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Christmas Light

Radical About Jesus Ministries

People all over the word are celebrating “Christmas.”  But many of them don’t even know the person whose name makes up the title of the season: CHRIST JESUS. Without Him and His sacrifice to pay for our sin and rebellion, there would be NO  Christmas season at all. He really is the light of the world. And He really is the reason for the season. Let’s continue to pray and preach the Gospel fervently and with great love, so that this year, more people will come to recognize the Christ who gives us Christmas.

WHITE-CHRISTMAS-TREE-MODERN-LIGHTS-2-Ana_J-PX

Oh Christmas tree, oh geometric Christmas tree,
Updated decoration of this century,
Combining old tradition with technology —
Eye-catching combination set for all to see.

I wonder if the architect has realized
That though his modern concept is a structural prize,
The Light that gives it meaning appeared to Moses’ eyes.
From burning bush to modern…

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‘Magenta Nativity’ — Watercolor & Verse

I posted this painting on this blog a couple days ago, but I had posted it on my poetry site with the poem. So I decided to go ahead and reblog the poem here as well.

AHYOKA

MAGENTA NATIVITY - w. frame

Obscure and humble at your birth,
You came to show us our own worth.
Heav’n’s brightest star and angel choir
Proclaimed the birth of our desire.
Once come forth from sweet Mary’s womb,
You journeyed forward to cross and tomb.
But three days gone, You rose again
And conquered evil, death, and sin.
Now Heaven’s Daystar You’ve become
And reign eternal from Your throne.
We cherish Your nativity
But do not bow on bended knee,
For You’re no longer in that stall,
But ruling, reigning, Lord of all!
***




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‘Dare To Be Different’ Christmas Card Series

My brand new Christmas card series “DARE TO BE DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS’ debuted this week at a holiday craft fair near my hometown. I’ve created scores of Christmas themed cards in the past, but last year, for some reason, I didn’t do anything new. However, this year, I just couldn’t resist something a little “out-of-the-ordinary.” I created three new designs featuring my watercolor and acrylic paintings. So I thought I’d share pictures of the fronts, along with the inside sentiments.

Also, I’m thinking about getting set up to sell my greeting cards online after the first of the year. I’d appreciate hearing from any of you out there who have online marketing experience. Do you have any advice — pro or con — about the different kinds of marketing venues such as E-Bay, Etsy, Personal E-Commerce Sites, etc.?

Hope you enjoy these three new designs. They were really fun to make.

Merry Christmas!


PINK CHRISTMAS TREES W. IPICCY BORDER - EDITED - w. sentiment

Wishing you an out-of-the-ordinary,
spectacularly happy
Christmas!


YELLOW TREE LIGHTENED IN U-LEAD w. credits

Wishing you a holiday season
whirling and twirling with
loads of laughter and love!


 

BLUE BCKGD W. WHITE TREES 2 full creditsJPG


Silent night …
Holy night …
Peace …
Be still …
And know that I am God.

 




 

Thanksgiving Poems — Week 1

Thanksgiving in the U. S.  is exactly three weeks from today, so I think it’s only appropriate that I revisit some of my Thanksgiving poems from over the years — and maybe even write a new one.

This week I’ll begin the series with two: one quite serious and one just for fun. Hope you enjoy them, and if you’re one of my own countrymen, I hope they add to your expectations for a happy Thanksgiving celebration.

 

AH, THANKSGIVING, HOW I LOVE YOU!

RED DRESS

Ah, Thanksgiving, how I love you!
Golden crowning jewel of Fall,
Beacon of warmth and cam’raderie,
Sending glad invitation to all:

“Gather to worship; gather to visit;
Gather to focus on all that’s worthwhile;
Feast from tables resplendent with harvest;
Feast on the love in a touch and a smile.”

All the year’s labors weigh heavy upon us.
All the world’s problems seem bigger by far.
But out from that wearisome struggle you call us,
And laying it down, we run to where you are.

And whether in cottages, mansions, or churches,
Community buildings, or tables in parks,
We gather with gratitude full – overflowing;
To the Giver of blessings lift voices and hearts.

Then we return to life’s pattern awaiting.
Filled up with joy, we set off on our way,
Warmer and richer and kinder in spirit
For pausing to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

TURKEY WITH SIGN - SAVE TURKEYS

I spot him there, behind the barn,
A full-plumed, regal bird.
He looks up, straight into my eyes.
I speak no single word.

It’s happened thus, in passing years —
At least for two or three:
Each mid-November I’ve set my mind;
He’s been there to greet me.

Now, lifting his head in challenge strong,
He gobbles loud and long.
I lower my gun and heave a sigh:
To kill him would be wrong!

So, wrestling with my double mind,
I trek home to my wife
To explain why, once again this year,
Ham will greet the carving knife.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


 

Weekend Coffee Share — 11/2/19

COFFEE, TABLE, RESTAURANT -- Zaccaria

To participate in this week’s “Coffee Share” click on this link and visit Eclectic Ali for the details.

If we were having coffee together this weekend, I’d probably tell you about my book signing gig today. It was the kind of book signing that every author hopes he never experiences even once in his whole career. Not only did no one ask me to sign a book, but no one even wanted to buy a book. In fact, only two people even went so far as to pick up any books to look at them closer.

Yep, as sad as I am about it – and as embarrassed as I am to admit it – that’s the truth. My last book signing was pretty successful. I had a good time with people taking real interest in the books and asking intelligent questions – and most importantly – buying books and asking me to inscribe and sign them.

So why was this event such a failure? Well, as all authors know, we have good times and not-so-good times when it comes to book sales, but there are some specific circumstances that can lead more to one result or another. I was talking with my sister after the sad experience today, and she reminded me that the event took place in a county of our state that is known for its illiteracy, poor educational system, poverty, heavy drug use, heavy crime, witchcraft, and financial and political corruption. What does that fact mean in terms of selling books? Well, to begin with, the majority of people in that county are not interested in reading books much, period. But even when they do want to read, they are not looking for books with Christian-based themes and the propagation of the Gospel. Those two facts gave me an automatic two strikes against me before I even set up my table.

“So,” you ask, “why did you even participate in that event?” Well, my answer is two-fold. One: I’m an author who believes I’ve written books that will help people and make their lives better in a few different ways, and I naturally want to sell those books. So any possible market is worth at least considering. Two: I believe everybody, no matter what their culture or past experiences, should be given opportunities to choose to step out of what is negative and into something positive. I just believe that, given the opportunity, many people who live in a negative culture want to change that experience and will take advantage of such possibilities as reading good books in order to do so. I’ve been proven right about that theory in the past, and even though no one stepped up to make any of those choices today, I still believe there are people out there who do and will in the future.

So am I sorry I took part in the event – that I paid money for my place in the vendor’s fair that hosted us – that I spent hours getting all my materials together, traveling to the event, setting up everything, and then taking it all down and hauling it back home? No, I’m not. It was an experience that will have its own rewards for me it its own ways. However, when the coordinator of the event asked if I would come back to do another similar event before Christmas, I said no. I have to be a good steward of my time, my energy, and my finances, and when the evidence is staring me in the face as it did today, I’m smart enough to recognize that one of the lessons learned today is that this particular venue is not good stewardship.

Now, on the other hand, while we were sharing over coffee, I would also tell you about how I received shipment today of my first big order of the HOLLY JOLLY HOLIDAY PLANNING JOURNALS. I love these journals, and I’m so glad I decided to create them this year.

HOLLY JOLLY RESIZED
Moreover, half of this first batch is already spoken for, and that’s a pretty happy situation for an author and book creator to be in. With only half of this batch left in stock, I have to order more for the next book event that I’m participating in – in a totally different county, by the way, with a much more educated and literature-conscious culture. It takes place in a couple weeks, and by then I will have licked all my emotional and financial wounds from today, and I’ll have a great time interacting with potential readers at that event.

So — you win some, you lose some. As authors, we know that’s how life goes. It’s like the old song says — with a little paraphrasing from me:
You’ve got to give a little, take a little …
You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little …
You’ve got to win a little, lose a little …
That’s the story of – that’s the glory of – being an author.

 


Lyrics taken from “The Glory of Love,” written by Billy Hill


 

~~~~~

The Music of Words

Exif JPEG

I’m a musician. I play keyboard instruments mainly. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of using my talents to entertain audiences, to minister as organist and choir director for two different churches, to help facilitate weddings and funerals for scores of families, to compose and orchestrate numerous songs, and to teach others to use their gifts and talents to bless the world with music from their own keyboards.

These days I rarely sit down to a musical keyboard. Instead, I’m nearly glued to the kind of keyboard that is attached to a desktop or laptop computer. For,  you see, I’m also a writer. Now, some people feel that I have left music behind as I’ve devoted so much of myself to the writing. But you know what?  I’ve discovered a truth that, ten years ago, I may not have even thought about:

I’ve discovered that music — true music — doesn’t come from a keyboard on a piano, an organ, or an accordion. Nor does it come from a horn, a guitar, a violin, or any other instrument. On the contrary, music comes from the soul. It’s the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm of life that courses through our beings and finds its release through any number of avenues. Frequently, it is released through instruments constructed for that specific purpose, but the music of the soul is also released through words.

I find that I’m releasing the music of my soul constantly as my fingers whisk over the letter keys of my laptop. I’m letting all those melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of life course through me to touch every reader. And when those readers are touched, my words create emotions, thoughts, actions, and reactions as surely as the strains of sound vibrating from a piano or a horn. I’m calling to and capturing the soul of the reader as surely as the chords from a guitar call and capture the soul of the listener.

It is not the instrument that creates the music. In truth, the music is created from the deepest part of our being and simply seeks an avenue — any avenue — of expression. So, personally, I believe I am offering music to the world through the words that flow from my soul onto the page as surely as I have offered it in the past from the keyboard that sent forth vibrations of sound.

So, my fellow writers — let your music flow.


 

~~~~~




 

Abstract Greetings

These are two of my newest greeting cards — somewhat abstract in nature. Actually, they don’t look as good on here as they do in “real life,” but I like to post them anyway, because sharing what I’m creating helps keep me in the creative flow even when other things press me for time and energy. I got a kick out of creating both of them, so I hope you get an equal kick out of seeing them.

 

FUNKY FOREST W. CREDITS


CACTUS CARD




 

BRAND NEW!!! Holiday Planning Journal

HOLLY JOLLY RESIZED

YAY! My HOLLY JOLLY HOLIDAY PLANNING JOURNAL IS READY FOR YOU!

Holiday planning and organizing has never been SO EASY.
This planner includes sections for Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and the coming New Year.

Complete with Scriptures and Journaling Pages for recording Personal Thoughts and Prayers, this planner also includes plenty of room to plan out Decorations, Activities, Guest Lists, Travel Arrangements, Recipes, Gifts Lists, Online Orders, Storage Plans, and New Year’s Expectations.

Handy 6 x 9 size, soft cover: $6.00

Available from Amazon at this link.

OR

From me if you live in the Southern Illinois area.

Stepping Through The Door — Cinquain

I wrote this piece for my poetry site, but decided I’d share it here as well.


WHITE DOORS - 7 -- Arek Socha 00 PX - purple
Arek Socha @ pixabay.com

Portals
Wait before me.
I stand before closed doors
But do not let that hinder me:
“Open!”

Behold,
The doors obeyed.
And now I stand in awe.
I see what possibilities
Await.

So now
I must decide:
Will I cross the threshold?
Will I accept new challenges?
I will!


 

~~~~~

 


 

You’ll Never Look at Halloween the Same Way Again


DIGITAL VERSION ON SALE THROUGH THE END OF OCTOBER:  $1.99

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RACING FINAL AMAZON COVER - front

RACING TOWARD THE LIGHT

What’s it about?
When a small coastal town is invaded by witchcraft that threatens the lives of the school children and the future of the entire community, the citizens must learn to fight back with a Higher Power. Follow the story as God’s human vessels take their authority in the name of Jesus while the angelic hosts route the demonic forces on the spiritual plane in response to believers enforcing the Word of God. Read it, and you’ll never look at Halloween the same way again.
`
Click the link at the top to find out more about the story and purchase your copy.
∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞



We Have Our Own ‘Homing Device’

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO - edited
San Juan Capistrano Mission Photo by Jon at pdphoto.com

In the early morning of October 23 — just 11 days from today — thousands of swallows will lift off the grounds of the San Juan Capistrano mission, circle the mission once, and begin their pre-scheduled 7500-mile flight back to their home city of Goya, Argentina. They will have spent 7 months at the mission, enjoying the warm climate and excellent food — and offering their share of the work to keep the eco-system in its proper balance — particularly by destroying about a billion insects. But it will be time to go home, and those swallows will not fail to leave at exactly the appointed moment.

Their visit to the centuries-old California mission began in Goya at dawn on February 18 — as it has every February 18 for at least the past 200 years.  They arrived at Capistrano on March 19 — as they have for at least 200 years — and, yes, all the mission bells did ring, just as Leon Rene’s 1940’s song says.  There is a great celebration at the mission every year, and thousands of people turn out to welcome the birds to their summer home.  All events are planned well ahead of time because there is absolutely no doubt that these lovely swallows will be right on time.

Argentinian magazine correspondent Enrique Bermudez, who writes for Para Todos Magazine, has made a thorough study of the swallows. He says they fly most of their 7500 mile journey at an altitude of 6600 feet and fly at a speed of 18 miles per hour. His research shows that swallows are masters at following a flight plan that takes advantage of every favorable wind. And somehow, in spite of all kinds of unpredictable natural events, they arrive exactly at the appointed time on March 19, year after year after year. How awe-inspiring is that?

Well, it must be pretty inspiring for the majority of people because the event has been immortalized in word and song for decades now. Unfortunately most people any distance away cannot be present to celebrate the event, but most all of us have the privilege of witnessing a similar miracle right in our own back yards if we care to take notice. Most of us have “closer-to-home” birds that migrate north and south at exactly the right time every year — returning at the same appointed time when the seasons change.  In my neck of the woods, the most prominent migratory birds are the geese, and their v-shaped flight patterns make designs across our skies for several weeks each fall as they follow their God-given homing devices to their places of winter refuge.

And so it is in every little burg and hamlet across the planet. Then when spring pops out from under winter’s blanket, ducks, geese, and birds of various sorts find themselves on the move again, and without fail, all the members of each species of bird know exactly where they are going. Just like the Capistrano swallows, they all have this built-in guidance system that we call “instinct.”  It’s an internal radar, given to them by their Creator, that doesn’t fail to take them exactly where they need to go: south in the winter, north in the summer, and even to the highest rafters of the crumbling mission at San Juan Capistrano.

But what about us?  People.  Do we have our built-in homing device turned on?  Is it keeping us focused on our perfect destination? No matter what the season in our lives, our perfect place of safety and fulfillment is always the same place: The Almighty, Eternal, Living God.

What time is it in your life? Is it time to migrate to a new place in your spiritual walk? Do you find yourself feeling the need to live on a higher plane? Or is it getting a little dark and cold where you are now, causing you to long for more warmth and light and nourishment?

Well, the Word of God makes it clear that we each have a built-in homing device with its own internal radar. That Word tells us that we do not have to “anxiously look about us,” trying to find our path. (Isaiah 41:10). All we have to do is set our hearts on the one who created that homing device. (Prov. 3:6).  And even more directly, we are told that we will find Him through Jesus Christ, who is “the way” into the heart of that Creator. (John 14:6).

Do you have your radar zeroed in on the almighty God of the universe? If so, you have a fantastic journey ahead of you.  If not, maybe this changing season is a good time to make an adjustment.