Keep Your Eyes Open

 

 

In the summer of 1994, the movie, Forest Gump was released and became an instant hit. As the movie opens, you see Forest sitting on a park bench in Savannah, Georgia waiting for a bus. As he waits he begins to tell people who sit down with him his story. Thus, the movie/ his story begins to unfold before our eyes. At the end of the movie, we see a gentleman sitting with him listening to Forest complete his story. When Forest reveals who he is the gentleman has a hard time believing that he has been sitting with the owner of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  It is beyond this gentleman’s comprehension.

life is like chocolate

Thinking about this scene makes me think of the morning in the garden when Mary goes to the tomb of Jesus. She is upset because Jesus is not in the tomb. She wants to know where he has been taken so that she can care for his body. A  gardener appears before her and speaks to her. At first this person is a stranger to her but then her eyes are opened and she realizes it is Jesus.

empty tomb

Later two disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus talking among themselves. Can you imagine the conversation they were having with one another? I am sure they were in somewhat of a surreal  state of mind. They were asking if they had actually seen/experienced what they had seen in the past days. They simply wanted to make sense out of all that happened.

 We have all had those surreal moments where we ask, did what happen just happen? Yet, in the midst of their conversation, a stranger comes up to them and ask if he can join them on their walk. Of course, the stranger is welcomed and the two men begin to tell what they had experienced in the days past. The stranger listens intently to their story.

road to emmaus

Next scene, the stranger is welcome to join them for dinner. It is when the bread is blessed and broken that their eyes are opened. They see first hand that what had been prophesied was for real. Christ had risen and he was right there before them.

Many times on my Facebook wall, I will post what I call April’s Random Thoughts. It is in these thoughts I encourage my friends/readers to stay in tuned to God’s voice because you never know where you will encounter Him throughout the day.  It is when we stay in tuned to God’s voice with an open heart and mind we discover that we will experience Christ in something we do during the day. Or, we experience Christ through a person that is put in our path. In other words, we can be sitting on a bench and listening to someone’s story and as they finish up and move on, we realize that we had encountered Christ, one of His ambassadors and/or one of God’s angels.

seeking the heart

Starting today, I ask that you approach each day with an open heart and mind. Ask God to reveal himself to you throughout the day.  Be aware of his presence in ALL that you do. If you do this, you will see and experience Christ in ways that are beyond comprehension!

see things worth seeing

Keep your eyes open!

Love God

Looking Back….I Stand Amazed

April:

Sometimes it is good to look back and see what has influenced your life.

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Jim and me at Bowdon High School Football Game...October 25, 2013

Jim and me at Bowdon High School ( one of the high schools I attended) re-uniting and visiting old friends.
October 25, 2013

There is a reason I started this post out with the video, I Go Back by Kenny Chesney. It is when I hear this song I go back. I go back to some of the same scenes he mentions in the song. For example, the lyrics,  The smell of fried chicken after church remind me of my family driving from Monroe to Athens every Sunday after church. My grandmother would have fried chicken and all that goes with it ready for us to enjoy Sunday dinner and family time.

This song   takes me down a long road of wonderful memories of people I have met over my lifetime. Each appointment my dad served as a Methodist minister holds their own  special memories and footprints on my…

View original 1,388 more words

Mother’s Day

April:

Sharing thoughts from a writer that I follow. With Mother’s Day on the horizon, this is a wonderful story to be shared! Have a blessed day!!

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert

May 2, 2014

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother and I don’t have enough money.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and…

View original 24 more words

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…

View original 807 more words

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…

View original 767 more words

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…

View original 1,089 more words

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…

View original 49 more words

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…

View original 407 more words

%d bloggers like this: