Thursday, August 16, 2018

#MAGA - Our Holy Responsibility


Voting is a holy responsibility, and I pray for all who are voting in the primaries ahead.  Our state votes next week, and we are praying for an outcome that will support President Trump's agenda.

This year's election is just as impactful as the presidential election in 2016.  We elected a man who has worked tirelessly to turn our country around.  His motto is Make America Great Again, and he has made huge strides to make that happen.

This primary election determines who will be voted for in November, so take it very seriously.  Don't stay home, please.  Your vote is needed to keep conservative voices in Congress.

Conservative Republicans (not RINOs) support:
  • strong borders
  • spending for a strong military
  • free-market capitalism 
  • nationalism and patriotism 
  • the pro-life position -- are against baby murder (aka abortion)

Democrats are pushing for:
  • baby murder (I can't soft-pedal this anymore, friends.)
  • socialism
  • open borders, the abolition of ICE
  • globalism
  • a weak military - more of a social experiment, really
  • bigger government  --  much, much more government control of our lives. 

If you only listen to the major news networks, you will think President Trump has accomplished very little.  Don't be deceived, friends.  The list of positives is long, and you can see some of them right HERE.  That list hasn't been updated since April so you can add to that a few more successes:
  • His success in the economy. The stock market continues to soar, jobs are coming back because corporations are coming back to the USA.  Joblessness is at an all-time low, including women, blacks, and Hispanics.
  • He's been effective on tariffs to rectify the horrible deals made by past presidents.  
  • He's been successful in talks with North Korea for nuclear disarmament.  
  • He's gotten us out of the Iran deal, which still makes me scratch my head.  Cash money stacked up in huge piles and sent by plane.  The truth will come out about that soon.
  • He's making NATO pay up for all the favors we've done for decades.  They now will have to pay their share. 
  • He's obliterated ISIS.  Heard anything about them lately?
  • He's made it possible for veterans to get private medical care without having to go through the VA. (This means a lot to us since my husband is a veteran.) 
  • He's working to clean up the FBI and several other agencies.  These have become corrupt and his efforts are what he calls "Draining the Swamp".  Believe me, there are some nasty creatures in the DC swamp, and I'm praying for them all to be removed quickly.   
  • He's working to make social media a level playing field.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and others are not playing fair with conservatives. 
I could keep going with this list because it is much longer.  If you don't follow President Trump on Twitter, you must.  He tells you what the Main Stream Media (CNN, ABC, NBC. CBS) won't talk about.  The MSM hates his tweeting because they can't twist his words.  I'm very thankful to read them daily.

He's keeping his campaign promises, too.  You can see them at this link,   PROMISES KEPT.
President Trump has upheld conservative ideals with fervor and complete dedication.  I'm very glad he was elected, and I want to do everything I can to elect people to Congress who will support his agenda for the next two years.

How can I/we/you do that?

  • Vet the candidates.  Don't believe the commercials you see about them.  Check the facts for yourself,  And don't trust your local news outlet to tell you the truth either.  Look up their voting record.  Do a search engine investigation of them and see what you find. 
  • Vote.
  • Stand outside the perimeter of your voting place and hold a sign saying, "Keep America Great - vote for Conservatives."  It's a lot of fun to wave signs.  Yes, you will get some hand gestures and mean words, but put on your big-girl panties and deal with it by smiling and waving back. 
  •  Talk about politics.  I know this might be scary for you because you've been taught not to talk about politics and/or religion.  Wrong!  Wrong!  Wrong!  We must join in the conversation by talking about politics AND religion in person and on social media.  We must stop "putting our LIGHT under a bushel," as the Bible says, because "The entrance of His Word (Truth) brings light."  We also are to love those in darkness because we were there once ourselves. We're all on a journey, Gail-friends.

God really laid this blog post on my heart today when I read this Scripture passage this morning:

 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
– Ephesians 6:10-18

The forces of evil are raging. We have to use our spiritual weapons in this fight for America. We also, have to use our rights and duties as citizens to fight against these forces - voting, vetting the candidates, contacting our representatives about our concerns, and holding their feet to the fire, and most of all -- speaking out for the things that made America great:  
  • The Judeo-Christian beliefs of the Bible
  • Free-market capitalism
  • Nationalism - not Globalism 
  • Patriotism - pride in and love for our country, our flag, our language, and our culture
  • Respect and protection for our Constitution
  • Obedience to law and order
  • Strong borders and legal immigration
  • A strong military
  • Respect for our military and law enforcement officers
  • Respect for self and others. We were even taught this in public schools in the America I grew up in.  We were spanked!!!  At school and at home!!! (That's fodder for another blog post...)
These are some of the things I grew up with in America.  I pray for them to return and to be preserved for future generations.  It's our holy responsibility.










Friday, August 10, 2018

Sabbath Music - Baruch Haba Medley for Shabbat

 



Baruch Haba is Hebrew for, "Blessed Is He Who Comes."  This is a medly of songs we sing on Shabbat in our synagogue.  Jonathan Settel has a wonderful voice, and I hope you enjoy his singing in the Hebrew language.  He also speaks in this medley to explain meanings.  I hope you enjoy it during your special time with Adonai on His special day for you.  And maybe you'll even dance as you listen. :)

Baruch Haba Medley by Jonathan Settel


Blessings and Shabbat Shalom to you all, Gail-Friends.





Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Birthday Blessings Galore




Last week, we celebrated Jem's birthday.  We had a party for him with our mishpocha (family).  Thank you to David for taking these photos.

Carrot cake!!! And sugar-free pudding!







The congregation gifted him with a very nice flagpole for the front yard, a heavy-duty, super-duper nice American flag, and an American flag box to store all of his many flags.  Oh . . .and a beautiful bottle of Merlot, (which he pronounces like, "Thanks a LOT!")


One of Rabbi Jem's dreams has always been to attend the running of the bulls in Spain.  Well, one of our creative synagogue members made it happen:



Everybody roared, especially Rabbi Jem.  LaVonne is the queen of .creativity.  (I'll be doing another blog post about her beautiful creations soon.)

We also had a little at-home dinner party with family.  Rabbi Jem wanted a German chocolate cake. Since I don't eat sugar, and our daughter, Amanda, doesn't either, I made a sugar-free dessert for us. So Good!!!

We decided 72 candles would be tough to blow out, so we used numbers.  Jona-FUN had fun putting them on.

He did it!!!



There is no blessing like family, and I'm so thankful for both kinds.  We are abundantly blessed for sure!

What are you thankful for this week, Gail-Friends?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Sabbath Music - Peace Like A River



 "The sound of the harp joins heaven and earth."

This quote is so true, and I love listening to harp music on Shabbat. 


On my first visit to the Holy Land in 1996, I visited the Harrari House of Harps in Jerusalem.  I was over the moon with JOY when I was invited to play one of their beautiful instruments.  After that JOY-filled experience, I prayed to be able to have my own harp, and God answered that prayer a few years back when I was given one.  I haven't taken lessons yet, but that is a goal!  Right now, I'm still learning the dulcimer.

I ran across some beautiful harp music over the past week and have enjoyed it immensely.  I've always been fascinated with the harp, and when I found this artist, Steve Rees, I was thrilled to see his videos made in Israel.


His rendition of  Peace Like A River is so very appropriate for Shabbat.  I love sitting by the river near my home, especially on Shabbat.  There's nothing that restores my soul like being by the water.  I remember singing this song in the little Baptist church of my childhood.  These are the lyrics:

When Peace Like A River

(from Hymnary.org)
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain)



You may recognize this song as, "It Is Well."  They are one and the same, written by Horatio Spafford in 1873 after a horrible tragedy.  The story of how this hymn was written is very inspiring.  Spafford was well acquainted with grief, yet held to his faith in G-d through all of his hardships.  You can find the story HERE.  It's also interesting that he and his family became Messianics.  :)

I hope you have a worship-full, peace-full, and rest-full Sabbath, Gail-Friends.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Bird Friends

 

Have you ever thought of birds as friends?  I do because they visit me every day and bring m.e JOY!  As I watch them, I'm always reminded that Yeshua said, "Consider the birds. . ."  I consider them by watching them and in doing so, I've learned many lessons.  I call them "bird blessings", and they are the subject of my next book, which I'm working on currently. 

 

I also remember that He provides and cares for the birds and He cares for me.  If I ever get burdened with cares, all I have to do is spend time watching my feathered friends.  They never fail to lift the doldrums. 

Golden Cottage Garden has had an abundance of cardinals this summer.  Look at this gorgeous fellow giving me the eye. 



There were several at the feeders on this cloudy day.  All of them were young . . . still developing their color

Feeding time for baby

I think this is a female with a young one

This cardinal couple visited the feeders together one morning

They looked back at each other and then . . .


She seemed to scold Dad.  I imagined her saying, "Where's Junior?"

We've had a couple of new birds visit this summer.  I think this is a nut-hatch, but not sure.




This little one has me stumped.  I think it might be a young Carolina wren, but again I'm not sure.


Same bird, but he's soaking wet from the rain.


I saw this one at the feeder right outside my kitchen window.  Light brown in color.  A cardinal maybe?  But he doesn't have all the right attributes.



Then I saw him out back by the pond and got a better photo.  Still not sure.

We have hummingbirds visit the garden, but I've never caught one in a photo.  Jem tried, but the photos were too blurry.  He did get a good photo of his shadow, though!


It was a sad, sad day when I found this in our front yard.  We have several neighborhood cats that hang around Golden Cottage, and I think this is all that was left of a red-bellied woodpecker.  It made me sad, but that's the way cats are.  You can't change their basic nature, right.



I'm so thankful for my little birdie friends and for the JOY they give me here at Golden Cottage.  

What are you thankful for this week, Gail-Friends?


Friday, July 27, 2018

Sabbath Music - Give Me Jesus


Do you know the pure loveliness of spending the day with your Heavenly Father?  Just "be-ing" is a good, good thing.  I enjoy our worship service on Friday evening that ushers in the Sabbath.  I enjoy the Bible study and prayer.  I enjoy the fellowship with other believers before and after the service.  But my very favorite part of the Sabbath is time alone just "be-ing".  The best part of the being is being with Him.

Being still. Enjoying the quiet.  It's here that I have time to hear His voice speak to my heart.  Nothing to distract me.  Just me and Jesus.  This song today is perfect for how I feel about the Sabbath - my special time alone with Him.  I hope you will be still and find the joy of His beautiful presence.  Enjoy In the Morning When I Rise - Give Me Jesus.

Good Shabbos, Gail-Friends

 * graphic used by permission of Garden of Bright Images, an inspirational group on Facebook.



Thankful Thursday - Flower Friends



Flowers always make people better,
 happier, and more helpful; 
they are sunshine, 
food and medicine for the soul.
                                                       ~ Luther Burbank.

Welcome to Golden Cottage.  I'm so thankful for my beautiful flowers. . . and for my wonderful gardener (Rabbi Jem aka Mr. Green Jeans).  This photo is of the front door and I think you can see how talented he is at keeping the green things growing.

Here are a few shots of the flowers currently blooming in Golden Garden:

New Zealand impatiens
The peace lilies love living here

Mexican petunias reflected in a birdbath near Golden Pond in the backyard.

The regular impatiens are flourishing as always.  Abundant blooms in white, coral, and red last all year if the weather  stays warm.
 I don't know the name of this flower, but it is so pretty.


The elephant ears around Golden Pond are huge this year due to the heavy rains every afternoon.  We are so thankful for rain because it keeps the garden a brilliant green.  These have grown even taller since I took the photo below.  They are probably a good twelve feet high now.

The best husband in the whole wide world.

And look at this fabulous bloom.  Isn't God amazing?


I think this is a firecracker.  The blooms get much bigger and brighter.

Our grapes are putting on fruit, and the vines are escaping our yard via the fence so the neighbors will enjoy them, too.

The flower friends give me so much JOY!

Hubby bought me another birdbath. Isn't he the sweetest husband in the world? I'm so thankful for him. I haven't decided where to put it yet, so I'm enjoying it on the back porch.  It was a great bargain - $14.99 at Aldi.  The other one (with birds) cost $50.00).


Our grandson visited this week and wanted to play chess with his PawPaw.  He won, again. . . and he's got his poker face down pat.  He can even sing and fiddle around with toys while he plays.  He's amazing.

He got us tickled again this week when he said, "Today is the 24th, right?"  We assured him it was.  He got really excited and said, "I have to go home and get to bed early so I'll be ready for tomorrow!"

"Why? What's happening tomorrow?"

" It's $5.00 sushi day at Publix!"

That cracked us up.  He loves sushi and especially the Publix kind.  Ahhhhh, that boy . . . a constant source of JOY!

Next week, I'll show you some birds new to Golden Cottage and a few from our birding drives in the area.

I'll leave you with these thoughts:




What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sabbath Music - Bo Ruach Elohim



That blessed time of the week is drawing near as I write this post.  I've had a busy week, and am looking forward to His Sabbath rest tonight and tomorrow.

I have a lovely song for your Sabbath - Bo Ruach Elohim is Hebrew for Come Spirit Come.  I pray you will welcome Him into your mind, heart, and home and enjoy a blessed time of rejuvenation and renewal as you rest and worship Him.   Bo Ruach Elohim (Come Spirit Come)

Shabbat shalom, Gail-Friends.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Thankful Thursday -Playing Catch-Up!


I need to catch up, Y'all!  I was looking through my photos and realized I'd forgotten to share some things.   Here are a few photos from our 4th of July celebration with the kids.  Jem put out  116 flags this year.



After this photo, PawPaw taught him to salute with his right hand.  My bad for snapping the picture too soon.

Jon-a-FUN having fun with blocks.  Give a boy any kind of stuff and he'll make a gun.

Two of my loves

He knows GiGi always says, "Kiss the Cook!"
We enjoyed a great day.  I just wish I'd taken more photos.

Earlier in the week, I snapped a photo of a bouquet I'd made.  I used some greenery from Golden Cottage Garden.  The lighter green is from our snow on the mountain bush.  I think the arrangement turned out nicely.  I'm so thankful for fresh flowers.

I love finding art in unexpected places, especially if it is whimsical.  I found these murals at the Trader Joe's in Ponte Vedra Beach while we were on a trip to Jacksonville, FL.  Aren't they great?

A chicken driving a golf cart.  Such imagination!

You've got to love this crazy cow on a fishing trip.


Now she's surfing!  Wonderful painting!

I'd love to have this mural painted on my patio wall.   Maybe one of these days I'll reproduce it.

This is downtown Jacksonville on the St. Johns River - my old stomping grounds years ago.

And the one below is my favorite -- the old lifeguard station at Jacksonville Beach.  I have many happy memories of summers at that beach.  And yes, this mural was in the ladies restroom.  It spanned three of the walls.  So gorgeous with the pink-tinted clouds.  I love it.


The flowers in Golden Cottage Garden are busting out all over.  Our peace lilies are loving the regular afternoon rains here.  One has nineteen blooms.  I'm always thankful for Mr. Green Jeans (aka Rabbi Jem) who works tsoo hard to keep our garden beautiful.  When I thank him, he always says, "I love you." <3 br="">


Isn't this garden flag the cutest thing? I found it (with the metal yard stand) at a thrift store for just $1.00.  I bought four of them at that price (three for friends).  I always say, "Thank You, Father" when I get a good bargain.



I'm always thankful for lots of children in our Shabbat service and I love watching them make the "shin" with their hands under the tallit.  These are abundant blessings.

Jon-a-FUN has been playing chess with Jem and he's getting much better at maintaining his poker face.  He loves it when he gets to say, "Checkmate!"  He did it again this week, much to his grandfather's chagrin.


I'm not bragging when I say that our grandson is brilliant.  I wish you could hear his dissertations on the things going through his mind.  Usually, his long speeches are about scientific things - such as USB ports, the reason mosquitos are attracted to some people more than others, or the mechanics of robots.  This week, he gave a long speech about Spam.  Yep, Spam.  He went on and on about the different types and the fact that some are low fat.  Then he talked about the Spam can and how the rectangular (his word) Spam is rounded on the corners in order to fit that can.  He's very serious in these monologues, but I just cracked up when he got to the Spam.  He is a delight and a pure pleasure in our lives.  I can't believe he's almost nine years old.  Those wonderful years have flown by, and we're so thankful to have him close by so we can see him often.

Well, Gail-Friends, I think I'm caught up.  Next week, I'll have some photos of some new birds we've seen on Golden Pond and of our gorgeous garden.  The veggies, fruits, and the flowers are flourishing.

What are you thankful for this week?