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Saturday, December 27, 2014

WHEN YOU REACH OUT TO GOD AND HE IS'T THERE




Mama said there'd be days like these.  Days when nothing goes the way we hoped they would.  In a succession of uneventful days when daily routine sets in, when we really have nothing to complain about, there will be that one day when everything is just off.

Well thank you so much humanity, because it happens to the best of us.  Yes, even those who are filthy rich and think that money can solve all problems.  Regardless of how famous you are, there will be days when maybe a spouse, a partner, kids, or co-workers, people who we encounter on a daily basis will let us down or set us back.

King David, of the Bible, someone who is near, dear and close to God was not immune to failure.  He had conjured up some scheme to send a woman's husband he was hot for out to battle and ordered him to the front line to be first to die, so he can swoop up his wife for himself.  The desires of his flesh became so overwhelming that he knowingly sinned and turned away from God to fulfill his carnal desires. 

Then after he has had his fill, he had the nerve to return to God and proceeded to write the Psalms begging God to forgive him.  Mind you, these were the days before Jesus died on the cross so that God's people are automatically forgiven for their sins.  I cannot imagine having to beg God to forgive me while at the same time writing music or painting artwork for Him just to be forgiven.  But yet, it took that much for God to finally forgive David.

When David wrote the psalms, one section, Psalm 22, caught my attention.  It was here that God was silent, choosing to ignore David's pleas.  It seemed like a long time because David talked about every day and every night.  Imagine having to pray and call out to God for so many nights and not hear a peep?  I mean David was groveling!  Not only did God choose to ignore him, everyone around him was sneering at him, being hated, scorned, and mocked.  They were witnessing someone who used to be at the top of the world with God's backing, overcoming all suddenly abandoned by the most powerful and awesome God!   It wasn't only affecting him psychologically but also he was feeling physical pain, almost to the point of death!

He is making all kinds of promises to God asking Him to forgive him and quell his pain.  He is giving up his entire kingdom and promising to do God's Will for generations to come.  I mean sheesh!!!  I can't imagine being banished and alone without God! 

There are times when I have felt this way.  When it feels like there is no escape from the current situation.  When that happens, my initial reaction is to panic!  But no sooner than that pang of fear sets in, the hope of God's grace, blessing and promises overcomes me.  And then the fear disappears.  You have to have the presence of mind to recognize this when it happens.  Why?  Because you are operating on blind faith.  Blind faith believing that God is omnipresent, He is someone we will never be able to comprehend.  He operates in a myriad of dimensions while we operate in 3.  We are nothing compared to His powers but yet He is loving and quick to forgive us for our sins.  That is why, my friend, He is such an awesome God!  Most doubters doubt because they don't understand God with their pea brains and without faith, their brains could literally blow up from trying to figure God out.  Well, as humans we will never be able to.  That's why we need to just love Him and rely on Him in all the aspects of our lives.

I speak from a place where understanding the power of God is a constant in my life and I hope and pray that you all would be able to get to that point in your lives as well.  If I can do it for all of you, I would.

Until my next rant.... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT ANYWAY?




Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, we are approaching almost everyone's favorite holiday.  Christmas.  I love giving and receiving gifts ever since I can remember as a child.  Christmas could not come soon enough!  Then after Christmas, there is that sinking feeling of it being over and I have to wait another year for it to come around.  Year in and year out, the older I get the less and less I look forward to this holiday, at least as far as gift giving is concerned.  

These past few years, as my relationship with God grew, the real essence of Christmas and whom we should be celebrating has become more important to me than the gift giving or receiving.  I start to question why is it that I receive gifts when it is not even my birthday but Jesus'?  I know it is a tradition but just imagine this.

On your birthday, instead of you getting a birthday cake, your family and friends gave the cake and the party to your next door neighbor in your name.  They gave each other presents but didn't give you one.  They decorated their own house and each other's house but not yours.  They celebrated another year of your life but didn't invite you.   I wonder if Jesus is up there in heaven wondering the same thing when folks who were celebrating His birthday wasn't even thinking about Him or much less celebrating Him?

Jesus was and is God's gift to us.  The most precious gift anyone could ever give us is the gift of life.  You are on this earth because your parents gave birth to you and if you love your life, you thank them for giving you that life!  Jesus didn't have to die for us, He could've saved His own life, but then He would just be another Adam.  He would have defeated the purpose of God's plan for Him.  Then we would all have to go to hell in a hand basket.

So this year, why not celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, which is Jesus Christ?  Why not give yourself back to Him as an offering by commemorating His birthday doing something nice for someone, a gift of hope.  How about doing something nice for others to give them hope?  Have you forgotten for a minute who this celebration is for?

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE - THE NAPA VALLEY CRAFT FAIRE December 13 & 14

My first big gig since inception of www.anamariefox.com, and it was quite a learning experience!  I present you with visuals...

I have now experienced swimming with both big and small fishes.  

When I decided to join this I had no idea how big it was but the space rent should have been a tip-off.  No matter how much I resisted at first, I figured in order to get where I want to be, I had to get my feet wet, and Napa is the best place for it.  I learned later on that majority of the exhibitors were not even from the locality.  Better for me since I didn't have to travel far and wide to be a part of it.

So what to fit in a 10x10 space?  I had 2 6-ft tables and 4 display stands.  I only learned about the faire a month before the date so I really didn't have very much to sell.  I worked day and night and missed so many events to do this, one of which was a funeral of a friend.  R.I.P. Rudy.  

So this is what I came up with initially.  It worked pretty good but after about an hour, I noticed people were not venturing inside as much as they did at the start.  Enter my newfound friend Mel.  He is a veteran at this and he comes up and says, "Your feng-shui is all wrong!  It was bugging me this whole time!  You need to move the table up, do this do that, etc. and do it now!" He wasn't pushy right? NO not really, he was soft-spoken but the urgency was dire!  So we moved things around and got to this.

 Well, it really worked so thank you Major Mel!  Then there is the stark white wall behind me.  That is what I would concentrate on next time is to have that wall filled with stuff to maximize the use of every inch.  I guess that is the premise of this whole thing to maximize profits as well!

I got a lot of compliments on my work as it seems most of the exhibitors were commercialized reseller, as opposed to my 100% handmade items.  Money cannot buy pure appreciation for what you have created, but along with that I had to also sell myself by appreciating their appreciation, if you know what I mean?  Here are the lovely faces of happy buyers!  Enjoy!











So ok, I am in the black after it is said and done but not by much.  In other words, it cost money for me to learn the tricks of the trade and I am giving it to you for free, in case you want to do it yourself.  However, the cost of the fee paled in comparison with the valuable lessons I've learned.  Below is the list of things to remember:

1-)  Make use of every inch you are given.  If you have a stark white wall, fill it up as high as you can reach.  Bring a step stool (so important! My plug was located 7 ft up).  
2)  Have your business cards, flyers, banner available to see.  Make your business card so eye-catching so they will not throw it away instead keep it.
3)  The photos you see here were highly edited due to the yellow cast lighting they had at the hall.  You may have to bring flood lights to negate the yellow cast, unless your hall is well lit, which is highly unlikely.
4)  Raise your tables up about 2 feet higher so that people wouldn't have to bend over to look at your stuff.  
5) Place the table right up to the aisle where people walk so that they can see and touch as they go.  Happy colors are helpful and make sure you cater to all ages with your items.
6) Have change ready, or use Square https://squareup.com/ .  OMG!  Square was the best thing ever!  No more trying to get change or risking to accept checks and losing business!  So easy to use!
7) Don't get intimidated.  I did.  When I saw the commercialized exhibits I felt like my handmade items might get passed on.  On the contrary, I got a lot of comments about people almost not coming because of the commercialized exhibitors and they were glad I was there.

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

CHOICES



Free will is a precursor to choice.  God’s generosity to us as humans because of his undying love graced each and everyone of us free will.  Freedom to choose Him over flesh.  Flesh meaning self or temptations from the evil one.  God desires mutual love and admiration from us but He does not want to just take it, even though as a powerful God, He can do so.  But then to put it in perspective, if He did so, He wouldn’t be the pure and perfect God that He is. 

So we own our will.  The question is, will we pattern our will according to His, or according to the world’s?  Let’s look at the world’s will for a moment.  The world seems to follow a pattern of immediate self-gratification.  Whatever feels good to us at the time, whether it is right or wrong, must be right.  So many people say, “Well, as long as I am not doing evil against another, then that means I am good and I deserve to be in the kingdom of God after I die.”  WRONG!  Yes, there is a basic tenet that doing the right thing makes you a good person, but just by being a good person doesn’t give you the golden ticket to the stairway to Heaven! 

It was kind of a shocker when I came across a verse in the Bible John 1:1-5.  It says, “In the beginning the Word already existed.  The Word was with God and the Word was God.  He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through him.  The word gave life to everything that was created and His life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” 

So I picked apart that whole verse.  It could only refer to one person, and that is Jesus.  God in this verse is the Father God.  But He was with someone else.  The bible calls Him the “WORD” and the Word existed with God.  And it goes on to say His “LIFE” brought light to everyone.  Ok, so we know God was already in existence but Jesus lived a “life” and to understand it, the book has to parallel it to something we can understand because each of us has a “life” a physical birth and a physical death.  So did Jesus.  In other words, if you really think about it, the verse is saying that even before Adam and Eve, Jesus was already with God and in the works and Genesis to Revelation our the whole story.  The thing is, we are living in that story.  Our generation is that which is close to the end.  Everything that went on from the writing of the book of Revelation didn’t stop there.  Tara, my daughter had a good point that I didn’t even think about.  We were watching the movie “Monumental” and she said, “So if the Bible stories continued, the pilgrim’s story would be in it.”  Light bulb moment!  And yes, to this very day, the Bible stories continues because we are still awaiting the return of Jesus to get His church back.  His Bride.  Wow! It’s so amazing to me!  But I digress.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect.  No one is.  A sin is a sin is a sin and in God’s eyes, all sins are the same.  It’s the choices that we make that have definite consequences.  So here’s an example.  A person gives up on life and CHOOSES to commit suicide.  That person needs to understand that once he makes the choice and follows through with it, his choice becomes the dominant factor that in turn chooses for him.  He is no longer free to choose the consequences of his choice.   His choice has chosen for him and that is death.

When we make bad choices, it doesn't surprise God.  He already knows and He is in control.  Thanks to Him he can reverse that choice but only if we allow him to do so.  The suicidal guy didn’t have to choose to kill himself.  He could have chosen to allow God to move in his life and straighten out whatever he thought was hopeless.  As long as he has Jesus in his heart, as the verse says, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”

In my own experience, when difficult times arise, I give God complete control and forget about it.  Time and time again He has proven that nothing is impossible for Him.  Otherwise, I would have been a complete basket case today as I sit here writing to you because of all the trials I have been through in my life.  I give GOD the glory, every day, in every way.

Until my next rant…. LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NAPA VALLEY HOLIDAY GIFT FAIRE! TAKE HOME OR GIVE A PIECE OF ART!

I've been so busy these past few weeks getting ready for my art show at the Napa Valley Chardonnay Hall.  I live and breathe creativity to sell.  Here are some photos.  If you are in the area come see us!  Back to the fine arts and blogging after this week.  Although I will still be posting this Sunday so come back!  Love ya all!

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!











Wednesday, December 3, 2014

OUR WORLDLY FIGHT



Being a Christian is not an easy task.  However much we would like to think that because God's got our back, what makes being a Christian so difficult is because we have to fight sin 24/7.  I'm not gonna lie, it is a round the clock battle for me.  It is so as we are innately sinful human beings born into sin and lived a life of sin from birth.  Just because we are born again, it doesn't make us immune to the outside influences we marinade in day in and day out.

But God understands our shortcoming.  He knows that it is a losing battle.  How does He know that?  Because He experienced it Himself through the life and death of Jesus Christ.  He sent His only Son and multidimensionally, Himself, to experience the evil in the world.  It is, of course, part of His plan and ties in the Old and the New Testament with the world's future.  He is not expecting us to be perfect.  There is no way for that to happen.  All He wants is for us to include Him in our everyday lives because if and when we do so, and follow His guidance and instructions, we are able to fight sin as it is thrown at us.  

As we grow with every testimony and acceptance of God's grace and favor, we are more apt to walk in His Will, instead of ours.  God's Will is the right way to live our lives and become a great example for others in their lives.  Everything that in God's plan makes perfect sense if we just open our hearts, our minds and our spirits to God's instruction.  Whatever our conscience says that is good, is God's voice.  Heed.

Till my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!