Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Colors of Christmas

I love all the colors of Christmas:

  • Stained glass windows in churches
  • The many colorful lights that adorn trees and houses
  • Red poinsettias and holly berries, red velvet dresses on little girls in the Christmas program and red bow ties on choirboys
  • Pine green Christmas trees and wreaths, shiny green holly leaves, and powdery green mistletoe
  • Silver tinsel, silver bells, icicles, moonbeams reflecting on new fallen snow, and stars twinkling in the deep blue of the nighttime sky 
  • Gold ornaments and ribbons on gaily wrapped gifts
  • Purple mountains and purple robes on  the Wise Men
  • Pure white snow that transforms the dreary landscape into a glistening winter wonderland
All those colors inspired me to write this poem:


Silver stands for our redemption,
purchased at great cost.
Red stands for the blood of Jesus,
shed to save the lost.
White stands for the purity of our 
robes of righteousness;
Washed white as snow by Jesus' blood,
we stand in holiness.
Green stands for our Christian growth;
to feed on God's Word is a must.
Blue stands for our loyalty to Christ
in whom we trust.
Purple stands for His majesty;
King of kings is He.
Gold stands for the heavenly place
He has prepared for me.

by AnnaLee Conti

As you enjoy all the colors this Christmas, I pray that you will experience the myriad facets of the Light of the World, JESUS, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

Merry Christmas! 

Update on Footsteps of Faith: 

Due to the pandemic, the publication is taking a bit longer than I had hoped. The projected released date is now late January 2021. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Oak and the Ivy

Our travels this year have been limited to trips to the doctors, to Newburgh to visit our son and pick up packages (our mail is delivered to a box at the front of our manufactured homes park, so we must pick up packages at the post office, which we want to avoid during this pandemic), and to the Commissary at West Point, where the military police monitor social distancing, etc. Occasionally, we take a short drive locally.

A few days ago, Bob and I drove south from Newburgh along the Hudson River past West Point, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, and north on the east side of the river to our home in the Town of Fishkill. We love the fall. We were looking for color but found little change yet.

Then I spotted some rich red color entwining the trunks of some of the still-green trees--poison ivy, the first color to appear in fall in our area. 

A chorus we'd sung often in church during my childhood suddenly popped into my mind. I hadn't sung it in years, but the words flowed quickly:

He's the Oak, and I'm the Ivy

He's the Potter, I'm the Clay

He's the Oil, and I'm the Vessel

I'm the Traveler, He's the Way

I'm the Flower, but He's the Fragrance

I'm the Lamp, but He's the Flame

He's the Words I sing to Music

I'm the Bride who bears His Name!

Who can begin to put into words all that Jesus is to the believer? Metaphors help. 

As a writer, I love metaphors. Perhaps that's why I love these lyrics so much. These metaphors give wonderful insights into our relationship with Him. He is our all in all.

Oak trees are strong and solid. Jesus is strong, and we can depend on Him at all times.

The nature of any ivy is to cling. It entwines around tree trunks, climbs up the sides of houses and even up telephone poles, and hangs from wires that cross roadways. 

Poison ivy gives a nasty rash. Our son had such a severe case of poison ivy poisoning in high school that he needed steriod treatments. 

Not all ivies are poisonous. In fact, common ivy, often a house plant, was a symbol of love and friendship in Europe in medieval times and was once traditionally given to newlyweds by their priest. Perhaps that is why many bridal bouquets contain ivy. 

Like ivy clinging to the oak tree, the older I grow, the more I cling to Jesus. Sometimes life has been quite difficult, but Jesus has never failed me yet.

What is your favorite metaphor for what Jesus means to you?

Coming Soon!


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Footsteps of Faith Cover Reveal

Here is the cover for my upcoming book, Footsteps of Faith, my faith-building memoir of God's direction, provision, and protection in my life.

Topics include

1. My parents' testimony of traveling from Pennsylvania to Alaska with two toddlers on $15.00 in 1948.

2, Growing up in a missionary family in Alaska in the fifties and sixties where I became aware of my Creator at a young age and learned to trust God to supply all my needs

3. How the Great Alaska Earthquake affected my life  

4. How my husband's experiences in Vietnam led him into full-time ministry

5. How I overcame fear    

6.  How I became a writer and an ordained minister

7. How I learned and grew through life’s challenges

Here are three introductory paragraphs from the Introduction of Footsteps of Faith:

"My story began long before I was born--from French Huguenot martyrs in 1685, whose sole surviving son immigrated to William Penn's colony in American for religious freedom. The limbs of his family tree are filled with missionaries and ministers seeking to spread the Word of God our ancestors gave their lives to protect.

"My maternal grandmother, Florence LeFevre Personeus, gave me a navy blue, hardbound book entitled The Pennsylvania LeFevres. 'This is the genealogy of my family dating back to 1510 in France, compiled by my father, George Newton LeFevre.'

"The lists of names inside reminded me of the genealogies in the Bible, which I usually skipped so I could devour the exciting stories. The book didn't look too interesting until she showed me a picture in it of the LeFevre Family Bible. Smoothing her snow white pouf of hair that framed her delicate features, she related the unforgettable story of the wife of Abraham LeFevre and mother of Isaac, our first American ancestor, who baked the family Bible in a loaf of bread..."

Today, this Bible can be viewed upon request at the Lancaster County Historical Society

and is one of the most requested items from the collection. This Bible belonged to the French Huguenot family of Isaac LeFevre. Sixteen-year-old Isaac survived the massacre after the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685 and was able to smuggle the Bible out of France as he escaped with the Ferree family. I was privileged to view it in person on one of my visits to Lancaster County.

My prayer is that the story of my life will encourage and build your faith in God.

Look for further announcements about my soon-to-be released book in the coming weeks. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Coming Soon!


The Faith-Building True Story of God’s Direction, Provision, 
and Protection in the Life of the Granddaughter of Charles and 
Florence Personeus, Pioneer Missionaries to Alaska
AnnaLee Conti

Growing up in a missionary family in Alaska, AnnaLee became aware of her Creator at a young age. From her parents’ and grandparents’ example of living by faith, she learned to trust God to supply her every need.

The devastating Good Friday Earthquake of 1964 brought AnnaLee and her husband together when she transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on an earthquake-relatedness scholarship. Bob Conti planned a military career. His testimony spans three continents—from a tree in Greece to a dark night in Alaska to a bloody battlefield in Vietnam.

Through a historic flood in Fairbanks, a fear-filled tour in Vietnam, and an Army assignment in Rhode Island, God directed the Contis’ footsteps into full-time ministry in New York State. The author shares their journey in this exciting sequel to Frontiers of Faith.

Author Bio:
An ordained minister, author, and teacher, AnnaLee Conti earned her B.A. at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and her M.A. at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. She served as Minister of Christian Education and Music in their churches and teaches Bible and theology to ministerial students. For 25 years, she wrote many articles, stories, and curriculum for Gospel Publishing House and has published Frontiers of Faith and the Alaskan Waters Trilogy of historical Christian novels.

* * * * *

It's been several months since I've been able to write on my blog. After dealing with my health concerns and getting my manuscript off to the publisher, my internet connection became very unreliable. Every time I sat down to write something, it would be off. Then for a week, we lost all internet, cable T.V., and telephone. Last Friday, a technician finally came to fix it and discovered that the cable from the pole to our house was damaged. It has been replaced, and everything is working normally again.
Above is the announcement that my newest book is coming soon. The above is the back cover copy. I'll post a picture of the cover in a few weeks.

Friday, April 10, 2020

They Killed My Son Today!

They Killed My Son Today!

When my son was young, the agony Mary must have experienced watching her Son die on the cross became very real to me, and I wrote this story. On her bed that night, how she must have been haunted by His suffering as she relived that awful day !

They killed my son today! I pound my pillow trying to expend my rage. Angry tears pour down my cheeks.

"Crucify him! Crucify him!" That's all I can hear. I clamp my hands over my ears, yet still I hear their yells.

Just last week the crowd wanted to crown him king. Today, they shouted for his blood. How fickle they are! His trial was a mockery of justice. And Judas--one of his closest friends. How could he betray him?

John has been so kind. The house is quiet now. But this stillness only seems to magnify the sickening thud of the hammer driving those spikes into his hands and feet. Oh, God, will I ever be free of those sounds?

His hands. I held those baby hands, and the fingers closed tightly around mine. Those small boy hands patted my arm so gently when I had a headache. Those young man hands became calloused working in the carpenter shop with Joseph. Those manly hands blessed the little children, healed blind eyes, raised the sick, multiplied the loaves and fish. They never did anything wrong. Why would they pound rusty nails into those loving, kind hands?

His feet. I remember his first steps. Joseph had just come in and Jesus, forgetting himself in his pleasure of seeing Joseph, let go of the table and tottered toward Joseph, saying, "Up! Up!" I remember listening for his footsteps each evening when he and Joseph would come home from the carpenter shop. His step was always the first to ring out on the cobblestones. He was so full of life. And now he's dead.

Oh, my son, my son! I'll never hear your gentle voice again. You'll never sit down with me after supper and tell me of your dreams. I didn't always understand what you said, but just being with you, listening, was enough.

What are these words coming into my mind? "This child will be rejected by many in Israel...And a sword will pierce your very soul." I'd nearly forgotten those words of Simeon. Is this what he tried to tell me?

Words my son spoke suddenly begin to vibrate in my soul: "I am the resurrection and the life."

Could it be? Do I dare to hope? You raised Lazarus. Do you have the power to raise yourself from the dead also?

What's this strange peace settling over me? Dawn is near. Perhaps I can sleep awhile.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Christmas I Learned about My Heavenly Father

Here is an excerpt from the new book I 'm writing, Following in Footsteps of Faith--a true event that happened one Christmas that still impacts my life. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!
In the early 1950s in Juneau, Alaska, when I was 5 or 6 years old, most families did their gift shopping by mail in the Territory. The arrival of the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog signaled the beginning of the holiday season. We kids spent hours poring over the Christmas catalog, studying page after page of toys and dolls, looking for the exact gift we wanted.
As I turned a page, my eyes fell upon the most beautiful doll I’d ever seen—a bride doll dressed in lace and tulle, with a veil over long, blond curls that could be combed and styled.
I ran to show my mother. “This is what I want for Christmas!”
With sadness tingeing her voice, she said, “Oh, honey, you’ll have to pray and ask Jesus for that doll. We don’t have enough money to buy presents this year.”
By faith, my parents operated the Bethel Beach Children’s Home in a big house on the beach just outside of town. They received little income for caring for the children—as many as thirteen children, nine of them under five and two babies in cribs—orphaned, neglected, or abandoned. Others had only one parent and no one to care for them while the parent worked.
Bethel Beach Children’s Home in Juneau, Alaska, c. 1950
I am the girl in the back row second from left
My dad worked full time to support our family and the home. My mother cared for all the children as well as doing the cooking, the laundry, and the cleaning. We children did our assigned chores, but Mother was usually without other adult help. Both parents provided us with a lot of love and Christian training.
That year, every night until December 24, when I knelt to say my bedtime prayers, I asked Jesus to give me that beautiful bride doll for Christmas. My request wasn’t very significant to anyone but me. You might even say it was selfish. It certainly would not change the course of history if I didn’t receive that doll.
Christmas morning, when we children, wide-eyed with expectation, tripped down the stairs and peeked into the large living room, we discovered gaily wrapped presents under the tree for each of us. The tags all read, “From Jesus.” When I unwrapped my gift, the beautiful doll I’d prayed for lay inside.
Years later, my mother told me the rest of the story. That Christmas Eve, Behrends, the only department store in Juneau at that time, had invited my parents to come down to the store to pick out gifts for all the children—free of charge. Among the unsold toys, she found the bride doll for me.
That Christmas, this young girl learned that the God who created the Universe cares about every detail of her life, including what she wanted for Christmas. And to this day, that sense of my Heavenly Father’s love has never left me.
Other books by AnnaLeeConti available at

Friday, December 20, 2019

Significance of the Swaddling Cloths

I just realized it's been more than a month since I wrote a blog post. In addition to doctors' visits, preparations for Christmas, and several snowstorms, I've been working hard on my new writing project--a book which I'm titling Following in Footsteps of Faith. It is a sequel to Frontiers of Faith,  the story of my grandparents, Charles & Florence Personeus, pioneer missionaries to Alaska, 1917-1982. The new book tells the faith-building true stories of my adventures in following in their footsteps even from early childhood.

Before I continue work on my new book, I want to pause and wish you all a blessed Christmas and  God's best in the New Year.

From the first Christmas I can remember until now, my family has always read the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke on Christmas Eve. We've sung the carols and reenacted the precious story every year in church. This year, however, I gained insight into the wondrous story that I had never known previously: the significance of the swaddling cloths to the shepherds.

Bethlehem, meaning "House of Bread," is only 5 miles from Jerusalem. King David watched his father's sheep on the hillsides around Bethlehem, the town designated in Micah 5:1 as the birthplace of the coming Messiah, who would be called "The Bread of Life."

Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, near the Sea of Galilee, about 80 miles north of Bethlehem. We all know the Bible story of the taxation census ordered by Caesar Augustus that required all men to return to their hometowns to register. Joseph, as well as Mary, were both of the lineage of King David. In spite of Mary's advanced pregnancy, she accompanied Joseph on the journey. As they arrived in Bethlehem, she went into labor.

Bethlehem at that time was overwhelmed with travelers who had come to register. Frantically, Joseph searched for a room. All he could find was a shepherd's cave. At least it was clean and provided shelter. Mary gave birth and wrapped the Babe in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. This fact is mentioned three times within 20 verses in Luke 2, calling attention to its importance.

Out on the hillside, shepherds were watching their sheep that night. Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to them and announced the birth of "Christ the Lord," saying,

And this will be the sign to you: you will find the Babe wrapped in 
swaddling cloth, lying in a manger.
The message was punctuated by the singing of a radiant angelic choir:

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Now, these were not ordinary shepherds. The shepherds of Bethlehem were "Levitical Shepherds," chosen and trained to take care of the sheep that were to be used as sacrificial lambs in the Temple in nearby Jerusalem.

The Law of Moses required that the sacrificial lambs be "spotless and without blemish." To assure that, special treatment was required. When an ewe was ready to give birth, she was taken to a special birthplace, a cave designated for the birth of the sacrificial lambs. The newborn lamb was carefully wrapped in swaddling cloths, bandage-like strips of cloth to protect it from blemish, and laid in the manger there.

When the shepherds heard the angel's news, they knew immediately where they could go to see the Baby--to their cave where the sacrificial lambs were born.

As soon as the angels went back into heaven, the shepherds hurried to see the newborn Babe, the One of whom John the Baptist later called "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

Today, amid all the tinsel, lights, sounds, and gifts, let's not forget "the Reason for the Season"!

The Sacrificial Lamb is now our Shepherd.

He is Emanuel, God with us!

He is the the Lamb without spot or blemish--the One who was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin,  the One who can sympathize with our weaknesses and give us help in our time of need. Praise His wonderful Name!

Consider giving a book for Christmas. See