Sunday, December 31, 2023

Golden Cottage - Catching Up on 2023


 Today is Sunday, December 31 and I suddenly realized I've not done a catch up since Simchat Torah in October.  So, here you go.  

Our grandson celebrated his fourteenth birthday in October.  I keep asking myself how he grew up so fast!  He's a sweet boy and is turning into a fine young man.  We're so proud of him.  We enjoyed a dinner out with the family, including our son-in-love's parents.  

And getting a shot of our 2 1/2 yr old grandson was nigh on to impossible. But I got some great photos of him at our Chanukah celebration (below). 

In October, I had a birthday.  I'm thankful to  reach 73!!!  

I'm reminded of my mother at that age.  She seemed so elderly and frail...and yet she lived to be almost 85.  It's made me think...what if I live to that age?  It's only twelve years from now.  Pondering this...and seeking God's face about what He wants in the years ahead.  Each day, I thank Him that I'm alive, that I can see, and hear, and walk, and talk, and that I have health and strength.  

Speaking of health and strength, I am feeling like myself - after two years of pain.  Pain from needing a knee replacement and then the pain while recovering from the surgery.  I can do most everything I used to do except get on my knees...OUCH!  

On my birthday, Jem showered me with flowers.  One bouquet was not enough:

These roses dried on the stem and are still lovely!!

Aren't fall flowers beautiful?

These mums went to the front porch and are still flowering!

My dear friend Betty and I both have birthdays in October.  (She's also my son-in-love's mother.)This year, we went to a new place for lunch called Connections Cafe.  It has a very lovely tea room atmosphere and the food was very good.  I want to support this business because they are a part of an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking.

 Also in October, we went to a pro-life workshop with Father Frank Pavone, whose headquarters is near where we live.  We learned about a bill that is proposed for the Florida legislature.  This bill is very dangerous, but the proponents make it sound like a good thing.  They are are making it sound like birth control will be taken away in the state.  Not so.  Our mission is to educate people about the deceitful wording of the bill.  Please pray with us that this proposal will not go through.  

After the workshop, we met and talked with Father Pavone and had a tour of the facilities:

This painting touched my heart

The literature room is huge. The staff mails out tons of pro-life literature to educate people about the truth of abortion and the after-effects on the mother who makes that "choice" to abort her baby.  They also connect women and girls with resources to support them in keeping their babies.

 This organization does such good work.  We support them and hope you will, too.  This is their website:

We had a wonderful lunch with good friends in early October.  We met up with them at the Cafe Margaux in historic Cocoa Village.  She and Larry are celebrating one year of happy marriage.  Brenda and I met over thirty years ago when we were both single, and we prayed all those years for a good husbands.  God took His time, but answered our prayers with a wonderful man for both of us.  They are as happy as Jem and I for sure. We had such a good time that day.

Chanukah was wonderful, both at the synagogue and at home.

We had lots of food, including my traditional menorah dip.  I love making it.

And, yes, lots of donuts!!

Jem and I lit the candles and said the prayers all eight nights of Chanukah:

During Chanukah, we attended an event in support of the Israeli hostages taken in Gaza.  There were 100 cars in the parade that ended at Temple Beth Shalom in Melbourne.  Photos of each hostage were posted along the driveway.  Please keep praying for all hostages to be released.

We celebrated the birth of Yeshua with worship in the following ways:

By attending local music events that remember it's all about Yeshua, not Santa Clause, Christmas trees, and the many secular things it has become.  We went to a Celtic Christmas presentation at a local church and enjoyed the Celtic Christmas carols and instruments.  

Also, we enjoy looking at the neighborhood Christmas light displays while listening and singing along to Christmas carols on Sirrius radio.  This family did a fantastic job of keeping the focus on Yeshua's birth.  


 Our family Chanukah celebration was delayed due to illness, but we had a great time eating, lighting the candles, and playing dreidl.

He loved the dreidl

Playing This Little Piggy.  He liked it ... kept giggling.
My loves!  The only sad thing was not having our other daughter and son-in-love with us




Well, now I'm all caught up.  Tonight is New Years Eve.  We'll be listening to and watching the many neighborhood fireworks, baking cookies, eating snacks, and watching The Mouse That Roared. . .  a funny movie we've watched before.

Tomorrow, I'll make the traditional Southern New Years Day meal:  Black-eyed peas with rice, turnip greens with roots, buttermilk cornbread, and turkey kielbasa sausage.  We always enjoy that.

I'd love to hear how you celebrate Chanukah...and Christmas, too.  AND how you celebrate New Years Eve. and Day.  

Blessings to you and yours and may your new year be blessed.  

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas Unplugged & a Gift for You!


The Christmas "rush" has begun....and I remember it well.  I remember the stress and the heavy burden I allowed it to become.  But not any more.

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 the book  Unplug the Christmas Machine, and it 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 in a different way 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, as well as Chanukkah (a traditional celebration).  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 Chanukkah - 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 shone in 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 Chanukkah 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-yah!  (a great Hebrew word that means Praise God!). Food Court Haleluyah

 ** please read this post about the birth of Yeshua  The Birth of Yeshua

To learn more about Chanukkah, please enjoy this previous post: Yeshua is the Light

My book about how we celebrate both holidays is a great resource:  Happy Chanukah and Christmas, Too 

Here's a beautiful gift of song for YOU, dear Gail-Friends:  A playlist of worship songs by my daughter.


(This is a re-post from 2019)

Wednesday, December 20, 2023