tears or weight gain!  To have my family all restored, no longer dysfunctional, and not talking to one another.  To have a pure love for my mother and father despite the abuse and shame done to me as a child.

Because that is the kind of God we have.  He cares enough about us and our times of despair and hopelessness to give us the hope of being with HIm in eternity.  Heaven is real.  All it takes is being like a zinnia, turn your face up to the Son, Jesus, and ask Him to come into your hearts and forgive you for your sins.  To be your Lord and Savior.  It really is that simple.  And He will come and give you His Holy Spirit to make you all beautiful in His time…and deposit a little piece of eternity in your heart as a safekeeping and promise.
Please take a moment and share my post/painting by clicking on the “LIKE” button below and share the gift of eternity with your friends….
What do you look forward to most about eternity?  Leave me a reply..

I hope you enjoy my new collage “Colorful Zinnias”.  It is for sale for $100 at my art website.  Just click on ‘my art’ above or go to www.giftsofhisglory.com
Shalom and peace.