I'm Honey!

As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

Oh My, Ponder This:








Recent Articles

Growing up Jewish among friends who celebrated Christmas

“Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to give myself a gold star for being ordinary, and maybe one of these days I’ll give myself a gold star for being extraordinary…for persisting and maybe one day I won’t need to have a star at all.”-Sue Bender

I came across this quote and felt it apropos because of the time of the year. A  time to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. Stars seem to fit in so perfectly for as the Christmas song states: Christmas is the loveliest time of the year. A gold star day.

I love stars. As a little girl growing up in Kankakee by the Sea, I loved getting a gold star on my papers from my teachers, five pointed proof that I accomplished, I excelled. But as I recall there was always pressure on me to get that gold star.

Now that I am a woman far after 50, because of my many experiences I ‘rejoice’ when I give  myself a gold star. Do you? When I privately see my star after I accomplished my mission  and imagine it  “‘twinkling and winking at me in all its’ shine as if to say,  ‘you did good girl.’ In other words, I no longer need another person to give me a gold star. I now rejoice in proving myself to myself.  Now I can ‘simply be,’ focused on my private course. There is no better time of the year to discuss this progression of life than at Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year.

Act 1 prepared you women after 50 for Act 11. Your experiences in Act 1 reflect on who you are today. And, who are you? You are the wizened  women of the world.  For those of you who know it wear  your gold star, in your head, proudly. For those of you in doubt, take time to reflect. Whether you  realize it or not, Act 1 gave you a confidence star. Think about  how you survived your trails and tribulations and rejoice.

I know Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are the ideal time  to reflect on your past experiences; what you encountered in Act 1. Sit down in your favorite spot with a hot toddy made of liquor, with hot water, sugar and spice  and go back in time. Rethink your sugar and spice experiences that today prepared you, a wizened woman. for Act 11.

This is an appropriate time to buy yourself a gift. A beautiful journal. In your favorite color or design.  I know. My writings over the past ten years, became a journal and unknowingly opened the windows of my life. I am  a very wizened woman because I know who I am. And, that is what matters. Please follow in my path because eventually you will live into your answers,  you will experience through your authentic writing a close-up, the windows of your life, your lessons and your accomplishments and you will… rejoice.

And, now that that I have given you a gold star message, here’s one of my entries. Oh, the lessons I learned. I am smiling.

Hanukkah and Christmas in Kankakee by the Sea

The two most wonderful and festive holidays of the year take place in December and though they are different, they are also very similar. Families gather together to celebrate the occasions, the avenues in our cities are lit up and lights shine in our homes. Christmas tree lights in many of yours and a lit menorah in mine.

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish darlings

The celebration of Hanukkah begin at sundown last Sunday.

I know you brought out your menorahs, set your tables for family and friends, went to your markets and your flower shops in preparation of the first night of the celebration of Hanukkah.

For my non-Jewish darlings here is a lesson on Hanukkah

Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish people’s victory over the Syrian Greek army that led to restoring and rededicating the Holy Temple back to the Jewish peoples in 165 B.C. Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for “dedication” is the Festival of Lights.

Why is Hanukkah called the Festival of Lights? There was just one vial of oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day and the lamp burned for eight. It was a miracle.

The holiday is a very happy family time in Jewish homes as is Christmas in Christian homes, which leads me to my story today.

My story recollects my experiences growing up as a little Jewish girl in Kankakee by the Sea and how the experience of these two holidays enriched my life.

Christmas and Hanukkah

I often say to you, dear readers, that everything we experience during our lives becomes a story. The story can last but a few minutes or continue for a few weeks. Some are over the top fantastic, some are hopeful, some boring, some painful, but nevertheless when strung together they become a novel of our memories—the story of our personal life.  As we review our life’s chapters, our memories, we often return to the most defining ones, those that played an important role in shaping our lives.   

I mention Kankakee by the Sea often in my musings because other than my parents, the town and its citizens were very important in molding my character. When I left, at 18, for college and sorority life, I left behind the physical community of Kankakee by the Sea but carried with me a certain innocence of the small town mentality. I am glad.  I still carry that mentality in me to this day along with layers of special and heartbreaking emotional experiences that are carved in my mind and soul.

My musings today take me back to Kankakee by the Sea; to Hanukkah and Christmas. My girlfriends were Christian. I was a Jew.

Christmas in Kankakee by the Sea brought out a longing for inclusion. Try growing up a little Jewish girl in a overwhelmingly Christian town. I was not envious; I was wistful. I wanted to decorate a Christmas tree, have the most beautiful wreath on our front door and give and receive lots of presents. I wanted to run down the stairs Christmas morning and see what Santa left me and share the information with my Christian friends. I wanted to have my mom make a turkey and ham and invite our family over for Christmas dinner. Why shouldn’t I? After all, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and I wanted to revel in it.

That was not to be my story.

Recounting my memories, I see those holiday events as a positive. I learned about Christianity because I spent time with my non-Jewish girlfriends. I could sing every word of every Christmas carol, I helped my friends decorate their trees, ate ham for dinner at their homes and as I grew older in Kankakee by the Sea I went to midnight Mass with my friends at Saint Patrick Church. I recall when they knelt, I sat in my seat as a good little Jewish girl. All-in-all I learned the important lesson early on of respecting other people’s faiths while still maintaining my identity as a Jew. 

I give all of this credit to my father and one of my grandfathers his father, Paul Lang,Their actions and words made me so proud and pleased that at a very young age my Jewish heritage was instilled within me for life, though I did not realize it at the time.

They taught me to honor my beliefs. I did not grow up with a Christmas tree with twinkling lights and divinely wrapped presents with beautiful bows under the tree or stockings hung on the fireplace mantle.

I grew up learning the importance of planting trees in Israel to help turn the desert into a garden of Eden. I learned the importance of taking pride in my religious beliefs and I learned the history of the Jewish peoples. I learned charity and I learned from my father and grandfather to respect the beliefs of my friends. Hanukkah was a time of lighting the candles, singing songs, sharing love with my family and learning early on that not everyone celebrated Hanukkah.


I did not have a wreath on my door at Christmas. I had a mezuzah with the scrolls of the Ten Commandments on my door post.

On Hanukkah, I lit our menorah for eight nights. My friends had candles on their dining room tables.

I did not have a delicious Christmas dinner of ham and turkey and mashed potatoes. During Hanukkah, I devoured latkes with applesauce.

I did not have any twinkling lights in my front yard like my friends who had Nativity scenes. I recall asking my mother, “Can we have Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in our front yard and pretend he and the reindeer are Jewish?” The answer, with some laughter, was “No.”

Was I envious that I did not celebrate Christmas?

Was I envious of my friends at Christmas? Did I feel excluded? The answer is yes and no. Though Christmas is magical and there is love and sharing in the air, I realized at a young age that Christmas was not my holiday. Christmas belonged to my Christian friends. Hanukkah belonged to me. I would delight in sharing Christmas with them and they would delight in sharing Hanukkah with me.

They would invite me to their homes for Christmas dinner and their mothers would serve roasted chestnuts, ham, sweet potatoes, and pecan pie and ice cream for desert. I would invite them to my home and my mom would teach them how to make delicious latkes that were served with all kinds of toppings along with a delicious Hanukkah dinner.

Years have gone by. December is my favorite month of the year because of Hanukkah, Christmas and my memoirs. I chose to marry my husband in December because I am the happiest in December.

To my Jewish darlings, wherever you are, light your menorahs and twirl your dreidels into 2023. Happy Hanukkah. To my Christmas friends light your trees, light your candles, light your fireplaces and rejoice.

December 10, 2017


+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

  1. Carol Gilbert says:

    Your stories always warm my heart and leave a smile on my face. This one of Christmas and Hanukkah is delightful and priceless. Happy Hanukkah to you from a Catholic friend! ❤️

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      And Merry Christmas to you from a Jewish Friend. So glad you enjoy my musings. Makes me happy. Warmly, Honey

  2. Laura says:

    I came to your website, after seeing you, your Sheldon, and your four-leggier big fluff ball on Advanced Style. I find you so refreshing, and I share your December growing up w/o a Christmas Tree story. You’re terrific!

    What kind of dog do you own (in that picture)? I want one! Also, not to get too personal, but who is your Plastic Surgeon? You look fantastic, which I’m sure is good genes and a good PS. Plus, I LOVE your spirit!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      My pooch is a soft coated Wheaton Terrier who has never had a haircut. She is a female. The best breed. The most delicious dog. I had a deep face peel many years ago in LA. That is why I don’t look pulled and fake. If you are interested I will share the Doctor’s name with you. When you say share, do you mean you are Jewish. If so, Happy Hanukkah. If not, Merry Christmas. Warmly, Honey

  3. Karen Louise says:

    I grew up in a small town in Westchester County NY. I am Catholic and alot of my friends were Jewish. I drug them to Midnight Mass and they drug me to Temple! The best of both worlds!

  4. Lisa Rubin says:

    We can’t do our annual Latke Party this year because of our endless demo/reno to the apartment, , but for 26 years (my son’s age) we peeled, chopped and diced, making a big mess at the blender. The latkes were solely made of onions, potatoes and oil. Lots of oil. The latkes were so greasy and fatty, I would declare each year that I’d only have one…..Not so!….The latkes (inconsistently made and usually falling apart, were positively addictive. So a very Happy Chanukah to your wonderful family and you!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You are still hard at work on your apartment?!? Please send pictures. I adore Latkes. I adore Hanukkah. Happy Hanukkah and New Year.
      Warmly, Honey

  5. Regina Doar says:

    Always looking forward to your beautiful stories, they always impact me in so many positive ways. Your attitude to life is amazing. Happy Hanukah to you from a Cuban Jewish friend……

    • maureen Harber says:

      Thankyou for continuing to enlighten and encourage inclusiveness, from a Jewish girl who was in a similar situation as yours when I was growing up in San francisco suburb.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Hi, Cuban Jewish Girlfriend. I traveled to your country about 10 years ago. I loved our trip to your country. Wish we could talk. Where are you living now? Your compliments are so appreciated.Happy Hanukkah. Happy New Year. Warmly, Honey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.