Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Lord Lift Me Up - Part 2




There have been many battles in my seven-decade life and through each one, I've learned something new about my Heavenly Father.  Scripture is the key to getting through a battle, Gail-Friends.  My favorite verse to cling to is "Some trust in horses and some in chariots, but we will trust in the Name of our God." (Psalm 20:7)


This series by Nancy Campbell has been so encouraging to me and I hope it will bless you, too.  It is from Nancy's weekly e-mail devotional (used with her permission).  You can sign up for the e-mails on her website.  www.aboverubies.org



Part 2

 “Mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust;

leave not my soul destitute.”

(Psalm 141: 8).

We continue thoughts about LIFTING UP OUR EYES. Blessings come when we open our eyes to the Lord. God revealed visions to Daniel when he lifted his eyes (Daniel 8:3 and 10:5). When Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant, he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire protecting them (2 Kings 6:17).


God promises to pluck our feet out of the net we are in when we fix our eyes upon Him. David confesses in Psalm 25:15: “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” The NET states: “I continually look to the LORD for help, for he will free my feet from the enemy’s net.”


We read the amazing deliverance God brought to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. A huge army of soldiers from three armies came to fight against Judah. Jehoshaphat feared. He had no might against this multitude. What could he do? He turned to the Lord and cried out to Him: “We have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee(verse 12).


What do you do when you don’t know what to do? You turn your eyes to the Lord and look to Him. When your eyes are upon the Lord instead of your circumstances, He will show you what to do. When Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah looked to the Lord, He showed them His plan and God wrought a mighty deliverance for them.


Isaiah 40:26: Lift up your eyes on high (not on the fleeting things of this world or the difficult circumstances), and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out the host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might; for that he is strong in power.” We lift up our eyes to the One who is all powerful and the Creator of all things. We can trust Him implicitly.

Psalm 123:2: “Behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until he have mercy upon us.” The servant must keep his eyes upon his master to be ready to do his bidding. A faithful servant knows his master so well that he knows what to do by the look of his master’s eyes or his hand movements. We do not look to the Lord in vain. We look to Him to know Him, to hear His soft whisper, to follow His guidance, to know His will strongly in our hearts.


Looking to the Lord should become a lifestyle. We inherently keep our eyes upon Him. It becomes the habit of our lives. May God help each one of us to live in this realm.


Read these further Scriptures to be encouraged today: Palm 121:1; 123:1, 2; 141:7, 8; Proverbs 3:5, 6; Isaiah 40:26-31; Luke 21:28; John 4:35; and Hebrews 12:1, 2.



Psalm 24:7-10: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle . . . the LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.” The gates of the city must be lifted up when an earthly king arrives. We must also open up the gates of our hearts and minds to welcome our King of kings. He is the One who is strong and mighty. He is the One who will help us fight our battles! He is the God of the heavenly armies. We can’t do it on our own. In the flesh, we tend to open our minds to our problems, to the “poor me” attitude, to the overwhelmingness all around us and our gates are closed to the Lord.


Dear mother, lift up your head today. Open up the gates of your mind and heart to the Lord. He will lift you up to a new plain. To higher ground. As the hymnwriter says: “My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; Though some may dwell where those abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground.” Can you say Amen?


He has promised to be “the lifter of your head” (Psalm 3:3). He will lift up your head above your enemies” (Psalm 27:5, 6). Read also Luke 21:28.



“Dear Father, forgive me for looking to my own resources and trusting in my understanding instead of looking to You. Help me to look to You first in every situation. Amen.”


My eyes are continually toward the Lord.

LIFE TO THE FULL w/ Nancy Campbell. I know you will be so blessed. A new podcast comes out each Tuesday morning. You can go to the home page of Above Rubies to click on to it or go to: http://ARPoddy.buzzsprout.com

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Louisiana Vacation


 In early November, we took a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to attend Jem's Navy reunion.  We drove, and really enjoyed the fall colors of the trees along the way.  Here in central Florida, we get a little bit of color in December and January.

We spent the first night on the road in Pensacola.  This was the beautiful view from our hotel.

The next day, we traveled on to Camp Moore, a Civil War cemetary and museum in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.  Jem  played docent, since the museum was closed and shared with me all about this important part of Civil War history. Camp Moore was the largest Confederate training camp in Louisiana and the only one still open to the public. It organized and sent soldiers from Louisiana to fight in many major battles of the Civil War, such as Shiloh, Gettysburg, and Atlanta.  If you love history, you can learn more about Camp Moore at their website.

Our first tour was a boat ride with a hilarious captain.  He had some great stories to tell and I really enjoyed his Cajun accent.

We saw a huge group of raccoons on the ride.  They were as interested in us as we were in them.  Yes, the guide gave them treats. So cute!

I even held a baby alligator. Jem got another shot of me holding it, but I look so horrified I don't want to show it to you.

We visited Houmas House in Darrow, La.  I loved this house, and the gardens were gorgeous.  We were amazed to learn that the owner lives there. . . and we went through his bedroom!


                                                                  Photo from flicr


 Some of the trees on the grounds were huge!

 These are photos of murals in the entrance hall of the house:

 Above is a great blue heron, and below is a red-winged blackbird.

The bird below is a roseate spoonbill.  We have these in our area, and I love to take pictures of them.

I loved the harp:

The docent invited anyone who played piano to entertain.  I sat down to play a boogie woogie, but got so excited and flustered that the only song I could remember was Chopsticks.  I bowed out at that point.


Just look at this staircase y'all...


and this mirror!  Oh my!  And the beds and furniture were awesome.  Look at the old high chair.

 These two dresses were glorious.

And this scene begged to be photographed, right? It's a courtyard alongside the kitchen, which is in another building behind the house.

The gardens were really nice, but we didn't have time to view them all. Don't you know this bridge is beautiful at night with the white lights twinkling ?

There was a museum and a restaurant where we had lunch.  Louisiana is Cajun country - so every place we ate on the tours had pork, shrimp, and/or ditch bugs (aka crawfish) none of which we eat, but there was always a chicken main dish so we survived.  Oh, and all of the restaurants had bread pudding for dessert, which must be a big thing in the area.  It was very good.

The museum had a big display about death and funerals that I found fascinating.  The carriage above would be carried by two horses.  You might even see these in present-day funeral processions in New Orleans.

This scene was of a sick person on his death-bed.  Across from it was a display of items used for funerals during that time period. (photo below) I thought the wicker coffin was interesting.  Back then, people were kept at home until the burial or funeral service.  When my grandmother died in 1976 she was at home until the burial. 

On a happier note, there was a nice display about the Mardi Gras parade and costumes.  This yellow one was my favorite: 


I highly recommend this tour if you visit Louisiana.  You can visit their website HERE.

The next day, we took a bus ride to New Orleans to tour the World War 2 Museum.  This was really interesting, and we have to go back because the place is so huge.  No way could one see it all in a few hours.  It would take days.

My favorite part of the tour was the fabulous show by the Liberty Belles.  Jem even got to dance with one of the girls.  We had a great time and a delicious lunch there.

 A few shots of things we saw:

 Lots of airplanes, which Jem loves.

 This is a photo of the "rack" that he slept on during his carrier days. Not too comfortable looking, but he said by the time he got to lay in it, he was immediately asleep.

The two photos below are a display about the mail service during the war. I love the painting of the girl holding the letters to her heart.


While we were touring the museum, our bus driver made a trip to Cafe du Monde to get beignets for everyone.  She was so funny.  She said it's nothing but flour and water,  fried and sprinkled with sugar.  But this square donut has a reputation and it's a must to have one when you visit The Big Easy.

The beautiful Embassy Suites courtyard with a flag for the reunion.


Replica of the Shangrila aircraft carrier.

A funny sign about work on the flight deck, which Jem did.  He was a red shirt, and loved the excitement and adventure.

The reunion committee did a great job of planning activities, tours, and meals during the week we were there. We would have loved to stay longer, but our fur babies were in the spa (aka the kennel) and a week was a long time to be away from them. We were glad to meet some new friends, and look forward to next year's reunion.

Happiness is being married to your best friend!

        Happiness is being married to your best friend. . . and growing old together.                                                            

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Golden Cottage Happenings



 Yes, we did eat our traditional Southern meal on New Years Day of black-eyed peas, turnip greens, rice, turkey sausage, and cornbread.  Sooo good!!!  No, we didn't stay up to see  the ball drop.  We went to bed about 10:00pm, but woke up when the final fireworks extravaganza went off in the neighborhood.  Thankfully, it only lasted a few minutes.  

For years, I made a list of new year resolutions, but don't do that any more.  I prefer to make a gratitude list of all the blessing of the past year.  I keep an "almost daily" journal, so it's easy to look back over the year behind me.  I started this practice years ago with the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), but am going to apply it on the secular new year, too.  This will keep me in the habit of thanksgiving lists every six months.

I also keep a prayer journal that I started decades ago (around 1984-5). George Mueller's book played a big part in this important habit.  Remembering  what Hashem has done in our lives is important because it's easy to forget all of Hashem's blessings and the answered prayers.


These are my blessings in 2023:

Rabbi Jem and I have general good health and strength.  My prayer is for both of us to be like Moses, "whose eyes were not dimmed and whose foot did not stumble."   I prayer for both physical and spiritual vision, and for physical and spiritual strength.  (more about that later)

Rabbi Jem is officially retired now, except for the synagogue, of course.

Spending more time with our daughter's family, especially the grands.  We're so blessed to live near them.

Enjoying our grandson's band and chorus concerts. 

Our new family member, a high energy teenager we call Lucy Loo.  We tell people she's part coyote and part goat. . . because she loves to run, and she eats everything, including my post-it-notes and bookmarks.. We rescued her from the local pound, and they'd named her Lucy.  We kept that name because she makes us laugh like Lucy Ricardo on the I love Lucy TV show.   We prayed for the dog we needed and the one who needed us.  God knows what He's doing for sure. 


Our synagogue family, especially my loving "sisters".

Our work on political causes and volunteer opportunities. 

My writing critique partners, Peggy and Betty. Such a blessing to have two retired English teachers!

Healing from my knee surgery. I was pretty much out of commission for five months.   Next month will be one year since the surgery.  I'm feeling like myself -- the self before the pain. (This, plus the surgery recovery is a total of four years. A word to the wise:  if you're told you need a knee replacement, just do it.)

Physical therapy that has made so much difference in my recovery.

The lessons I've learned through trials.  I've learned that when troubles come into my life, Hashem wants to teach me something.  I call them "Golden Nuggets".  The trials I've gone through have humbled me.  This year I learned, once again, that studying and following His Torah develops wisdom, common sense, and discernment.  



This year, I learned to recognize the workings of satan and to resist them immediately.   I'm very long-suffering and keep going with people because I hope and pray they will repent and return to Hashem's Word, will, and ways.  I learned when and how to let go.  I still pray for them, but turn them over to Him.

One of my blessings, in addition to Torah study, is the (almost) daily reading of the book of Proverbs. (I call it Hashem's psychology book.) This year, I took notes about the three types of people:  the wicked/evil, the foolish, and the godly/righteous.

 I challenge you to do a study on this for yourself.  Make three columns on a sheet of paper.  Read a chapter of Proverbs each day, making notes about the actions of each type of person in their column.  It's truly eye opening.  I learned to get away from the evil people, work with the foolish as long as they are teachable (Proverbs 26:4-5), and to live out the characteristics of a godly woman. In Judaism, a righteous man is called a mensch. . . maybe a woman is a mensch-ette??  Any way, that's my desire (see the banner at the top of my blog).

There are so many more blessings.  My blog posts for 2023 will show you more, especially the blessings of following Judaism.  Check them out in the links on the left of the blog.  I'm amazed that I did thirty-six posts!! 

Hope y'all have a fantastic year ahead, Gail-Friends!