Sunday, December 18, 2022

A Song for Hanukkah

 


 We are getting ready for Hanukkah 'cause we light the first candle on Sunday, December 18 at sundown.  I love this time of year, and especially when it coincides with Christmas.  We'll be celebrating both at our synagogue on Shabbat / Christmas Eve.  So, really, we'll be celebrating three things.  

I wanted to encourage all who don't know about Hanukkah to click on the links to the right of this page.  Lots of info there:  the story, the food (with recipes), the songs, the decorations, and the fun.  It's all there for you to enjoy.  (click Hanukkah, Chanukah, and Christmas)

Here's my favorite Hanukkah song for your enjoyment:  Hanukkah Song by Marty Goetz

 And - my most favorite singer - a playlist that will bless your heart:   Reverence of the Night by Amanda Wilson

Have a wonderful, happy, worshipful holiday season, Gail-Friends.

 

 

 


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

 

Mama's table and china cabinet
 

Are you cooking like a mad woman?  I am, and I love it!  I always bring out my mama's recipe for southern style cornbread dressing with giblet gravy.  I'll be cooking that along with a roasted turkey, turnip greens with rutabagas, and sweet potato pie (Jem's favorite).  My daughter will be making Mama's broccoli casserole, her paternal grandmother's squash casserole, and her own yummy grape salad. 

Tomorrow as we sit around her table (which I cherish), these traditions will bring back sweet memories of the  many holiday meals we've shared.  She's been gone for seven years now and my memories of her grow sweeter every year.  She was quite a lady and a wonderful cook.  Daddy never did like to go to restaurants, and why would he when he had the best cook in the world?

We had a wonderful experience this week.  We delivered food baskets with the Basket Brigade to needy families in our community.  The gratitude and joyful tears of the people we met really blessed our hearts.  We're going to make it a Thanksgiving tradition.

One of the things I'm thankful for on this holiday is that we still have a holiday that acknowledges God.  Growing up in the pubic school system, I was taught about the Pilgrims and how they thanked Him for the blessings of making it to a country with religious freedom.  I wonder if that's sstill being taught today.  I read this very interesting article today about the history of the first settlers and their connection to Judaism.  Here's the link -  First Fruits of Zion

I've found FFOZ to be a great resource.  Check it out!

Some of the things I'm thankful for this year are:

  • our family - especially our new grandson
  • our health and strength - we're doing very well for our age. 
  • our synagogue family - such a precious, loving, caring group we have
  • life in America - in spite of all the terrible things that have happened over the last two years.  We still live in the best country of all.
  • God's Word - oh, how I thank Him for preserving it over thousands of years and how accessible it is now - especially all of the translations available on Bible Gateway
  • our neighbors and community - we live in a small town and I love it
  • for my state (Florida) which I call paradise - and for our governor (DeSantis).  I hope he runs for president one day.  Jem got to meet him recently when he came to the museum to make a commercial for his campaign.  The Gov. gave Jem a hat, a t-shirt, and then they had photos taken together.
  • religious freedom - let's never take that for granted, Gail-Friends. 
     

   I'd love to know what you'll be doing for Thanksgiving, and what you're thankful for.  

Friday, October 28, 2022

FOCUS!

 

This Facebook article (below) spoke to me this week and I hope it helps you or someone who's struggling with distractions.   I'd been struggling with keeping up with all the things on my plate lately.  I prayed about this and God showed me several things to do.

First, I looked at all of the duties I have as a wife, mother, grandmother, rebbetzin, artist, and writer.  I decided to give up some of my duties at the synagogue.  This helped tremendously.  God bless the members of our congregation.  They have such tender, willing hearts to help us and others.  We are blessed to have such a loving family.

Taking the many synagogue duties off my plate has allowed me to have much more clarity so that I can now focus on my writing.  I have six books that are critiqued, edited, and ready to format for publication.  I'm also working on a project about my paternal grandmother that I'm enjoying greatly.  And I have a book that I illustrated over thirty years ago that I ran across when I was organizing my writing files!  I'm really excited about that project. 
 
The second thing I've done is to write a daily, weekly, and monthly list of things to do.  I learned as a Mary Kay sales director to analyze that list and decide which were the six most important things I'd listed.  After my daily quiet time, I start with number one on the daily list and don't stop until the six things are done.  Yes, there are times I don't finish the list.  No worries!  I just put that thing as number one on the next day's list.  This works.  
 
The third thing God showed me was to stay focused.  Maybe I have a touch of ADD, but I can think about as well as do several things at one time.  I'm learning to write the idea down for later instead of losing focus on the most important task at hand.  
 
The final thing is to put my phone on silent and stay off the internet.  Talk about distractions! These are the worst.  Another thing I learned in Mary Kay is to be proactive instead of reactive.  My focus has to be on the important, not the distraction. So, I'm learning to be like my dear, sweet husband who checks his mail and internet priorities twice a day only. 
 
 This article by Nancy Campbell was a confirmation that God was guiding me.  He is a good and faithful father who answers our prayers and guides us when we come to Him with our problems.


 
ARE YOU FOCUSED?
by Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies
 (used by permission)

In order to counteract distractions this we must get into the habit of becoming disciplined and focused. How can we FOCUS? I'll share an acrostic with you, and as I do, I'll point three fingers back at me!
 
F FOLLOW the Lord closely. Don't lag behind where you are too far away to hear His voice. When distractions get in between you and the Lord, be ruthless and shove them out of the way. What are the things that you have allowed to come in that have dimmed His voice? Are you a Facebook timewaster? Addicted to movies? Whatever it may be, take stock and discipline your time. Stipulate what time you allow yourself to use your electronics.
 
O OPEN your heart to the Holy Spirit instead of all the media and technology all around you (James 4:8). Open your heart to God's Word, which means you must discipline yourself to read it.
 
C CALL upon the Lord to help you (Romans 10:13). You can't do it in your own strength.
 
U UNDERSTAND your calling (Ephesians 5:17). If God has blessed you with children, motherhood is your highest calling. The devil will tempt you to get involved with so many extra "good" things, but they will weaken your power and influence as a mother.
 
S SIMPLIFY your life. The more stuff you have the more it fills up your life, and the more work it takes to look after it all. Get rid of everything you don't need (more fingers pointing back at me)! My daughter, Evangeline, loves to say: "I'm not wasting my time running around after stuff; I'm using my time for God and my children." But it's not only material stuff we must throw out. It's all the time-wasting hours we spend on so many other things. Knock off some things you are involved in. Go out less. Focus on the important. Eliminate the less important. Discipline your life.
 
Keep focused. Blessings from Nancy Campbell
 
P.S. Read these Scriptures: Numbers 14:24; Psalm 57:7; 63:8; 108:1; Proverbs 4:25-27; 16:32; 25:28; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:12-14; and Titus 2:12.