Our Love Story

Girl looking at the moon

There was this girl who lived in Georgia who like any girl dreamed of marrying her prince charming.  She prayed to God quite frequently to send her the “perfect” guy.  She met a couple who she thought might ‘be the one” but ended up broken-hearted. Yet, deep within she knew God had someone He was preparing for her. 

This girl was finishing up her freshman year in college. As Spring semester was in progress, she applied for a summer job at Lake Junaluska, NC , a United Methodist Conference Center in the Smoky Mountains. One morning, there was a letter in her mailbox that said she had been accepted to be on staff and a job awaited her as soon as she was done with her Spring Semester.

During this Spring Semester, this girl would take a Spring Break trip to tour with the college choir. They would travel to Texas and places in-between for the week. On this trip was a guest musician. This guest musician and this girl became smitten with one another. Even though this girl knew they weren’t evenly yoked, despite her friends’ advisement, and her family’s wishes, she continued to date him. If she ever rebelled this was the moment.

She dated this guy up until the last week of school. As she began to pack her dorm for the summer to move to her new job, she knew decisions and good-byes had to be made. One night, as she was going to bed, she said a prayer to God. The prayer was something like this:

Dear God,

I know the guy that I am with is not the one you have planned for

Please forgive me for not listening to my friends and family. Maybe,

you were speaking to me through them.   God, I just want someone

who will love me for who I am, who loves you as much as I love you. 

Please send me someone who will love me when I’m broken and 

rejoice with me in the good times. I need someone who

loves to laugh and sing.  

As this girl feel asleep that night, she fell asleep. She had a dream. In this dream, she saw herself sitting on a bench crying and someone comes up and puts their arms around her. She could not see the person but she felt the warmth of the warms hug her ever so tight. Then, she her the voice of this person say; “don’t worry….I will love you and take care of you.”


It is Memorial Day and this girl is moving into her room that will be her residence for the summer. As her parents, get her settled in and say their goodbyes and she is meeting her roommate for the summer, a young man comes walking in. He asked this girl and her roommate if they needed help with anything and introduced himself and said he was from Kentucky. They chat a few minutes and he walks away.  As he walks away this girl feels something special in heart. She hears the same voice she heard in her voice saying; “don’t worry….I will love you and take care of you.”

Later in the evening, this girl is with a group of girls who were all getting acquainted. As they are talking, the guy who had introduced himself to this girl earlier in the day, comes up to say hello once again. Again, this girl feels something stir within her as he walks away.

The next evening this girl is standing in line for dinner. As she stands there  in line, she looks across the room and sees this same guy  walk into the room. Only this time when he walks in, a voice within says; “he is the one….. but… be patient.” This girl so wanted to be the typical girl and run across the room to say hi and do what girls do…..flirt! However, that still small voice within holds her back.

After dinner, there was a staff orientation meeting. During this meeting there were the typical meet and greet games. One of which you had to get back to back when the music stopped. Once the music stopped, you had to turn around and share whatever piece of trivia about yourself  the leader said to share. Then, the last round of this game came. As the music stopped, this girl was frantically looking for someone to be back to back with so she  would not be out of the game. Then, from out of no where she feels these hands grab her  arm and pull her  back to back with this person. This person was this guy. As the leader instructed, they  had to turn around only this time they had to look at one another in the eyes for two minutes without saying a word. It was to teach the staff that they need ed to seek the inside of the person(s) they  would be working with and assisting during the summer.  Before sitting down and going to the next activity this guy hugged  this girl. As he hugged her, she felt the same warmth that she had felt the night of her dream.

eye of love


It was at that moment that this girl and this guy would become acquainted. This guy was full of laughter, he loved to sing ( even sang to her the first night before going their separate ways for the evening), he was compassionate and you could tell he loved his FATHER up above. Needless to say, this girl was falling pretty hard for this guy.   

The next evening this guy came by and asked if this girl would like to go play a game of ping-pong. Of course, she was no fool.  Despite her level of ping-pong skills she would go just to be with him. And, this is where the story begins with even more twist and turns.

signs of obstacles


Remember earlier, when this girl had gone on choir tour with her college choir? Well, as this Georgia girl and Kentucky guy play ping-pong, he mentions he went on choir tour during Spring Break. He had been on Spring Break the same week as this girl. Not only had he been on Spring Break touring with his college group the same week but at the same destination.  They had been to Texas and the same points in-between as this girl with her group. As a matter of fact, while in Houston, his group had been invited to go hear  her  group perform but this guy opted to hang back at where they were staying to play ….you guessed it…..ping pong! Looking back it was sort of like a “Sleepless in Seattle” kind of moment. 

This Georgia girl and Kentucky boy continue to date. Then, it happened one night.  He sat down with her and said he wanted to date for the summer but beyond that it would not be possible. Then, he kissed her. All the while this girl is saying to herself, “yea, right!”.

This Georgia girl is me and  the Kentucky boy is Jim.  As I look back, I see how our story has been written. It really  has been and is the fairy tale story. It is not the fairy tell story you think of from the children’s books and movies. But, it is God’s fairy tell story of how He has a plan for each one of us. It it the story of how  God  prepared Jim and me to meet at the right time. It is a story of how it was important to listen to Him and wait for his prompting to make our relationship to fall into place over time.

April and Jim through the years

My Dearest  Jim:

It is thirty-two years later since that night you said long distant relationships would not work. It will be thirty years November 23rd that  we made  our covenant before God as man and wife.  During those years, we have shed tears of laughter, joy along with tears of frustration and sadness. We have raised a beautiful son who now has a beautiful wife and home of his own. 

You have given me so much in these thirty years of marriage. You have provided for me not a house but a home where  love, laughter and music fill the walls.  In the difficult times you have wrapped your arms around me and have said; “don’t worry….I’m here to take care of you and love you.”  Every day you remind me as you walk out the door and when you call me at lunch that you love me.   Each endeavor that I wanted to try in life you have been there to support me and to offer a helping hand. Most of all,  it is in the way you live your life that exemplifies the Father’s love and grace not only  to me but to everyone you meet.   Jim, you are my prince charming. 

This morning as I look back on all the ups and downs, I see a story only God could have written. It is a story that continues to be written. There have been and probably will be the not no-good chapters we wish we could skip but it is in those chapters where God has and will continue to make us stronger as individuals and as a couple. 

In 1983, there was this guy who said long distant relationships don’t work. It was in 1985 where he stood with that girl he told this to and said he would be her partner “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer and until death do us part.”

When you walked into that dinning room on that summer evening of 1983  “you had me from hello” and everyday you still have me  from hello.

Jim, I love you more than you will ever know and  I can’t wait to see how the next chapters of our story unfold.

I love you,


April and Jim Voted Cutest Couple Lake Junaluska Summer Staff 1983

April and Jim
Voted Cutest Couple
Lake Junaluska Summer Staff

What Will You Choose?

Granddaddy enjoying his family.

It was a little over two years ago when I sat in an examining room  with my father-n-law and the rest of the family to only hear the words spoken; “we’ve done all that we can do” to this dear sweet man.  At that moment with a tear in his eye but with a smile on his face, my father-n-law took his sweet wife by the hand and said; ” we have had a wonderful life.” He was giving thanks in the midst of a storm that would not calm down but in days to come would only pick up momentum.


Once the doctor left the examining room, the PA threw her arms around my husband’s father and said; “there is always hope.  Hold on to hope.”  With that she left the room and we all looked at one another as to what we needed to do next. You see, these doctors visits were usually followed up with lunch at Skyline Chili. Yet, it was a moment we had to choose to either choose hope, joy and seek our blessings or choose to go home and just curl up in hopes the world would just go away.  This dear sweet man choose joy and hope. He announced we were still going to Skyline Chili and were going to enjoy being together as a family.


Each one of us will face a storm at some point and time.  As I have said in previous writings, God didn’t promise us perfect days but he has promised us A perfect day when we accept his SON, Jesus into our lives. When facing the storms in life we have two choices. We can react or we can respond.


Reacting to a situation could lead to some not so good consequences in the long run.  Out of our reacting, words can be said that should not really be said. The decisions we make may not be the best decision in the long wrong. Also, by reacting we choose to leave one important  person out of the picture, God. Thus, we begin to stumble and causing what is an already stressful situation into an even more stressful situation.


Responding to a situation means stepping back and seeing the whole picture of what is happening. It is sitting down and talking to the Father about how to ride the storm before us out and asking him to walk with us.  By choosing to respond we are choosing to seek the blessings despite the storm before us. We allow for grace to be at work in our lives and the light of God shine in our darkness.

life happening at once

Life is tough these days. There are days that are tougher than others.  We live in a time where wrong seems to be right and when you try to do right you are considered to be wrong.  It can make anyone to want to throw their hands up in the air and just simply give up. Yet, we know we must forge onward and forward. As followers of Christ, we know how the story ends and it is a beautiful ending.

heart and light

My prayer for us today is this:

May we choose to respond and not react when faced with life’s storms. May we choose joy, hope and seek the blessings God has planned for us even on the toughest of days.  Last but definitely not least, may we remember we have a Father who loves us and is walking with us.  And, if it gets too tough, he will carry us.  Remember, the imperfect days are preparing us for that PERFECT day.


The Person I’ve Become

girl looking in the mirror

This morning I looked in the mirror and wonder who I’ve become;

How can I be loved after all I have done?

The choices I’ve made;

The things I’ve done are making me numb.


Then a voice within tells me that He is not done;

For I am His and He is with me;

Bible with heart

I pulled out the Good Book and turn the unworn pages;

I read how God sent His SON;

Christ on the cross

 God sent His only begotten SON;

So I can change the person I’ve become.

heart and light

The words flowed  through my heart how through HIS death

I’m a forgiven one.

These precious words began to sink in;

He tells me to confess my sins;

And, to invite Him in.

Together, we will begin again.

God sent His only begotten Son

So I can change the person I’ve become.

girl smiling in the mirror

This morning I looked in the mirror;

And, I see the person I’ve become.

Jesus walking

I’ve chosen to walk with God’s Son;

And, now I am a forgiven one!

Bible opened

I pull out the good book whose pages are now worn;

I read how I must tell everyone that HE is the ONE!

God sent His only begotten SON;

So I  can change the person I have become.

girl looking in a table mirror

Maybe you’ve looked in the mirror and seen the person you’ve become;

Because of the the things you have done;

You are completely numb.

Let me encourage you to reach for the Good Book;

As you read, take a long hard look.

seeking the heart

Let the words flow through your heart;

Through His death you are a forgiven one;

You are given a new start!

God sent His only begotten SON

So you can change the person you’ve become.

eye of love

Let His precious words soak in;

Begin to confess your sins and invite Him in;

And, with Him know you can begin again.


Choose to walk with His Son;

You’re now a forgiven one.

Then, go out and tell everyone that He is the ONE!

God sent His only begotten SON

You can change the person you’ve become.

girl looking in the mirror

This morning I looked in the mirror;

I see the person I’ve become;

I am a person who walks with the ONE!

God sent His only begotten Son;

So I could change to be the person I’ve become!

Written By April Hawkins

October 15, 2015

John 3 16

A Bag Full of Blessings


dotMom is coming up in a couple of weeks. There are still a few available tickets for anyone who would like to go” are the words I read out loud to Jim as I scrolled through my Facebook Newsfeed. He encouraged me that I ought to go. I was reluctant to go because we have been empty nesters for ten years and I just felt like the weekend may be geared to those who still have children at home. None the less, Jim encouraged me to go because he knows how much I enjoy the fellowship with the ladies at our church.

packing for trip

Last week, as I packed for the trip I kept asking myself and God what was the reason for me going. Needless to say, as I arrived at the event the reasons for me being there as always began to unfold.  We were blessed with wonderful speakers (okay name dropping here) like Karen Kingsbury,  Sherry Surratt, and Rebekah Lyons.  These speakers inspired us, and made us laugh.  Yes, we even cried at times (but a good kind of cry).


When we first arrived to the event we were given the cutest little tote bag. This bag contained many things. There was so much in it that I choose to wait about going through mine when I had more time to enjoy looking at the items. I did find the  program book that contained the speakers biographies and a place where we could take notes. Other than that, I was oblivious to what was in the bag.  Along with the cute tote bags with all kinds of goodies in it there were also vendors that were giving things away. Thus, the “freebies” were added to the cute little tote bag.  By the time it was time to leave for home my bag was stuffed and spilling out just a little.



As I said earlier, I was hesitant to sign up for this trip. I questioned why I was going. Then it happened. God once again showed me the results of listening to His voice and obeying His leading.  The blessings began to unfold from the moment we left our church parking lot to the moment I arrived back home and dropped my bags in my bedroom.


Each speaker spoke on a topic that was very relevant my season of life at this moment. The underlying theme of the event was answering God’s calling and the fears that go with stepping up to the call.  Scriptures and quotes were given about how to let go of the fear and what is holding you back from going full force to answering the very thing God has placed on your heart to do.  I was so blessed and encouraged with what these ladies shared at the event.  A spark within me was re-ignited.

Fair trade jewelry

Along with tables with “freebies” and getting a cute little tote bag, there were vendors. These vendors were mostly Fair Trade vendors. In other words, the products they sold helped others have a better life.  Of course, there was one table I could not resist. It was a table of jewelry that was made of recycled aluminum. The neat thing was that if you wanted a piece customized the gentleman would customize it for you. I had picked out a small cross and wanted a blue stone on it. As the gentleman, worked on my cross we had the neatest conversation about our faith and sharing the gospel with others.

Ladies having tea

 There was the blessing of fellowship.  We were  a group of ladies that were away from our husbands and children for the night.  When this happens it means only one thing. We are going to skip the fast food, pizza and such and go for the good stuff.  The restaurant we found gave us our own private room. We laughed, shared what we had liked about the weekend thus far and we got to know each other a little better.

flower border

Late Saturday evening we arrived back home. As my husband, Jim greeted us at the van assisting ladies getting out and their luggage out, he sees my cute little tote spilling out with all of the items that I had collected in a twenty-four hour time period. He began to ask what was in the bag.  My response was telling him the things that I knew that were in the bag that I had put in there myself. I told him I had not gone through the entire bag of goodies that I was waiting until I got home.

Once I got home, I began to pull things out. I was blown away with all that was in the bag. There were Women’s Devotional CD’s, all kinds of reading materials, and the list goes on. I posted on Facebook that I had gone through my bag and felt like I was having Christmas in September. A friend commented that it was like pulling things out of a Christmas stocking. Her statement was so true.

As I pulled out these things, I began to think about the blessings from the weekend. I thought about how I questioned why I was going. Then, I smiled because I knew God had planned those blessings for me to receive even before I knew I would be at that very place to receive those blessings.

new day

In my reflection of the weekend, I thought of the scripture from James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above,

coming from the Father of heavenly lights,

who does not change like shifting shadows.

Each day God has blessings planned for us. We have a choice. We can choose not to go through the cute little tote bag and receive His blessings. Or we can choose to open up that cute little tote bag of blessings with anticipation and be in awe of all He has  given us, planned for us and plans for us.



Life, Life, Life

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

In recent days and weeks, life has happened to the Hawkins’ home. It is like we get through one hurdle and then another one pops up out of no where. There are days when we just want to tell the world to stop so we can catch a breath and get a grip on all that is happening. Yet, the world does not stop.  Life goes on regardless of where we are in it. So, we take a deep breath and forward on to do  what is put before us. Some days it is best to take it all one step at a time and one day at a time. In these moments it is even more important to embrace our hand in the hand of God. It is from Him, where we draw our strength. Living life abundantly means being carved more into His image and into more of…

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Blessings Beyond Measure


The end of the week we will be celebrating Labor Day weekend. A weekend for one more family reunion and/or trip. It is a time of saying good-bye to summer and gearing ourselves up for Fall activities.  As for me, Labor Day is a mile marker for me.

Let’s God Back A Few Years

Thirty-two years ago in the midst of an orientation activity my husband, Jim comes up to me and says; “hello.” It was at that moment when our eyes met that I knew that this was not an ordinary hello.  It was a hello that I knew would last a lifetime.

If you have read any of my other post/anniversary letters to Jim, you know that he and I were on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC. He was from Kentucky and I was from Georgia. As the two of us began to date that summer, Jim made it clear that he was not a fan of a long distance relationship.  Personally, I was not a big fan of a long distance relationship either. Yet, we continued to date and grow closer to one another.

Mid-August came and it was time for Jim to pack and head home to Kentucky  and for me to pack to head home to Georgia. On our last morning just before saying good-bye, Jim brought me a red rose. He assured me that the good-bye was not a permanent one. We begin to talk on how we would continue to be a part of each other’s lives despite the distance.

Bible with heart

A few days after returning home, Jim called me. He said he had checked into flights from Atlanta to Lexington, KY for me to come up to visit on Labor Day weekend. We worked out the logistics of the trip.  Labor Day weekend of 1983 I found myself in uncharted waters. These uncharted waters included flying alone for the first time, going to a place where my family had driven through a few times on vacations and beginning a relationship that was more than a high school crush/summer love. On that Friday as I boarded the plane, I was excited and yet a bit nervous.

After a layover and changing planes I found myself once again in  uncharted waters, I found myself looking out the plane window of beautiful horse country as the plane descended to land in Lexington. Then, as I departed from the plane, there stood Jim smiling the same smile he had the first time he said hello to me.

The Rest of the Story


It has been thirty-two years since that first hello. Yet, each time I meet Jim for lunch, when he walks in a room or simply calls from work, I still hear that first hello he said to me. I still see that same smile he gave me.

After thirty-two years of being together and thirty years this November of marriage, Jim and I have stood many tests during this time. We have had the rug unexpectedly pulled out from under us a time or two. We have had our differences in opinion. Jim and I have shared a lot of laughter and a lot of tears through the years. There have been times when we have looked at each other and simultaneously said; “really?”.  No matter the experiences good or bad Jim and I have never doubted God. Just as we put our relationship into God’s hands on that last summer morning before we returned to our homes, we have trusted God and His leading.  It is trusting God  and His leading that has given us blessings beyond measure.