Friday, March 29, 2019

Sabbath Music - In His Time

Greetings and Shabbat Shalom, Gail-Friends! This morning in my devotions, I read this poem:

 Yes, leave it with Him,
The lilies all do,
And they grow--
They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the dew--
Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night--
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light--
Still they grow.
Yes, leave it with Him
'Tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
'Neath the snow:
Whatever you need, if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him--for you are His care.

You, you know.

The poem is based on this verse:

 Consider the lilies, how they grow (Matt. 6:28)

We can't make lilies grow, no matter how much we fertilize them, water them, or tend them.  It's the same with every problem we encounter.  We can pray, do what we have the power to do, and then leave it to His care.  We cannot control outcomes.  That is God's work.  Leave your burden in His loving, capable hands.

This is good to remember if you are carrying a burden today, Gail-Friends.  Remember, He cares for the lilies and He cares for you.  He will take care of it - in His way and in His time. 

That seems a bit simplistic for a find-a-way, make-a-way woman like me, but I've learned this lesson.  Have you?

The beauty-full, rest-full, worship-full song I've chosen for you today is In His Time by the Maranatha Singers.  The lyrics are provided so that you can sing along.  The video has some gorgeous photos of God's creation just in case you can't get out and enjoy nature in person. 

I hope you have a wonder-full Sabbath.


Pray for Israel

Dear Gail-Friends, please read this article and pray for Israel:

Israel Prepared for Violent Clashes With Gaza Saturday During 'March of Return' Anniversary

by Emily Jones on

Israel is bracing itself for the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return on the Gaza border.

Hamas is urging tens of thousands of Gazans to gather at Israel's southern border to face-off with

Israeli soldiers and demand the return of Palestinian refugees to the land they were driven out of or left behind during Israel's war for independence.

While some have branded the mass demonstrations as non-violent, many Gazans throw explosives at

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops and send burning kites across the border to torch Israeli territory.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said in an address to Gazans last year that the goal is to infiltrate Israel and forcefully remove Jews from the land.

"The March of Return will continue… until we remove this transient border," he said, adding that the ** protests "mark the beginning of a new phase in the Palestinian national struggle on the road to liberation and 'return'… Our people can't give up one inch of the land of Palestine."

On April 27, 2018, Al-Aqsa TV reported on the "Fence Cutters Unit" in Gaza chanting: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad has begun to return."

One of the masked members declared: "Today is the day of the march toward our occupied and robbed Palestinian lands. Today, we cut the Zionist enemy's main barbed-wire fence on the Gaza border," adding that Israel is "destined for perdition."

The Great March of Return, which began March 30, 2018, was originally planned to be a six-week protest, but quickly turned into weekly, often-times deadly, confrontations with the IDF.

Last week, a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report accused Israel of committing "serious violations of human rights and international human law" during the mass demonstrations.
According to the report, Israel killed 189 peaceful protesters last year.

Ambassador Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told CBN News the report ignored violence from Palestinians.

"The report completely and utterly ignores the fact that these are very violent demonstrations, including the use of firearms and throwing grenades, breaking through the fence, people who've been given maps of Israeli towns and villages in close proximity to the border fence so that they can get there and kill as many Israelis as they can," said Baker.

Saturday's demonstrations come after Gazan terrorists launched dozens of rockets at Israeli citizens over the past few weeks.

The Israeli military said it had increased the number of troops along the border with the Gaza Strip to prepare for another wave of violence during the protests.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops on the border Thursday and said he is prepared to take further military action in Gaza, but only as a last resort.

"If we need a broader operation, we will enter it strong and confident, and after we have exhausted all other options," Netanyahu said.

Read more at this website:

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Thankful Thursday - The Big Reveal

I never thought I was a pack-rat until I decided to convert our garage into an office/artist studio.  This is the story of that long and winding road.

At one time, before we owned the house, the garage had been used as a room of some sort.  The walls were lined with dark brown paneling and the ceiling was treated with a sparkly popcorn ceiling.  We used the room as a storage space.  Over the past thirteen years, it became full to overflowing, mainly because I'm sentimental AND also frugal.  I might need that stuff.  Add that to my mother's stuff that was stored there after she died, and you have floor to ceiling clutter.

My vision for the room was all white.  I love white so much that every room in our home is the same color - pure white.  I like it because when I get tired of a color scheme, I can easily convert without painting.  At first, I thought about just painting the room white and paneling over the garage door, which is what I think the previous owners did when they enclosed it.  But, Rabbi Jem encouraged me to go all out and make it exactly what I wanted.  Over the last year or so, I had collected Pinterest photos of how I imagined my space to look.  That was fun.

So, the first stage of this renovation was to move EVERYTHING out of the room. That was NOT fun.  Here's a pic of what our dining room looked like for a couple of months.  Actually, it got much worse.  I'm so glad that's over.

I will spare you seeing what the garage looked like before all of this. (Trust me when I say it was NOT pretty.)

We put most of the stuff in plastic boxes and stored them in our shed.  I packed quickly because the man who did the renovation was, unexpectedly, able to fit us in during late October.  I had to pack like a mad woman, which meant a lot of stuff got lost for a long, long time.  WHY? because after the renovations were done, life happened....the holidays .. . and then Jem was offered a job as the curator of the VAC which took him away most of the week.  Then at the first of the year, he hurt his shoulder, I hurt my wrist ...and then we spent a couple of months visiting the chiropractor.   All of this meant I made very slow progress in getting the room finished.   So, here are the pics of the renovation.

the wall for my pocket door

which leads into the laundry/storage room

This is my favorite part.  I can sit at my desk and see my bird feeders
and the neighbor's dog, Rollo, who loves cat food

It was around this time that our neighbors moved and left behind two cats.  This is Freckles aka The Couch Potato Cat.  He hangs out here 24/7.  His motto is Eat, Poop, Sleep.

So, once the room was finished, I began to decorate my new space and figure out where to put everything that had been in the garage.  Here's what has developed over the past few months.  I've had to go slow because I injured my wrist and CANNOT lift things.  Which is maddening when you have tons of boxes to go through.

Come on in, Gail-Friends.  Welcome to my office/artist studio.

I always wanted an artist studio with a sunflower on the door.  Thank you, Father, for answering my prayers and fulfilling my vision for this space.  The pink chair is my prayer and Bible study chair, and the pine hutch is a very precious heirloom.  I bought it with the money I made from a part-time job as a church librarian when my girls were small.

This is my office area.  I haven't figured out yet exactly what to put on that long wall. 

Sewing, music and art area
Well, it's also the sewing area because that cabinet holds a sewing machine.  I do not like to sew so we won't talk about that.  But it's there if I ever need it.  When my girls were growing up, Melissa would tell Amanda, "Let's get out of here.  Mama's gonna sew!!!"  They know how it stresses me out.  That's why I don't talk about . . .

The music cabinet and the art cabinet are on wheels so that I can move them out into the room when needed.  The cabinet has a hinged top that opens to make a large workspace for art projects.

This is just one of my bookcases.  I have three behind my desk, one in the art/music area, and two more in the living room.  Jem and I love books.  Jem has four cases in his office, and one in the bedroom.  Our motto is:  You can't have too many books.  But we found there is a limit.  We gave away seven or eight grocery bags full during this whole process.

This is a glory hoop. I use it when I sing, dance, and praise Adonai during prayer and worship.

The book on the left is the one I'm working on now.  It's a compilation of my poems.  The photo on the shelf is my maternal grandmother, Pauline.  I love this picture, even though I never knew her.  She looks like the perfect, Southern belle. . . composed and so serene.

The bookmark says:  She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.  It was a gift from a friend who knows me well.  The Home Library System is decades old.  I found it will de-cluttering.  I use it to keep track of books I've loaned, and I'm so happy I found it.

Below is the workout area.  I jump on this rebounder for fifteen minutes a day because I've heard it has great health and beauty benefits.  They say fifteen minutes of rebounding is equal to forty-five minutes of other vigorous exercise.  When I'm finished, I tilt it over to make room to walk through.  Once I finish the organization of the laundry/storage room, it will be rolled in there when not in use.  Oh, one of the benefits is that it gives you a face lift.  Hey, I'm all for that, Gail-Friends!!  (Although Jem says I don't need one.  I love that guy.)

This is my view from my prayer chair.  I can see the sunrise, the birds, my flowers, the cats . . . so much to be thankful for.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Sabbath Music - Birds of Spring

So    Spring Has Sprung!!!  It happened Wednesday according to the calendar.  But here at Golden Cottage, you'd think it was Fall.  Why? Because  at our house, the leaves fall in the Spring.  Our gardener, Rabbi Jem, raked up a load of them today.  He also stirred up pollen and we've both been sneezing our heads off.  

The painted buntings are still here and we've had four males at  time at the feeders, plus the little green females.  I love watching them. 

 We also have the fuzzy-tailed rats, aka squirrels, who think they are birds:

That's him, diving head-first into the bird-feeder.

He just hangs by his feet and dives right in there.   And see that green, chewed-up lid on the other feeder?  He and his cohorts did that.  

He knows he's caught!  See that guilty look?


I've tried to enjoy them. I've tried to love them, but it's no use.  They dig out the seed they don't want, sling it all over when they jump off the poles, and chew up the feeders.  But I did have a Golden Moment about them.  I'll share that another day.

Did you have a happy Purim?  Did you have hamentaschen?  This year, I bought these from BJs.  I have to admit they are better than the ones I make.  My wrist is still healing, so I decided not to make cookies.  I sure missed doing that tradition with our grandson.   (Click HERE to see our past Purim celebrations and learn more about the holiday.)

The birds have been singing up a storm around Golden Cottage -- especially the mockingbirds.  Their songs are so sweet.  I leave the doors open so I can hear them in the morning.  Then as the day warms up and I have to turn on the air, I put on YouTube and listen to music like this:  Birds of Spring by Tim Janis.  Can there be anything more soothing for the Sabbath?  The video has dozens of different types of birds.  I'm always amazed by the variety our Creator has made.

Watch, listen, praise Him along with me and the birds,  and enjoy your time with The Good Shepherd.

May your Sabbath rest be sweet,  Gail-Friends!




Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Loving Reproofs

Have you ever been reproved?  Do you even know what it means?  The Hebrew word used in the verse above is  "tokhakhat" and means "correction."

I've had experience with being reproved as a teenager, as a young mother, and as a mature woman.    As a teen, I was rebuked by a teacher at school for hanging out with the wrong crowd.  She did it in a very kind and loving way and I received it.

As a young mother, I was reproved by an older woman about my mothering methods.  Her words were harsh and unkind.  I didn't take it very well.  Looking back to that day, I see that she was right, but her delivery was all wrong.  It was not a loving reproof.  It was an angry slap in the face.

I've been reproved as a mature woman several times.  Each time, the reproof was kind and caring and I received their wisdom.

In each of these cases, the person really did have my best interest at heart. I'm glad they cared enough to correct me.

I'm concerned that there is not enough reproving going on in the synagogues and churches of today because of the misconception that reproving is judging.  We are told in both the Old Testament and the New that this is our duty.  Would we please Adonai if we did not warn someone who was about to go over a cliff?

Having gone through reprimands myself, I've learned a good way to reprove others.  Here are the steps I take:

  • When I see someone going down the wrong road, I pray for them.  
  • I seek God's face about whether I am the one who should confront the problem.  (I am the women's minister at our synagogue, but sometimes my rabbi husband is the one who should have the talk.)
  • If I'm to be the one to confront the problem, I read and meditate on these passages in Scripture:  Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:41-42
  • Keeping those verses in mind, I begin a season of prayer, searching my heart about my own sins.  
  • I confess and ask forgiveness for any sin Hashem reveals.
  • I pray for the right time and place to talk. 
  • I pray for my heart to be in the right place, full of love and compassion.
  • I pray for the right words. 
  • I pray for the person to be receptive to my counsel.
  • I meditate on this passage from Galatians 6:1-5 (CJB) ~
 "Brothers, suppose someone is caught doing something wrong. 
You who have the Spirit should set him right, 
but in a spirit of humility, keeping an eye on yourselves so that you won’t be tempted too.
  Bear one another’s burdens — in this way you will be fulfilling 
the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds. 
  For if anyone thinks he is something when he is really nothing, he is fooling himself.  
So let each of you scrutinize his own actions. 
Then if you do find something to boast about, 
at least the boasting will be based on 
what you have actually done and not merely on a 
judgment that you are better than someone else;
  for each person will carry his own load."

I've used this method many, many times.  I wish I could tell you that it's always successful.  It's not.  Sometimes the person humbly receives the counsel of God's Word.  Other times, the person becomes angry and completely turns me off, or even accuses me of "judging" them.  Their reaction reveals the state of their heart.  As the Scripture in the graphic above says:

"The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise."

I'm sincerely thankful for the reproofs I've received over the years.  It's not easy to be corrected, but it truly is life-giving when done God's way.


Can you receive a reproof? Or do you just say, "Don't judge me..."  It's something to ponder, Gail-Friends.

The article below inspired me to write this post today, and it's really good counsel.


By Nancy Campbell on Facebook

Do you find it difficult to receive a rebuke? It’s not easy, is it? At first, we may feel offended. But then we must change the attitude of our hearts.

“Dear Father, please give me a soft and tender heart to receive reproof. Teach me Your ways from this reproof.”
And instead of getting bitter, we open our hearts to instruction. This is the way we mature. This is the way we grow in our walk with the Lord. If we cannot receive reproof, we may stay in the same habit, the same sin, or the same rut for years!

The other day I read this powerful Scripture in Psalm 141:5: “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil.”

I looked up the Passion translation and was challenged when I read: “When one of your faithful ones rebukes me, I will accept it like an honor I cannot refuse. It will be healing medicine that I swallow without an offended heart.” What wonderful words to take to our hearts.

Can we receive instruction and reproof to heal us like medicine? And without being offended?

This Scripture calls reproof a healing medicine. Proverbs 15:31 calls it “the reproof of life.” It brings life to our souls.

This is how we need to live our personal lives and then teach this habit to our children. We must teach our children HOW to receive instruction and rebuke. It is natural to resist. We must show them God’s way.

I think this would be a good Scripture to pin up in your kitchen for the whole family, don’t you?"

Yes, I do, Nancy.

Graphic source: Above Rubies on Facebook

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sabbath Music - Gadol Elohi

Gadol Elohi is Hebrew for "Our God is Great" and this song is a wonder-full meditation for your Sabbath.  You may recognize this as the popular song, How Great Is Our God.  The song alternates between Hebrew and English, with English words so you understand what's being said.   Gadol Elohi by Joshua Aaron. 

I hope you will meditate on all the ways Adonai is great in your life.  Why not make a list in your journal?

Here are a few of mine:

He keeps the sun shining in the sky.  Just the perfect distance away from our planet for our existence here on Earth.  With every sunrise, I'm reminded of His greatness and His glory.

He tells the birds when to migrate to warmer weather in winter and then go back to their homes when the weather warms up.  The painted buntings have been here at Golden Cottage since late October.  They'll be headed back to their northern homes soon and I'll miss them.  I love having these colorful snowbirds visit.

He tells the seas where to stop on the sand.  What a marvel.  We're so blessed to live near the ocean.  It's a perfect place to see His greatness and majesty.

Yes, our God is great!  I praise Him with my whole heart and give him glory!

Have a wonderful Sabbath, Gail-Friends, and I'd love to know how God shows His greatness to you.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Sabbath Music - Standing on the Promises

This is a song I grew up with and I always enjoyed singing it.  Standing on the Promises by Alan Jackson takes me back to that little Baptist church as I hear the piano in the background.  This song always makes me remember the time when I was memorizing this Scripture:

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  I John 5:14-15 (KJV) 

I complained to my teacher about having to memorize Bible verses.  I've never forgotten the excited look on her face and her response:  "Oh, Gail, this is a most precious promise from God to you!  Think of it - if you pray for something that you know is His will, He will give it to you!"  

She gave me a gift that day.  As I read the Word, I learned there are many promises to believers.  Here's one of my favorites:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 9 (KJV)

Most of His promises have conditions, such as the one above.  I have to acknowledge Him before I take off running down the path I'm thinking of.  When I seek His face about my decisions, He always gives a good outcome.  

A good meditation for Shabbat is to think about and journal the promises you've learned to trust.

What promises do you cling to, Gail-Friends?  I'd love to hear about them.

Have a good Shabbos and a good week ahead.
graphic from MiYah Music on Facebook, used by permission


Friday, March 1, 2019

Sabbath Music - Amen

Don't you love sunsets and sunrises?  I feel His presence as I watch Him paint the sky with all the colors in His rainbow pallette.  Last night's sunset was glorious with pale pink near the earth, then deep purple, and a golden yellow above.  I took a photo but it did not do justice to the scene before me.  It will always stay in my mind.  And then, He was not finished. The Great Artist painted  pink and blue stripes that reminded me of the stripes in our country's flag.  I praised Him and worshiped His majestic and powerful creativity! 

I know so many people who are going through hard, long trials right now.  Often we wonder why we have to go through hardships. The following poem always speaks to me during those times:

We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns.
It puzzles me; but, Lord, Thou understandest,
And wilt one day explain this crooked thing.

Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Thy best--
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.
Thou hast fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on Thee;

To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to Thee.
So I will thank and praise Thee for this puzzle,

And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing Thou dost hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Thy guiding hand.
(author unknown)

My own experience has taught me that every trial comes to teach me something about Adonai.  After many years and many trials, I've learned to relax and say, "I trust you, Father, and I know I will learn something through this trial  that no one can ever take away from me. Amen!" 

Speaking of the word, "Amen",  do you know what it means?  It means to trust, believe, and agree.  The word is related to the Hebrew word "amanah," meaning truthfulness, credence or belief. When we hear someone reciting a blessing, we respond with "amen" thus agreeing with what was said.

If you are going through a trial, I pray you will trust Him.  And I hope this song will bless you as you rest on the Sabbath.    Amen by Jonathan Settel