Monday, July 1, 2024

Golden Cottage Happenings


I'm BACK!!  Wow! I can hardly believe it's been three months since my last post.  A lot has happened.   (This might be a long post, Gail-Friends.)

Most recently, Jem put out his flags for Flag Day - 100+ of them.  It's a back-breaking task, but he loves doing it.  He does it on Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4, and Veterans Day.  He had a young man come by  who stood at attention and saluted.  They had a nice conversation about their mutual love of America.  The young man is a disabled veteran.  They thanked each other for their service.😊

Let's see -- what happened in March?  Oh, yes - Purim!  We always enjoy that holiday, but I didn't take any photos.  I always am convicted by the yearly reminder from the book of Esther:  "Perhaps you were born for such a time as this." Each year, I take it to heart and recommit myself to working for Adonai's kingdom.  I have this reminder that I wear.  And then, there's a reminder in my living/dining room:   Both were given to me by the ladies of Ma'gen Da'vid and I treasure them. 


In March, we celebrated our youngest daughter, Amanda's, birthday. Elijah loves to blow out candles, so he helped.  

He's a busy little boy, and he played with a basket of apples while they were here.  After they left, I found them hidden all around the living/dining room.  So precious, right?

If you see any dust, just look over it. I will get to that one of these days.  My motto has always been

 My house is clean enough to be healthy 

and dirty enough to be happy. 

 Jem had a speaking engagement at the local SCV meeting and sold several copies of his book, Blow Gabriel, Blow!  If you're a Civil War buff, you would enjoy reading it.  Here's the LINK

I started going to a chiropracter, which has helped somewhat.  I won't go into my complaints, but suffice it to say, getting old is not for sissies.  This beautiful painting is in the chiro's waiting room, and I had to share it with y'all.  Isn't that comforting?  His hand is always reaching out to us, Gail-Friends.

My friend and critique partner Betty, held a great event at the end of April.  Peggy, our other critique partner, and I attended and had a really good time.  Betty recently moved to assisted living where she started a writing group.  The group is focused on writing their memoirs and published a book with their first essays.  At the event, all of the writers sat at tables, and we met them and had them sign our copies of the book.  It was a beautiful event and well attended, too.  The most exciting thing was that several of the writers at first said they couldn't remember things well any more; but when they started writing, their memories began to improve.  Isn't that amazing?    

Their stories are in this collection, titled Monday Memoir Moments by Betty Jackson.  It is available on Amazon.  Here's the LINK 

April brought Passover.  Once again, I forgot to take pictures.  It was a good seder, but bittersweet.  Why? Because it was our last one at Ma'gen Da'vid.  Rabbi Jem announced at the end of the seder that he had decided to retire.

Why?  There are many reasons: mostly our age, health, and strength.  Jem has been in ministry for thirty years, and is almost seventy-eight. I'm almost seventy-four. We both had been seeing it coming for the last year.  There are other reasons, but I won't go into them here.  Suffice it to say that we will always minister for Hashem because that is our calling.  

 We are committed to taking the truth of our Messiah Yeshua and His Living Torah to those around us.  We take The Great Commission very seriously and have opportunities almost daily to minister.  We just don't have a building any more, and that's a relief in some ways.  We often say, "We're footloose and fancy free!" It does feel good to be "retired", but we fill our days with busyness, believe me.

 I'm making room in the shed for the precious things from Ma'gen Da'vid that we cannot part with yet.  May was spent clearing out the building, packing up the precious Judaica used for the past thirty years in ministry, giving things away to members and friends, and donating things to other ministries.  God blessed us with kind and willing helpers to move and pack up everything, and we are grateful for their hard work. It was a big undertaking, and we officially closed the doors on May 30.

Most of all, we’ve been remembering, with tears, the precious ones who have come through the doors of Ma’gen David over the last eighteen years.  We remember celebrations of the  holy days, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, baptisms (in rivers, ocean, and pools), weddings, births, deaths, and most of all the friends we've made. We've had so many blessings and so many happy memories. Most of them are recorded in posts on this blog.

In May, we celebrated eighteen happy years of marriage and went on our mostly annual vacation to the Florida Folk Festival.  First though, we stopped by to visit Mama and Daddy's graves, and I got to get a hug from one of my favorite cousins, Sharon.

At the Folk Festival, we attended a lecture about The Devil's Millhopper.  It's a huge sink hole in north Florida.  Amazing that I've lived in this state all my life and never heard of it. It's on our list of places to visit now that we're retired.  Here's the LINK.

We also heard a gentleman talk about what it was like living on a Florida farm before all of the modern machinery.  This photo shows some of the implements used on the farm.  The items in the foreground are brushes made of corn husks.  This interested me because my parents grew up in the 1930's and 40's.  It was a very tough life.  Is it any wonder that my paternal grandmother had seven sons, my maternal grandfather had eight, and only one of them chose farming when they left home?   I can't blame them. 

 We enjoyed the festival, especially the performance by  Jim Stafford.  He's always so funny. You might remember one of his big hits, I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes.  He's quite the songwriter and an accomplished guitarist.  Look him up on YouTube.  You can also find videos about the festival there.  It's a three-day event with music, dancing, cultural lectures and crafts, storytelling, and great food.  We've been going for many years and try not to miss it. 

Also in May, we celebrated Elijah's third birthday at a local restaurant.  Bless his heart, he fell asleep and didn't get to blow out his birthday cake candles.  So, they did it with him later that day. 


Our in-loves were there, too.  B & Ray are our son-in-love's parents and also our good friends.  It was a happy day.  Both of the grandsons are getting so big.  Time flies, Gail-Friends.  Seize the day!!

On Memorial Day, we attended a ceremony in Titusville, remembering those who've given their lives for our country.  Then we went to a ceremony at the American Legion, in memory of those members who have passed away in the past year.  We remembered our dear friend and synagogue member, John Reindl.  We sure do miss him.  

Since then, I've been doing a huge project at home -- getting rid of STUFF!  We have two sheds - one is mainly a catch-all of miscellaneous STUFF. It's full of spiders and is very scary! I think I'll name it The Shed of Doom.  Jem's paint and yard equipment is in there, and it houses my massive collection of canning equipment, glass bottles, and jars. I think I have a hoarding problem related to glass jars.

The other shed is bright and clean and full of important stuff - like boxes of my mother's dishes and linens, her papers, cards, letters, and photographs, recipes and cookbooks, and various sentimental things I haven't had the heart to part with yet. (She passed away in 2015.) I found the big, fat piggy cookie jar that tempted me every single day of the seventeen years I lived at home with Mama and Daddy. When they weren't around,  I used to climb up on the kitchen counter, stand up, and help myself from the jar which sat on a shelf above the sink.  I think that was the beginning of my sugar addiction. 

I also found things like baby mementos from both of my daughters.  Would you believe I had my oldest daughter, Melissa's pacifier? She's fifty+ years old!  ACKKK!  And of course, I had boxes of my older grandson's toys and games.  He's almost fifteen!   Jem and I both found boxes of clothes we'll never fit into.  I closed my eyes and bravely sent all of the clothes to the thrift store.  I've been diligently going through the other boxes and have made amazing progress.  I feel so good about it. 

Golden Cottage Garden is growing like gangbusters. (Thanks to Jem/aka Mr Green Jeans.) We even have bananas!!  This tree is probably ten years old and and has only born fruit one time.  We were shocked to see this abundance: 

 Well, that's about all from Golden Cottage.  I'm hoping to post more regularly now that I'm footloose and fancy free.


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

He Saves Us



There's an ad circulating currently that was released by the group 'He Gets Us' and was first shown during the Super Bowl.  This ad, while well intentioned, failed to show the true gospel to the millions who are now seeing it. (I've seen it on YouTube)

This ad is not biblical.  Yeshua is shown as accepting of the sins of abortion, homosexuality, and more.  He is loving and full of mercy when we repent, but He also says, "Go and sin no more."  

Here's Pastor Jamie Bambrick's take on what they should have done:   HE SAVES US    

This ad shows the saving, transforming power of Yeshua the Messiah.  He is the Living Word, and He is holy.  When we repent, He writes His Torah on our hearts.  He changes us.  Sadly, there are many churches today that teach "the come as you are, do as you please gospel."  Some even teach that the Torah and the Old Testament are not relevant.  They are wrong.

I've often heard people say that Yeshua "hung out" with sinners.  That is so very wrong.  When He met someone, He immediately recognized their sin, pointed it out, and invited them to follow HIM.  That person either followed Him and "hung out" with HIM, or continued on in their sin.  Read the Gospels and see this for yourself.  

He came to call sinners to repentance. More and more, it seems that word isn't used in leading people to be saved.  The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah and it means "return to Torah". 

Growing up in the Southern Baptist church, I was taught what I now call "easy believism":  Just say these words and you'll be saved!  Get baptized!  You're good!!

I remember years ago, I attended a class on soul-winning.  The word repent was never mentioned. The focus was on showing them that God loves them and accepts them as they are.  No need to give up any sins.  This is wrong, friends.  It's not the true gospel.  

As Southern Baptists, we were also taught The Great Commission in Matthewe 28:19-20:  "  ...go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, 2 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

That last part is what is now missing from the current "feel good" gospel.  Hashem's commandments are not being taught.  I'm speaking of the Torah.  The church of today has its own commandments.  In example: disobey the Sabbath, go to church twice on Sunday and on Wednesday, worship idols, light candles, don't raise your hands or dance in church, and their favorite one -- tithe. I could go on and on.

The reality of this truth was pressed on to me years ago.  I was a teacher in the Baptist church and was attending a training class.  I walked into the nearby snack shop during a break and found a gospel tract lying on a table.  What I read completely turned my life around.  I read these verses: 

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. 22 On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’

I shook with conviction.  My heart was pierced with the truth that day:  Yeshua would tell ME to depart from Him because I was not obeying His laws.  I was a Southern Baptist, law-abiding woman. How could this be???????

In the weeks following, I was deeply convicted and one day, I asked God to show me if those words of Yeshua were true of me.  I opened my Bible, looked down, and there was that verse, underlined (by me) staring me in the face.  Yes! He answered my prayer immediately.  I realized this in that moment:  I'd gone to church all of my life, but deep down wanted MY way.  I had been following the laws of the church, not His laws.  I got on my knees, asked forgiveness for my lawlessness, completely surrendered my heart to Him, and got up as a new woman.  

I kept seeking to know and do His will.  I went to several different churches, seeking His will.  None of them felt right. Eventually, I wearied of the search and prayed, "God, I don't want a church, a denomination, a preacher, or a teacher.  I want to know that I am following You, Your will, and Your ways."

Ever since I was nine years old, I wondered why we weren't with the Jews and why we didn't keep the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments. When I asked that question, I was told, "Those things have been changed." That made no sense to me, as a child nor as an adult.

So, I went to several "Jewish Roots" churches.  Even those didn't feel right, mainly because they made their own laws like the Southern Baptists. For example, one teacher with a large following didn't even obey God's law about the Sabbath.

Finally, Hashem led me to Messianic Judaism.  There, I learned about the Torah and the importance of obeying God's laws. I learned that His ways are the ways of blessing, and I have been consistently and abundantly blessed by obeying His Word, His Will, and His Ways.

Gail-Friends, please think about this:  If we're not to keep His laws, why did Yeshua have to die?  Why did He tell His disciples to teach them to their disciples? Pray about it.  Ask Him the question I asked:  

Am I following You? 

 Am I following Your will?  

Am I following Your ways?.

Click on this link to hear a beautiful song about  Teshuvah

Friday, March 22, 2024

The Encouragement of Psalms


Dear Gail-Friends:

Do you know the encouragement of the Psalms?  My practice is to read one psalm every night before bed. Psalm 91 is my favorite and I've been working on memorizing it.  It's not easy at my age, but I will persevere.

I found Psalm 124 to be a great lifter of the soul on many occasions.  I've been through many battles in my seven decades of life.  But praise and glory to His Name, I've come through every one victoriously with a Golden Nugget -- a lesson that has helped me know Him better.  Haleluyah!  

This version is from the Tree of Life Bible.

Psalm 124

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
“Had Adonai not been on our side”
—let Israel now say—
“Had Adonai not been on our side,
when men rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us alive,
when their wrath burned against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over our soul,
then the raging waters
would have swept over our soul.”

Blessed be Adonai, who has not given us
as prey for their teeth.
Our soul has escaped like a bird
out of the snare of the trappers—
the snare is broken, and we escaped!
Our help is in the Name of Adonai,
Maker of heaven and earth.

Do you have a psalm that ministers to you? I'd love for you to share it with me.