Archive for November, 2010

Encouraging Others

High Fiving The Crazy Ones

Encourage One Another


As I have become introduced to the world of social media via Drew,  I have learned more about what it means to encourage others.  In the world of Twitter, it is good that you respond on some tweets and  read blogs that are posted via Twitter. On Facebook, we know that we encourage our friends by clicking the “Like”, leaving a comment or writing on their wall.  Then, there is the blogging as I do and that means that you not only write but you read and encourage others in their writing in the blogging world. You encourage fellow bloggers not only by reading their site but commenting and sharing as well. It is all about encouragement and staying connected.  I experienced such cyber encouragement via Branchingbecky’s Blog when she mentioned one of my blogs on her site. “Wow!”,  I thought to myself, “I am actually going beyond my walls!.” Needless to say, it made my day!

Encouragement and staying connected is all a part of what God wants us to do in the world He created.  It is important to stay  connected with Him so that we can connect with others and encourage them.  We connect with God through our prayer, worship, quiet time with Him and joining Him in His work through acts of encouragement.  Listening to God and responding by encouraging others comes full circle into our social media world.  It is through Twitter, Facebook,  and Email that we can encourage others.  We can also go outside our social media world and encourage others through writing notes and/or simply encouraging someone in person that God places in our path.

 Words of encouragement are gold to the heart.  We are all in this big world together with each of us having our daily challenges before us. Thus, it is important for us to encourage one another on the journey.

  Today, I challenge you to encourage someone whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, Email, writing a note, leaving a comment or simply encouraging someone in person.  It is by my experience that when you encourage someone, you not only give them a lift but you will feel a lift in your heart, too. Hebrews 3:13 says we need to encourage one another on a daily basis. How about you? Who do you need to encourage? Who sent you encouragement your way that lifted your spirits? Make encouragement a part of your daily routine.


Mom; FOCUS!!


Elizabethtown (film)

Elizabethtown (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mom focus!” is one of our favorite lines in the movie Elizabethtown. The reason that line is a favorite is because the character Drew is very much like our son Drew. As a matter of fact, Drew’s family in the movie is very much like going to a Hawkins’ family reunion.  We laugh because Paula Dean’s role reminds us so much of Jim’s mom ( in a good way of course!).   The similarities of the character Drew and our Drew as well as the other characters in the movie  seemed to spook our Drew when he saw the movie for the first time.

Not to give away the movie, but Drew’s father had gone to Elizabethtown to visit relatives when he passes away during his visit. Drew is sent to Elizabethtown to make the proper funeral arrangements for his dad.  There is one scene where Drew has called his mom to confirm her specific wishes regarding his dad’s funeral arrangements.  As he is  on the phone with his mom, confirming her wishes on arrangements since they do not coincide with the Elizabethtown relatives,his mom is on the other end  back in Oregon spinning her wheels over everything. It is obvious that Drew’s mom is not paying attention to what he is asking nor telling her.  She is on one big tangent! Drew finally yells to his mom, “Mom Focus!”.

Yes, yours truly has had a similar exchange with her Drew.  Fortunately, it hasn’t been over funeral arrangements. Our exchange has been over other issues that Drew was trying to get squared away with me.  Drew is trying to get information from me, or give me information, and I am updating him on the past month’s church services, back issues of Messenger-Inquirer, who I ran into at Kroger and whatever else is on the brain at the time. Drew accuses me of having ADD and I don’t think I am that extreme (LOOK! a squirrel! OOPS! Got distracted!).   Drew has actually yelled me over the phone “Mom Focus!” and sometimes face to face.  Jim says it is like trying to swat a bumblebee in a 4×4 room.  This scene can be very comical to the innocent bystander. 

There are times in our Christian life where we are everywhere but where we need to be with God.  We are that bumblebee in the 4×4 room and God is swatting at us and trying to get us to sit still and focus on Him.   I’m sure  God wants to yell at us and say “focus!”. Our world is so fast paced and it seems more and more distractions come our way.  These distractions can easily take our focus off of God.  We forget that we are here to live our life for Him and for His glory.

We are called by God to focus on His word and His plan for us.  When we stay focused on God’s word, we are less likely to be distracted from the worldly things and are more apt to do what He has called us to do.  All that life sends our way is so much easier to deal with when we turn our eyes towards Jesus. God did not place us here to spin our wheels and be on a never-ending tangent as Drew’s mom was in the movie.  He placed us here to enjoy life to its fullest and to bring Him joy.

Now, when my Drew says to me “Mom focus!” , it not only makes me aware my wheels are spinning faster than anyone can keep up. It also makes me realize that I not only  need to listen to him but maybe I am getting out of  focus with God.   Are you focused on God? Or, are you that bumblebee in the 4×4 room? Life is more abundant when the focus is on God.

My son, Drew….who keeps me in check


You’re Still My Only One

April & Jim November 23, 1985

Dear Jim,

Today we celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss!  If anyone ask me if I would do it again, my reply would be “yes”! The past 25 years are a beautiful woven tapestry.

Do you remember the date? June 1, 1983 we were in the Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska, NC participating in summer staff orientation.   When I saw you in the dinner line, I knew then that you would be my one and only for life.   Later in the evening, our eyes literally met during an orientation game where we had to look into each other’s eyes for two minutes without saying anything.  The purpose of this game was to teach us as staff that we would meet all kinds of people in the summer and that it was important to see what was in the heart of a person.  At that moment, I saw your heart.  In your heart, I saw love, compassion, grace, and kindness.

April & Jim @ Memorial Chapel Lake Junaluska, NC 2010

Over the years,  you have  demonstrated not only your love for me but our Father’s love.  Along with seeing inside your heart, I also learned from you about what it means to persevere, to trust God and be a team.    We knew that if we were to be together and we would have to trust God,  work as a team and persevere.   In 1983, there were no computers with internet, no cell phones with unlimited minutes and texting, no facebook or twitter.   It was through writing several times a week, calling at a set time on Saturday night, you  driving down to see me once a month, me flying up to see you on the holidays and great determination that kept us together and our love alive.

If I had it to do over again, I would do it all again.  The obstacles we faced as a dating couple and as a married couple are nothing compared to what life would be if you weren’t there.  Together, we have stood the test of time,  taken many test together and got through them with the help of God, we have learned a lot about grace and forgiveness!  Through the years, we have so many wonderful memories of special occasions and trips together.  We have had moments where we stopped and had a good belly laugh together.   Yes, we also have faced disappointment together. There  have also been times we have  grieved together, cried on each other’s shoulder and held each other up. Along the way, God has blessed us with family, friends and acquaintances that have left footprints on our hearts.

It only seems like yesterday that my Dad was walking me down the aisle giving me to you.    November 23, 1985, began our life together. Today, we look at our past and learn what it has taught us.  Then, hand in hand, we look to the future.  Neither one of us know what the future holds but we do know that God will make our tapestry all the more beautiful as we journey on together.

Today, I celebrate spending 25 years with my best friend.   The last 25 years are a woven tapestry of beauty and I would do it all again!  You are still and always will be  my one and only.

I love you!




Image via Wikipedia

God, I am angry at you!” These were the words I screamed in my car as I hung up the phone from talking with Jim.   Jim had just called from Louisville with results of his dad’s exploratory surgery. The results were Jim’s dad does have lung cancer and would have to be in the hospital a few more days than originally planned. 

Why did this make me so mad at God? First of all, I was mad because Jim, Sr. along with the family got news that no one wants to get. The second reason why I was mad, was my selfishness getting in the way. This weekend was to be Jim’s and my weekend to celebrate our 25 years of being together. We were to go to Louisville and celebrate our anniversary with family and friends as well as celebrate Jim’s parents anniversary which is this weekend, too.   I kept asking God why did he have to throw this curve ball.

Despite all the anger and yelling I did, I knew deep within that God does care for me, for Jim’s dad and the rest of the family.  God has a plan and I have to accept my plans are not on his schedule nor do they always coincide with God’s plan.  From the depths of my soul, I knew that I have to trust God.  In times past, I have had to trust God and He has never failed me yet.  Now,  as I dry my tears of anger, pull myself up by the boot straps, I know once again that God is a good God and there will be blessing to come.  It is up to me to seek those blessings and praise God through the storm that has been put in front of our family.

The irony of me getting angry at God is  in my Wednesday night bible study, we had just discussed and shared about blessings and anger towards God. I had shared how Jim and I face obstacles knowing that God has a plan and that blessings will come out of the obstacles before us.  In the obstacles that life presents us, we know that God is our strength. Then several days later, I am the very one screaming at God!

God does have plans for each one of us. Sometimes, we don’t like His plans. There are times where His plans will make us angry and we have to yell at Him. But, getting angry at God is okay.   His allowing us to blow when we need to blow is all a part of His wonderful compassionate love and grace for us.  It is in working out the anger that He makes us aware that He is in control and we must trust Him every step of the way. By trusting Him, our relationship with Him deepens. Along with our relationship deepening, our faith gets stronger and  the blessings He has planned for us become more visible. 

Angry at God? It’s okay. Yell if you need to but then allow God to be the Master of the plan that is set before you.  Trust God and know that you will have praises to sing to Him as you go through the storm. Be strong and take heart, all you hope in the Lord.  Psalm 31:24 Remember, God is your strength. Trust Him!

May you experience God’s blessings and peace today and on the journey ahead.

The Perfect Gift

Drew @ Nativity @ Wesleyan Heights UMC

Tis’ the Christmas Season has arrived! Ready or not, it is time to pull out those favorite Christmas tunes, decorations, and make our list for gifts.  Thoughts are going through your mind like: ” I don’t know what to give him/her this year!” or “I don’t know what they need or want!”.

Well, worry no more! I have the perfect gift for you to give this year.  This gift comes with no need for batteries, no assembly is required and there is no need for a box because it will not fit into a box.   There is no worry about anyone standing in an after Christmas return line.  Also, money is no object because this gift has been paid in full.   The perfect gift will bring joy, hope, peace, grace  and love year round.

Over two thousand years ago, God knew that the world  needed a gift from him.  A gift that would bring us all peace, hope, love, joy and grace. God wrapped this gift in swaddling clothes where He laid in a manager the night He was born.  The first Christmas carols were sung by the angels announcing the birth of the Messiah; King of Kings; and Ruler of All Nations! God even sent the  first decoration  with the bright star that  announced the Christ Child’s birth.  This star led shepherds, wise men and others to the stable to see the gift God had sent the world.  It is no doubt that for those who experienced receiving this gift first hand were  nothing but in awe and joy seeing the Christ Child.

God loves us so much that he wanted to give you and me a gift. He sent his ONLY Son. His  Son Jesus was sent to show all of the world  love, hope, peace, joy and grace.  In His lifetime He was a walking example of what it meant to love one another, to care for others, to experience joy, He brought peace and taught  how to forgive. For this gift, we owe nothing to God.  The price was paid in full on a cross on Calvary.   Through the blood of God’s lamb, our sins are forgiven and the doors to Paradise are opened for you and me.

When the thoughts of “I don’t know what to give him/her!” or “I don’t know what they need or want!”, how about giving them the gift of Jesus Christ and His love for them.  Maybe it is someone who does not know Him and now is the time for you to introduce them to Christ. Or, maybe there is someone who is seeking your forgiveness. There is no better season than this one to go to  them and reconcile and demonstrate that wonderful grace of Christ.  On the other hand, could  you be  needing  to ask someone for forgiveness?  Now is a wonderful time to demonstrate  Christlike humility and seek their forgiveness.  Do you need to ask God for forgiveness or forgive yourself? When you go to God for forgiveness, you receive the most precious gift of peace, joy and grace.

The  love of Jesus Christ is a gift that is open to all, it is one size fits all and no assembly required.   How indescribable God’s love is for us.  God sent  His only Son to you and me. He died for our sins so  you and I are able to have eternal life. ( John 3:16) Each time we offer the gift of Christ, the angels sing just as they did on that first Christmas night.


Christmas Blessings!

Special Decorations

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in Ne...

"Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart." Psalm 119:111


The other day I drove by the park and noticed that they are beginning to put up Christmas lights and decorations.  The stores are and have been decorated for a few weeks now.  As I admire these decorations, I am reminded of how God has decorated my life.

When I look at decorations, there is always  a few that stand out among the other decorations.  The first decoration that stands out for me is the wonderful husband that God sent to me twenty-seven years ago. Jim and I celebrate twenty-five years of wedded bliss on November 23. Not only has Jim been a wonderful husband, but he has been my best friend.  We have laughed, cried, celebrated many good times and held tight each other in the not so good times  Not only has Jim been a wonderful husband and best friend, he has been the best dad ever.  I have watched him nurture, guide, teach, laugh, discipline and cry with our son Drew over the years.  Jim has done a beautiful job of displaying and being an example of his Father’s love.

The next decoration that stands out is my son Drew.  Drew has brought me laughter and has been my encourager a time or two.  Through the years, I have learned  the importance of enjoying life and being happy with observing Drew’s happy-go-lucky spirit.  He has decorated my life with joy by watching him run, participate in various other activities and achieve his goals. Now, he brings joy to me as I watch him move into a new phase of his life where he soon will become a husband and start a family.

The other decoration in my life needs no explanation.  This decoration is Jesus Christ  Jesus has decorated my life with friends, family, laughter, joy, music and the list goes on.  But, the greatest decoration He puts in my life is His love.  It is with His love for me that I have the courage to take on challenges that are put before me.   He brings out the best in me on my worst of days and He helps me to see the best in others no matter their situation.  It is His great love that decorates my life on a daily basis. 

How about you? How has God decorated your life? Leave me a comment. I love it when people share their about their special decorations!!



You MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER!  We have all seen this slogan on that big yellow envelope that we get in the mail from time to time. When we receive that envelope, we have a choice of to either open it or toss it in the garbage.  If we decide to take that chance and Enter To Win’,  we spend the rest of the afternoon punching out stickers and  deciding if we want to purchase products that are offered if you enter the sweepstakes.PCH

My son Drew works in marketing and advertising.  He states that the goal  in advertising is to get into our heads with catchy jingles or slogans.  These slogans and jingles convince  us to by a product or take chances in entering a sweepstakes. How many times do we buy that product we thought we could use or entered that sweepstakes knowing that this is the year we will win?   How many times have we been  disappointed once that product was in our hands?  Or, we were let down when the Prize Patrol did not come to see us?

Satan is like that slogan or commercial jingle.  As Christians, he wants to get into our heads by deceiving and convincing us that his product is better and with him we could be a winner.  How many times have we  bought into his product thinking it is the better way or that we could very well be a winner? Yet, after we bought into his product, we were met with disappointment and continued to look for something even better?

As Christians, we are continually challenged by Satan. He thinks he knows us.  Yet, no one knows our hearts better than Jesus.  With Christ in our lives, we are ALREADY A WINNER!  It is through Jesus Christ that we already have the ultimate prize. The prize is an eternal home with Him in Paradise. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. “  What better prize is there than to be able to sit at the banquet table with our Heavenly Father and his Son?

The choice is ours to make.  We can open that envelope of chances that Satan presents to us. Or, we can chose a guaranteed win with Christ. It is in accepting Christ  in our lives  that makes us ALREADY WINNERS!

What choice will you make? Are you going to take a ‘chance to win’? Or, are you Already A Winner where your prize awaits you in heaven?



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