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Welcome To My Porch

Meet April

Me with my family.. (left to right) Jim (my hubby), me, my son, Drew and my daughter-n-law, Megan....

Welcome To Thoughts From The Porch!

Paul reminds us in Romans 12:13 to practice hospitality. Being a girl who was raised in the South, hospitality to others is a big deal. I experienced warm hospitality in many homes. However, the fondest memories of hospitality shared were on porches.  As anyone knows, porches are a big deal on Southern homes. It is on the porch where stories are shared, fellowship is experienced and they are a place for rest and renewal.

In 2010, my son, Drew sent me a message asking me to think about what I am passionate about in life. My passion is to share encouragement with others and to let them know they have a Father who loves them. In response to this answer, Drew encouraged me to set up a blog site and to begin writing.

The original name for my website was April’s Faith Thoughts but as time went on my website began to evolve. I knew I wanted a better title for my site. In my reminiscing of growing up, I recalled the memories of growing up, sitting on neighbors’ porches, and hearing stories. I also recalled that those were moments of getting the spiritual batteries recharged. Thus, the title Thoughts From The Porch.

A little about me. I was born in Athens, Georgia and into a Methodist Minister’s home…in my upbringing, I learned that the only real college team in GA is the University of Georgia ( Go DAWGS!), there is nothing like a glass of cold sweet tea on a hot summer day and there is nothing like getting a dog dressed and sometimes walking at The Varsity whether it be in Athens or downtown Atlanta. Along with GA DAWGS, Varsity dogs and sweet tea, I know the importance of being a Braves fan win or lose.

Since my dad was a Methodist minister, it meant our family moved from time to time. Fortunately, never too far from Atlanta. It is in these moves where I met and made many dear friends who have left lasting footprints on my heart. I am so glad Facebook has enabled me to re-connect with many of them.

I met my husband, Jim in 1983 at Lake Junaluska, NC. We were both in college and worked on summer staff there. He and I are proof that if God wants two people together, He will get you together. I was from Georgia and Jim was from Kentucky. We dated two and half years long distance and married in 1985. Jim and I marked 30 years of knowing each other and being the best of friends this past May, 2013. We will celebrate 28 of wedded bliss in November. Jim and I have lived in Owensboro, Kentucky for 23 years. Jim is a Physical Therapist for the local hospital where his emphasis is Outpatient, orthopedic and industrial work site analysis.

Jim and I have one son, Drew. He married a beautiful lady, Megan last August. They just celebrated their two-year anniversary. Drew and Megan reside in Mid-Town Atlanta. (Which I am jealous of since they are a couple blocks away from The Varsity, Mary Mac’s Tea Room and the FOX-all favorite places of mine.). Drew is currently employed with The DeMoss Group and Megan is employed as the assistant social media manager at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. Needless to say, they are teaching us old folks the advantages of the Social Media world. Sometimes, I still can’t keep up because it all seems to move and change so fast!

Jim and I also have two four-legged children. Smokey is my little guy who is a Shih tzu/ Bischon Frise. I share stories about Smokey from time to time. Also, there have been a couple of times when I have left my computer opened and Smokey decided to jump in and write a post of his own.

Tori is our black lab and is more of Jim’s dog. Tori and Jim enjoy walks in the neighborhood and enjoy watching the Velocity channel together in the garage.

In this lifetime, I have had many ups and downs. It is in all circumstances that I know that the good and the bad is the process of God molding me. My philosophy is “If God got you to it, He WILL get you through it.”

I feel richly blessed with the family, friends and home that God has given me. I also feel blessed to have grown up in an era of all the cool bands, where music had lyrics that said something and music you could really dance to. You know the ones, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Styx, Aretha Franklin, The Spinners and the list goes on and on…..

 To learn more about me, grab a glass of sweet tea and come visit me on my porch.

Yes, I am from the South where the tea is sweet but the air is even sweeter!

Thank you for visiting my porch and I hope you will come back again!

I

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Treasured Moments

Enjoyed a week with family in the Smoky Mountains.

Hiking Trail at Waterrock Knob, NC

Smokey poses for a pic on the trail at Waterrock Knob

We were in a Fourth of July Parade at Lake Junaluska, NC…our nephews rode in back and threw candy to the on lookers. Our theme for our car “Who Rescued Who” and played “Rescue Me” over the CD player.

Memorial Chapel….one of the views from the porch of where our family stays at Lake Junaluska, NC

We discovered at spider had spun a web on the corner of the porch of where we were staying. As we looked closer, we noticed not only was it a web but a web with a cross in it…what a better picture to end vacation with…”He is with us always.”

I am looking forward to sharing new thoughts and words God whispered into my ears and heart while I was away. Praying that you are having a safe and fun summer with many God moments in the midst of it all!

Blessings-

Still Grovin’


Dear Jim:

Memorial Day weekend marked twenty-nine  years of our first meeting.  A few days after we met, (June 4th to be exact) it was a milestone birthday for you. You were away from home, working at Lake Junaluska, NC and celebrating your 21st birthday with people you just met. In that group included me who could not bear the thought of you not having a cake with candles to blow out on your birthday. On short notice of learning it was your birthday, I got a Snicker’s bar and put a candle on it. As you arrived back to the staff living quarters, a group of us surprised you with singing Happy Birthday and you blowing out the match we used for a candle. After the chorus and candle was blown, you strategically sliced the Snicker’s bar to share with the group.

A day or so passed when you realized that you did not call your mom on your birthday. You excused yourself from the gathering of friends on the front porch to go call your mom. You apologized to your mom for not calling on your birthday and you commented to her; “I was out with April and a few other friends.” Your mom’s reply; “Who’s April?”

April Hill-Hawkins

Since the Snicker’s bar was shared, the phone call to your mom was made, a lot has happened. First, your mom learned quickly the identity of April. We have not only enjoyed 29 years of being together but we have shared 27 years of wedded bliss. Together we raised a cool son who is now married to one sweet and cool gal.

Drew and Megan doing one of their fun poses on their wedding day.

Tomorrow,  you celebrate another milestone birthday; um, um….50th which is nowadays the new 30. Right?  A couple of weeks ago we enjoyed a John Mellencamp concert together. As we listened to the concert, we both went down memory lane of not only our childhood and teenage days but we were soon reminded of our days dating and starting out as a new couple. Ever since we met, we have always enjoyed a good song, a good laugh, long drives out in the country, and enjoyed the blessings God has given us.

Jim trying to wake me up in the mornings!

May today not only be a day of looking back on the fun-filled memories that life has given you these past 50 years. But, may it be a new chapter in your life with more blessings and laughs shared with family, lots of good music, many more drives out in the country in your mid-life convertible and taking that dream trip of driving down A1A.

 Tomorrow will be  another milestone for you. However, you won’t have to worry about calling your mom because she along with your dad  and other family  have been here over the weekend to celebrate.  And, this time you didn’t  have to explain the identity of April to your mom.


Yes, you have already have been celebrating but in this family we believe in stretching out the celebrations. Tomorrow is the actual day of  YOUR special day. Do you remember the one thing they always said  on the Emmaus walk; “you thought this moment was awesome. just wait it only gets better.” As your special day unfolds, just know that it will only get better. It is not only true for the day but I know it is true for you in the days ahead.

When God created you, he created a walking example of compassion for those you encounter in life. Along with compassion, you have a passion for life, Christ-like love, grace and understanding. So, here  is to the great 50 years of life that God has blessed you with where in turn you have blessed others. Also, here is to 50 more years of being young and grovin’.

Jim in his younger years.

Jim getting ready to enjoy John Mellencamp concert.

HAPPY 50TH!!

Love you,

April

Anthology

Helping Hand

Who and What Molds You?

 For those who know me personally, you know that I am big with relationships. Building relationships with other people whether are like me or different is the biggest investment that I can make in life. It’s through building relationships that enables me to share the love of Christ.

Jim sharing a story with his nephew, Bryan

Part of the process of building a relationship is to hear the stories of people God places in your path. Each one of us has a story.  On my web page, you can see my story on my About April page, and  on my Personal Testimony page.  You can also see parts of who I am through my writings of each blog post. As my son, Drew shares, “it is a series of short stories. In other words an Anthology.”

Sharing good food and stories around the table in Gatlinburg, TN

 Jesus” life was chronicled in what we know as the Gospels of the Bible.  We read in scripture from the time of His birth to the time of His death and resurrection  how He listened to stories of others. We read how His listening and shaped other people’s lives for the better, thus, giving them a story of hope and encouragement to share with others.

Taken at the Shrine of Christ Passion in St. John, IL

As you go through the days ahead, think about the story or stories that have molded and are molding you. Share your story of Christ and how He has molded you and continues to mold you into God’s image. Then, listen to someone else’s story and hear what has shaped them and molded them. It is out of the exchange of sharing that relationship with others and Christ are formed.

April and Jim @ Lake Junaluska, NC Summer, 2010

Below, is a copy of a blog post that my son, Drew wrote over a year ago. It is his Anthology. You can find his web site on my blog roll on the right side bar.
My Anthology
By Drew Hawkins

Drew laying down on the Sky Deck of the Sears/Willis Tower,,.Chicago, IL

Challenged by Chris Brogan, I decided to take a few moments to evaluate the importance of story in my life. Seeing how I have chronicled my last year or so on this Journal portion of my blog via a series of stories, the element of story is very key to how I express my thoughts about life and how these different experiences have put me where I am today.
So what is my story?
It’s not an epic poem or something that would be written as a screenplay to earn millions of dollars at a box office. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying it’s one long story. It’s more of a collection of short stories – some more exciting than others – that have each had some impact on the person I am today.
My story isn’t a story. It’s an anthology.
Each story has shaped who I am today. Whether it has been running up a mountain and encountering a bear, having my first wreck when I was 16 (not my fault btw), family trips, running victories or telling my future wife “I love you” for the first time, each little moment has done something to form my views, teach me a lesson and make me the blogger, marketer, runner and friend you all know.
The anthology is far from complete and I hope that it’s ultimately worthy of a best-seller by the time it’s all said and done. It’s a constant work-in-progress and there’s still a long way to go.
What’s your story?

The Front Porch

The Butterfly House @ Lake Junaluska, NC

Jim was on Facebook the other night chatting with friends. As I watched him chat and listen to him read a comment or two to me, I realized that Facebook is the new front porch. How many of you remember front porches? The front porch is where you sat on a warm evening and swung in the swing or rocked in a rocking chair. As you sat on the porch, friends and neighbors would come by and some would come up and sit a while. The news of the day would be shared along with a story or two told.  Sometimes, homemade ice cream would be made as the stories were shared. Or, a cold Coca Cola would be offered to sip on and savor as you visited with friends and family on the  porch.

Ah, yes, the front porch. One of my fondest memories of the front porch was Ms. Sarah and Mr. Cape’s front porch. They were our next door neighbors when my family and I lived in the small rural community of Burwell, Georgia. Anytime of the day you could go up to their porch and they would stop what they were doing and offer a Coca Cola and sometimes a piece of pecan pie and simply visit. Though, if it were garden season, you may be handed a bowl of peas to shell or beans to snap as you were treated to that Coke and pie. No matter though, the visits were all the same and I learned so much from just listening to Ms. Sarah and Mr. Cape share about their life. Oh, to be on that porch again.

Ms. Sarah’s and Mr. Cape’s home…spent many afternoons and evenings on this porch.

Another fond memory of a front porch began several years ago when my parents began renting a cottage at Lake Junaluska. Since it is difficult to get a lot of time together at the holidays and during the year, we all gather at the Butterfly House to enjoy fellowship, swapping stories and to simply re- charge. Now, if you have been to Junaluska, you know that sitting on the front porch is not an option but it is mandatory.  There is nothing like it to just sit there during the day and escape with a good book, to just sit and look at the lake and visit with folks as they pass by.  When sitting on a front porch at Junaluska, there is a front porch etiquette. First, you greet and wave to people as they pass by your porch. Also, when sitting on the porch, realize that you have extended an open invitation for anyone to come up and sit a while to visit. Sometimes, you may know your guest and other times it may be a meeting of the first time. Then, there is my code of the porch and that is there has to be a cold Coca Cola or glass of sweet iced tea in hand.  Now, that is what I called living!

It saddens me that now-a-days a lot of homes are not built with front porches. My house is one of those houses. As I look back, I wished I had picked a design that would have allowed for a front porch. In today’s world, most people come and go through their garages and never even see much less speak to a neighbor. Houses are built in such a way that you can’t tell if anyone is even at home which I am told that is just a good security thing. But, with the front porch gone, so is the fellowship and taking the time out to get to really know someone is gradually fading away. Thus, now each evening, we all get on Facebook to catch up with latest news or to share a story or two.

Though there are front porches few and far between, my challenge for you when it gets to be warm weather to find a spot in front of your house. Once you find your spot, take an iced tea or cold Coke out with you along with an extra chair or two. Then, as people in your neighborhood walk by invite them up to sit a while, share a story or two.

You see, it is all about fellowship. When we fellowship with one another, we are also in fellowship with God. God created us to fellowship with one another and to hear each other’s stories.  Who knows, one of those front porch visitors could be the blessing you need or you could be the blessing they need.

I hope you take time to enjoy a porch with loved ones. Thank you for visiting “Thoughts From The Porch.”

In the meantime, you will probably see Jim and me on our front porch during the day and/or in the evening. As we visit on our front porch, we will add a comment or two, we will share a story or two. Then, sometimes we will simply sit there and read your story as you share.  If you see us on the front porch, feel free to pop in and say hello on the chat line. Our front porch is open for fellowship. How about your front porch?

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16         

Drew and Jim visiting on the porch @ Lake Junaluska, NC

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