Pack Lightly

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

A couple of weekends ago Jim and I headed to Georgia for a long weekend. This weekend involved in being at several different venues during the course of the weekend. As always I struggled to discern on what clothes I needed to pack and what really didn’t need to go.  Progressing into the weekend, I realized I didn’t need to take as much as I took.

over packing for a trip.

We have all been there. We are planning a trip and we over pack. We over pack because we are afraid we won’t have the right outfit for a dinner, or something could happen and we need that particular item. Thus, we pack everything but the kitchen sink and take it with us.

over packed car

The result in packing everything but the kitchen sink is that the room in the car is limited. Our car has been so packed full at times that I was not…

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Hide and Seek

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

“Suddenly their eyes were open to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leave into crude loincloths.” Genesis 3:7 (From The Voice Bible)

Do you know when the first Hide and Seek game took place? It took place in Genesis 3:7. Remember? God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat from the Tree of Knowledge but they instantly showed they were human and listened to the voice of the serpent. Once they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, we learn that their eyes were opened and they begin to cover themselves and hide from God. But, did they really hide from God? No. God knew immediately what they had done and where they were. Hence, this Hide and Seek game became known as the moment man became separated from God.

When we were children, we have…

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A Mother’s Day Letter to My Son

My son, Drew and me with Smokey

My son, Drew and me with Smokey

Dear Drew:

Today has been Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate moms and all they do for their families. This year I have viewed Mother’s Day from a different perspective.  As we reflect on what moms do for their families, I have reflected on what I have learned being a mom. Throughout my raising you, I have learned many things about life and myself.

success

The first lesson I learned early on that success was not about how much money I had in an account, the size house or car your dad and I had. Success was seeing that I had met your needs, made sure you knew were loved and that you knew how much God loved you.  As I write this I see how my definition of success has changed through the years of watching you grow up and begin your own home with Megan.  Today, success is having a son who has stayed true to God, knows how to love others, and put others first.

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As I reflect on the years gone by from my very first Mother’s Day to this year’s Mother’s Day, success is talking to a young man who now gives his mom words of wisdom. It is a son who knows what he stands for and does not let anyone detour him from his calling/purpose in life. Success is seeing Drew Hawkins taking all the lessons that he has been taught by teaching and some by observing and applying it to his life. Thus, it is a son who has a beautiful wife, a home full of love and a love for life. A man who wants to make a positive difference in the world and knows how to keep it real.

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When I look back from the moment I found out I would become a mom to this moment of writing I have no regrets. Early on, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Your dad and I knew it would not be easy but the pay off in the long run would have greater gains.  As I reflect back, I shake my head and wonder how in the world your dad and I actually pulled off all the things we did while raising you. Our only answer is the answer that was given on the day you were born.

On other occasions, I have shared about the day you were born. As the doctors and nurses worked with me to bring you into this world, a strong storm blew through. All you could see out the window of my room was darkness, wind blowing and pouring rain. Yet, at the moment you came into the world, the storm ceased and a few minutes later a beautiful rainbow was outside my window. I knew then God had great plans for you and plans for me as your mom.

rainbow three

God saw us through the thick and thin of life. He provided when your dad and I scratched our heads in figuring out how we could afford for you to be a part of certain activities and take care of things that you needed.  It was through these moments we all three learned the meaning of sacrifice, trusting God and what it meant to work together as a family.

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Left-Josh Right- Drew Josh was Drew’s best friend

In recent years, God threw us a few curve balls. The biggest curve ball was losing your best friend, Josh. It is hard to believe we are approaching the four-year mark of you losing your very best friend. I will never forget the afternoon when your dad called me on his way home telling me Josh was lost at sea.  At that moment I was speechless and asked Dad to contact you. It was at that moment I was on my knees for two weeks praying for Josh to be found and be found alive. I searched for him in my sleep for two weeks until we heard  he was found.

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Not only had  I prayed for him to be found, I prayed for you because I knew he was more of a brother than a friend to you.He was more than your friend to Dad and me. Josh had become a part of our family throughout your middle school and high school years. I prayed for his mom whose heart was breaking and aching beyond measure.

As your  mom, the toughest moment was seeing you being a pall bearer at your best friend’s funeral and placing that carnation on his casket at the end of the services. There had been other moments in life when I wanted to carry the hurt for you so you wouldn’t hurt. On that day, I wanted to take the hurt you were feeling away from you but I knew that all I could do was stand there hold you in my arms and let you grieve. Your dad, yourself and I all grieved together. Yet, God taught us that though you were on your own that there would still be moments when we would cling to each other, lean on each other for support and would learn to love a little harder.

Three generations of Hawkins me

Three generations of Hawkins men

A year ago, we went through another curve together. We said good-bye to your Granddaddy Hawkins. You don’t know how proud you made me through that week. You were there to give your Nanny and Dad comfort. There were times when certain logistics had to be worked out and you took over and handled the situation. As you stood before the congregation sharing your thoughts and memories of your granddaddy, I saw how you had watched your Granddaddy and Dad live out their lives. Through this moment, I saw how you were picking up the Hawkins’ torch to move on to make sure your granddaddy’s legacy lives on through the life you live.

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Drew, thank you for calling me today. Not only thank you for calling me today because it was Mother’s Day but for the many phone calls you have made to me through the years. Believe it or not, I didn’t mind any of those mid-night calls from college or when you moved out to start your career. It was those calls when this mom could hear the voice of her little boy from her adult son wanting comfort and advice from her.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing the sound of the voice of the precious life that you once carried inside of you.

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Today was Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate moms. However, for me, it was a day to celebrate that God gave me a precious blessing twenty-eight years ago to love and watch grow into a Godly man. You were a joy to raise and it is a joy to watch Megan and you work together to make your house a home.

My son, Drew and his wife, Megan

My son, Drew and his wife, Megan

Thank you for the laughter, the tears, the disagreements and all the in-between that comes with raising a son. I would not go back and change any of the moments we experienced together.  Most of all, I thank God for making me a mom to the best son ever!

I love you,

Mom

 

 

 

 

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old the will not turn.

Proverbs 22:6

What Do Others See?

 You have preached it now live it

So I say by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other., so that you nor not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

Bible with heart

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 4: 22-26

I am in the midst of completing Priscilla Shirer’s study on Jonah.  As with other Bible studies I have participated in God has opened the eyes of my heart even more.  Not only are the eyes of my heart  opened more but with each study I become even more aware of God’s daily presence in my life. I am also more aware of my walk with Christ and how I live out this walk on a daily basis.

I love the quote Priscilla shares on the last day of this study;

The fruit of God’s Spirit can only be

realized in the life of someone who is 

consistently yielding to the Spirit’s work

in his/her life.

 Priscilla Shirer

Impacting Others

CS Lewis Humility

These words really made me stop and think. First, I thought of those who have impacted my Christian walk through their daily actions. These persons live their lives in such a way that if I were a non-believer, I would want to know more from them of where their joy for living comes. I would want to know what motivates them to do the things that they do beyond their calling.  And, they do things beyond their calling with great joy in their heart and do it without expecting anything in return. When life happens to them as it does with us all, they tend to respond and not react. They stop and evaluate the situation and determine the best way to handle it. There have been times where no one else around them knew a situation was even taking place because of how they respond and how they are in step with God’s teachings.

Interruptions

Grace

In the study of Jonah Priscilla shares about divine interruptions. These interruptions are the unexpected things that come up in our lives. Sometimes, these interruptions catch us completely off guard. When these interruptions occur we have two choices. The first choice is we can react. When we react our actions may not represent the best of us. Sometimes, our reactions can come across in  the form of anger, bitterness, and the total opposite of  being in step with God and His commandments.  The second choice is we can respond. When we respond we have given ourselves time to stop, reflect, talk with the Father and figure the best course of action to the interruption that has taken place.  In our responding to the interruption, we are yielding to God and allowing Him to do His work in us. The outcome of responding is far different from our reacting.  Through responding, we are able to see God’s hand in the situation, we are telling God we trust Him and His leading. We are also demonstrating to those around us the true meaning of trusting God and living in step with Him.

Self Centered

Romans 12

The other day I was talking with someone about how we have all become self-absorbed. We are to be aware of others’ needs around us and the presence of God. Yet, it seems we are becoming more self-absorbed in our own personal needs, our wants and what will make us feel better and/or look good to others.  In other words, we are in a world of living totally opposite of Galatians 5:16-18.  It is when we are consumed with pleasing the flesh that we miss the blessings that God has planned for us. Furthermore, we become out of step with God. It is in these moments where we know in our heads what is right and what is wrong but our hearts do not demonstrate what we know.  Needless to say, it is at that point we profess to be a Christian but our actions are telling those around us something completely different. Thus, the reason why so many people see Christians as hypocrites. Sad but true.

Challenge

seek God

Today, I challenge you to re-read the scriptures at the top of the page and re-read the quote from Priscilla Shirer. As you read these passages, stop and reflect on what motivates what you do each day of your life.

Are you motivated by wanting what the flesh wants?

Or, are you motivated by what God wants you to do and living in step with Him?

When interruptions come up in life, do you react or do you respond?

Who has impacted your life by their being in step with God?

Now, think about the people around you that you could have a positive influence and even bring them to know and receive Christ in their lives by living consistently in step with God.

God's presence

In the days ahead, I encourage you to be aware of God’s daily presence and stay in step with Him. Being in step with  God has greater reward than trying to stay in step with what the flesh wants. May you seek God in all you do and may others see God in you in all you do.

May this video by our prayer in the days ahead.

That’s How We Fly

flock of migrating canada geese birds

Periodically, I will see and hear geese fly over our home. As always they are flying in the ‘V’ formation. They fly in the “V” formation for several reasons. One they fly this way to conserve energy. Each bird flies slightly above the one  in front of  him. They also take turns of who will be in the front so as one gets tired they can fall back.  By flying in this formation, they are also able to keep track of one another.

Along with that philosophy, our military aircraft fly the same way. You will see them flying in a “V” formation in military missions. One of the reasons they fly in this formation is to improve fuel efficiency  of the aircraft.

When I worked in the Special Education Department of one of our local schools, the teacher I worked with always started the year out with sharing about how and why geese fly in the “V” formation. She would share this story because our classroom operated under the same principle of the geese flying in a “V”.  In other words, our group was a team from the teacher to the assistants to the students. We took turns leading (this included the students), we knew when one was tired who could step up and help and each member of the class knew where the other was at all times as well knew when to jump in and help their peers.

Until a week ago, I had not thought about this technique in quite a while. Then, our minister shared the philosophy of the flying “V” in his message in regards to stewardship.  We were reminded how we are all a part of a group that is to help one another and to lift each other up.

Each one of us are born into a family. This is a fact. Some may have been born into one family but adopted/raised by another.  The types of families and homes are so varied especially in the 21st Century.  These varied families have different ways of how they operate, they have different rules and expectations in their homes.

Jim and I in our dating years.

Jim and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this Fall. Over the years, we have had to learn how to fly together. Our learning how to fly together started when we were dating. If you are not familiar with our story, Jim and I met while working on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC. I was from Georgia and he was from Kentucky. As we began to date, Jim’s words were; ” I want to date you while we are here this summer but after that, you will go back to Georgia and I will go back to Kentucky. Long distance relationships just don’t last.” Well, for almost 32 years, Jim has been choking on those words. A good example of “never say never!”

Our wedding day

What happened to make Jim swallow his words? The answer is simple. From day one, we learned how to fly together. Yes, there were and still are times of trial and error but non the less we learned to fly and fly together.  We work together day end and day out on making sure the other’s needs are met. Both of us know that when the other is tired the other needs to move to the front and take the lead.

Not only did we have to learn to fly together as a couple. But we had to learn how to line up the other geese in our lives. These geese being our families, and our son, Drew when he was born.  Jim and I knew that when we married, we married not only each other but we married each other’s family.  In other words, Jim’s family became my family and my family became Jim’s family.  When you compile these two families together, there are a lot of geese to coördinate in order to fly in formation.

Okay, you ask how do the Hawkins’ fly? When putting our ‘V’ formation together, we have to look at a big picture. We look at who is free at what time, who can do what at what time and we diligently make sure that each side of the family gets some sort of quality time. For us, quality outweighs the quantity.

For example, when Drew was growing up, my parents would come up and pick Drew up and usually took him on a two to three-week summer vacation of some sort with them. Now, you may ask; “was fair to Jim’s family?”  The answer to that question is; “yes.” Why? You see, Jim’s parents live two hours away from us. My family is a good six hours drive when traffic is good. Jim’s parents got a lot of extended weekends when Drew would have days off at school where it would be impossible to make a trip to Georgia. We also made sure Drew got a week in here and there throughout the summer. It just wasn’t all at once like with my parents. It is just what worked best for each family.

In forming our formation of the flying “V”,  Jim and I knew that each set of parents would and do play a significant role in Drew’s life in their own unique way. It was important to us that he have a relationship with both sets of grandparents.  It is through time with his grandparents that Drew learned more about who he was/is, his heritage and he had opportunity to hear stories that he would some day share with his family.

Drew is now married. When he married, we told him that he would have to learn to get his own ‘V’ formation in order. Jim shared with Drew not only would he be marrying Megan but he would also acquire a whole new family and Megan would be not just marrying Drew but she would gain a family who would and does love her dearly.  Jim and I also told Drew that as he lined up his ‘V”  formation, that we would fall into place where he needed us. Drew is now the head of his own household and he knows what works best and the needs of his family better than we do. It is not for us to tell him how to fly his “V”.   We will fly with him by lifting Megan and him up and encouraging them . We told him we will do our best to know when we need to jump in and help and know when to stand back and do nothing until we are asked to help.

If you were to be a fly on the wall in our home and watched us coördinate an event/holiday with either side and sometimes both sides of the family, you would think we were writing up a battle plan. It is not a battle plan per say but it is strategically lining up our ‘V” so that we can accomplish the mission/task at hand. And, that mission is to insure that we are aware of  the needs of each person involved and each one is taken care of.  Just like the military aircraft, Jim and I want to be as fuel-efficient with the geese that are in our “V” formation. So, that’ s how we fly!

How do you fly?

1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

New International Version (NIV)

10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

Light

The Jesus told them, “You are going to have light just a little while longer.

Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever

walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light

while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.

John 12:35-36 / NIV

My sweet father-n-law Jim, Sr.

My sweet father-n-law
Jim, Sr.

My late father-n-law was an electrical, mechanical and master electrician.  He worked for GE over thirty years and in the midst of those thirty years and after his retirement he wired a lot of homes and buildings. He had a love for light. On any given week day, one would not be surprised to see Jim, Sr. hanging from a ladder at church changing a bulb or adding lighting to some area of the church. He loved lights.

When Jim and I built our current home, Jim’s dad wired it for us. In our house you will find more than one or two switches on a plate. We have one switch plate that has up to six switches and we have multiple dimmer switches  throughout the house. Needless to say, when Jim or I walk into a room it is not too hard to find a switch that will turn on some  source of light.

light of the Lord

In Genesis 1:3, we read where God said, “let there be light.”  In verse four we read where he separates the light from dark. Thus, we have day and night. But there is so much more meaning to this light.  God knew that one day the world he created would begin to become dark again.  He would again would have to send light but this light would be a different kind of light. It would be his Son, Jesus who would be the light to the world of hurting.

In my previous post, Go and The Journey, I shared how God has led me to a place of healing.  The Sunday after Jim and I had made our decision to join the church we are attending and be baptized, Jim had to work. Before he left out for work, he told me to go ahead and go forward at the end of the service to acknowledge we were ready to take the next step to where God was leading.

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The Sunday service came to a close and the closing hymn was being sung, I went down to the altar. There I was greeted by our pastor. I told him Jim and I were ready to take that next step. At that moment, Pastor Dan took my hand and had prayer with me. Where I was standing up front there was a spotlight shinning down on the altar area. However, as Pastor Dan prayed with me, I felt not just a spotlight coming down on me. I felt the warmth of a light around me that I had never felt before. This light was a light of peace and a light of joy. At that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit not only surround me but embrace me. Have you had an experience where you can’t really put the experience into words? This was one of those moments for me.

kneeling at Jesus Feet

As a reader, you may be feeling like God has abandoned you. You may be wandering around in the dark trying to find a switch to a light source.  Friend, I want you to know that there is hope. There is a light in the darkness. This light is known as Jesus Christ.  All you have to do is surrender at His feet  those things that are casting darkness over you. Just as God said in Genesis 1:3; Let there be light. You can cry out to God and ask for light into your dark world. This light is Jesus Christ.

Carry this scripture with you in the weeks ahead:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am

the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in

darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Precious Words

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

In our home, you will find many bibles of many translations. Some people may question the number of bibles that are in my possession. However, I learn something new of God’s teachings, and gain different perspectives of God’s message to me through the various translations. One of my favorite study bibles that is marked, highlighted and showing some wear is the NKJ Women’s Study Bible. In this particular bible are devotionals, quotes of wisdom, historical information  and insights of how the scriptures apply to me in today’s world.

This morning as I was reading my study bible. I was reading in  the Psalms. In this reading,  I came across a devotional reminding me of how God’s word is such a precious treasure. At the end of this devotional was this hymn that was written by John Burton ( 1773-1822). After reading through this poem, I felt lead to share…

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