Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Dove

Last Sunday my husband and I visited a retirement facility where he was invited to speak at their chapel service. He spoke on the history of Hanukkah and how it connected to Christmas. Did you know that there is a connection? A great article on this subject is in The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry archives at Many Jewish people, who live there, heard the message over their Television. The Chaplin and his talented wife beautifully decorate the common areas with Christmas Trees, winter scenes, wreaths and angels. The most notable is their beautiful manger scene, displaying all the Christmas story figures and the entire town of Bethlehem.
I was drawn to the Christmas tree near the entrance of the Chapel. It had just 2 ornaments repeated all around the tree. One was a merry-go-round horse and the other was a flying dove holding a star and a heart. It was so pretty. It inspired me to paint this picture that very afternoon.
Jesus is:
The Prince of Peace- symbolized by the Dove.
Philippians 4:7 “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The Light of the World – Symbolized by the Star-
John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
The Gift of Love - John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
These are only 3 of the many names of Jesus. I pray that you will all have that wonderful Peace, Light and Love given by God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nuggets of Thanks from a Banquet Table of Blessings

Thank you Lord…
Jesus- my Savior, Redeemer, Shepherd and Friend.
For my Family- their love, humor, faithfulness, and support.
For the special smiles I get from my precious mother, now in poor health, both in mind and body.
For my creative husband, who makes life very interesting! And every precious moment we share.

For new experiences and involvement- release of our movie, Dr. Rossvally, movie premiers, first art show, Historical Society, membership in 2 local art societies, murals, 1st commissioned paintings, Mother in nursing home and 1st grandchild!
For all the new friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord, we have met this year in our travels and ministry.

For…fun times, trying times, hard work, rest

For our country- it’s history, liberty, honor, freedom for all.
I can go on! There is still much more… leftovers for another time.
Oh! One more bite…THANK YOU… for visiting me here in blog land.
God bless you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stepping into a new change in our family

“ ... thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:13b-14
Our family has been getting ready for a special day…the birth of our first...grandchild. For our daughter and her husband, it is their first child. It is a new phase in life: From husband to father, daughter and wife to mother, Father to grandfather, mother (that’s me) to grandmother, brother to Uncle! We are all stepping into a change in the path before us and are all excited with anticipation to welcome this new life into our family. Ever since that glimpse of her little heartbeat at 8 weeks, we were in love with her and the Lord knew her. His hands are gently holding her safe in her mother’s womb. I’m enjoying this special time with Sarah, visiting baby stores, cleaning and painting the nursery and raving over all the adorable baby clothes people have given her already. In all this preparation, I’m re-living my experience of my first pregnancy and birth of Sarah. The circle of life …is come around!
Little Juliet, we welcome you into our family with much joy and love!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets – Rosh Hashanah

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.’” Leviticus 23:24-25
This is the 5th of the 7 unique observances given by God to the Jewish people. It has been observed, off and on, throughout Jewish history for thousands of years! We, as believers in the Lord Jesus, should understand the significance of these observances as well, for they add firm foundation, more clarity, and deep richness to our faith.
In the 2nd century the rabbis adapted the title of “Rosh Hashanah”, meaning “Head of months”, to mark the civil New Year. It also marks the beginning of the Fall High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah, Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).

Traditionally, it is believed that 3 books are opened in heaven – The book of the thoroughly Righteous, the book of the Intermediate or “semi-Righteous and the book of the thoroughly wicked. (Talmud Rosh Hashanah 16a, page 63 Soncino) Everyone hopes that their names are written in the first one – thoroughly Righteous. Revelation 20, in the Bible, talks about books being opened.
It is also believed that Satan goes before God to accuse the people of their sins, but the blowing of the shofar confuses him. (Talmud Rosh Hashanah 16b, page 61 Soncino) Believe me, we tried this… Peter blew the shofar in a crowded church foyer to get every ones attention and it worked like a charm!
Tashlish” (casting) is performed. This is a ritual of throwing bread crumbs containing yeast into a moving flow of water that flows into the sea, symbolizing that our sins are cast into the sea, never to be remembered again. This is a beautiful visual illustration of God’s love and forgiveness
“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
Visiting gravesites of relatives and friends and leaving a memorial stone is also customary. This practice started in the 16th century. You can really see this in Israel. Many of the grave sites have little piles of rocks on them.
Today, candles are lit to start the Sabbath. Kiddush: the cup of Sanctification or “setting apart” is drunk, the people will eat Challah bread dipped in honey to start off the New Year sweet and fish to symbolize fertility and immortality.

In order to see how the Messiah fits in all this we must look closely at what was done in Biblical times. Back then, this day was viewed as a Sabbath day- a day of rest. The shofar (ram’s horn) was blown to warn the people of impending judgment for sin and also to call them to the temple for repentance. Sacrifices were offered in their behalf.
As believers in the Lord Jesus, we have heard the shofar’s warning in God’s word, of the coming judgment for sin. This is just one of many:
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

But, God has also made provision to escape this judgment.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
The sacrifice has been made once for all. Jesus paid the debt that was owed, giving all, who accept it by faith, a true Sabbath rest for all eternity with God.
“Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1

Are you still excited about what God has done for you? I pray that during this season you will get a refreshment of enthusiasm for God’s love and salvation for us.

For those who still need to consider this…
Ask yourself:
Have I heard God’s warning…The wages of sin is death?
Have I accepted His provision for my sin… The gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord?
Do I have eternal peace now…by faith?

I pray that you will be able to answer “yes”.
If not… let me encourage you to…
“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6
Read a more in-depth article about Rosh Hashanah at:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Day at the Beach

My art loving friends and I went to do some sketching at the beach. I wanted to get some ideas for a beach painting I want to do. It was so windy. Every time we started to draw, our paper and pencils were blown away. It reminded me of another time I went to the beach with my family to eat a relaxing dinner and enjoy the scenery. As soon as we parked, got our table and started to put the food on the plates, the sky darkened and the wind suddenly started blowing so hard our plates, plastic ware, and napkins went flying before we took a bite! We struggled to pack it up again to go home to eat. Skirts, hair, bags and we were blown back to the car, laughing all the way home. Sometimes our plans or good intentions get changed through no fault of our own. It just happens. I have learned to be flexible.
Well, our intention to sketch at the beach was also changed. But, I still wanted to get an idea for a beach scene painting and spend time with my friends. So, I pulled out my camera to take pictures of possibilities for a painting. I said, “Let’s go for a walk and let me know when you see a good shot for a picture.”

Come along and walk with us…

I loved all the bright colorful umbrellas dotting the shoreline.

Be careful ! The yellow warning flag is waving! Waves were high and the surfers were having a great time.

Even though our plans changed, we still had a wonderful time walking, talking and enjoying the fresh air and our friendship. We are happy you came along, too!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Window...

you see inside… out… and satisfies your curiosity…
Gives a view…
Lets light shine in…out…
Reflects and casts shadows…
Protects against the elements- rain, snow, wind...
Let’s air in… and out
Can relax…or alarm
Creates the mood…
Is a place for cats to sit…for birds to rest or lay their nests
Is a perfect place to put a potted plant…
Of opportunity
Of heaven
In nature
Of hope.
(If you can think of any more, please leave them in the comments below!)

(Picture on the right: My kids back in the Chicago days.)
Unusual windows always catch my interest. A couple of years ago, when Peter and I visited England, we found out that the designer of the lobby of one of the old hotels in London was the same man who designed the main lobby and ornate staircase of the Titanic. Since we were walking by, we had to see it for ourselves. The resemblance was there right away! (We had seen it in the movie…) The ornate stairs were lit by the natural glow of light coming through these beautiful windows. Each one had a different emblem on it: a Crest, a flowered heart and a cross.
The crest reminds me of family and honor. All my actions reflect on my name and family. The flowered heart reminds me of compassion. May I always have compassion for those in need. The Cross, which I was delighted to see, reminds me of my faith. May I always be a “window” in which the light and love of Jesus can shine through.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
John 8:12

On another day, while visiting the Lawnswood Cemetery in Leeds, I took a picture of this window, as it gave me a spooky feeling. It reminds me of the seed sown among the thorns in the parable of the sower.

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
Mark 4:19

What a contrast to the staircase windows above! I know I don’t want my life to reflect a window like this. Lord, help me keep the “window” of my mind and heart clean in your Word!
(Photographs will be available for download at www.PraiseExpressions.Com)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mrs. Coulson: From Rossvally the Movie

“When I found you on the battle-field you were so far gone that I thought it hardly worth while to pick you up; but when you opened those large blue eyes I thought you had a mother somewhere who might, at that moment, be thinking of her boy.” Max L Rossvally

When my husband, Peter, asked me to play the part of Mrs. Coulson, I hesitantly said, “Oooookay.” I had never played a part in any drama or play in my life! I’m a shy person. But, this was a definite nudge from the Lord. It was scary. This was the climax of the movie! I had to show a lot of emotion. How was I going to pull this off as real? Well, it took a lot of prayer! Two days before the filming, I got dressed up in my period costume and practiced in front of the mirror over and over again all day long. Then, I had Peter film me with our video camera and recorded a whole disc. As we watched it on our TV, I thought, “This just might work!” Then, my kids came over and we showed it to them. As soon as I came on the screen, they started laughing and couldn’t stop. They’d never heard me talk and look like that before. I got insecure, but I left it in the Lord’s hands.

The next day we all met at Boca Raton Bible Chapel for the filming… No pressure! Everyone was excited. Peter and I brought all our Civil War period outfits for everyone to use. The extras were people from the church, West Park Baptist Church, our weekly Bible study group, family and anyone else we could find! It took all day to film the scene for just those few emotional minuets in the movie!

I tried to put myself in Mrs. Coulson’s shoes, as a mother. Her only son was horribly wounded at Gettysburg. She couldn’t be there to gently wipe his brow, give a word of comfort or kiss goodbye. I can’t imagine the sorrow she felt when she received Charlie’s Bible and letter, informing her of his death. But yet, she testified at her church of the wonderful hope she had when she said, “Oh! It is a great joy to know that I shall meet my boy with Jesus in heaven…”
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8
She was a poor widow from Brooklyn. She told her son, Charlie, when he was five years old, never to touch strong drink. That was the cause of his father’s death. She promised God, that she would raise him to” warn young men against the bitter cup.” Faithfully, she led him in daily Bible reading and prayer, as well as took him to Church. It was there Charlie, at 9 years old, accepted the Lord and dedicated his life. Though he served for only 3 months as a drummer in the army, he continued daily Bible study, prayer and fellowship with other believers. This devotion, along with his mother’s prayers, gave Charlie, who at the time of Gettysburg was now 17 years old, a strong faith to be able to withstand the pain of a double amputation with no drugs. He was more concerned about the soul of the war-hardened Jewish doctor who treated him than for himself.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because … he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Mrs. Coulson is an example of many mothers in home situations today: ill health, bad marriage, widowed, destitute, alone, living in a time of current uncertainty. The lesson I learned is to trust God and His Word. Continue in prayer. Admonish my children to do the same. There is no guarantee that the road will be easy. Mrs. Coulson’s certainly was not. But, God is faithful and all things will work together for good (Romans 8:28). What God desires is faithfulness to His Word. He blessed her efforts and joy by letting her see the fruit of her son’s witness in Rossvally’s testimony of salvation. It has been an honor to portray this dear woman in the film.
Shaw, S.B., Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer, Grand Rapids, MI.: S.B. Shaw Publisher, 1895, page 36-41.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How my Faith Journey Started: "For we walk by faith, not by sight:" 2 Corinthians 5:7

Well, I finally took a step into the Blog zone! It’s pretty scary, if you ask me. For one thing, I’m a pretty shy, quiet person. Always been, since I was a kid. But, the Lord has been teaching me to act on His gentle leading. So, here I am!

My journey started many years ago when I was young. Because of the faithfulness of my dear Mother in exposing us to the Word and good Bible teaching, I learned that I was lost and had a sin nature that needed to be dealt with in order to have fellowship with God. (Ecclesiastes 7:20) I didn’t know if heaven would be my home after I left this earth. But, one night, after a youth meeting where the gospel was explained clearly, I realized that God loved me so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to suffer and die to pay for my sin and give me eternal life. Even if I was the only person on this earth, God would have still done this for me. That’s how much He loves me. (John 3:16) I accepted this gift and now I know that if I should die, heaven would be the next place my eyes would behold when they open. (I John 5:13) But, he didn’t do this for just me. He did it for the whole world – which includes you! Read more about how you can know for sure you have eternal life in heaven at

As I follow the Lord Jesus Christ, I view each day as a daily walk with Him. This world is not my home, I’m just pass’n through. Like old Abraham, we are looking for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10). It’s an exciting faith journey. Sometimes, it’s a tough path with many rocks, and stones in the way. But, most of the time, it’s pleasant, joyful and sunny. I come from a happy family. Every time we get together, we laugh. My husband finds humor in a lot of things. I love that about Him. He has been my companion on this journey since our marriage. We have traveled a long way since then, leading us into full time ministry with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry ( and are continuing on together, till we see the Lord face to face! (I Corinthians 13:12)

(Photograph taken by Sarah Cardenas of )