Monthly Archives: March 2012
Remember the days of black and white television? I remember watching television in black and white and the day the big color console television was delivered to our home. Now, for those who remember watching black and white television, do you remember the lifestyle people lived back in those days?
Years ago, when our parents and grandparents were coming up there was more than just black and white television. Even in some of us in approaching the wonder years of 50, remember such days. Everything was black and white. What I mean by black and white is that there was right and there was wrong. People lived by the Ten Commandments and understood that there were just that commandments and NOT suggestions! If a child showed disrespect or was unruly, they were punished. Children were raised to know that there were consequences for every action.
These days, it seems the colors black and white are becoming more and more blended and there seems to become an increasing amount of shades of grey. For example, in our media world, we see more and more people justify what they do despite the fact that it is wrong. Morals and values are becoming more and more things of the past. You can turn the television on anytime of the day and be exposed to things that should not even be on television. In today’s society, whatever it takes to bring in top ratings takes priority. Over the course of time, we become more desensitized and the boundaries get pushed a little further.
Not only is our media guilty of surrounding us with more shades of grey but in society today it seems that the rule book has been tossed to the side. It has become a society of people caught up in what they want for themselves and don’t care who they step on to get what they want. If someone hurts another its okay but revenge can be sought. When someone gives someone something such as a gift, the receiver has the mentality; “I deserved this and it didn’t come soon enough.” Then, the giver walks away with the mentality “now you owe me.” And, forgiveness. It hardly exists anymore. Instead, it seems to be more fun to go on a smear campaign against the one who hurt us.
Every day, we are each confronted with issues where we have to make choices. These choices are not the choices of what we will eat, wear or what we will do in our career but these choices are what are we going to expose our hearts, minds and spirits to during the waking hours of the day. For the Christian, this is becoming more and more of a challenge. There are places in the world where Christians are being arrested for their beliefs. The morals and values are not gradually diminishing but they are on a fast downward spiral.
These thoughts really hit my heart the other day when I was watching a program on one of the Christian television stations that I enjoy. The speaker pointed out the scripture from Isaiah: :“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitterness.” Isaiah 5:20. Woe! Did this reading of God’s word hit me in between the eyes. Or. should I say this scripture opened my eyes to the ways of the world even more. Yes, we are in the times where good is no longer acknowledged, Christians are losing rights as each day passes and it seems the more evil something is the better people like it.
With this scripture from Isaiah in mind, we as Christians need to be asking daily for discernment, wisdom, and staying in step with God. It is our responsibility to stand firm on the foundation that we have established as Christ’s Church. We need to begin leading by getting back to the basics of black and white and realize there are NO shades of grey. It is those areas of grey that we all have lived in at one point and time where we will have to face our creator one day and will be held accountable. Is there any real honest explanation for living in the grey?
Remember the days of black and white television? These televisions had only three basic channels and a small screen? Well, this is our template of how we need to walk our Christian walk. It is our responsibility to live out loud the black and white. We live this mentality of black and white by obeying not only the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses to give the people. We must obey all instruction from the bible. The three basic channels we must live out loud are a life of prayer, including God in ALL that we do, and stick with the basic instruction book, the Bible. Because in the bible, there are no grey areas. It is all black and white and those who tried to live in the grey did not fair so well. For the small screen, may we limit how we allow the world’s attempts to pull us over into the areas of grey.
My challenge for all of us is to begin each day asking for God’s guidance, asking for discernment, and wisdom. We must take heed in what Jesus said to His disciples as He talked about the End Times. His instructions to the disciples and to us today were this; Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew: 24:4 Every day we are confronted with deception but we have the choice of buying into that deception and living in the grey. Or, we can make the choice of standing firm on the Word of God and His instructions.
What’s it going to be today? Black and white or grey? If you don’t already, I suggest you begin reading the Basic Instruction Book Before Leaving Earth better known as the Bible! And, each day, remember those commandments God gave Moses were not mere suggestions they were instructions for ALL people.
My son, Drew is a runner. He began running when he was in seventh grade. I will never forget the first practice I took him to. It was a very hot August morning. It was not going to surprise me if he got in the car after practice and say “this is not for me.” But, he proved me wrong. Drew hopped in the car and said; “practice tomorrow eight sharp!” As each day of practice came and went, Drew’s endurance and times would improve.
For those of you who run or ever ran cross-country or track know that you are not only competing with your team to beat the competition but you are competing with yourself. It is the goal of every runner to improve his/her PR (personal record) times each time he/she competes. This competition against self is even greater in 5k’s and marathons.
There were races where Drew would run and he would feel like he was running with weights around his ankle. These races were frustrating for Drew because he knew what his personal best could be and should have been. However, at the end of the day, Drew would put that race behind him and look towards the next start line/race. Even though he would put the bad race behind, he would evaluate and note where he made the mistake, look to see where he needed to improve. The questions Drew would ask himself were; “Did I start out too fast?” “How well did I actual pace myself.” “How focused was I on the race?”
In my post Don’t Give Up..Finish the Race, I share how we each run a race. The race we run is the day in and day out of living. There are good days and there are bad days. In other words, we have good races and races we would like to forget. This post also expresses how God and his angels are on the sidelines cheering us on to the finish.
Every now and then we all look back on days past. Sometimes, we think to ourselves; ‘What was I thinking?’ Yes, we all say hindsight is 20/20 and the best teacher of all. Yet, in those moments when we look back, we need to see the lessons learned and how these decisions were all a part of God’s molding us. Each one of us has personal goals and things we want to achieve each and every day. Yes, we all have a PR(personal record).
There are some days where we meet our PR or even exceed the record. Then there are other days where we wish we could just go crawl in a hole and hide. It is on these days, where we need to evaluate our day and see the mistakes made. Next, we need to learn from those mistakes and move on to the next start line. In other words, we move on to the next new day with our personal record and with knowledge of how to go about the day a little better.
Yes, I know that all of us encounter a moment where we wish we got a do over but life does not work that way. God does not give us do over but he gives us a new slate each day. It is the Lenten season and we are encouraged to stop and evaluate our race strategy. We can ask ourselves similar questions that my son, Drew would ask after a race.
“Am I starting out too fast?” In other words, am I starting the day in such a hurry that I forget to ask God to come along with me?
“Am I pacing myself appropriately?” When I am asked to do things am I doing it out of obligation, or are these things God is calling me to do?
“Am I focused on the race?” As I begin each day, do I focus on God and stay tuned in to His voice. Do I see the goal at the end of the day?
Every day we are placed on a new start line. No matter if we did or didn’t meet our PR the day before, we are given another chance to improve. My PR is to allow Christ show through me in every step and action I take each day. Yes, there are days when I meet this PR and then there are others where I just want to crawl in a hole. But, I know I must evaluate, surrender to God and be ready for the next start line. So what is your PR?
- Run Your Own Race! (takemyfoolishadvice.com)
- Running Through Stings (redeemedandredirected.com)
- The Attitude of An Athlete (Part 1) (jesusnsports.wordpress.com)
- We’ll Finish Together (ttuinder.wordpress.com)
- Click a Blessing Today – He knows what He is doing all the time (ptl2010.com)
Written for Drew March of 2011. Since this was originally posted, Drew has married the love of his life, Megan. As March 24th comes this year, Jim and I feel doubly blessed. One, Drew being our son and two, Megan becoming a part of our family.
Happy 25th Birthday, Drew!
April & Jim @ Grand Canyon August, 1986
August, 1986 Jim and I were in Arizona. Jim had signed up to attend aPhysical Therapy Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona. As Jim made preparations to attend this seminar, he decided he would take me with him and we would go out a week early. He saw it as an opportunity for us to vacation and possibly see the Grand Canyon.
After being in Phoenix a few days, I became very sick. I was so sick that Jim thought I ought to go to the hospital and get checked. The doctors thought I had just picked up a bug and gave me something that would relieve the nausea. Within a few hours, I did feel a little better. Jim signed us up for a tour that would take us to the Grand Canyon for the day. We ventured out with a tour group and had a wonderful time enjoying scenery and meeting other people on the tour from other states as well as from around the world. Needless to say, it was wonderful memory for a newly married couple.
After an outing to the Grand Canyon, it was time for Jim to start his classes and I began to get sick again. Jim jokingly said ” I just can’t take you anywhere!” Then, he got wise to the situation and went to the local pharmacy and picked up a pregnancy test. Yes, the results were positive. But, Jim would not believe it and so we did a second and a third. It was obvious that a little Hawkins would arrive in about nine months. Yet, newly married Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins were in total shock. This news of a new one coming into their lives did not fit into their five-year plan of waiting to start a family. They both asked each other and thought to themselves “what are we going to do?” and ” are we really ready for this?” Of course, as Jim says “we had commitment” and ready or not we were going to be Mom and Dad. An unexpected blessing was expected to arrive in March, 1987.
On March 24, 1987, from the delivery room window, all you could see was the dark sky of rain and storms rolling in one after another. In the delivery room was a weary mom to be becoming more tired and weary from being in labor for over a day. Along with the weary mom to be, was dad to be who had only slept a few hours in a hospital chair. However, the time finally came for the newest Hawkins to enter the world. As Andrew Mitchell Hawkins entered the world, the storm clouds broke and the most beautiful rainbow appeared outside our delivery room window. I knew then that no matter how unprepared Jim and I thought we were, God had a plan for us by placing this beautiful baby boy in our lives. Drew was God’s promise to us.
Andrew Mitchell Hawkins
As I reflect on what began as a stormy day that turned bright and sunny, I reflect on the days and the years that followed. I see a dad and a son not only bonding as father and son but as best friends. Up and at it at five in the morning, Jim would get the paper to read before going to work. On those early mornings, I would awake and come to the living room to see Drew in Jim’s lap reading the paper with him. As Drew got older, they would meet in the kitchen Jim with one section of the paper and Drew with another section. They were like two old men talking about what was in the news and the weather.
Drew and Jim Vero Beach, Florida
Along with early morning reads of the newspaper, I reflect on many vacations that we took with Drew. When going to the beach, Jim and Drew would design a sandcastle and would spend all day together building it. If we were at an amusement park, they would find the fastest and most daring roller coasters to ride together. Fun was and is still not an option it is mandatory with Drew.
Jim and Drew’s Masterpiece
Along with roller coaster rides, reading the headlines, and building sand castles, there were tears shed at times. The memory that holds close to my heart is when Drew was nineteen. He had to let go of his best friend that had been in his life since he was six. Abby was his dog and companion that waited for him to come home from school to run and play. She was the friend that had watched him grow up.
Drew’s Childhood Dog Abby
I will never forget watching Drew and his dad spend an evening in the rain, digging a grave for his best friend. It was that evening, I saw a little boy who had grown into a fine young man with a lot of character. I saw the message that God had sent me on that March afternoon of 1987. This message was that there was a young man who no matter the circumstances stood true to his faith. He was and is not afraid to show what he feels and is loyal to his Christian walk.
Megan and Drew
August, 2011, another blessing will happen. Drew will take the hand of a lovely young lady by the name of Megan to begin a new life with her. On the day he stands at the altar awaiting to meet Megan there, I will not only be reflecting on the joys and blessings of what Drew has brought to our family. But, if only in my mind, I will see that beautiful rainbow I saw on the day he was born. I will be thanking God for the unexpected blessing that came to be in August, 1986 and arrived on March 24, 1987. For, it was that unexpected blessing that has been nothing but a wonderful blessing to his dad and me.
Drew, much love and happiness is wished to you today. May you experience the joy of an unexpected blessing one day. Happy Birthday!
Drew’s First Birthday
We Love You,
Mom and Dad
PS May you always have a ‘School Boy Heart.’ Dad and I always think of you when we hear this song:
- Picture of the Day: The Grand Canyon (theatlantic.com)
- Faith & Unexpected Moments (graceforchange.wordpress.com)
Originally posted on ChristianBlessings:
A boy, 16, is temporally blinded in one eye. He is a superior athlete, a baseball player. As his sight returns, it is not what it was. The doctors say he will not be able to see well again. But he does! There is no medical explanation.
A man in his 50’s is diagnosed with prostate cancer. The doctors say it does not need surgery or treatment, to let it run its course. His life is not threatened, but his career is. A few weeks later, the cancer is gone, disappeared. There is no medical explanation for this.
A woman in her 70’s suffers a stroke while on a cruise. She is given only days to live. Three months later, she sits in worship in our church. It defies medical explanation.
A woman in her 80’s is racked by cancer. She is wasting away…
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Each one of us needs to take time away for renewal of the mind, body and spirit. I am taking a brief hiatus to do just this very thing. During this time of unplugging, I know that God will be renewing me so that I can come back and share more of the thoughts He places on my heart. I already have several items on the draft board that will be published withing the next couple of weeks.
May you find a moment to unplug from “man’s world” and plug into God’s world and experience His presence.
Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:
Twenty years ago I would not have thought that I would be re connecting with old friends, connecting with new ones, and talking to someone via internet. Now, every turn there is another app, advancement or way to stay in touch with people. It never fails that when I am out and about that I will see one or more persons on their phones either texting, checking Facebook or having a phone conversation. It has basically become the norm for our culture these days.
Now, don’t get me wrong and think I have a real issue with our modern technology. I think that it is great that we have these many ways to communicate with one another and to conduct business. However, it is so easy to get caught up in the technology world to the point we tend to run on overload at times. Thus, when we hit…
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This past week along with many other communities we faced danger. This danger was an outbreak of tornadoes. For us, the first round was early Wednesday morning. The next round was Friday afternoon. Thankfully, our community was spared with little damage though a tornado was in our area. Though I along with others in my community are counting blessings and giving thanksgivings, there are so many people who have suffered loss. Loss of property, loss of loved ones, loss of neighborhoods, communities, and possessions that were dear to them.
When we heard the timing of these outbreaks of storms and when they would reach our area, Jim decided to come home to pick up our youngest baby, Smokey and me to take us back to his office. We have a black lab, Tori which was impossible for us to take with us since Jim works in a healthcare facility. Also, there was not a very good place we could have placed her at his office without interference. Yet, before leaving the house, Jim and I made sure she as secure as she could possible be in our bathroom. Once we secured her, we took a look around our home one more time. Neither one of us really said anything but I know we were both thinking if we would be coming back to our home or to a pile of sticks. But, at that moment, all that was important was that we were together as a family, to pray and just take a deep breath and hold tight to each other and God’s hand.
As I watch the scenes of devastation, and hear reports from family and friends that were affected by these storms, my heart aches for them. One minute, a family has home and in a matter of seconds it is shattered by force to be reckoned with. The homes are not only shattered to splinters and debris but you can see the hearts and nerves of the victims shattered as well. But, despite this brokenness, they hold tight that they have their family. It is at that moment in time when you look around your home, look across the room at your spouse and/or other family members and realize all that is around you is all material. The true treasures are your loved ones including friends and that no matter what happens to the earthly home there is an eternal home that will never be shattered.
This past week’s devastation gave us all a quick wake up call of how precious life is and I know ALL of us began to assess what is truly important. Matthew 6: 19-21 kept running through my mind and heart; “Do not lay up yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” We have witnessed not only this past week but through similar tornado outbreaks from the past that our earthly treasures are not permanent. This is why it is so important for us to invest in our relationship with Christ, family, and friends. We must also reach out beyond our walls to those we don’t even know who need to experience the wonderful grace and love of God.
At this moment I have an investment opportunity. This investment is one that will last a lifetime and into eternity. The opportunity I speak of is sharing the kingdom of God during this very emotional time in people’s lives who have lost everything. We can share the kingdom of God through the following ways:
1. Volunteer with helping in cleaning up.
2. Hold the victims’ hands and console them as they work through their emotions.
3. Prepare food for the victims and volunteer workers.
4. Donate what you can in the way of clothing and needs for setting up housekeeping.
5. Pray for all who are involved.
7. Most of all just love on not only the victims but love on your family and neighbors.
Let’s not wait for the next horrible natural disaster to happen to invest into people. But, plunge into this investment opportunity right now. Invest by showing the kingdom of God through our actions towards others and simply loving on everyone. As we have witnessed, things can happen in a second and we better have already invested ourselves in the kingdom. I encourage you to take me up on this offer and join me in investing in the kingdom of God by being a living example of God’s kingdom.
My thoughts, love and prayers are with ALL who suffered through this past week’s events. May these folks feel God’s loving arms holding them ever so tight during this time. It is my prayer that they are seeing God’s kingdom at work as they pick up the pieces and start anew.
I also would like to say thank-you to the wonderful staff at my husband’s facility for not only allowing him to bring me and my pup up to be with him and to be safe. But for opening their doors to the community for all who needed a safe haven. It was their smiles as they asked for your name for their rooster and their calmness that help small children stay calm and to insure that we were all safe. These people definitely demonstrated the kingdom of God during a time of facing a few minutes of an unknown.
Blessings and Peace-
Ever since I learned to read, I have always been an avid reader. I have a love for books and knowledge. It has been nothing for me to read two or three books in a week. However, in the last year this has not been the case. With weddings and other life events happening this past year, my stack “to be read” has grown. This past holiday season I tried to get things ready in such a way that I would have some free time for reading.
Yes, I began a book. It is a Christmas Christian fiction story with its fun chuckle here and there. Yet, as I write this post, this very book sits by my purse waiting for me to finish. I take it with me wherever I go trying to get a page or chapter or two read while I wait at appointments and such. Me trying to finish this Christmas story is becoming as comical as some of the characters’ antics in the story itself. Today, as I picked my book and purse to move off the kitchen table, I chuckled and said to myself; “nothing like savoring a story.” My New Year’s Resolution was to tackle my reading list with vengeance. Three months into the year and I can say that I am nowhere near this resolution!
We are three weeks into Lent. This is a time where we remember Christ’s fasting, the temptations he faced with Satan and most of all we recall His ministry. As we continue on our journey through Lent, let’s take time to savor the stories of Jesus. Read those familiar parables, how He healed the sick and spoke up for the outcast, taught forgiveness, unconditional love and grace. Then, as we read these stories, let’s apply His teachings and live them out in our every day actions. I encourage you not to only apply these teachings to your lives but to share the stories of Jesus with those God places in your daily path.
In the meantime, along with reading the stories of Jesus, I will keep on my attempt to finish my book. As I write this, I look at my stack of books and wonder which one will I savor next. Or, deciding which one is the easiest to carry around from appointment to appointment.
“Tell me the stories of Jesus; the ones I love to hear.”
Describe Him Thoughts From The Porch
Look Into The Mirror Thoughts From The Porch
Typically, I am not an early riser. However, this morning was a little different. Severe storms had been predicted for our area. After hearing this information before going to bed last night, I decided it would be best for me to get up, get dressed, breakfast and take care of my dog, Smokey. (This was not already an easy task for me due to the fact I am NOT much of a morning person and I have had no sleep the last two nights due to a respiratory infection.) By 6:00 am, I had all these tasks completed with the exception of breakfast. From 6:15 on, the calmness of the house turned to chaos.
My husband Jim left for work extra early to get caught up on paper work before the hospital he works for officially changes to a new computersystem tomorrow. He wanted to make sure that all will be a smooth transition. As he pulled out of the driveway, I began to pour my cereal. It was when I was adding milk to my cereal, is when chaos began. The phones began to ring with weather alerts, the NOAA Radio was going off, the weather sirens outside were sounding off and the text messaging between Jim and me began (FYI Jim was already at work and not driving.). In the midst of all of this, I had our black lab Tori in the garage whom usually comes in the house with me during such warnings but this morning she refused. She preferred to stay in the garage. During my attempt to coax her into the house, Smokey, my little dog bounces out into the garage and starts running in circles. (With Smokey only being nine months old, this was his first experience with severe storms). Fortunately, I was able to grab Smokey before he darted under the car and refused to come out. Needless to say, by the time Smokey went to the closet and sat down, my stress level was to the max.
With my level of stress escalating, I began to text Jim and tell him how I don’t like being here by myself during such situations. Poor Jim, he tried his best to console me via text messages and giving me play by-play of what he was seeing on the weather map. Yet, I still felt alone.
Hindsight 20/20 I realize that I was not alone. The simple reminders that I was not alone came later in the morning when all calmed down in my bible reading. I turned to my favorite Psalm. Psalm 121, where I am always reminded that God is my source of help. He was there in the midst of the storms that were passing through our area. I am also convinced that He was just shaking his head in exasperation because of the stress I was feeling.He was also probably laughing at the scene of me trying to heard the dogs in the house and getting nowhere.
Another realization that I was not alone was with Smokey’s reaction each time our NOAA Radio would sound off. Although, our area had been given the all clear the radio continued to sound off for surrounding areas. Each time the radio would send its shrill of alarm, Smokey would run and get in his crate (man cave). Smokey’s man cave is his place of refuge and where he goes when he needs to feel safe and secure. Thus, reminding me that when I am scared, stressed and feel alone, I can run into the arms of God. Again, I turn to the Psalms. This time to Psalm 91. This is a beautiful Psalm of reminding me that God is my protector. I love the verse; “He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge.” When I read that verse the imagery is comforting. Just as Smokey turned to his man cave for security, I must turn to God for my security.
It is the last day of February and we are already having Spring weather. Thus, I am sure there are going to be other moments when the hubby will be at work and the sirens, phones with weather alerts, the NOAA Radio will be going off and I will have to take cover. But, I will remember as I take cover I am not alone. I am covered by my Father’s wings. In other words, I will seek true safety in my God Cave and will hold tight these two Psalms that are becoming engraved on my heart day by day. “My God in Him I will trust.”
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge.
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night.
( I encourage you to go read the entire passage and engrave it on your heart)
I will lift my eyes to the hills-
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
( I also encourage you to read the entire passage of this Psalm and engrave it on your heart, too.)