Friday, October 28, 2022



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.

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.


Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Struggle Makes You Stronger


Years ago, I read the story of a man who found a butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon.  He took the cocoon home and put it on his desk where he could watch the butterfly emerge.  He could see the mighty effort being made for release, but it seemed the butterfly needed help.  So, he took a tiny pair of scissors and cut the cocoon open very carefully, releasing the butterfly.  It tried to walk, but was unable to do so.  Its wings were matted together, making them useless to fly.  The butterfly died.

The man found out later that the struggle to get out of the cocoon was vital to the life and strength of the butterfly.  The process, though painful looking, had to play out in order for it to survive and thrive.  

Over time, I've realized that we are the same.  Struggles develop our faith and character IF we understand that God is doing something in our lives.  When we surrender the situation to Him, He will teach us powerful lessons - things no one can take away from us.  

I know this about my own life.  However, I sometimes forget that about my loved ones.  My personality is that of a fixer - a rescuer.  I want to protect them from pain.  But, like the butterfly, that can be damaging.  This week, I read something on a blog that really spoke to me on this point.  I hope it will help you if you relate.  This is powerful:

“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.


I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.


I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.


And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.


And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.


So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I'm asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I'm asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”

 - Kimberly D. Henderson

I would add this:  I would have probably chased after the prodigal son.  Paid a detective to find him if I couldn't.  Paid his bills, etc.  Done everything to keep him from going through the painful lessons he needed to learn.  

The prodigal's father didn't do any of those things.  He waited.  He waited in faith - looking down the road, expecting his son to come home.  

His son had to suffer.  Living in a pig pen is pretty low for a Jewish boy!  But that suffering brought him to his senses.  He went back to his father's house, and he didn't bring the pig pen home with him.  He learned his lessons through the things he experienced.

I've learned mine, too.  God's in the business of working with people to teach and shape them into His image.  IF he needs my help with my loved ones, He'll let me know.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Sukkot Reflections



 Today is the fifth day of Sukkot - the time of our rejoicing!!  I love this week of spending time in the sukkah - meditating on the goodness of ADONAI and of soaking in His presence.  I turn on beautiful music and listen to the music in my beautiful Golden Cottage Garden.  That garden music is the songs of the birds, bees, and the soft sound of falling flowers from our Golden Rain trees.  Oh, what a wonderful time of stillness is Sukkot.  

I take my cup of coffee, my Bible and journal, along with my favorite daily meditation books*, and sit at the table in our sukkah.  I pray, meditate on what I've read, and then write my thoughts on the readings.  I listen to my Heavenly Father speak to my heart, and record His words in my journal. My soul is restored and full of JOY!

One morning this week, I was making a video of the golden rain falling and I heard something different from the normal garden songs.  I heard a shofar blowing.  It seemed very far off, but I recognized that beautiful sound immediately.  Here is the video.  It's not very loud, so I hope you can hear it:

Did you know that the Scripture says that when Yeshua returns, a trumpet will sound.  I believe that trumpet is the shofar.  It's a very unique sound.  Here's a video of shofar blowing that I love to listen to. 

Sound of the shofar

This year (for the first time), we built our sukkah on the patio (first pic in this post).  We did it because rain was forecast.  I've really enjoyed it, too.  Haven't had to fight the mosquitos or keep brushing away the golden rain blossoms.  I kind of miss that part, though!  Oh, another thing I like about it is I don't have to be wary of Sam, our "pet" black racer that lives in our yard.  He's been here for years and is about four feet long.  Here's a recent pic of him gliding through the flowers around the pond.  


That's Sam - or could be Samantha!  We recently had a baby snake out back, which tells me there's a family.  I'm not afraid of snakes, especially this kind, because they eat frogs, lizards, rodents, and other creepy, crawly visitors to the pond.  I just don't like the idea of one crawling over my foot while I'm meditating.  

This week, I found a YT video that really blessed me.  It's about the Fall Holidays, describing a king who visits his kingdom and spends time with those He loves.  I love thinking of these appointed times in the way she describes.  Our King of Kings, Yeshua Hamashiach, draws near to us and "tabernacles" with us during Sukkot.  The video mentions the extra day that He lingers, enjoying fellowship with us.  I want to linger, too, and often keep the sukkah up for another week or two because I enjoy doing my daily quiet time there.  

Why Celebrate Sukkot

The Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated in Heaven.  Did you know that?  All of the Holidays are picture of our Messiah.  They are physical, tactile symbols to deepen our understanding of spiritual concepts, and I deeply love them. 

To learn more about Sukkot, you can read my previous posts.  Just look on the right side of the page and click on Sukkot.  

Blessings to you, dear Gail-Friends.  Chag Sukkot!

*Streams in the Desert and Come Away My Beloved

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Yom Kippur Reflections



May you and your dear ones be blessed on this Day of Atonement! It is a time of meditation, fasting, and soul searching. 

We confess and repent from our sins and ask ADONAI to write our names in the Book of Life for the coming year. 

We rejoice and praise Him for the blood of Yeshua that pays for our sins when we turn from them. 

We also ask forgiveness of those we've sinned against, and forgive those who've hurt us, doing our best to mend any broken relationships.

To learn more about this commanded observance, visit these posts from the past:

 To learn more about Rosh Hashanah click here:

To learn more about the next feast of the High Holy Days, click here: