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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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.