Friday, August 30, 2019

Sabbath Music - Till the Storm Passes By

We are preparing for Shabbat and for a hurricane.  Please pray with us that Dorian will head out into the open waters eastward and away from land.  As I've been preparing, I keep hearing this song in my head.  I remember going through a big storm years ago, sitting in my rocking chair with my precious baby girl, Melissa, in my arms.  The storm was crashing all around, but my heart was at peace as I sang this song:  Till the Storm Passes By. 
And when the song finishes, just let the playlist go.  You'll hear some wonderful songs to encourage you and lead you to worship our wonderful Heavenly Father.

Let me know if I can pray for you, Gail-Friends, and have a safe and blessed Shabbat.

Thankful Thursday - Psalm 91 - My Hurricane Psalm

A big storm is coming, so today we, and all of Florida, are preparing for Hurricane Dorian.  I'm praying, too, and I'm believing Adonai will hear my prayers for Him to steer the storm to the east.  It's a monster storm as of Thursday evening and we already have plenty of supplies because we stay ready.

We did go to Aldi to get a few items, and I snapped this photo:

That whole cold case was empty except for the salad.  I laughed.  People have their priorities!  And during a hurricane, I guess salad isn't high on the list.  It is on mine, and I'm well stocked!  Be sure to check out my past posts, photos, and tips for going through hurricanes HERE.

I've been through many hurricanes in my long life here in Florida.  The first was Hurricane Dora in 1964, which was a category 3.  I was a teenager and remember the high winds and the eerie silence when the eye passed over our house.  The next day, our yard and street were flooded almost up to the front door.  Thanks be to Adonai, we had no major damage.

I'll never forget 2004, which was my most serious experience with hurricanes because I went through three   I survived Charlie, Frances and Jean.  On August 13, Charlie came in on Florida's west coast as a category 4, but weakened as it headed toward the east coast.  No damage and no loss of power for me, praise Adonai!   He left behind lots of debris in my yard that got piled up for the trash truck to pick up.  The pick-up was delayed because there was so much for them to pick up in our area.  I was having an engagement party for my daughter, Amanda, and kept praying (and believing) the pick-up would be gone by the party.  It was HUGE!  Praise Hashem, they picked it up the morning of the party!  Haleluyah!

Hurricane Frances, a category 2, came next -- THREE WEEKS LATER!  She hit our coast with 80 mph winds, so it was serious. Thankfully, winds had diminished from 105.  We got 15 inches of rain from old Frances and she left behind terrible destruction. Once again, I had no damage...only yard debris,  and did not lose power.

And then, THREE WEEKS LATER, Hurricane Jeanne hit as a category 3.  I'll never forget it.  I was at work, and someone told us to go home because another hurricane was headed our way!  Thankfully, I had left my storm shutters up from Frances' visit.  Jeanne was a bad one and did great damage to our coast.  Amazingly, I had no damage and did not lose power. Lots of debris was left behind, though.

We were threatened by Hurricane Ivan during that month, too, but thankfully it passed us by.  I was prepared for it, though, because I left those hurricane shutters up through November which is the end of hurricane season.

Jem, however, has been through two catastrophic hurrcanes before we were married - Ivan in 2004, and Katrina in 2005.  Katrina was the worst.  He was living in Alabama at the Magee Farm / Museum, where he was curator.  The house was 100 years old, and withstood the storm like a champ.  No damage and no problems.  Haleluyah!

I give all the praise to Adonai for his protection and provision.  He was with me all the way.  I was single at the time, and my future son-in-love came both times to help me put storm shutters on my windows.  I'm so thankful for William.

In 2016, we went through Hurricane Matthew, which was a category 3 that rode north on our coast.  There was a lot of damage to our area, but we praise Adonai that He was with us.  Because the storm hovered twenty miles off our coast, the damage was not nearly what it could have been.  We were so blessed once again  not to have any serious damage and only lost power for a few hours.  Our wonderful son-in-love loaned us a generator, but by the time Jem and he got it set up, the electricity came back on.  Haleluyah!  We did lose enough shingles to get a new roof paid for by our insurance company.  Thankfully, we did not have any leaks.  That was a big blessing, really, because the roof was due for replacement.  Another big Haleluyah!

Through each and every hurricane, I prayed for God to protect all in this area.  I also meditated on Psalm 91, which I call my hurricane psalm.  Hashem is so good and faithful to provide us with comfort in times of peril.  I'm thankful for the peace I've felt in the midst of every single one of the storms I've been through.  I know His shield of protection covers me and I can rest easy.

So, if you're going through Hurricane Dorian, or any other storm, this psalm is for you:

 1 You who live in the shelter of ‘Elyon,
who spend your nights in the shadow of Shaddai,
who say to Adonai, “My refuge! My fortress!
My God, in whom I trust!” —
he will rescue you from the trap of the hunter
and from the plague of calamities;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his truth is a shield and protection.
You will not fear the terrors of night
or the arrow that flies by day,
or the plague that roams in the dark,
or the scourge that wreaks havoc at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand;
but it won’t come near you.
Only keep your eyes open,
and you will see how the wicked are punished.
For you have made Adonai, the Most High,
who is my refuge, your dwelling-place.
No disaster will happen to you,
no calamity will come near your tent;
for he will order his angels to care for you
and guard you wherever you go.
They will carry you in their hands,
so that you won’t trip on a stone.
You will tread down lions and snakes,
young lions and serpents you will trample underfoot.
“Because he loves me, I will rescue him;
because he knows my name, I will protect him.
He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him when he is in trouble.
I will extricate him and bring him honor.
I will satisfy him with long life
and show him my salvation.”

Blessings and have a good week.  Let me know if I can pray for you.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Sabbath Music - Burn In Me

What is your passion?  Something to think about on this Sabbath day. 

Do you look forward to that set-apart time with your Heavenly Father? 

If not, take that time to be with Him. 

He's waiting for you. 

He said, "Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you."

Such a lovely invitation. 

I'm looking forward to time alone with my first and greatest love.

This song is so, so good.  It starts off slow, but you'll be dancing soon.   Burn In Me by Paul Wilbur.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Birthday, Wedding, Wild Life & Goodbye Freckles

Greetings Gail-Friends.  I said Friday that I'd catch y'all up on what's been happening 'round here.  So, here you go!  This is a long post but hang in there.  It's all good!

Jem had a birthday, and we had a family celebration at the local Japanese / hibachi restaurant.

He ate it all!  I think he has a wooden leg.

This is the only pic I got of Amanda - acting goofy, of course!!!

egg juggling

setting fire to an onion

Our grandson was fascinated by the presentation, especially when the chef juggled an egg and then caught it in his hat.  On the way home, he said, "You know . . . (always our cue that a science lecture is coming) when the chef spun the egg, the centrifugal force kept it from breaking."  He's nine years old.  I'm (ahem) in my sixties, and that thought has never entered my mind.  He loves science and math and has been a part of a STEM program at the air museum where Jem works.  He was in a class of teenagers and amazed them, as well as the adults, with his knowledge and grasp of all things science.  As a matter of fact, I think that's all he ever thinks about.  We love that boy!

My life is on a new path of GOOD HEALTH!  No, I've not been sick.  Just becoming more determined to stay strong and healthy.  Every day I pray for Rabbi and me to be like Moses -- with clear vision and strength.  My prayer is based on this verse:

  Moshe was 120 years old when he died, 
with eyes undimmed
 and vigor undiminished. 
(Deuteronomy 34:7) 

I've been following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating and have lost about ten pounds since the first of July.  I'm also exercising and I feel FABULOUS!  Here's my schedule:  Monday and Wednesday - water exercise, then on Tuesday and Thursday, I work with weight machines at the gym.  I've not been exercising on the weekends, but that's going to change.  Not exercising for three days is not working for me.  I get stiff, Gail-Friends!  So, I think I'll start walking on those days.  Rebounding on my mini-trampoline is also an option for rainy days.

Last weekend, Jem and I walked at a local mall.  It's so hot here that mall walking is very popular in our small town.  I love combining air-conditioned walking with window shopping.  What's not to like, right?  Although I do have to repeat over and over to myself, "I don't need that."

My clutter cleanout has continued.  Every week, I fill a bag with no-longer-needed stuff and give it away.  Ahhhh. It feels so good.

Golden Cottage Garden and Pond are getting a daily soaking with the afternoon rains.  Thank You, Father!  Here's how lush it has grown:

Look at that bird feeder with the cardinal.  That is the BEST bird feeder EVER!  I got it at Walmart and I love it so much I bought a second one.  The reason?  The squirrels don't like it.  So -- no more waste of seeds.  Thank you, Father!

Here's some more beauty from the garden.  Isn't God's creativity awe-inspiring?  I'm so thankful for flowers.

While on a bird drive, I snapped a few photos of some raccoons we saw near the ranger station in the wildlife preserve.  We first saw the two little ones playing, then one of them headed over toward a cat lying in the grass.  I thought there would be a confrontation, but it didn't happen.  The cat kept still, the raccoon sniffed him and then ambled off into the bushes.  Maybe they are buddies.  It was fun watching them.

While crossing the causeway to the island, we saw this family of wild pigs.  They were really close to the highway but weren't bothered at all by the noise.  Must have been some extra good food they were rooting for, huh?

Later that same day, I caught this great blue heron enjoying a moment of quiet meditation by the lake at a local park.

We had another wedding at the synagogue and a lovely one it was, too!

My prayer for Nacoma and Amanda is that they will be as happy for the rest of their marriage as on the day they wed.

I love this watermelon idea at the reception:

Nacoma's daughter insisted she wanted to go home and spend the night with us, so we (very happily) said a big YES!  We had so much fun doing girl-stuff like make-up, hair, and staying up all night! The next day, Jem took her to the air museum (while I slept) for a tour and bought her an airline stewardess Barbie doll.  We had fun with that, too.  We love that little girl.

She got a little carried away with the eyebrows, though!

I saved the sad part of the catch-up for last.  Freckles, the cat we took in when his family moved away has never gotten over losing them.  They couldn't have a cat where they moved, and since he was an outside cat, we welcomed him to Golden Cottage, along with his pal Toonie.  Freckles never adjusted the way Toonie has.  He cried a lot, and kept laying by their house instead of ours.  I know he was grieving his old family.  So, I contacted his former owner and told her he wasn't doing well.  She was so heartbroken.  The next day, she called and said she had a relative who was going to let Freckles come to live at her house.  Since their new place is near the relative's, they can go over and visit and love on him.  I know that will make him happy.  We sure do miss him though.

Toonie is still in ICU, but his nose is almost completely healed.  He's happy as a clam, so we might just let him stay there.  He's the most laid-back, loving cat I've ever seen.  We're so thankful he's happy here at Golden Cottage.

Well, that's the news from Golden Cottage.  I hope you have lots to be thankful for this week.  I'd love to hear about it.  

Blessings and have a good week.


Friday, August 16, 2019

Sabbath Music - Micha Mocha (Who Is Like You?)

Greetings and welcome, Gail-Friends.  So much has been happening here at Golden Cottage, and I hope to catch you up next week.  But, today is preparation day and I've been meditating on the parshah for the week ahead:  Deuteronomy 3:23 --7:11. The song for today is based on Deuteronomy 3:24:

24 ‘Adonai Elohim, you have begun to reveal your greatness to your servant, and your strong hand — for what other god is there in heaven or on earth that can do the works and mighty deeds that you do? 

I hope you enjoy this beautiful song by Paul Wilbur -- Micha Mocha.  The title is Hebrew for Who Is Like You? We sing this song every week in our Shabbat service.

This parshah also includes the Sh'ma:  

“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These words, which I am commanding you today, are to be on your heart. You are to teach them diligently to your children, and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. Bind them as a sign on your hand, they are to be as frontlets between your eyes, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Chapter six includes the Ten Commandments.  The fourth commandment commands us regarding His Sabbath:

12 “‘Observe the day of Shabbat, to set it apart as holy, as Adonai your God ordered you to do. 13 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your ox, your donkey or any of your other livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property — so that your male and female servants can rest just as you do. 15 You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.

A good meditation for this Shabbat is to journal about these three passages. This is how I do it:
  •  List the wonders of Adonai's creation that cause me to be filled with wonder.  (For me, that would include all of the plants and flowers and birds He's made for us.)
  •  Do I love Adonai with all of my heart, soul, and strength?  How does that play out in my life?  Yeshua the Messiah said that we show Him our love by obedience -- keeping His commandments.
  • Am I teaching His commandments to my children (grandchildren and adult children) diligently? 
  • Am I studying His Word and meditating on it throughout the day? (For me, writing Scripture verses on post-it-notes is a good way to do this.)
  • Am I keeping the commandments listed in the Ten Commandments?"   
  • Am I honoring "His" Sabbath?  How am I doing that?

I hope you have a wonder-full, worship-full Sabbath and a blessed week ahead.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Sabbath Music - Your Name

Shabbat Shalom, Gail-Friends!

I'm looking forward to the Sabbath because I've had a busy, stressful week.  Some happy stress and some not- so- happy stress. But it's all good because Abba works it all together for good, right?  In the not-so-happy things, I call on His Name.  When I'm puzzled, when I'm tired, when I'm afraid, when I'm angry . . . I call on His Name to take my hand and walk me through it.  He always does.   His Name is powerful and that's what today's song is about: 

Your Name by Zemer Levav

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sabbath Music - He's Been Faithful to Me

Today's song for your Sabbath is He's Been Faithful to Me, sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.   Listen to the words carefully.  This song always makes me cry. as I remember all the times God has been faithful to me.  I have many of them recorded in my prayer journal.  I write them down because when troubles come along, it's easy to forget all the things He's done.

This is a good thing to do on Shabbat - make a list of all the things God has done for you.  A good start is:

He covered me in my mother's womb
He gave me LIFE!!
I can see
I can walk
I can talk
I can hear
I have strength
Food on the table
A roof over my head

You get the idea, right?

It's a good practice to list at least three things you're thankful every day.  Those things are part of His faithfulness to us.  Everything comes by His loving hand.

Have a blessed and peace-full Sabbath.


I sometimes share my posts with these friends:

Thankful Thursday - Real Men

This week, I'm thankful for real men, and my husband is one of them.  He's tough as nails when it comes to truth and doing the right thing.  And yet, he is the most gentlemanly man I've ever known.  In my eyes, he is a model of what a real man should be - especially when it comes to the Word of God. 

I read an article that prompted this post, and I think it should be read and shared far and wide.  If you wonder why our society is going down the proverbial drain, this article makes some excellent points.  It's a long piece, but well worth the time: What the World Needs Now is Christianity With A Pair.

Our president is a real man and I'm thankful for the stand he's taking in making our country great again.  I watched his rally in Ohio last night, and as always, my patriotism is renewed.  You can watch it on YouTube. 

Like the article says, we need real men with courage and integrity who are willing to stand up and fight for what's right.  We need women like that, too.  I admire Elizabeth Johnston - The Activist Mommy who takes on the issues of the day and won't back down.  You can find her on Facebook (when she's not being banned), Twitter, and on her website.

If you know a real man, be thankful . . . and tell him how much you admire him.