Black Friday


Over the past week, Black Friday seems to be a topic of discussion among most folks. I have heard  stories of great deals. And, I have heard horror stories of people fighting over items. Really, is life really worth putting oneself through this year after year?

Then, there are those of us who treasure our sleep. We really don’t care for all the madness of Black Friday.  This year Black Friday began on Thursday evening which meant many got up from their turkey dinner and began their strategy.

My sister-n-law and niece are two who will pull the ads out of the paper and begin their strategy of how they will shop Black Friday. I find it most entertaining and admire their ambition and endurance of being able to conquer so much!!   Watching and hearing  people prepare themselves for Black Friday  is like watching  fishermen getting their gear ready for the big fishing trip in the wee morning hours and hearing their strategy of what bait they will use for what fish.  If I did what they (shoppers and/or fishermen)do, I would require an IV pole with a caffeine  drip and a guide dog because the day becomes out of focus for me around 10:00 at night and does not come back into focus until mid-morning of the next day!

In all seriousness, Black Friday has become an important date for the consumer as well as the retail market. But, there is another Black Friday that should the most important in our lives.  It is the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Over two thousand years ago, a tiny baby was born in a manger. This baby changed the world. He bridged us, sinners to be re-connected with God if we only believe. Then, it was on a Friday on a hill where the sky actually turned black and He was crucified for our sins. This is the Black Friday we as Christians should be most focused on each and every day of our lives.

Just as time is taken to find the best ads for the big Black Friday sales, we need to be taking time to tell others about the best deal ever. It is having Jesus Christ in their hearts. Along with telling others about the greatest deal of their lives, we must nurture our relationship with Christ every day. We can nurture our faith walk through prayer, devotionals, and serving Christ.   After all, when all is said and done, it won’t be the sales and deals that will matter. The only thing that will matter is our relationship with Christ

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Keep In Mind


In past posts, I have written about how each one of us needs to carry our grace cards with us.  Along with carrying a grace card to use with others just as God gives us grace, I have written about the importance of laughing, sharing a smile and encouraging others. Now, that it is the Christmas season, it is even more important that we utilize these people skills as we are out doing our shopping, sitting in traffic and encountering others in our daily walk.

Today, I want to give you some thoughts to keep in mind as you go through not only your day but through the Christmas season and days beyond.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31  You are busy, you have deadlines and the person in front of you holding up the line with a question to the clerk is probably in the same situation as you. Before you become annoyed, think of how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.  Or, you are trying to put the puzzle pieces together of how and when you will see family.  Again, put yourself in the other person’s shoes  as to what their schedule is like, their obligations, and think of how you would want to be treated as planning takes place.

Practice acts of kindness as you go through the Christmas Season. Hebrews 13:16 tells us; “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  Acts of kindness can be anything from shopping for a family who would not otherwise have Christmas to baking cookies for the neighbor next door.  Doing good for others can also include simply holding a door open for someone when you are out, letting someone move over to the lane you are in while sitting in traffic, or if you are tall, help those of us who are vertically challenged and reach that one item needed that is on the top shelf. Acts of kindness can even go as far as buying a cup of coffee for the customer who is standing behind you in line.

Encouraging one another is another instruction that we are given through God’s Word.  Seeking to encourage others is most important during this Christmastide. There are people who are lonely during this time of year. Invite them over for a meal, give them Christ-like love and let them know that they are not forgotten.  Encourage others by cards and phone calls. Christmas cards to shut-ins are a wonderful way to encourage others. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Along with treating others as you would want to be treated, acts of kindness and encouraging others, realize that there are going to be some things you have no control over.  No matter how much a person thinks they can control someone or a situation, they are actually handicapped in this area. God is in control. When faced with such situations or people, say this prayer to yourself;

Serenity Prayer

“God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

As I have shared from time to time, life is going to happen. At Christmas, when life happens, it seems to be more major than if it happened on another day or month. Look for the humor and blessings that are in the situation because they are there.  Roll, go and deal with it and know God is in control and He will supply what is needed.

Smile. When you are out and about no matter how overwhelmed or tired you may be just smile. A smile shows God’s grace at work. It lifts the spirits of those you encounter.  If you smile, you will see all that is around you in a more positive light.

Last but certainly not least, keep in mind the reason for the season, Jesus Christ. Start out your day with a prayer of thanksgiving thanking God for waking you up once again.  Prepare your heart to encounter Christ and see Him at work as you go throughout the day. Allow others to see Christ in you. After all, you may be the only witness of Christ’s message they see. It may be you that God uses to prepare the hearts of others to receive His one and only Son. “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.” Mark 1:3

There are only a few things to keep in mind as you dash through all the Christmas festivities.  The list could go on and that is where I would like to hear from you. What is something you think is important to keep in mind during this season of celebrating Christ’s birth?

All You Can Do Is Laugh


In the midst of our uh-oh...Jim tries to make his interpretation of the British Flag with duct tape.

The Christmas season has begun. For some, the season for Christmas shopping began on Thanksgiving night. The madness, the mayhem and rush to get that one must have item began.  As the madness began, Jim and I were in route to our second Thanksgiving celebration with family. We had spent Thanksgiving lunch with his family and now we were off to Georgia for Thanksgiving with my family on Friday.

Jim and I were excited about arriving in Georgia not only because we haven’t seen the family in a while but we had just purchased a convertible. This convertible is something Jim has always dreamed of owning and now he was taking it on its first road trip.  Since we were heading South, Jim was assured that the weather would warm up at least one afternoon to put the top down with the intentions of taking our young nephews for a cruise.

Friday morning after a two person lift of getting the turkey in the oven, my mom said that if there was some shopping we wanted to do to go ahead and go for it.  I did want to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond while I was there since we don’t have one in our area. Jim and I set out into the madness of Christmas shoppers to pick up a couple of things we had on our list. As we shopped and looked at all the neat gadgets at  Bed, Bath and Beyond, my father calls and asks us to pick up a couple of things at Target before returning home. While checking out with my purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I told Jim he could take the package to the car and move the car down to the  Target parking area. I would walk on down and get what was needed so we could speed up our process of getting back to the house.

As I stroll down the aisle to find the items needed, my phone rings. It is Jim. I think to myself that he is either telling me where he has parked or he is looking for me in the store. Instead, I hear these words as I answer the phone; ” uh, babe, the weather is warm and I thought I’d put the top down to ride back to the house.” I thought to myself “okay, sounds good so far.” Then, Jim’s voice quivers as he says; “as I was putting the top down, the back glass shattered!”  Obviously, this was NOT something a person wants to hear after owning the car only three weeks and being four hundred miles away from home. I was beginning to imagine the ride back to Kentucky on Saturday.

While waiting for me to come out of Target, Jim calls my dad to see if there is anyone who could take a look at the situation and possibly remedy the situation temporarily until we got home. However, the only solution to the problem was a trip to Lowe’s and making the purchase of plastic and duct tape to make a temporary window for our return home.

While  Thanksgiving meal preparations were being made in the house with my mom and sister-n-law, Jim and Dad begin to vacuum out the glass and make a make do window.  As we continued to put the meal together, I just shook my head in amazement of what had happened. You see, this is what we call Hawkins’ luck. It is not new to us at all. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen big and to us!

I chuckle out loud and said  out loud;” well no matter the weather, I guess we could go home with the top down” (knowing rain was in the forecast). Then Mom and Chris begin design a way of how Jim and I could protect ourselves from the weather elements if we drove home with the top down. They had us wearing ski masks to protect our faces, scarves to stay warm and me holding golf umbrellas over us as Jim drove to protect us from the rain. The more the discussion went the funnier it got. By the time it was all said and done, you’d think a scene from the National Lampoon’s vacation was being written.

Over twenty-six years of experiences of Murphy’s Law, Jim and I have learned that sometimes all you can do is roll, go and just laugh at the situation at hand. We know that having a fit or getting angry will not accomplish anything.  Jim and I signed on as a team. In that contract it means that we learn to roll with the punches together, laugh and know the issue will sooner or later be resolved. Then, in days gone by, what seems upsetting at the moment won’t matter.

Yes, Christmas is here. Mayhem, madness and trying to find that perfect gift is on. There are going to be moments that you are going to think; “can this line be any longer?”  Or, “I wish that person would get out of my way.” There are other stress provoked thoughts that tend to go through one’s head during this time of year. However, let me encourage you this year, as those moments approach, to take a deep breath and laugh.  Laughter is the best medicine and it can get you through any situation a whole lot calmer and better than getting upset and raising your blood pressure.

Sometimes, all we can do is laugh. And, by the way, God did smile on our trip home yesterday. It was sunny with a temperature of 72 degrees and guess who drove home with the top down! See, it all works out and it was a sweet ride!


Simple Vow


My Dearest Jim,

Last year we celebrated our twenty-five years together. Now, we are here again celebrating another year of wedded bliss. This past year has been a year of weathering  storms. Together we have celebrated new mile markers in our lives. It has been a year of really seeing love in action. A  year where we have had really had to work together.

In January, my dad announced his retirement. A mile marker in anyone’s life. Yet, with this bit of news, we knew that a celebration of Dad’s years in  ministry needed to take place. It was with the help of friends and members of Dad’s church that made this celebration possible. Yet, there were things to be done on this end which was a difficult tasks being four hundred miles from the venue. But, you held my hand and asked “what can I do?” You helped scan pictures, helped me with fielding phone calls and countless emails. You even stepped up and wrote the poem The Master’s Walking Stick to make Dad’s celebration and tribute of forty-seven years of ministry a little more special.

Dad's retirement reception

Spring arrives along with the Spring storms.  We spent many nights in our master closet waiting to hear the all clear as tornado warnings would be issued for our area.  One evening, we realized that we had spent too much time in the closet when we would open our back door for our black lab, Tori to come in with us. Neither one of us had to tell her what to do because  she would  instantly go take her place in the closet! There were mornings when storm  warnings were posted. You were at work and I was at home. You would call and make sure I was okay and assured me that you were okay.


As summer approached, we receive news that Drew’s best friend who was more like a brother and son to our family had drowned. You came home and we held each other as we grieved for the loss of Josh, for his family and for Drew. We took a deep breath, said a prayer, and held each other as we called Drew to give him the news.  Then, as we stood at Josh’s graveside, we held tight again as we watched Drew place his carnation on his buddy’s casket and say one more good-bye.

(Left) Josh Yeckering (Right) Drew Hawkins taken after they won the State Cross Country Meet

The days of the year and summer clicked on as we received more bad news regarding family members and their  health situations. My Dad’s brother/ my uncle, Dan passed unexpectedly. Again, you asked what could you do and held me tight. You took time from work to drive me to Arlington to attend the services and to be with family.

Funeral Services for my Uncle, Daniel Henry Hill @ Arlington

Among all these happenings, there was a wedding being planned.  Not only were there details to work out for a rehearsal dinner, but a dress for me to be found as well as working out other details for a wedding that would take place out-of-town. Again,  you stepped up and asked, “how can I help?”  You took time off to go look at the venue for the rehearsal dinner, you helped with phone calls, setting up and countless other things to get ready for our son’s special day.

Megan and Drew's Rehearsal Dinner

As we watched Megan and Drew, say their vows, I reminisced our special day when we said our vows. I reflected on you watching me come down the aisle as Drew watched his bride walk down the aisle on her daddy’s arm. On November  23, 1985, Drew was only gleam in our eyes. Now, he was marrying the girl of his dreams and beginning a new life of his own.

Drew watching his bride, Megan come down the aisle

Andrew Mitchell Hawkins

Megan and Drew exchanging their vows

One of our favorite songs is Clint Black’s Something We Do. There is a lyric in the song that tells how love means working together and helping each other. “Love is something we do” is also the main lyric in this special song.

Jim, you have demonstrated love as an action verb ever since the day we met. While working at Lake Junaluska, I got sick and you got me to a doctor. Over the two years of long distance dating, you would drive down to see me at school after a long week of medical classes and/or clinicals. Once we were married and Drew was in school, you encouraged me to go back and finish my degree.  Along with encouraging me to finish my degree, you helped me with Drew . There were papers to write. I would write and you would type (no computers then).  You did all these things with love and without complaint.

Today, you continue to show love as an action verb. When life happens, you ask; “how can I help?” You take time off from work to sit with me at countless doctors appointments. When I am behind on things around the house, you gladly pitch in and help me get caught up. We may be watching television and you will offer to go pour me a coke or scoop a dish of ice cream.  Love is something that you do on a daily basis.

Jim helping out with dinner at the Lake

This year, we have had a lot of tears. Tears of joy and tears of sadness. But, I would not have how this year has gone any other way. It is through the celebrations of life and the letting go in life that makes us stronger as a couple and as individuals.

April and Jim August, 1986

Yes, ‘I remember the day we wed. It began with a simple vow.’  The simple vow we said has brought us through a lot and I know it will get us through more celebrations, tears of joy and tears of sadness in our journey ahead. ‘Love is strong’ and our love is strong and it keeps getting stronger.

The day we wed...November 23, 1985

‘We give ourselves; we give our all; it’s something that we do.”

Happy Anniversary! I am looking forward to sharing the next 26+ years with you.

I love you,


“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13


That’s Our Story…What’s Your’s


Home Where The Heart Is...Hung November 19, 2011

Barn quilts are becoming very popular in our area and in surrounding areas. You can go for a drive on a back road and see them on old barns, buildings and some on houses. These barn quilts were first made and hung on old barns to preserve the barn.  Having friends who quilt and from enjoying these unique barn quilts on drives on back roads, I became all the more interested in them.  A little over a month ago, I suggested to Jim that we ought to see what one has to do to get a barn quilt. After all, our anniversary was coming up and there isn’t anything we really need.  Jim and I decided getting a barn quilt as an anniversary gift to each other.

When we met with one of the volunteer coordinators through the County Extension Office, we began talking about design. Each barn quilt that is made is a one of a kind.  Jim and I looked through pattern books, talked about the message we wanted our quilt to convey to the passer-by. After much thought, we decided on a heart, with red, white and blue colors along with a star on the heart. This pattern would tell the story of us and would also include other family members.

The heart symbolizes our love for each other. In other words, Home Is Where The Heart Is. The red, white and blue, along with the star is placed in honor/memory of family members who have stepped out to serve our country.  The quilt shares the story of our home and family.

This barn quilt is a symbol. It is a symbol that each person in our family is unique. We are each one of a kind. It symbolizes the love that our home is centered on and the sacrifices family members have made for us to have our home and freedom. Just like this barn quilt, we as Christians have a symbol as a reminder of who we are in God’s family. This symbol is the cross.

Being children of God, we are each unique in our own way. Our lives are centered on the greatest love. This love is the love of Jesus Christ. The cross is our symbol of the ultimate sacrifice that has been made for ALL of us.   On the cross, Jesus Christ gave His life for ALL of us. Through His sacrifice of taking our sin and punishment, we are made free.

Shrine of Christ Passion, St. John, IL

Just as the barn quilt is a focal point in our yard giving passer by’s a glimpse of who the Hawkins are, the cross should be the focal point for all of us. It is the way of the cross that tells our story, gives other a glimpse of the greatest love we can have in our lives. Most of all, it symbolizes the freedom we have when we ask Christ into our lives.

Most families have some sort of symbol, crest, or tradition that tells their story. What is your symbol that tells the story of your home? But, most importantly, does your home focus on the symbol of God’s amazing love, the cross?

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6


Describe Him

Jim is on the right holding the walking stick...back in the day....


In the above picture is my husband, Jim with some of his University of Kentucky Wesley Foundation friends and leader. He was sent this picture a few days ago by an UK alumni. When I looked at the picture, I not only see Jim of what he looked like in his younger days and when I met him. I also see my now adult and married son, Drew. I re-posted the picture on Facebook over the weekend and many people said Jim looked like Drew with a beard. Yes, there is resemblance between father and son. And, if you see Drew’s eyes, you will see his mom.

Drew and Me.....taken at his pre-school Mother's Day party

Drew helping Dad at the office

When Drew was in Kindergarten, I was attending college to finish a degree I had started before Drew came into the world.  If at all possible, I would schedule my classes around Drew and his school schedule.  One semester there was that one class left to take and it did not finish up until about a half hour after Drew was dismissed from school.  Not having family locally and not really knowing who to ask, Jim worked out his schedule to pick up Drew on those two days and meet up with me at the house. It worked out pretty well except for one day when Jim got delayed with one of his patients.

Drew stood at the front door of the school entrance waiting with the hall monitor  for Jim. I am sure for a little guy the wait seemed to be forever. As Drew waited with the hall monitor, the monitor asked Drew; “what does your dad look like?”  Drew began to describe Jim. He  described Jim as being so tall, that he had black hair with white stuff in it and poke-a-dots(Jim’s 5:00 shadow that takes place at noon) all over his face. Of course, the monitor recognized Jim the minute Jim walked through the door.

God. What does he look like? This is a question that all of us contemplate at some point and time. Also, what does Jesus really look like? We have seen artist interpretations of what he may have looked like.  Some people have had actual encounters with Christ and have seen Him. But, have they really described what He looked like? All you hear from these experiences is the awesomeness of the moment.

Here is my description of  God. He is the beauty in the colors of the trees in the Spring and in the Fall. He is the breath-taking scenery when you ride through the mountains. God is the breath-taking moment as you watch the sunrise or sunset over the ocean and hear the songs of nature around you.  I look at myself in the mirror, I look at my family and others around me and I see God.

Here is my description of Jesus. Jesus has loving eyes that say hope, forgiveness and love. His arms are long so that they can reach around every person and love on them.  He is every person I encounter every day.  Some days, I recognize Him more than others.

It is impossible for me to give a vivid description of God and Jesus as Drew described his dad to the monitor. But, I rest in assurance of the scriptures that I will know exactly who He is when He comes through that door just as the monitor recognized Jim right away. Revelation 22:4-5 tells us; “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”

Until the time comes for God to send his Son, Jesus, back to get His bride, it is up to each one of us as Christians to allow others see a little glimpse of what God and his Son, Christ looks like through us .  It is important that  we notice God at work around us every day. The other day, my dog, Smokey slipped and wrote about God’s presence. Smokey is so very right. We must acknowledge God in all that is around us.  When we acknowledge in all of our surroundings, we see the most beautiful portrait of God and his Son. We can also look in the mirror every day and see a beautiful image of God.  After all, we are made in His image.

“So, God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 2:27

Can You Squeeze In A Little More?

Can You Squeeze In A Little More?

Posted on December 27, 2010 by 

When you read my post The Table Is Set,  I placed a picture of our family dining room table.  This table also holds very fond memories of my Mom’s mom.  Her name was Reba but us grandkids called her Rea.  This table belonged to Rea and when she passed, I acquired not only the table but a table full of memories.

This dinning room suit was how my Papa Jack proposed to Rea. After courting Rea for a while, he called her one day and said look at the dinning suit in the front window of the furniture store on your way home from work. Then, he instructed her to let him know if she liked the set.  Apparently, she liked the set and it raised a family, grandchildren and now one of her great-grandchildren and possibly in the future a great great-grandchild with many a meal.

Early in my childhood, Dad was fortunate enough to have his parish close enough to Rea and Papa Jack’s house. This enabled us to pile in the car on Sunday after worship and go to her house for Sunday lunch and visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins.  Now, my grandmother was as Southern as a gal could get and that was especially true with her cooking. The Sunday meal would consist of fried chicken, green beans that had cooked all morning, potato salad, gravy, biscuits, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, and the list goes on down to the sweet tea. YUM!

Though the food was so tasty, the fellowship around the table was the best part. You see, at Rea and Papa Jack’s house, there was no children’s table. Chairs were brought in from every room and everyone squeezed in and sat together. As the family grew, the more we squeezed in and phone books and/or the Sears Catalog  in chairs were used for high chairs when needed. There were no bibs for the little ones because a tea towel tied around the front worked just as good if not better. Then, as the meal would progress you would hear giggles around the table as Dad would tell one of his stories.

Once the meal was complete, us kids would scatter out into the back yard where we would stand on the picnic table and perform our own concert of various repertoire. Mom and Rea would stay at the table a while and Rea would catch Mom up on the latest of family and friends. Papa would retire to his recliner and watch a ballgame and listen to it being called on the radio. Dad would find a place on the floor and take that Sunday afternoon snooze.

Out of all the memories of going to Rea’s house on Sunday, squeezing in around the table so all could be included on the fellowship is one of my fondest memories of Sunday.  One reason I hold dear to this memory is that no one was left out. Everyone had a place at the BIG table! Everyone got to enjoy the fellowship.  My grandmother’s  Sunday dinner table was very much like I imagine the Great Banquet table will be in heaven.  There will be no children’s table, and there will always be one more place to squeeze in one more chair.  Oh, the fellowship will be awesome.  I know that there will be smiles and giggles of joy because we will be dinning with the King.

Sometimes, we are in situations where we really need to bring in one more chair and squeeze in one more person, but we feel that there is no room.  It is easier to place that person or persons at another place.  When we don’t take the opportunity to squeeze in one more chair, we miss out on so much.  For example, we miss the opportunity of getting to know another Child of God, just a little more fellowship, and another chance for another memory that could just possibly have an influence on our lives.

So, how about it? Can you just squeeze in a little more? Here, let’s add another chair and enjoy the fellowship.


This post is in loving memory of
 Eugene  Jackson Daniel &
 Reba Laviania  Daniel
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