Black White OR Grey

Family watching television, c. 1958

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Remember the days of black and white television? I remember watching television in black and white and the day the big color console television was delivered to our home. Now, for those who remember watching black and white television, do you remember the lifestyle people lived back  in those days?

Years ago, when our parents and grandparents were coming up there was more than just black and white television. Even in some of us in approaching the wonder years of 50, remember such days.  Everything was black and white. What I mean by black and white is that there was right and there was wrong. People lived by the Ten Commandments and understood that there were just that commandments and NOT suggestions! If a child showed disrespect or was unruly, they were punished. Children were raised to know that there were consequences for every action.

These days, it seems the colors black and white are becoming more and more blended and there seems to become an increasing amount of shades of grey. For example, in our media world, we see more and more people justify what they do despite the fact that it is wrong. Morals and values are becoming more and more things of the past. You can turn the television on anytime of the day and be exposed to things that should not even be on television. In today’s society, whatever it takes to bring in top ratings takes priority.  Over the course of time, we become more desensitized and the boundaries get pushed a little further.

Not only is our media guilty of surrounding us with more shades of grey but in society today it seems that the rule book has been tossed to the side. It has become a society of people caught up in what they want for themselves and don’t care who they step on to get what they want. If someone hurts another its okay but revenge can be sought. When someone gives someone something such as a gift, the receiver has the mentality; “I deserved this and it didn’t come soon enough.” Then, the giver walks away with the mentality  “now you owe me.” And, forgiveness. It hardly exists anymore. Instead, it seems to be more fun to go on a smear campaign against the one who hurt us.

Every day, we are each confronted with issues where we have to make choices. These choices are not the choices of what we will eat, wear or what we will do in our career but these choices are what are we going to expose our hearts, minds and spirits to during the waking hours of the day.  For the Christian, this is becoming more and more of a challenge. There are places in the world where Christians are being arrested for their beliefs.  The morals and values  are not gradually diminishing but they are on a fast downward spiral.

These thoughts really hit my heart the other day when I was watching a program on one of the Christian television stations that I enjoy. The speaker pointed out the scripture from Isaiah: :“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitterness.” Isaiah 5:20. Woe! Did this reading of God’s word hit me in between the eyes. Or. should I say this scripture opened my eyes to the ways of the world even more. Yes, we are in the times where good is no longer acknowledged, Christians are losing rights as each day passes and it seems the more evil something is the better  people like it.

With this scripture from Isaiah in mind, we as Christians need to be asking daily for discernment, wisdom, and staying in step with God. It is our responsibility to stand firm on the foundation that we have established as Christ’s Church. We need to begin leading by getting back to the basics of black and white and realize there are NO shades of grey. It is those areas of grey that we all have lived in at one point and time where we will have to face our creator one day and will be held accountable. Is there any real honest explanation for living in the grey?

Remember the days of black and white television? These televisions had only three basic channels and a small screen? Well, this is our template of how we need to walk our Christian walk. It is our responsibility to live out loud the black and white. We live this mentality of black and white by obeying not only the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses to give the  people. We must obey all instruction from the bible.  The three basic channels we must live out loud are a life of prayer, including God in ALL that we do, and stick with the basic instruction book, the Bible. Because in the bible, there are no grey areas. It is all black and white and those who tried to live in the grey did not fair so well. For the small screen,  may we limit how we allow the world’s attempts to pull us over into the areas of grey.

My challenge for all of us is to begin each day asking for God’s guidance, asking for discernment, and wisdom. We must take heed in what Jesus said to His disciples as He talked about the End Times. His instructions to the disciples and to us today were this; Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew: 24:4 Every day we are confronted with deception but we have the choice of buying into that deception and living in the grey. Or, we can make the choice of standing firm on the Word of God and His instructions.

What’s it going to be today? Black and white or grey? If you don’t already, I suggest you begin reading the Basic Instruction Book Before Leaving Earth better known as the Bible! And, each day, remember those commandments God gave Moses were not mere suggestions they were instructions for ALL people.

Blessings

What Is Your PR?

Drew running in middle school...College View Middle, Owensboro, Kentucky

My son, Drew is a runner. He began running when he was in seventh grade. I will never forget the first practice I took him to. It was a very hot August morning.  It was not going to surprise me if he got in the car after practice and say “this is not for me.” But, he proved me wrong. Drew hopped in the car and said; “practice tomorrow eight sharp!”  As each day of practice came and went, Drew’s endurance and times would improve.

For those of you who run or ever ran cross-country or track know that you are not only competing with your team to beat the competition but you are competing with yourself. It is the goal of every runner to improve his/her PR (personal record) times each time he/she competes. This competition against self is even greater in 5k’s and marathons.

There were races where Drew would run and he would feel like he was running with weights around his ankle. These races were frustrating for Drew because he knew what his personal best could be and should have been. However, at the end of the day, Drew would put that race behind him and look towards the next start line/race. Even though he would put the bad race behind, he would evaluate and note where he made the mistake, look to see where he needed to improve. The questions Drew would ask himself were; “Did I start out too fast?” “How well did I actual pace myself.”  “How focused was I on the race?”

In my post Don’t Give Up..Finish the RaceI share how we each run a race. The race we run is the day in and day out of living. There are good days and there are bad days. In other words, we have good races and races we would like to forget. This post also expresses how God and his angels are on the sidelines cheering us on to the finish.

Every now and then we all look back on days past. Sometimes, we think to ourselves; ‘What was I thinking?’ Yes, we all say hindsight is 20/20 and the best teacher of all. Yet, in those moments when we look back, we need to see the lessons learned and how these decisions were all a part of God’s molding us. Each one of us has personal goals and things we want to achieve each and every day. Yes, we all have a PR(personal record).

There are some days where we meet our PR or even exceed the record. Then there are other days where we wish we could just go crawl in a hole and hide. It is on these days, where we need to evaluate our day and see the mistakes made. Next, we need to learn from those mistakes and move on to the next start line. In other words, we move on to the next new day with our personal record and with knowledge of how to go about the day a little better.

Yes, I know that all of us encounter a moment where we wish we got a do over but life does not work that way. God does not give us do over but he gives us a new slate each day. It is the Lenten season and we are encouraged to stop and evaluate our race strategy. We can ask ourselves similar questions that my son, Drew would ask after a race.  

“Am I starting out too fast?” In other words, am I starting the day in such a hurry that I forget to ask God to come along with me?

“Am I pacing myself appropriately?”  When I am asked to do things am I doing it out of obligation, or are these things God is calling me to do?

“Am I focused on the race?” As I begin each day, do I focus on God and stay tuned in to His voice. Do I see the goal at the end of the day?

Every day we are placed on a new start line. No matter if we did or didn’t meet our PR the day before, we are given another chance to improve.  My PR is to allow Christ show through me in every step and action I take each day. Yes, there are days when I meet this PR and then there are others where I just want to crawl in a hole. But, I know I must evaluate, surrender to God and be ready for the next start line. So what is your PR?

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

Unexpected Blessings

Written for Drew March of 2011.  Since this was originally posted, Drew has married the love of his life, Megan. As March 24th comes this year, Jim and I feel doubly blessed. One, Drew being our son and two, Megan becoming a part of our family.        

Megan and Drew
Wedding Day
August 6, 2011

                 

Happy 25th Birthday, Drew!

 

Unexpected Blessing

Posted on March 24, 2011 by 

Our First Family Photo

April & Jim @ Grand Canyon August, 1986

August, 1986 Jim and I were in Arizona.  Jim had signed up to attend aPhysical Therapy Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona.  As Jim made preparations to attend this seminar, he decided he would take me with him and we would go out a week early. He saw it as an opportunity for us to vacation and possibly see the Grand Canyon.

After being in Phoenix a few days, I became very sick. I was so sick that Jim thought I ought to go to the hospital and get checked. The doctors thought I had just picked up a bug and gave me something that would relieve the nausea. Within a few hours, I did feel a little better. Jim signed us up for a tour that would take us to the Grand Canyon for the day.  We ventured out with a tour group and had a wonderful time enjoying scenery and meeting other people on the tour from other states as well as from around the world.  Needless to say, it was  wonderful memory for a newly married couple.

After an outing to the Grand Canyon, it was time for Jim to start his classes and I began to get sick again.  Jim jokingly said ” I just can’t take you anywhere!” Then, he got wise to the situation and went to the local pharmacy and picked up a pregnancy test. Yes, the results were positive. But, Jim would not believe it and so we did a second and a third.  It was obvious that a little Hawkins would arrive in about nine months.  Yet, newly married Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins were in total shock. This news of a new one coming into their lives did not fit into their five-year plan of waiting to start a family. They both asked each other and thought to themselves “what are we going to do?” and ” are we really ready for this?” Of course, as Jim says “we had commitment” and ready or not we were going to be Mom and Dad.  An unexpected blessing was expected to arrive in March, 1987.

On March 24, 1987, from the delivery room window, all you could see was the dark sky of rain and storms rolling in one after another.  In the delivery room was a weary mom to be becoming more tired and weary from being in labor for over a day. Along with the weary mom to be, was dad to be who had only slept a few hours  in a hospital chair. However, the time finally came for the newest Hawkins to enter the world. As Andrew Mitchell Hawkins entered the world, the storm clouds broke and the most beautiful rainbow appeared outside our delivery room window. I knew then that no matter how unprepared Jim and I thought we were,  God had a plan for us by placing this beautiful baby boy in our lives.  Drew was God’s promise to us.

Andrew Mitchell Hawkins

As I reflect on what began as a stormy day that turned bright and sunny, I reflect on the days and the years that followed.  I see a dad and a son not only bonding as father and son but as best friends.  Up and at it at five in the morning, Jim would get the paper to read before going to work. On those early mornings, I would awake and come to the living room to see Drew in Jim’s lap reading the paper with him. As Drew got older, they would meet in the kitchen Jim with one section of the paper and Drew with another section. They were like two old men talking about what was in the news and the weather.

Drew and Jim Vero Beach, Florida

Along with early morning reads of the newspaper, I reflect on many vacations that we took with Drew.  When going to the beach, Jim and Drew would design a sandcastle and would spend all day together building it. If we were at an amusement park, they would find the fastest and most daring roller coasters to ride together. Fun was and is still not an option it is mandatory with Drew.

Jim and Drew’s Masterpiece

Along with roller coaster rides, reading the headlines, and building sand castles, there were tears shed at times. The memory that holds close to my heart is when Drew was nineteen. He  had to let go of his best friend that had been in his life since he was six.  Abby was his dog and  companion that waited for him to come home from school to run and play. She was the friend that had watched him grow up.

Drew’s Childhood Dog Abby

I will never forget watching Drew and his dad spend an evening in the rain, digging a grave for his best friend. It was that evening, I saw a little boy who had grown into a fine young man with a lot of character. I saw the message that God had sent me on that March afternoon of 1987.  This message was that there was a young man who no matter the circumstances stood true to his faith. He was and is  not afraid to show what he feels and is loyal to his Christian walk.

Megan and Drew

August, 2011, another blessing will happen. Drew will take the hand of a lovely young lady by the name of Megan to begin a new life with her. On the day he stands at the altar awaiting to meet Megan there, I will not only be reflecting on the joys and blessings of what Drew has brought to our family. But, if only in my mind,  I will see that beautiful rainbow I saw on the day he was born.  I will be thanking God for the unexpected blessing that came to be in August, 1986 and arrived on March 24, 1987. For, it was that unexpected blessing that has been nothing but a wonderful blessing to his dad and me.

Drew, much love and happiness is wished to you today. May you experience the joy of an unexpected blessing one day.  Happy Birthday!

Drew’s First Birthday

We Love You,

Mom and Dad

PS May you always have a ‘School Boy Heart.’ Dad and I always think of you when we hear this song:

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Anticipating Our Destination

Last Fall, Jim and I decided we would book a cruise since it had been a few years since our last cruise.  As we looked at our calendar, Jim and I thought March would be good time to go thinking we would be tired of snow and winter weather. Yet, as we prepared to leave for our trip, we had the air conditioner turned on at home and laughed about the “winter” we were trying to escape.

When we booked this cruise, Jim and I asked our son and daughter-n-law if they would like to go along with us. Of course, it did not take them long to reply with a big “YES!” and clear their calendars.

As the days drew closer to our departure, the anticipation began to build.  Jim and I were excited that Megan and Drew were going with us. Drew had cruised with us one other time but this was Megan’s first cruise ever. We could not wait to see her reaction as we would board the ship, tackle the endless amounts of food and just savor all the people and scenery we would take in while on vacation.

Drew enjoying his entrée of duck

The day finally came where Jim and I pulled out of Kentucky and headed for Georgia. We were driving to Georgia to meet up with Drew and Megan at their apartment on Saturday morning. Then, the four of us would begin our journey to Florida. Our trip would include an over night stop in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Again, we were excited to share and show Megan our favorite places in the Golden Isles. As we enjoyed walking in the Village in St. Simons, eating at our favorite places and touring the Golden Isles, anticipation and excitement built even more among the four of us.

Christ Church
St. Simons Island, Georgia

After taking in our favorite sites and flavors of the Golden Isles, Sunday afternoon we ventured on to Cocoa Beach, Florida where we would lodge for the night and then head for the ship early Monday morning. Late evening, we arrived in Florida where we did a little shopping at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and enjoyed a local fare of Italian cuisine. After a casual dinner, we ventured on to our hotel.  As we unpacked the car and ventured to our  rooms, there were nothing but big smiles on our faces because we knew that in a few short hours we would board our ship for a few days in paradise.

Sunrise at Sea
Thursday morning 3-15-2012

Monday morning arrived and we were all up and ready to go. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the Port where we would board our ship. Then, that magical moment came. We were welcomed aboard the ship that would be our home the next four days. As we walked the gangway and entered the lobby of the ship, we were greeted with smiles from the ship’s crew, and it was  like all the weights and burdens of the world just fell off of us.

Megan and Drew
Relaxing at Coco Cay

Jim and me at Coco Cay

When thinking about the anticipation and excitement that took place as we prepared for our vacation, I realize that our daily walk with Christ is very much the same. Each day we wake up, we should look at our day with excitement and anticipation because God has planned great blessings for us each day. Also, each day  of our faith walk brings us one step closer  to our destination. This destination is our eternal home and known as Paradise. It is without a doubt that when we approach those pearly gates that there will be smiling faces to greet us and all the cares of the world we left will be no more.

My challenge to you today is to live your life with excitement and anticipation every day. I also encourage you to be aware of God’s goodness and blessings He has planned for you every day.

Sunrise at Sea
Thursday morning 3-15-2012

This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Unplugging To Charge Up


Unplugging To Charge Up

Posted on January 21, 2011

Social Media Outposts

Twenty years ago I would not have thought that I would be re connecting with old friends, connecting with new ones, and talking to someone via internet.  Now, every turn there is another app, advancement or way to stay in touch with people. It never fails that when I am out and about that I will see one or more persons on their phones either texting, checking Facebook or having a phone conversation. It has basically become the norm for our culture these days.

Now, don’t get me wrong and think I have a real issue with our modern technology.  I think that it is great that we have these many ways to communicate with one another and to conduct business.  However, it is so easy to get caught up in the technology world to the point we tend to run on overload at times.  Thus, when we hit the overload mode, we forget about the simple life God had intended for us.

From time to time, you may not see me on twitter, Facebook or hear back from me on email.  Although you are not seeing me in these social media facets, don’t think that I have forgotten you.  I like to unplug myself from the fast pace media world and just simply take in the life God wants me to enjoy.

When I unplug myself from the technology world, I usually enjoy one on one conversations with family and friends, enjoy the quiet of the house. I also get caught up on the home front and all that I missed because I got absorbed in the social media world.  Yet,  one of the things I enjoy the most of being unplugged is just spending some extra quality time with God.

Although I may be unplugged from the social media world, I intentionally plug into God and His world. By plugging into God, I am getting charged up.  It is through this charging process of time with God and family,  I see the more simple things of life.  These simple things of life I enjoy are such things  as the birds singing, our dog  playing darts with Jim (maybe a little comic relief there as well) , I am reminded of why God created each one of us.

God created us to enjoy the birds He made to serenade us, to enjoy the scenery around us, enjoy our family, enjoy the comical things our family members may do or perform, and simply be surrounded by Him.  God didn’t create us to be plugged in all the time as we unfortunately are and to run weary and stressed.  You see,  no matter how plugged in to the world we are, the more we tend to unplug ourselves from God and the world He created for us.  Thus, the result is we feel stressed and overwhelmed.

My challenge for you is to take a day or two and unplug from the  social media world and plug into God and the world He created for you.  If you absolutely can’t unplug for a day, try unplugging for a few hours.   Romans 12:2 sums it up quite well; Do not conform any longer to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  My prayer for you is that as you unplug from man’s world and you plug-in to God’s world that you will be refreshed and renewed.

I am taking a brief hiatus to renew the mind, spirit and body. During this time, I look forward to capturing  family time, and gathering new thoughts to share from Thoughts From The Porch.   There are a couple of new thoughts already  in process on my draft board. Be on the look out, thoughts of God’s love and  encouragement will return soon!

Blessings

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Reflections of Prayer Thoughts From The Porch

April:

Each one of us needs to take time away for renewal of the mind, body and spirit. I am taking a brief hiatus to do just this very thing. During this time of unplugging, I know that God will be renewing me so that I can come back and share more of the thoughts He places on my heart. I already have several items on the draft board that will be published withing the next couple of weeks.
May you find a moment to unplug from “man’s world” and plug into God’s world and experience His presence.
Blessings

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Social Media Life - Workstation

 

Twenty years ago I would not have thought that I would be re connecting with old friends, connecting with new ones, and talking to someone via internet.  Now, every turn there is another app, advancement or way to stay in touch with people. It never fails that when I am out and about that I will see one or more persons on their phones either texting, checking Facebook or having a phone conversation. It has basically become the norm for our culture these days. 

Now, don’t get me wrong and think I have a real issue with our modern technology.  I think that it is great that we have these many ways to communicate with one another and to conduct business.  However, it is so easy to get caught up in the technology world to the point we tend to run on overload at times.  Thus, when we hit…

View original 431 more words