It’s Pumpkin Time! My Fall Cards are Here…

I love the fall…bright orange pumpkins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, just pumpkin galore!  I love how the light has changed with Indian summer days and brown, red and yellow leaves that crunch under my tires as I bike down the street.  Fall in Northern California is not like the those on the East Coast, with the spectacular fall colors as the trees turn.  But it is still special here. We have the beautiful coast side, where bright sandy beaches and pumpkin farms reside,along with an annual pumpkin festival in Half Moon Bay where you can see the largest pumpkin grown in the United States.  And it’s big!

Pumpkins also bring on the holiday season, yes, just around the corner is Thanksgiving!

To honor the seasonal change, I have designed and painted a new Scripture

Mums in Pumpkin Painting...For sale...Psalm 106:1

Art painting entitled “Mums in Pumpkin” with Psalm 106:1 entwined.  “Oh, Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”  Yes, He is a merciful and kind God.  And Yes, we should give thanks to Him for all He has given us.

For me this season, I am giving thanks for the opportunity to design and publish a line of Christian themed greeting cards that feature my art.  It has been a dream since I was a little child to write greeting card messages one day and the Lord has allowed me to publish them myself.  I am happy I can now ad to my   publication credentials: “greeting cards.”

The Mums in Pumpkin card is perfect for sending to your friends and family for the fall and thanksgiving season.  It comes with a thanksgiving greeting or blank to write your own.  You can purchase it on my online store at Etsy.com, along with 12 other greeting cards for all occasions. Click here to check them out or go to ‘my art’ above.  (Etsy sells handmade items by artists, crafters and vintage collectors and offers secure transactions through PayPal).

Wondering about Christmas cards? This week I will be busy painting my Christmas holiday painting that will also be offered as a Christmas card.  So this year, plan on ordering beautiful Scripture art cards to celebrate the birth of our dear Savior, Jesus.  Stay tuned to an announcement here soon!

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What do  you think of my new painting and cards?  Leave me a reply…


Finding Healing for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (plus a great book review of Until We All Come Home)

Do you ever have one of those days when you pick up a book to read and can’t put it down?  I did yesterday, when I read my friend and fellow author Kim de Blecourt’s new book, Until We All Come Home. I was up to midnight finishing it, spellbound!!

Mt. Hermon Conference Center

I had been looking forward to reading her story since meeting Kim at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference two years ago.  We discovered we both had been through trauma abroad, hers while doing an international adoption and mine while on the mission field in England. We felt an instant kinship when we realized we both suffered  from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). We were able to share how this illness had impacted our lives in similar ways.

Kim’s book, Until We All Come Home: A Harrowing Journey, a Mother’s Courage, a Race to Freedom tells her story of adopting her son from the Ukraine. It is a page turner, with bureaucratic corruption, a vindictive prosecutor, and a race against the clock to freedom. Kim was forced to stay in the Ukraine for a year, in a state of culture shock, fighting to get her son out of the country and home to the United States.

As I read her story, I emphasized with the trauma that led up to her despair, depression,  insomnia and ‘fight or flight’ reaction that is so prevalent with PTSD.  I cried when she spoke to the judge on behalf of her orphaned son, who was rejected and abandoned by society, of his need for a loving family, one she and her husband could provide.

I cheered when God was faithful and showed up through all kinds of battles. I admired Kim’s perseverance to fight for her son no matter what the cost. And finally, my own heart was touched by God’s heart for the orphan. It reinforced my own desire to adopt a child one day.

I highly recommend Kim’s book to you as a great Christian suspense story. You can purchase it on her website nourishedhearts.com and see the work she is doing on behalf of orphans everywhere.

A Word about PTSD:

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. A “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in PTSD this reaction is damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.  Flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and hyper-vigilance are coommon symptoms.

I was traumatized by people in the occult while on a furlough in England. I was terrorized for over a year, at times being held against my will. When I returned home, I suffered from clinical depression and PTSD, and was put on medication.  I felt horror, helplessness and extreme fear as I relived the terror I had experienced.

Thirteen years later, I am happy to say the Lord has healed me of most of the illness, even though I was told I would never recover. I believe one day I will be totally healed for the Bible says  “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) and “Perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” (1 John 4:18). I write about my experiences in my soon to be published book, Finding God in the Midst of My Mess:  My Love Story with Jesus.

Do you need to trust God for healing from PTSD today?

Please pray:  Dear Lord, I ask you through the power of your Holy Spirit to come and heal those dark and fearful places in my mind, soul and body.  Only you know the terror I feel and can heal me.  Please lead me to the people and resources that will be an instrument of your healing light and touch. I trust you today and thank you in advance for what you are going to do.  Amen.

What to do now?  Read and claim the promises in the Bible on healing.  Contact a local church for healing prayer. Explore EMDR therapy which was very successful for me. Look into medications, such as antidepressants and tranquilizers that will calm your mind and emotions. Pursue talk therapy with a licensed Christian psychiatrist or therapist. God is waiting to heal you.  He loves you.

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

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My New Creation: Scripture Art Greeting Cards!

It has been one of those weeks, you know when the Lord is testing you faith and the devil

is trying to destroy it?  Yes, besides a heat wave (and i can’t tolerate the heat), I found out I had Intermediate Uveitis, an inflammation in the middle part of my eye which is quite serious, causing floaters and diminished eyesight. This is in addition to the jelly part detaching.  (See Lord Open My Eyes)

My top doctors at Stanford are running blood tests for some pretty scary diseases, like Cancer, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis, which can all cause inflammation. Treatment:  Chemotherapy.  Oh no.  Never Lord.  I can’t go through that. How will I see to write and paint? I implored of Him. On top of all this my internet went out today. Can anyone say Devil?

In spite of all this, I did manage to create my first samples of my art greeting cards:  Christian greeting cards featuring my paintings with Scripture. The Lord gave me a vision to combine my paintings with verses I write, and pitch them as a new greeting card line to publishing companies.

I was amazed I figured out how to print them right side up, not down, and get the inside verses on the right page.  They looked beautiful when I was done.  See for yourself!  God has been faithful with my art and writing ministries and it is very special to be able to combine both in one new creative form to give Him glory.

I spent yesterday in the cool air conditioned library researching publishing companies to send to. Later at home I took pictures of my samples turning them into jpeg files so I could submit them via email to the editors.  Some I mailed out via snail mail, feeling like I was turning my babies over to the US Postal Service, hoping they would arrive safely into the editors hands.

With a prayer and a wish, I now leave the outcome in the Lord’s hands as to if and when they will be published.  But one thing I know, His Word will not return to Him void, and the Scripture embossed on each card will touch hearts and deposit seeds of faith as only God’s Word can do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Would you pray for me my readers? 

I have placed my eye in the Lord’s hands and ask you to pray for His healing power to heal the inflammation in my eye and restore my eyesight to normal.

For peace for me as I wait for the test results.

For favor with the editors as they view my sample greeting cards.

For boldness as I volunteer with Jews for Jesus in their online chat room the month of July.

And for protection from the Devil and his schemes as I step out in faith to further the Kingdom of God.

Whew that is a lot to pray for!  It comforts me to think of you all around the world lifting me up to the Father. Thank you, my friends. (smile)

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

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Lord Open My Eyes…Finding God’s Perspective on Your LIfe

Today I woke up in a funk. I knew I needed to get back on schedule and write, but I didn’t want to. I was irritated about my eye and the partial blindness I am experiencing. As you can imagine, as an artist and writer I need my eyes to see and accomplish the tasks God asks me to do. I spent all day yesterday at the doctors to discover the jelly part of my eye had totally detached, causing a wall of floaters, flashing lights and dimness.  It was difficult for me to see and read.  The doctor told me it would take 3-4 weeks for the eye to calm down and restore to a more normal state, however the floaters would remain. He informed me I was prone to having the retina detach, and going blind in my eye. Great. That’s all I need now Lord. Will you heal my eye please Lord?  I am scared and don’t want to lose my sight.

Hoping to pull myself out of my bad mood, I went to Peet’s Coffee to spend some time in God’s Word.  I opened my bible study Write His Answer, A Bible Study for Christian Writers by Marlene Bagnull,  I laughed, seeing today’s lesson was on Proclaiming Freedom and sight for the blind. I knew this was not a coincidence. The chapter quoted Luke 4:18-19 from the Bible when Jesus first spoke in His hometown of Nazareth at the Temple.  He was handed the book of Isaiah and began to read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor, he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce the captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors and that God is willing to give blessings to all who come to Him.”  He then said “These Scriptures have come true today in Me” and sat down.

Jesus was proclaiming He is the ultimate freedom giver.  He came to heal the blind, the brokenhearted, the captive. Sometimes, however, Jesus wants to open our eyes to spiritual truths my Bible study read.  Hmm, I think I need some spiritual truths this morning, I thought as I sipped my coffee.

He showed me I was not seeing His perspective on my writing ministry or the time he was giving me to stay home and write full time. I was complaining about the financial sacrifices I had to make to do so.  Having so little money and living on a tight budget.  Was it worth it?, I wondered. He gently corrected my ‘sight‘ as I spent time in His Word. My Child, it is a blessing to help bring freedom to those who are blind, brokenhearted and captive each and every time you write My Truth. I am giving you the freedom in this season to do this.” “Yes Lord, I see that now. I am sorry for grumbling.” I replied. “You can trust me to heal your eye physically in my timing, as I am the God that heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) “Thank you Lord, I will hold tightly to your promise.” I said.

What about you?  Are you seeing things clearly or is you vision blurred?  Do you need him to touch you and heal you so you can see life from His perspective? He is a God….

“who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”  (Psalm 103:3-5)

To correct your vision, simply pray:  Lord, please give me your perspective on my life.  Show me the areas I need to repent of and heal my heart and soul from the pain and hurts of the past. Give me freedom from any negative thoughts and patterns. Show me your love and compassion. I want full freedom in you. I ask you to remove any spiritual blindness I have and show me your Truth by coming into my heart as my Lord and Savior, to forgive my sins and give me eternal life in Heaven with you.  Come walk side by side with me as my Friend every day through your Holy Spirit.  I trust you Jesus.  You are faithful.  Amen.

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

Leave me a message by replying below if you found a new freedom in Jesus so I can share in your happiness.


 

 


A Mother’s (and Father’s) Day Story: Finding life after abortion…

This mother’s day I will be doing something different in celebration of my daughter Lynley.  I will be standing on Mother’s Day Sunday at church when they ask all the mothers to stand.  You see Lynley was my sweet baby who didn’t live outside of the womb.  I aborted her when I was 30 years old.  The shame that I hadn’t given my baby life always kept me from acknowledging I was a mother.  But not this Mother’s Day.

I am able to do this as I have received healing and forgiveness for my abortion.  I want to offer that same healing to women (and men) who are reading my post today.  I know this is not an easy topic to address, but one I feel the Lord wanted me to share with you.

Before I became a born again Christian, I lived a very worldly life.  Sexual relationships with unhealthy men was my norm. A fast paced life as a MBA in the corporate world running after success and money.  This coupled with carrying the pain of an abusive childhood  caused me to crash and hit bottom at age 30.  I was diagnosed with a clinical suicidal depression and hospitalized. In the midst of this, I got pregnant by my boyfriend who my doctors were trying to seperate me from because he was abusive.

I was so happy to be pregnant when the home pregnancy test came back positive.  Joy filled me.  I had always wanted to be a mother, but wondered how could I possibly me one now.  I was so ill and depressed, fighting for my life every day.  My doctors, fearing I couldn’t sustain a pregnancy,  recommended a ‘therapeutic’ abortion, to save the life of the mother, me, over the unborn child.

My Catholic psychiatrist even told me the Catholic church, which I had grown up in, would agree.  I was so worried the baby would be deformed on the powerful medications I was taking.  My parents did not offer me any help, refusing me shelter to raise my baby in.  Helpless, on disability I did not know where to turn.  I did not know about Christian crisis pregnancy centers or help within the Christian community.  I listened to the worldly advice and scheduled the abortion at my hospital.

A few days before, I changed my mind and wanted to keep my baby.  My parents and boyfriend refused me any promise of financial help or shelter.  I was alone and abandoned.  Trapped.

I cried the whole way through the abortion as my baby was suctioned out of me.  My girlfriend held my hand and her knuckles were white from my grip.  I screamed in pain and afterward threw up in the sink.  My baby was gone.

But there is hope in my story.  You see my baby, whom I named Lynley, had a soul and spirit upon conception.  In the Bible it says of God: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13.)  God breathed life into her.  She had a beating heart as early as 21 days.  She was not a blob of tissue as Planned Parenthood will tell you.

When I aborted her, her soul and spirit returned to God where she is alive in Heaven, waiting for me to join her.  How do I know this for certainty?  God promises us in the Bible: “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.  (Ecclesiastes 12:7.)

I was blessed to find healing through the love of women at a Christian pregnancy center near my home. I read and worked through the workbook entitled: Forgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women by Linda Cochrane with a class of women. I found healing for my abortion 22 years later.

We studied Scripture that told me who I was in Jesus, and that I was forgiven for even the sin of aborting my child. I learned others had sinned against me by not offering help to me and their child and grandchild.  I found comfort in knowing  they would be held accountable by God one day but God was calling me to even forgive them.

I found understanding of the grief process a woman (and man) goes through. How to be set free from the horrible shame, secrecy, and darkness I felt. I learned Jesus came to shed His healing light into our darkness.  To free us from the bonds of guilt, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, all symptoms of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. (PASS).

Jesus in Heaven

I was overjoyed to discover that I get my daughter back. I know I will spend eternity with her as I have received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  He promises us eternal life, free of any pain or tears, if we trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

This means we ask Him for forgiveness of our sins, sins He took on the cross for us so we could spend eternity with Him. Because He rose from the dead on the third day, we are promised that same resurrection when we die, to receive a new glorified body in heaven, where there is only light.((1 Corinthians 15:44; Romans 6:5: For since we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing in His resurrection).

If you have had an abortion, or played a part in a decision for abortion, asking for and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness is the key to healing.  If so, please pray this prayer.

Dear Jesus: I thank you that you have received my baby’s (babies) souls into Heaven where I can see them again one day.  I ask you to forgive my sins and come into my heart as my Lord and Savior today.  I believe you died on the cross for me and rose from the dead so I could have eternal life with you in Heaven.  Heal my heart from the pain of my abortion(s) and set me free so I can live a life free from the past.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

If you are pregnant, know there are options for you besides abortion.

Contact a Christian crisis pregnancy center or pregnancy resource center and go for an appointment.  Google on the Internet or look in the yellow pages for their number and address.

Call a confidential pregnancy hot-line such as 1-800-BETHANY. They will help you understand your options for either adoption or keeping your baby and help you with resources to do so (even if your family abandoned you and you are homeless).  And most likely give you an ultrasound of your baby where you can see its heart beating. All for FREE.

Talk to your pastor or minister in confidence.  Tell a trustworthy friend.

Give life to your baby and for you too!  Abortion doesn’t just murder your baby, it murders your soul as well.

If you have had an abortion:, Attend a class for post abortive women (or men) offered at a Christian pregnancy resource center or church. Many have classes and retreats you can take to help you work through the process of healing. There is also a workbook for men entitled: Healing a Father’s Heart: A Post-Abortive Bible Study for Men by Linda Cochrane.

Lynley's resurrected spirit painting

As part of my healing process, I celebrated the life of my child in Heaven.  I was encouraged to do something creative to thank Jesus for keeping care of my daughter.  I decided to paint a picture of Lynley’s resurrected spirit to thank Him and bring me peace.

I also planted a tree for her in Israel through www.treesfortheholyland.com. I am a Jewish Christian and love Israel, having been in ministry there for many years.  Planting a tree is a symbol of giving life.  In Judaism, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value.  The letter Chet equals the number 18. Chai which means life consists of the letter Chet symbolizing the number 18. Therefore, it costs $18 to plant a tree and give life. In return for doing so, I was blessed with a beautiful watercolor reproduction of a Jerusalem scene with a commemoration of my daughter. It read :

Tree Planted in Holy Land poster www.treesfortheholyland.com

A Tree had been planted in the Holy Land, In Celebration of Lynley, my daughter, For her heavenly homecoming, April 1991, Planted by Your ima (mother) Miriam.

I now have peace when I look at it framed on my wall.  I no longer feel shame or guilt. I can acknowledge myself as a mother and tell others about my daughter now. I am excited to see her one day soon and hold her in my arms for the first time. I am forgiven and set free.

Will you find the peace and forgiveness only Jesus can bring to you today?

 

If you need a confidential ear please feel free to leave me a private message at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com.  I am here to help you.

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

 

 

 


Meeting God Amongst the Redwood Trees- My Week at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference

My head hurts from all the talking and conversation.  I look up at the tall Redwood trees and take a deep breath.  Do I have the courage to approach one more editor or agent and have my manuscript edited or rejected again?  Can I eat one more bit of chocolate without exploding?  Should I self publish or go for a traditional publishing house?  Is my writing good enough for publication?  All these thoughts rolled around in my mind this past week at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

My critique partner Jenni Brummett and I arrived early Friday morning and checked into our cute cabin like rooms just up a little hill from the main conference center.  We were excited to see what divine appointments the Lord had waiting for us.

my roommate Laura at our room

We met up with my roommate Laura Bennet  and we quickly became the three musketeers. We would gather each evening in our room, and compare notes in our PJ’s, while eating the sugar confections they served us right before bed.  Did you hear how that one man used the phrase “watch out or you will go to hell” in the learning to write greeting cards class? I asked, as shock registered on all three of our faces. We burst into giggles, not believing a writer would write that!

The week flew by as I went from appointment, to workshop, to critique, to picking up my manuscript with its comments from editors.  One kind editor met with me and showed me that my life story had many books within it and I should break it up into three or four books.  WOW, that was an unexpected suggestion.  But as I met with my author friends such as Kay Marshall Strom and Joseph Bentz, I realized she was right.

Add more characters to your story, Miriam, and weave a universal theme throughout, Kay suggested.  Rewrite your first chapter starting with your time as a missionary in Israel and include the bombing story, to catch your readers attention, Joseph told me.  Your writing is publishing quality and you write better than some of our current authors we are publishing, one editor told me. Music to my ears, I broke out into a big smile at this news.  However, Miriam, a non fiction narrative like you are writing needs fiction techniques such as showing, suspense, characterization and dialogue, Liz told me.  I can do that, I thought to myself.  My head swam with suggestions and ideas.

But what to do with my original manuscript of my life story that I believe the Lord told me to write, that would help many people, especially woman, all over the world?  I couldn’t let go of my story, it was my baby. The Lord spoke through my roommate Laura.  Have you heard of Create Space, the self publishing arm of Amazon the popular online bookstore?  You can basically design and publish you book for free, it was started to help authors like us publish our own books, she shared.

Immediately, I felt a peace flood my heart and knew this was the answer to my prayer.  Unlike other self publishing companies where you are left with a garage full of books, Create Space allows books to be printed on demand and even have an ebook feature for their Kindle readers.  I felt a release to self publish the book and go on to write other books for the Lord through traditional publishing houses in the future.

Jenni and I networking at the dinner table

The Lord was faithful to answer each and every one of my prayers, from getting free head shots to meeting and inviting other non fiction writers to the writers group Jenni and I have started after last years conference.  Big smiles of happiness met my invitation to the group by fellow writers who would find encouragement and free critiques of their manuscripts there.

After our talented and funny speaker McNair Wilson spoke for the last time on

me amongst the redwoods

Tuesday morning, the leaders asked us to stand,  They prayed over us and commissioned us to go forth as writers for the Lord, bringing Him glory.  My heart beamed with joy realizing I have the privilege to minister to others through my writing, to express His love in our fallen world.

May you find His love for you this Holy week as we celebrate the redemption of the Lord through Passover,  Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  He came to save us from our sins on the cross.  Three days later He Resurrected so we too could have eternal life.

Resurrection Sunrise Cross Painting I Corinthians 1:18 www.giftsofhisglory.com

All it takes to receive His free gift of grace is to ask Him to forgive your sins and place your faith in Him.  You can pray the salvation prayer below to ask Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior right now.  Won’t you come join the family of God and have the promise and hope of eternal life this Easter week?

Pray with me:  Dear Jesus.  I ask that you take the darkness of my sin and replace it with your light to shine deep within my heart.  I believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead, with the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.  I ask you to be my Savior and Lord over my life today. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love and giving me peace with God through you. Amen.

Angels are rejoicing over you as you step into the family of God.  Welcome!

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To see all of my biblical Scripture art click on ‘my art‘ above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com.

 

 


Spring is in the air….Here’s my latest paintings…

Orange Daffodils Revelation 21:5 Behold I Make All Things New

I love springtime.  It is my favorite time of year, when all the daffodils bloom bright yellow and the magnolia trees blossom, with their heavenly scent.  I happily shed that winter heaviness and the cold of the air to welcome the early California warm weather.  It is also biking time again, when I can get out and ride without the drizzle of rain.  But mostly for me, springtime is about painting.

I recently returned from a trip to Palm Springs (see Marilyn, Elvis and God post) where I was able to snap some beautiful plants in the desert.  I paint all my biblical Scripture art from original photography I take, often at Filoli Gardens near my home.  Right now I am working on an orange bougainvillea bush, a color I rarely get to paint in, so this excites me!

Spring means new beginnings as well.  Easter with its brightly colored eggs and deviled

Resurrection Cross Ephesians 2:8-9

eggs, celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection and promise of eternal life to all who believe. Passover with the Seder plate and story of God’s redemption for the Jewish people from slavery.

It’s also a new beginning for me as I search for work outside of ministry, wanting to work in an art environment using my artist background and somehow have children involved (I am a former elementary school teacher and have taught a lot of bible camps here and abroad)  It is exciting to send in my resume, praying God will open the right door for me for this new career.

It is also an exciting time as I prepare for a new beginning of hopefully selling my book and finding an agent at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference in one’s weeks time.  I am happy to be rooming with my writer friend from last year, Laura Bennett and can’t wait to meet up for coffee in the ice cream parlor or amongst the redwood trees with my Facebook writer friends whom I haven’t seen since last year’s conference.

I am believing the Lord for divine appointments as only He can bring.  I anticipate learning a whole lot about publishing while I sit in workshops that range from how to become a freelance speaker, to how to write greeting cards and what really happens to your non fiction book behind closed publishing doors!

Mostly, I look forward to what the Lord is going to do with my heart while there. I plan on taking quiet hikes along the creek bed, listening to what is on His heart for me.

Off course, I hope the book sells, and I get a nice big fat advance (oh, the new car I can now buy and that trip to Israel my soul wants to take). But if it doesn’t, I know the Lord will bring a new beginning as I start to rewrite my manuscript, having the knowledge from my classes to now do so.

Open Tulips Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love...

Recently the Lord has been putting a Scripture on my heart from Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness.  Yes, I sense His love and kindness in my life as I step out in faith to the promise of new beginnings and hope.  So much so that I included this Scripture in one of my latest paintings for your enjoyment.  It is titled Open Tulips Jeremiah 31:3 and sells for $100 at my art website www.giftsofhisglory.com. (or click on ‘my art‘ above)

Come see all my new artwork for sale and bless yourself or a friend with the gift that keeps on giving:  an original piece of art with biblical Scripture embossed within it. For the Lord said: It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. Isaiah 51:11. New Living Translation.

Happy Spring!

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What is your favorite part of Springtime?  Leave me a reply…

 

 

 

 


Marilyn, Elvis and God…My Escape into the Desert

Palm Springs

I fell in love this week.  With Palm Springs.  I flew down on a four day vacation as a guest of my high school friend, Lisa, who owns a home in La Quinta, one of the desert towns outside Palm Springs. Palm Springs is in southern California about 2 hours east of Los Angeles.  It is in the desert, surrounded by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains, creating a valley filled with date palm trees, golf courses and hidden oasis’ with natural mineral springs. It was first  inhabited by the Cahuilla Indians who still reside there and own most of the land.

Today Palm Springs is a haven for wealthy snow birds, elderly people who come for the dry desert heat and sun good for their arthritis.  It was once the playground for the rich and famous celebrities from old Hollywood, such as Frank Sinatra, Vivian Leigh and Kathryn Hepburn. Back in the old studio contract days, movies stars had to stay within an hour and a half distance from the studio and Palm Springs fit the bill.

Fascinated with Hollywood since childhood, I once dreamed of being Marilyn Monroe and

Marilyn Monroe's home

followed Elvis’s life with a passion. Lisa surprised me with a tour of the celebrity homes and one afternoon we met up with the tour in downtown Palm Springs after having the most divine corned beef Rueben sandwich from Shermans, the famous old time Jewish deli.

The eight passenger van of 5 Star Adventures whisked us away as they related the early history of Palm Springs.  The movie stars first came and stayed in tents, later bringing their own trailers and finally building small desert homes to come play and stay in during the winter and spring months.

We entered the Las Palmas area and I was surprised how small the houses were.  I was told they were built without heat or air conditioning, most were 900 to 1600 square feet.  We slowly drove past each home, with the tour guide announcing titbits of who lived there.

Me in front of Elvis' home

We we lucky to peak inside the open gates of some houses including Lucy and Desi Arnaz’s home. I jumped out of the van to take a picture in front of Elvis’ home that he owned in the 1970s up until his death. His house was later sold to finance Graceland, his main residence in Nashville, Tennessee.

The most memorable moment was when we stopped in front of Robert Stacks home.  With a wooden door surrounded by bright purple bougainvillea, we silently crept into the garden.  Small casitas or bungalows were placed

Lisa sitting at Rat Pack bar hangout

throughout the small property around the main house.  The Rat Pack used to hang out at the outdoor bar and Lisa and I took pictures of each other, thrilled to be sitting in the same seats that Frank, Dean, Sammy and Peter once sat in and drank their famous martini’s.

The small kidney shaped pool sparkled azure blue in the sunlight as I glanced at the orange and lemon trees, taking in the beauty of the garden and blue skies.  I instantly new this was where I wanted to get married.  The tour guide told me it rents for $495 a night and

Me at my future wedding place at Robert Stacks home

weddings frequently took place there. She shared the movie Liberace with Kirk Douglas and Matt Damon had just been filmed prior to us visiting.  What better place to celebrate my new life with my husband than in the ridiculously inexpensive playground of such history?

Once the tour was over, Lisa and I strolled down the main street, Palm Canyon Drive, looking at all the fun shops and stopping in for a refreshing soda from the 80 degree heat. We sat at tables that swung like a swing, the type you would only find in Palm Springs.  Once done we hurried over to the huge 26 feet tall statue of Marilyn Monroe that was on exhibit.  Created by artist Steward Johnston, it features her famous skirt blowing up from the subway grate scene, from her movie The Seven Year Itch.  It is a traveling exhibit and one Lisa and I both felt should stay in Palm Springs as Marilyn was discovered at the Racquet Club here many years ago.

Every evening I sat on Lisa’s patio under the palm trees looking up at the dark starlit sky with the warm desert breeze blowing through my hair.  The Lord whispered to me that He was bringing a new season into my life, a time of refreshment and personal fulfillment, a time to retire from full time ministry and pursue my hopes and dreams.

What did this look like? A job working in a field of my choosing.  A time of marriage and motherhood.  An opportunity to travel all those places I have dreamed about.  A Greece cruise.  A  footsteps of Apostle Paul tour in Turkey.  Training through Europe.  Painting the light in Venice.  Sitting at a cafe in Paris and writing my next book.  Or rewriting my current one!  Moving to Lancaster, PA, where the Amish reside, to live a life based around God and family.  Canning my own vegetables and learning to make my own soap.  Sewing my child’s clothes and homeschooling them.  All the dreams that life took from me and a life serving God called me to sacrifice.

For now I drank in the beauty of the desert mountains surrounding me, reminded of the Scripture:  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:2. I found Him here in the quiet of the desert, the peacefulness of the air and sunshine.  In the laughter of Lisa and I as we told stories of our lives in the years we were apart.

I left behind all the stress and tiredness of my life in the Bay Area.  The insanity of a life detached and lived through social media, texts and email. The frustration and difficulty of being in full time ministry. The Lord knew what I needed. He met me here and refreshed me body, soul, mind and spirit.

The trip highlights? I found luscious date shakes.  Slow meandering walks gazing on the colorful red, orange and purple bougainvillea.  Hiking up the mountain side surrounded by large boulders in shades of brown and gray and prickly cacti with small buds of yellow

Me at La Quinta Inn and Spa built in 1927

flowers peeking through. Eating dinner under a night sky at Morton’s at the old Quinta Inn where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard once ate and stayed to escape the fame of celebrity.

And now it is time to leave. As I sit at the airport gazing out at the mountain ranges turning different shades of rose and purple, I have mixed emotions.  I am grateful to the Lord for this new season. Yet I feel a sadness at leaving the desert.

For it is here the Lord brings me to refresh me, whether it be in Israel as I float in the dead sea, surrounded my the huge Judean mountains, or as I hike in the Mohave Desert in Nevada on a spring time retreat.  He is famous for calling His servants to the desert to have a time of intimacy with Him and to hear His voice.  Abraham, Moses, Elijiah John the Baptist and even Jesus went regularly to the desert.

This trip was particularly special for me as the Lord combined my old time love of Hollywood with the fun and fellowship of my friend, delicious gourmet meals and spectacular sunsets.

I think Psalm 116:7 says it best:  Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.  Thank you Lord for this time.  I hope I can return time again and again.


My Sweet Valentine…

Something beautiful happened on Valentine’s Day. I spent an intimate afternoon with the Lord visiting Filoli Gardens, a historical house and English gardens, in Woodside near my home.  It has always been a special place to go and spend quiet time in reflection and in the Word, a  tradition of mine to go on Valentine’s Day.

So Valentine’s morning I picked up my red Zip Car, because red equals love, and drove

The Tea House at Filoli Gardens

over to Filoli.  It was a beautiful sunny day, early spring weather, and I noticed the daffodils were in bloom as I arrived.  I took the time to admire the watercolor art exhibit and found my way to the Tea House, a cool reflective building in the middle of the gardens.

The former owners used to have tea here and play cards. It has breathtaking views of the lily ponds and fountains found throughout the gardens.  A welcoming antique chaise lounge beckoned me. I sat quietly with my bible on my lap, taking in the smell of the jasmine and watching a small hummingbird fly back and forth as he had lost his way.

I opened my bible and asked the Lord to direct me.  He gave me one beautiful Psalm after another, talking of His love and faithfulness, of His protection and deliverance, of being my Husband and my Maker, all the while infusing His love into my heart.

I closed my eyes and prayed, seeing Him in the Spirit, kneel down next to me and take my hand in His.  He kissed my hand gently and love for Him flowed through my heart. Lord I love you so much, I adore you, you are the lover of my soul, my husband  (Isaiah 54:5). Thank you for loving me.  Soon I got up to dance with Him, dressed as Cinderella at the Ball, He as Prince Charming.  We waltzed our way out unto the patio and onto the grass, all the while twirling around and around.  Did you know Jesus loves to dance?  Because He does.

I got lost in the moment, until a guest walked in announcing the time. I opened my eyes.  I quickly asked the Lord if there was something else he wanted to say to me or surprise me with this Valentine’s day.           I want to give you a new beginning Miriam, to remove the reproach of your sexual abuse and past, to take the spiritual burden off your shoulders and the shackles from around your neck. (Isaiah 58:6) In a vision, I saw Him removing them and standing at the edge of the sea, throwing the burdens and shackles in.  I joined Him by the water’s edge, putting my arm around Him and leaning into Him. Yes, Lord, I am ready to move on from having my identity being as an incest survivor, to being simply your child, the daughter of the King.

My heart felt so light, because carrying that burden around for so long had taken its toll on me.  Everything in my life, my art ministry, my book, my relationships, had all evolved around my past. How I had overcome. How I was now helping others overcome. But now it was time for me.  To take a break and find a new path with a new freedom in Him.

How would I define myself now, if not author, artist, advocate, prayer warrior, healer, minister of the gospel and most importantly, blogger?!  How about friend, sister, Jewish believer in Jesus, future wife, mother and homemaker?  All my dreams for the future.  So I started.  I lit the Sabbath candles tonight, promising the Lord to honor the Sabbath like I used to….spending the day in rest, honoring Him in worship and time in nature, no worries, fretting or Facebook.  I remembered the promise of keeping Sabbath in Isaiah 58: 13-14:

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Yes. I wanted to delight in Him and have Him give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).

To return to my Jewish roots by taking a trip back to Israel where I had served Him as a missionary in the 1990s.

Hiking the Jesus Trail, Israel

To hike the Jesus Trail, a 40 mile road that leads from Nazareth to Capernaum, where Jesus lived and ministered along the Sea of Galilee.

To cook a new recipe every week preparing myself for that Jewish believing husband I am waiting on.

To dust off my sewing machine and make my wedding quilt for my Chuppah (Jewish Canopy).

To get back on Weight Watches online, avoiding white flour, sugar, potatoes and diet coke to lose the weight I need so I can look pretty in my wedding dress when that day arrives.

To blog just for the fun of it, with no goal in mind!

To bike along new areas of seashore I haven’t visited before.

To Just Be Me.

I am excited about this time of new beginnings, of seeing myself healed and free of past labels and disabilities, a whole person in Jesus, ready to follow Him on this new adventure, with Him by my side. Yes, I love Him. He is my sweet Valentine. And always will be. No matter who I marry!

Stay tuned!

What is your secret dream? Leave me a reply.

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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.