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.

What Is Your PR?

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

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…

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An experience I had while traveling this summer.

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

He who is seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone and the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)


One thing Jim and I like to do is go out and about and find pieces of furniture or other items that we can re-purpose or restore. I have several items in my home that we have stumbled on while on such excursions that Jim has taken time to restore.  The end result is we have pieces that aren’t perfect. Some of these pieces have markings that with all the sanding and rubbing one could do they will not come out. Jim and I call these markings/scratches character marks which only add to the beauty of the piece we have restored. Along with the character marks, we also have a…

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” I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beast so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forest in safety. I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessings. I will send down showers in season, there will be showers of blessings.” Ezekiel 34:24-26

Drew selfie stick

Hawkins 2014 Christmas Trying out Drew’s selfie stick.

This past Christmas my sister-n-law gave my son a selfie stick. You have probably seen them. It is a retractable stick that you can place your phone on and take a “selfie”. In other words, you take a picture of yourself and/or the group you may be with at the time.  Needless to say, the family spent the rest of the afternoon testing the “selfie” stick out.

For me personally, I am not much into “selfie” sticks.   I have done a few “selfies since getting my smart phone a few years back, however, I soon deleted them. There is something about drawing attention to myself in that regard is not my cup of tea.

cup of tea

Along with the “selfie” sticks, it seems social media has developed a “self-centered” mentality. It is so easy to get caught up in showing and telling everything we do through the social media mediums.  Our technology has become such that we are not only inundated with commercials on television these days but we are inundated with pages/advertisements through social media. Everyone is telling us how we need certain items or do certain things.

social media picture

Through social media, it is also easy to get caught up on what everyone else is doing and thinking we need to do the same vacation, purchase a car like the one our friend purchased, and the list could go on. Thus, creating an image of what we should have and should be doing instead of being content with what we do have and what we are doing.


These attitudes of “selfie” carry on into our everyday lives even when we are not connected into the social media mediums.  It seems our society is getting caught up more and more with what is done for us versus what we are doing for others. ( Of recent, I have found myself guilty of this.)  With this mindset, we are taking our focus off the blessings that we have been given every day.

CS Lewis Humility

It seems everyone these days carries a score pad.  We get to thinking about all the things we have had to do for someone and wondering what was in it for us. Sad but true.  We are so worried about what is not being done for us that we lose focus that we are here to serve one another with a cheerful heart. We are reluctant to give because it may mean giving up resources that we want to be completely ours or we think there will be no return for the deed we have done.

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”

Proverbs 13:13

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22

wants sign

Just like many other standards and morals of living, we are seeing a society gradually losing the ‘the attitude of gratitude.”   It is when we lose this attitude that we become even more a “selfie.” Also, in the loss of gratitude we lose focus on what is and what has been done for us. Instead, we want more and feel we deserve more.

Have you had a moment where you thought someone owed you something because they are sacrificing to do something for you at that moment?  Have you felt like  you have been cheated by God because someone else seems to have something you wished you had? Do you have a tendency of keeping score of what you have done for someone?

If your answer was yes to these questions, you may want to stop and ask yourself;

Am I losing my attitude of gratitude?

In recent days, I have had to stop and ask myself this question a time or two.  It was in searching my heart with this question, I realized that I had gotten caught up in how much I have done for others and so into my “selfie” that I forgot to realize that there were blessings to be had and to give thanks to God.

Blessings Journal

Blessings journal

From time to time, I try to keep a Blessings Journal. In this journal I write out at least five blessings that happened during the day. As I write out these blessings, I see where God has been working in my life and all around me. It also helps me to be aware of God’s presence in everyday situations.  There have been times when I start out to write my five blessings that as I get going these blessings turn into ten blessings and fifteen blessings and the list continues. Through this journaling process, my eyes are refocused on the things that do matter in life such as nurturing relationships that I am in and that God tells us to give sacrificial. After all, he sent his SON who gave you and me the ultimate sacrifice of His blood so that we can live in eternity.

John 3:16

Isn’t it time we stopped complaining and start giving thanks?  Next time you are belly aching about what you have to do and what you had to do sacrificial think on these things:

If it is doing something for someone, think of the many ways that person has blessed you. It may 

not be in the ways you expected but in other ways of the least expected. Give God thanks

for placing that person in your life.  And, be grateful the what they have done for you.  

When you feel like God has cheated you somehow, think of all those situations. Looking back you may see why God didn’t provide what you expected him to provide. Instead, he did give you what you need. Give him thanksgiving for those moments. Remember, God has our best interest at heart. After all, he did create us and  knows more about us than we know about ourselves.

Next time someone ask you to do something and instead of thinking: ‘What’s in it for me?’ or thinking if you do something for them they will owe you.  Seek the blessing in the situation and be thankful that God has put you there for a reason.

Give thanks

When we begin living the life of  attitude of gratitude, we begin to have peace with ourselves, we become content with who we are and what we have been given. It is within that peace and the blessings where we begin to be happy and less worried about our “selfie.” We turn our focus off ourselves and back on to God. As we do this, God is able to shower us with blessings beyond our comprehension.

Are you more concerned about your “selfie”? OR Are you walking in an attitude of gratitude?

I encourage you to listen to the video. Reflect on the blessings that God has given you.

Charlie Brown



Do We “Kick ‘Em When They Are Down?”

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

“A Guy In Desert Has Encounter With Burning Bush; Says He talked to God”, ” Samaritan Woman Caught Getting Water From The Well,” “Teenage Girl Says She’s Pregnant…but she has not had relations with her fiancée.”  As Christians we know the truth behind these headlines. We know that they were all God at work in the weaving of His world. Yet, if we saw these headlines today and didn’t know God and His mighty works, how many of us would stop what we are doing, pull up a chair and listen intently on these headlines. How would the media report the stories?

Anytime of any day you can turn on the television, stereo and the computer and you will see some sort of headlines where someone is being attacked. Or, someone’s business is all over the front page and the story has probably been embellished. As I write this…

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