Category Archives: Thoughts from the Porch

Glimpse of Heaven

April:

While watching the movie, “Heaven is for Real” last night, Todd, the dad/minister, said in his sermon that God gives us glimpses of heaven all the time….it reminded me of this blog post that I wrote two years ago….wanted to share it with you today…have a blessed day!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

If you are a frequent reader of Thoughts From The Porch, you will know that I used this Bon Jovi song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” in a previous post. In that post, I share how people leave home sometimes under stressful situations, about our kids leaving home, and the importance of keeping the porch light on. I also shared how we have a home that we are always welcome to come to and that home is in the arms of our Father.

Atlanta Skyline

A week ago today I was on my way home. Yes, I would be seeing my parents, my brother and his wife but I was going back to a home that I had not been to in over thirty years. As I prepared for the trip, and as Jim and I headed down the interstate last weekend, apprehension, butterflies in my stomach…

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Unbearable Obstacles

April:

Sharing from my archive…have a blessed day!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

If you are familiar with this movie, Here Comes The Boom, you know that Kevin James’ character is a school teacher that decides to prize-fight to keep the arts/music program in the school where he teaches. In this scene we see that Kevin James’ character is being pushed to his physical limits.

In life, there are times when we are pushed to our physical limits and are faced of what we think are unbearable obstacles. Within these moments we hear, “follow my voice, you can’t give up”.  Then there are other voices telling us that enough is enough and to give up. We are pushed to the point that life becomes blurry.

life blurry

It is in that blurred moment where we have two choices. We can…

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Pretty Little Apples

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

This next week the small group that I participate in will complete a study called, No Other gods” By Kelly Minter. Over the years we have done many studies but this one really touched the heart of the matter for me. This study has shown what we may think are simple collections and likes can be in the way of being a blessing for God and God blessing us.

no other gods

In my previous post, Seek God’s Beauty,  I share how the material world gives us the superficial promise that certain products will make us beautiful. These products and their creators will change our lives. Yet, as Christians we know that the only ONE who can change our lives and make us beautiful is our Creator/ Father.

kelly minter quote

Along with the superficial promises of making us beautiful are the lies that we all buy into that promise to make our life complete. In…

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The Gate of The Lord

April:

Sharing my dad’s blog site “Poems From Morning Prayer”
Have a blessed Easter weekend!

Originally posted on Poems From Morning Prayer:

 A gate I spy in yonder wall,

That marks the bounds of time,

The gate is small but inviting all,

Who will in faith to it resign.

 

The gate you ask, “What is its shape?”

It is a man with nail-priced hands,

His name of course is Jesus Christ,

Whose grace all of heaven spans.

 

By faith we sinners dare to hope,

That through him our souls may pass,

And thus be blameless in God’s sight,

For his life that will forever last.

 

O’ ye  builders here on earth,

Who do on other ways insist,

Repent and seek this one true gate,

Lest your chance for life be missed.

 

C. R. Hill, Jr.

© 04/14/14

 

 

 “This is the gate of the Lord;

the righteous shall enter through it…

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.” 

 

Psalm 118:20 & 22…

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You Are My Favorite…..

 over hearing

Last night, Jim and I were out eating dinner. In the booth behind us was a set of grandparents taking their granddaughter out to dinner. I could not help but over hear some of their conversation. It was all so sweet and you could tell they were enjoying their evening out. Then, I heard the grandfather say to his granddaughter; “did you know that you are my favorite granddaughter?” Then, I heard a small voice sweetly reply; “really?”.  The grandmother began to explained to their granddaughter that she was the favorite granddaughter because she was their only granddaughter.

Jim Hawkins, Sr. standing with his favorite youngest grandson and his favorite son....at our favorite son's wedding.

Jim Hawkins, Sr. standing with his favorite youngest grandson and his favorite son….at our favorite son’s wedding.

As I over heard this conversation, I could not help but smile. Needless to say, a flood of memories ran rapidly through my mind. I shared with Jim what I had just heard and he smiled with a tear in his eye. I so wanted to turn and say something to this precious family but I refrained out of respect to their having their special time with their granddaughter.

By now, you are wondering why this over heard conversation meant so much to me as I heard it. And, you may wonder why Jim smiled with a tear in his eye as I shared what I had heard.  The answer is simple. We were reminded of Jim’s dad who passed away this past January. Jim’s dad was known to keep a level playing field among friends and family. He had a way of seeing each person’s uniqueness and what made them stand out. How he did this in the family was he had a favorite. Just like this grandfather that was talking to his granddaughter last night, he would tell my niece that she was his favorite granddaughter because she was the only granddaughter.

Bryan, Bethany and Drew The favorite grandchildren

Bryan, Bethany and Drew
The favorite grandchildren

Not only did he tell my niece that she was his favorite granddaughter, he would tell my nephew that he was his favorite oldest grandson. My son, Drew was his favorite youngest grandson. I was his favorite daughter-n-law and Jim was his favorite son. Jim’s sister was his favorite daughter and her husband was his favorite son-n-law.  Jim’s dad showed no partiality to anyone. At his funeral, as each one of us got up to share our thoughts and memories we would introduce ourselves as his favorite…… This over heard conversation was also a comfort for Jim and me. For us, it was Jim’s dad looking down from heaven and reminding us that though we are no longer together on this earth, we are still his favorite.  It was a wink and a smile from heaven.

feather

As I was getting dressed this morning, I was reflecting on what I had heard int he booth behind me  in Fazoli’s last night.  In this reflecting back, God whispered in my ear. He said; “April, did you know that you are my favorite child?” My response was unlike the little girl responding back to her grandfather last night but it was more of a “wow!”.  It was also humbling for me because I know God’s family is huge! In this huge family each person is his favorite.

Psalm 139

Psalm 139 came to my mind. In this scripture we are reminded that God knows everything about us. He knows our good qualities and our faults. Yet, he loves us all!  Each one of us are his favorite because he knows our uniqueness. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!   In the words of Matthew West; “I am the child of the one TRUE KING!”   Each one of us is not only the child of the King but each one of us are his favorite!   In the days ahead, stay in tuned to God’s voice. Because you never know when you will be reminded that you are his favorite with a wink and a smile from heaven. After all, Jim and I were reminded while eating dinner at a Fazoli’s restaurant.

Have a blessed weekend and enjoy the video below:

It’s Gonna Be Alright


“He is not here; he has risen just as he said.” Matthew 18:6

 

 

100_2781

“Here comes the sun….”

 

The above picture is one I took early morning while at sea on a cruise. It is a miracle that I got these shots because I am not usually an early riser. Yet, while on this trip there was this urgency of wanting to get up and see the sun rise over the ocean at least one morning. As Jim and I sat out on the deck with our coffee talking, I saw the sun begin to rise and I insisted that we cease our conversation for a few minutes. I wanted to soak up the Master bringing in a brand new day. God’s creation was waking up.  It was not only beautiful but it was a renewal of the heart and a reminder of how God’s Son gives light into the soul.  It was as though that no matter what had been troubling my heart in days past or present, the sun rising was a message from God saying; “it’s gonna be alright.”

 

Here comes the sun....

Here comes the sun….

 

This Sunday will be Easter. Many people will be getting up early to attend sunrise services. It will be a time of reflection of Mary finding the tomb empty. Just as the sun rises our Savior is risen.  This is not only a time of reflecting on the empty tomb but it is a time of God awaking our hearts to the new life Christ gives when He lives in us.

For some, you may not be an early riser like myself but I encourage you to sometime to set your alarm clock to get up to watch the sunrise. As you stand and watch, inhale the newness of life that Christ gives. Be aware of the Risen Son’s presence. Soak it up. Be renewed. And, know that no matter what you have gone through or are going through, God is telling you; “it’s gonna be alright.”

"...and it's gonna be alright"

“…and it’s gonna be alright”

 

 

 

 

May you and your loved ones have a blessed Easter!

Never Alone

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Today, I watch television. As like  other days, I see people hurting, feeling abandoned, some are lost and some who want freedom. People are wanting freedom from the hurts, disappointments, and sin in their lives. Maybe you are one of these people who are looking for answers and all you want is complete freedom.

  I glance through highlighted portions and side notes taken in William Young’s book The Shack, I stumble on page ninety-five where Papa explains to Mack about true freedom. She says to Mack:

 “Mackenzie, the Truth shall set you free and the Truth has a name; he’s over in the woodshop right now covered in sawdust. Everything is about ‘him’. And freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him. Then all that stuff you feel churnin’ around inside will start to work its way out. “How can you really know how I feel? Mack, asked, looking back in…

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My Pleasure

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa

 Chick fil a

My Pleasure

Any time you enter a Chick fil A restaurant, you will be greeted by a server behind the counter with them saying; it’s a great day to eat at Chick Fil A, how may I help you? Once your order is filled and the server hands you your tray, they will say; it was my pleasure. If you should go back to the counter for a refill or some other need, that  need will be taken care of with a smile and the words; my pleasure.

Excuses

excuses

Each day opportunities present themselves for us to serve others. However, there are times when we don’t acknowledge those opportunities. We have an excuse for not answering the call to help others.

  • I really don’t have the time.
  • I don’t know if I have the skill to do that task.
  • I will help more when I retire.
  • When I get my first million I will begin to give back.
  • I am too old to be a part of such an opportunity.
  • I am too young to be part of such an opportunity.
  • What difference would doing this small task make?

Arguing with God

Philippians

When I write out these excuses and think about them, I think about Moses when God called him to lead the people out of slavery. Moses had every excuse in the book to give back to God. He told God that he could not talk before Pharoh and to go ask his brother Aaron to talk to Pharoh. After much back and forth, Moses finally obeyed God. He went  and  talked to Pharoh and lead the people out of Egypt.  (Exodus 3)

Opportunities

how can I help

Everyday, God places opportunities in our path. He may not call us to do something on such a big scale as leading people out of slavery. But, God calls us to make a difference. We may not feel adequate or qualified to the calling and that is where we have to trust God’s leading. After all, we are familiar with the quote; he doesn’t call the qualified but he qualifies the called.

The video at the beginning of this page is an example of people being in tuned to what is around them. Whether they realize it or not, they are obeying the commandment; love one another. It is the small act of kindness that may make a difference for someone’s day and/or life.

In my life time, I have been a recipient of something small done  for me that made a big difference in my life. One special memory I have of someone taking time to help me is a little boy by the name, Jimmy.

A Boy Named, Jimmy

tying shoes

At one of my dad’s early appointments in his ministry, Dad was in charge of over seeing one of our Methodist campgrounds. Over the summer, many camps would take place for all ages and needs. One week out of the summer, there was a camp for mentally challenged children. In this group was a little boy named, Jimmy. I was about four or five years old when I first met Jimmy. For some reason, we connected. Where Jimmy was I was not too far behind him.

This particular mid-summer morning, we were outside the dinning hall playing. My shoe became untied and although Jimmy could not really talk very well, in his own way he communicated to me to sit down on the ground with him. Instead of tying my shoe, he untied my other shoe. Then, he took my shoes off and placed one shoe in his lap and the other shoe in my lap. With a smile on his face and in the best way he could communicate he began to teach me how to tie my shoes. By the time the lunch bell rang, I had learned to tie my shoes.

I share this story about Jimmy because despite the challenges he had, he saw a need. He saw I needed to learn to tie my shoes. As he showed me how to tie my shoe, you could see compassion and love coming from his heart. Yes, I was only four or  five at the time but when I see that scene as vividly as the day that it took place, I see his face beaming because he had helped someone and he had a purpose. And, thanks to Jimmy I haven’t had to worry about tripping over my shoe laces.

With Great Love

Luke

In the video at the beginning of this article, we see people seeing a need and stopping to help. Some of these events are small ones but they make and/or made a difference for someone. The gentleman in the break room wiping the spill up off the floor probably kept someone from coming in and slipping. The lady at the bus stop forgoing getting on the bus to help the gentleman pick up his papers that fell on the sidewalk.  Who knows? Maybe, her stopping to help pick up the papers saved the gentleman from being late to a meeting and/or losing an important document.

You see, we don’t know how that one small thing we do with GREAT love will make a difference in the bigger picture of life. My challenge for you today is that when you wake up in the morning, tune in to God and be ready to respond to his calling.  Don’t worry about not having the ability because he will make sure you are qualified. Do what he has called you to do with an attitude of GREAT love and with the response; my pleasure.

Check out Mark Bezos’ Testimony:

An Invitation

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me”, Jesus said; “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.  

Matthew 4:18-20

memory lane

A couple of weeks ago Jim and I went to his home church to worship with his family. As the service began, the minister did his greeting and in his greeting he shared this thought: “When we invite someone to church, we are asking them to be part of God’s family and to join us on the journey to heaven.”   I loved this statement and it made my heart smile.

walking

Have you ever taken a trip with a group of friends? If you have, you probably experienced…

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Emptying My Jar….Priceless!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

2 Corinthians 4:7-17

New International Version (NIV)

 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[a] Since we have that same spirit of[b]

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