Two New Devotions Published – Take a Peek!

Yes, it is always a good day when I hear that a devotion was chosen for publication and it is a double blessing to discover two of them were selected!

I am pleased to announce I am featured in the 2014 edition of Penned From the Heart, a yearly devotional published by Son Rise Publications.  I was published last year in the 2013 addition, my first ever publication. God is good!

2014 edition or Penned From the Hear

PFTH is a compilation of 366 devotions and poems from writers across the US, and Australia and New Zealand. The book can be read in any year and begun at any time during the year. Two of Miriam’s devotions “Miracle Shoes” and “Thanksgiving Surprise” are included. They make a great gift for yourself or as a Christmas gift to a friend or family member.  Many are donated to soldiers and prisoners to spread the Word of God and inspire and touch hearts.  Do you have a ministry that would benefit from giving these out?  If so, be sure to order them now before they run out!

The are a steal at $10 a book…

To purchase them, call Son-Rise Publications at 1-800-358-0777 and ask for Debby.  They take MC, VISA or DISCOVER and will ship your books right away.

(I am sorry I can’t post my devotions here on my blog as there are copyright infringements on the web all the time and I need to protect my work.)

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

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Smile and Say “Head Shot”

One of the fun things of being a writer is having head shots taken.  A head shot is just that, a photograph of your head, hopefully smiling and looking professional.  They are used on  book jackets,  blogs, Facebook and other social media pages and for publicity.

How I came to have mine taken is a God story.  And I would like to share it with you.

I came to realize that I needed a professional head shot if I was going to be taken seriously as a writer.  It is year two for me on writing my book and I am almost ready to self publish.  I knew it was time to upgrade from the fuzzy digital camera shots that graced my Facebook and blog pages, you know the ones taken with your own arm extended out capturing yourself in the shot at the local flower gardens?

So I asked the Lord in prayer one day. “Lord, I need a good head shot, but don’t have the money to pay a professional.  Will you help me get them when I am at Mt. Hermon’s

Picture A

Christian Writer Conference coming up in a few weeks?  Knowing my prayer had been heard, I promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to the last day of the conference,  I was exhausted and had slept in late.  I was hurrying across campus and saw a photographer set up outside taking what appeared to be head shots. I stopped dead in my tracks. “Oh are you taking head shots today for us?” I asked the kind looking photographer.

picture B

“Actually we are shooting staff photos today but I would be happy to take yours for you.”

“Really?  Gosh, I couldn’t today,  I look a mess, have no makeup on and haven’t slept well for five nights.” I gushed. “I live locally, could I come another time?”

“Sure, give me your business card and I will email you and arrange a time and date.”

He introduced himself as Dan Dawson, the official webmaster and

Picture C

photographer at Mt. Hermon.  “We were actually thinking of offering head shots at next years conference.  Would you be willing to take a short survey to help us determine what to offer and how much to charge? We are thinking of offering hair and makeup as well.”

“Oh, I would be happy to” I smiled.  “But Dan will you photo shop out my double chin for me?

“Yes Miriam, I will be happy too”. he smiled.

I laughed out loud as I hurried to breakfast. God had answered my prayer in such a miraculous and last minute way!

Picture D

Two weeks later, I zipped over in my red Zip car and met up with Dan at the studio.  We took some inside shots in front of a dark and light screen for book jackets then went out into the sunny yet breezy spring day.  I sat on a park bench with a beautiful purple azalea behind me as he clicked away.  I posed all my former Miss Belmont of 1979 poses and tried to look like a fun but serious writer.

At one point, the wind came up and blew my hair all over just like I would get with a wind machine in studio.  I let the joy of the Lord smile out of my eyes and escape in the

Picture E

softness of my laugh.  I felt beautiful and special. What fun I was having.

Today I got the proofs back.  I was very pleased how Dan made this fifty something year old woman look gorgeous.  I sent seven photos of my favorites back to  him to photo shop out those frown line and double chins!  I guess I am still a vain beauty queen down deep. 🙂 But God loves me as I am, and He loves you how you are.  We are all beautiful to Him.  He has made everything beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Will you help me?  Share in my God story by voting for which shot you like best.  Leave me a reply by clicking on comments below with your choice. A, B, C, D, E.

And praise God with me for answering prayer in the humorous way He knows best!  My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

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A Childhood Christmas Revisited

Yes, I know you are saying “Christmas already Miriam?”  But yes, it is only 5 weeks away and as we begin to celebrate the miracle of our dear Savior’s birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, I would like to share an article I wrote and was published by my local women’s writers group.  This group is a sanctuary for me, where we write to prompts that our leader lovingly prepares.

My story reflects on my Christmas time as a child in the 1960s. I believed in Jesus as a young girl and knew that He was the reason we celebrated the season. My story also reflects on my Christmas time as an adult when I knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I invite you to discover both the magic and the miracle of Christmas in your hearts this season as you receive the ultimate gift of Christmas, Jesus.

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The prompt that day was “What was your favorite possession as a child?

My Favorite Possession as a Child – By Miriam Sarzotti

I turned the page excitedly of the Sears Christmas Catalog.  It was Christmas time and I wanted an Easy Bake Oven.  I was five years old and had seen it advertised on TV many times.

Easy Bake Oven circa 1966

Christmas morning I threw off the covers to see what “Santa” had left for me under the tree.  Sure enough, there it was, all bright yellow and shiny, sitting under my stocking.  It had four tin pans and cookie and cake mixes to bake.  That day I mixed my first mix, a pink sugary cookie. I slid the pan in and then slid another pan after it to ‘push’ it out into the cooling rack.  Amazement!  The cookies were cooked all by a light bulb.  The smell of heated plastic and sugar filled my nostrils. The cookies were soft and mushy tasting.  I was proud to be a cook and baker just like my mother.

Soon the mixes ran out so we ordered some more.  I waited patiently at the mailbox each day for them to arrive. I was soon to learn the frustration of this toy, not being so ‘easy’ to bake with.  Many times the pan fell off the track and dumped its contents into the bottom of the oven. My dad would have to take the screws off the back and fish out the tray.  I would start over, carefully trying to keep the tray on the tracks.

I remember one rainy day waiting for my friend Joan, who lived down the hill, to come play with me and my oven.  I was so excited!  I felt like the neighborhood princess to have such a toy to share.

Sadly, I outgrew my oven and it got lost in my possessions somewhere. Two Christmases ago I wanted to give the ‘little girl in me’ a childhood Christmas as a healing for my soul.  I logged on to EBAY and searched for the oven.  Surprised I found quite a few for sale.  I began nervously to bid on a yellow one with its original box and four pans.  On no, someone was bidding against me!  As the minutes round down, I made one last bid of $40.  Aha!  My strategy worked and I was the proud owner of a retro easy bake oven.

My EBAY find, just like my original yellow one, under the tree

my EBAY find, yes, my first one was yellow too!

I placed my oven under the tree, expectantly waiting to open it on Christmas Eve.  My ‘little girl in me’ was so excited to have presents under the tree just for her.

My tree

That Christmas Eve, I excitedly got out my oven and plugged it in. It was very hot to touch and I wondered if it would blow up!  Was it this hot as a child, I pondered, trying to remember.  Did they let us kids play with things like this in the 1960s?  I was afraid the plug was too old and it was malfunctioning.

Putting these thoughts aside, I marveled again how a light bulb could cook a cake.  I had also bid on some cake mixes, so I carefully slid in the tray. It was bent slightly from age and use, but I was able to get it through the oven.  Boy did that cake taste good!  Memories flooded my brain as I shared my cake with Jesus, whom I knew was fondly looking on. (By the way He liked it too!)

Me in front of Castle at Disneyland in the rain!

A few days later, I flew down to Los Angeles to Disneyland  to give ‘my little girl’ a very special Christmas.  After spending the day with CInderella and riding the fairyland train, I flew back home content. A miracle had taken place.  My heart was healed.

Cinderella and her Prince photo at Disneyland

After the holiday ended and the excitement died down, I put the boxed oven back in the storage closet, one day planning to give it to my own daughter to play with.  By then, it really will be an antique, but one that will always bring a smile to my face and put a little bit of Christmas cheer in my heart. I’ll remember the miracle the Lord did for me that Christmas and be reminded why we celebrate Christmas after all.

 

What is your favorite toy or memory of Christmas?  Was Jesus part of it?

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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 published!

I am published!

Today I reached a milestone in a writer’s life…to get published.  Along the journey to have one’s book published by a traditional publishing house, one is encouraged to publish a piece of writing on the local and national level.  This summer, I have been attending Menlo Park Presbyterian Women’s Writing Haven, a group of women of faith who write to prompts. It has been an exciting journey for me to see my writing expand and to get encouraging feedback by others in the group.

Today at our last session, we ate a smorgasbord of bundt cakes, homemade quiche and strawberries dipped in yogurt and shared our lives and news. At the end of the meeting, our leader Sally, presented each of us with a beautiful bound book entitled “Summer Potpourri:  A Miscellaneous Anthology” which included pieces of writing we had all submitted.  We sat around reading our stories, following along with our minds and hearts, laughing and delighted at our accomplishments. So with joy in my heart, I can now say I am published at the local level.  Amen. (And i can’t wait to share it with my writers critique group tonight!)

I would like to share a short story I wrote on my Mother which is included in the book, written in response to a prompt on a ‘favorite memory of your mother”.  I sent it to my mom for Mother’s Day and I know it brought joy to her heart.  I hope it brings joy to your heart as well.

Mother.
Seamstress.  Baker. Hand holder. Comforter.  These are the images of my mother.

My mother was often overwhelmed with four daughters.  She was a traditional mom, staying home with her children until my youngest sister was in First Grade.  I would come home from school and find he sitting at the kitchen table with sunlight streaming in from the window in a perfectly quiet house.

My mother loved to sew and taught all of us girls to sew on the old fashioned treadle machine..  I remember the rhythmic sound of the peddle going faster and faster as my feet pumped it.  She made all our costumes for Halloween and plays.
Saturdays would find us in the kitchen learning to bake her famous lasagna.  Layers of noodles. sauce, cheese, ricotta, filled my memory as I repeated noodles, sauce, cheese, ricotta cheese, until the pan was full.

Bead baking day was my favorite.  She would set the ball of dough to rise in the laundry room on the washer, the smell of yeast permeating the air. I loved to sneak into the room to  punch the ball down, causing my fist to make an imprint in the soft dough.
Chocolate chip cookies were my favorite dessert and I can still hear her scolding voice saying,  “Who is in the cookie dough?” as we snuck dough from the metal bowl in the refrigerator, the covering plate clanging against it, giving us away.

Best was my mother’s shoulder to cry on as boyfriends stood me up, friends betrayed me and sisters were mean to me.

My Mother.  My Friend.  My first love.