Friday, December 20, 2019

Thankful Thursday - When A Man Loves A Woman

It's way past time for me to catch up on my gratitudes, Gail-Friends.  I haven't done a Thankful Thursday post in over a month. Explanation later in this post.  Oh, and read on for the part about when a man loves a woman.

Thanksgiving was great.  The kids came over and we had a great turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Didn't it turn out pretty?

I made the most delicious sugar-free turtle cheesecake with caramel sauce.   We avoided a mishap when Jem was helping me before the meal.  I told him to pour the giblet gravy in the gravy bowl.  He picked up the hot caramel sauce by mistake.  Thankfully, I caught it before we had giblet gravy poured on the cheesecake!  We all had a big laugh over that one!

So blessed and thankful to spend time with our grandson.  He's getting so tall.  He loved petting Toonie Woo, Esq.  That's our cat's new name.  We got it from an episode of All Creatures Great and Small.  (Long story for another day.)  It was a lovely Thanksgiving Day.

We've been nursing our poor, sick puppy.  She's had a bout with gastroenteritis.  Thankfully, she is better, but still having tummy trouble occasionally.  Please say a prayer for her.

at the vet's office

 I was blessed to spend time with my long-time friend, Barbara, with a visit to our local tea room.  It was her birthday and if I told you her age, you wouldn't believe me (and she would kill me!).  Isn't she gorgeous?  She's beautiful - inside and out!  I' so thankful to have a friend like her.

Jem and I went to Cracker Christmas this month.  I always enjoy seeing the crafts and listening to the music.  Jem also enjoys visiting with his old Civil War re-enactor buddies there.  I like visiting the old Cracker houses and taking photos of them.  This one with the pretty rose decal dishes always reminds me of my grandmother.  These are the dishes I wrote about in my story, Grannie's Dishes, which was published in the book Christmas Moments. The story behind that story (!) was the beginning of my unplugging of the Christmas machine, which was my previous post.

As I said in that post, I celebrate Christmas differently now.  No rush, no stress, no madness - only worship and peace.  We went to a wonderful concert last week put on by the Space Coast Flute Orchestra.  We were introduced to an instrument I'd never seen before.  The contra-bass flute.  Such a lovely sound it makes, too.  Who knew??

 My daughter, Amanda, and I attended a presentation of White Christmas at the Cocoa Village Playhouse.  We both LOVED it!  We have a tradition of watching the movie together and this play did not dissapoint.  Our favorite part is the "Sisters" song.  The finale was beautiful with the poppy-red costumes.  Such a great production.  I'm thankful that we have two playhouses in our area.  They both do a great job of bringing quality theatre to the "country" as I love to call it. Sorry for the bad pics.  My phone doesn't take good photos in the dark.  I wish you could see what I saw, Gail-Friends.

 Our friends, Carlleen and Eddy sent us the cutest Hanukkah gifts - a doxie and a latke peeler!  Aren't they the cutest?  We cracked up!!!

Speaking of gifts and good friends, LaVonne and David sent us these great presents when they were visiting New Orleans.  I talked Jem into modeling my scarf.  We are so thankful for these friends and the many others in our lives.

I love this man.  When I asked him to model the sparkly, girly scarf for the picture, he said, "Okay . . ."  He is such a good sport.  He always says, "Gail, I'd sleep out in the rain if that's the way it's gotta be..." (That's a line from the song, When A Man Loves a Woman, y'all. I'm so thankful for that kind of love.)  Yesterday, I told him I wanted to go look at a camper and he said, "Are you gonna make me sleep out in the rain?"  I cracked up!  You know, I think he really would sleep out in the rain if I asked him to.  I love him soooooo and am thankful that God brought us together.  Our love story is coming soon!

This photo was taken at the air museum where he is the curator.  Isn't it gorgeous? The sunset - not the plane.  Well, it is gorgeous, too.  It's the Tico Belle, an old WW2 plane that is still in use.  Jem is so thankful to work (and volunteer) there. He loves airplanes and was an "ordie" on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier while serving in the Navy.

I had a wonderful time last night with some of my doTerra friends.  I made this fruit plate and didn't it turn out pretty?  So easy, too.  I love star fruit. 

I've been busy working on more books to be published.  I'm thankful to have Golden Musings now in print and as an e-book.  I'll be doing a book talk at a the Melbourne library on Sunday, December 22.  Pray for me, Gail-Friends, that God's Kingdom will come and be done through me and through my writing.  That's my heart's desire.

Now I'm working on these books:

Bird Blessings
31 Days of Wisdom from Proverbs
31 Days of Prayer for My Adult Children
A Golden Love Story - how God brought Jem and me together after forty years of wandering in the desert.  I'm thinking of the sub-title, "It All Started With a Cheeseburger".  What do ya think?

Well, Hanukkah starts on Sunday night, so I've got the menorahs and candles ready.  Not sure if I'll be able to do more posts until after Hanukkah, so Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all, dear Gail-Friends.  I pray your holidays are full of worship and peace.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Unplug the Christmas Machine

Christmas Unplugged

I'm blessed to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.  I celebrate Christmas very differently than most, and very differently from the way I did it in years past.   I read a quote this week that sums up my outlook on Christmas celebrations.

"Whenever Christmas begins to burden, it’s a sign that I’ve taken on something

 of the world and not of Christ."


Years ago, I read a book, Unplug the Christmas Machine, that had a profound impact on me.  I was a young mother at the time, and completely worn out by "Christmas".  I ran myself ragged shopping, decorating, entertaining, being entertained...and you know the rest of the story.  After reading the book, I decided to do Christmas differently, and it has evolved over time.  Slowly, I began to do gifts differently.  I shopped, spent, and decorated less, and began to worship more.

Who is Christmas about, after all?  Isn't it about Yeshua?  Weren't the first gifts brought to Him?  I can remember, as a small girl, feeling like something was missing at Christmas.  Yes, I knew and read the story of His birth...but what was I giving Him?  My little girl heart knew He was being ignored... in spite of all the decorations, presents, parties, and hoopla.  Even as a small girl, I sensed He was grieved.

Somewhere along the line, in my desire to love Him and honor Him, I read about the pagan basis for Christmas.   I learned that Yeshua was most likely not born in the winter because the shepherds were tending their flocks in the hills.  I learned that the Bible says not to put a tree in your house and decorate it (Jer.10:1-5).  And don't even get me started on Santa Claus.  I had to ask myself if God is pleased by telling children that lie.  I have a grandson now, and I much prefer that he learn about God's appointed feasts and festivals than the world's.  I'm thankful that his parents feel the same.

Yeshua celebrated those feasts, including Hanukkah.  He also said, "I have not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it."  I don't think He meant to stop celebrating His feasts, but to realize in celebrating them that He is the fulfillment of them.  They are all tactile, hands-on lessons that teach us about His character and about our relationship to Him.  Yeshua is, after all, the God of the Old Testament, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  If he said we would observe His feasts forever, shouldn't we be doing that and follow His example? 

For that reason, I celebrate Hanukkah - with Yeshua as the Light of the World.  I observe Christmas as the fact that  He was born as a man.  I worship Him - not the Christmas tree, or the presents, or the whole machine that Christmas has become.  I'm much happier doing it that way.

For me, Christmas is a time of peace and of drawing close to Him.  I thank Him that He was willing to become a man and to suffer as we do in this earth, to understand our frailty.  I thank Him that He didn't give in to sin so that He could be that perfect offering for sin.  I thank Him for His light that has shined into my heart and taken root there.  I thank Him for the blessing of being in His family and for the gift of His Word to guide my life.  I thank Him for the Ruach Hakodesh living inside me. I am so glad He came.

What's funny about being a Messianic Jewish believer is that sometimes Hanukkah comes before Christmas, and then sometimes it's just the opposite.  So, mostly, we celebrate all month long -  that Yeshua was born and that He was the Light of the World.  We put up blue and white lights and listen to Hanukkah music as well as songs of Christmas that celebrate our Savior's birth.  We make special foods and fellowship with friends.  Yes, I do give gifts, but they are quite minimal.  No more pushing myself to keep up with the Christmas machine.  I play music, and go to free concerts that focus on Yeshua.  I ride around and look at the lights and worship my Savior.  My heart is so full of gratitude and worship.

This video is so wonderful.  I hope you'll watch it, and stand up with me and praise and worship Yeshua - the King of Kings and L-rd of Lords.   Halelu-jah!  (a great Hebrew word that means Praise God!).To learn more about Hanukkah, please enjoy: Yeshua is the Light