A Way of Life

For the past two years I’ve done Thankful Thursdays here on the blog. I’ll be doing them again this year as well.

Thankfulness is a way of life.Being grateful is a choice and attitude. For Christians it’s a requirement as well.

Ephesians 5:20 ~ And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:2,3 ~ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

 

To give thanks in ALL circumstances. To count it all joy. To have an attitude of gratitude.

On November 1st I’m going begin the weekly Thankful Thursday posts. These weekly posts will supplement something that I try to do daily, a thankful list in my journal. These intentional practices help remind me to be thankful no matter what.

I also plan on making a Thankful Tree. The Thankful Tree will be a great way to include my husband and our daughters. I’m going to make one similar to  one that I saw on Pinterest. It’s the cutest thing!  {Branches from the yard, a mason jar filled with nuts, and pretty card stock for leaves.} 

My sis in law did a thankful tree last year and I just loved it! It was a great way to teach her children about giving thanks. (She’s a wonderful mommy) Discipling my niece and nephew every day. Being present with them and teaching them about Jesus.

Maybe you’ll join us on Thankful Thursdays or even with making your own Thankful Tree. Thanksgiving really shouldn’t just be a November thing. It’s a way of life.

There are so many cute ideas for trees on Pinterest. I have pinned a few on my HOLIDAYS board on my Pinterest page. I’ll share a picture of mine when I make it.

{New here? Lets’s be blog friends! Sign up here for email updates and/or Like my FB page. Still planning a giveaway on the FB page. Over halfway to the goal.}

Until Next Time,

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What are 3 things that you are thankful for this week? 

I am thankful for:

1) Thankful for each one of you! That you take the time to read these words that I share.

2) Thankful that Logan wanted to be homeschooled and wouldn’t give up until I said YES. She is now a college student at age 16 with 3 college core classes under her belt and signed up for 3 more next semester..FREE because of the Accel program. 

3) Thankful that I was able to take my Momma and daughters last week to North Ga. and spend time with family up there! 

When The Memories Hurt

It’s hard to share personal pieces of my life. There was a time when I was extremely private. I still am even though I share lots of my family and life moments through photos on social media. I share bits and pieces of myself with the world through this space here called Simple Truths. I share in hopes of reaching someone for Christ, and to let you know that you aren’t alone. With that being said, today I am sharing a piece of my heart with you. Raw. Real. Transparent. Not for pity. Only to let whoever needs to hear it know that they are not alone and that there IS HOPE. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the memories. Sometimes though, they hurt.

Like being punched in the gut. They hurt. Because, I don’t want them to just be MEMORIES. I want to still be making memories with my Daddy.

It’s very selfish. I know.

I should be happy to even have the memories, and I AM. They don’t always hurt. They bring me joy. They comfort me. BUT, sometimes the “wanting to make more memories” hurts.

I am learning to roll with the feelings as they come and go. Like waves in the ocean. I don’t fight them, I just make my way through them.

I have cried more in these past six months than I have my entire 40 years of life.

This is real life. This is a part of life that we can’t avoid. Death. Grief. Loss.

The emotions that come with them are normal as well.

As the holidays approach, the ones that I always spent with my daddy, I can’t predict how I will handle them. As some of you have been there and done that, you know what I mean.

When the memories hurt, I will try to choose joy. When the memories make me ache deep within, I will praise my LORD for the memories and that my Daddy is with HIM and I WILL see him again.

How? Because my Daddy knows Jesus and Jesus knows him. I know Jesus and Jesus knows me. That is how I KNOW that I will see my Daddy again. I know Jesus personally and I KNOW that HIS WORD is true.

John 3:36 ~ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

John 6:47 ~ Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

John 10:27,28 ~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

GOD is good all the time and ALL the time GOD IS GOOD. When the memories hurt, GOD is good. When we experience loss, GOD is good. When we don’t understand life, GOD is good. All the time.

Psalm 37:39 ~ The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

 

 

Until Next Time,

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This world, for followers of Christ, is a pit stop. Just passing through. Heaven is our home. We will face adversity and loss as well as lots of wonderful things on this earth. While we are here we are to bring glory to God and make disciples. Through the good times and also through the difficult times. 

Do you know my Jesus? Is he your Heavenly Father too? Do you think that you have to clean up your act first and then begin your relationship with Christ? You don’t. Jesus wants you just like you are. HE is the only way to heaven. He is the only ONE who can make you righteous. YOU can’t get righteous without HIM. He is the only ONE who can wash your sins as white as snow. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone. Life is short. No time like the present to KNOW that you KNOW Jesus and that HE knows you. Jesus is THE source of HOPE.

 

 

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Beach Trip

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Daddy visiting

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Streams of Living Water

{Day 16 of Being Present in Real Life. New here? Missed any of the posts? Click here for all of them in one place.}

 

John 7:38 ~ “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

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copyright 2014 Heather Dawkins

The water rushes swiftly across the rocks. The music of the waterfall sings like rain through the trees. The fall crisp air feels so fresh and clean.

So grateful for eyesight to see the beauty all around me today.

When my camera is not with me I use my eyes as shutters. Imagining snapping photos with each new sighting of the landscape around me.

Holding the images in my mind. Forever. Memories in my heart & soul.

Until Next Time,

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copyright 2014 Heather Dawkins

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copyright 2014 Heather Dawkins

Tea Leaves AND Time

Tea leaves…Time…Laughter…Memories.

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The whole group

I’m normally a coffee drinker. Love my coffee. Every morning.

My momma, my daughters, and I are enjoying a girls trip. We are visiting my aunt and family in North Georgia. My aunt and cousin love to go to tea at the neatest little place. {Tea Leaves & Thyme}

So much fun! They even provide hats to wear! Of course, I HAD to wear a hat. {2 hats actually}

There’s something about getting away. Doing different things. Trying new experiences. It refreshes and renews your soul.

My sweet aunt purchased my first tea-cup and saucer at an antique shop today. I let my girls pick the cup and saucer that they wanted so that we can have our own tea parties at home. {whether they like it or not} :)

Being present looks different on each day. Today it looked like a tea party. Tomorrow, who knows. I plan on BEING PRESENT whatever the day brings our way.

Time is a gift. Time is valuable. When it’s here it’s here and when it’s gone it’s gone. Spend it wisely.

Until Next Time,

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sisters…that’s a chocolate cherry “mouse”

 

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Me having Peach and Flowers tea in hat #2.

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Tea party in hat #1.

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Tea party with my daughters.

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Momma and Jillian

 

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My tea-pot and Aunt Lori’s tea-pot..Rock sugar in the background.

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Our antique tea cups and saucers for future tea parties.

 

Fun facts about Tea and Tea Parties:

Tea is a natural antioxidant, and rich in vitamins and contains vitamins B2, B1 and B6.

Tea is also rich in potassium, manganese, folic acid and calcium.

At 11 o’clock in the morning, to stay alert, in England it’s common to take a break with a cup of tea and some cakes: Elevenses is what they call it. Before dinner, however, you can take ‘high tea’: a kind of reinforced snack.

There are many different kinds of tea, but they are all derived from just one plant: Camellia sinensis. The color and variety of the tea (green, black, white, oolong) depends, however, on the way the leaves are treated.

Tea bags were invented in America in the early 1800s, and were initially used to hold samples of teas brought from India. Today, 96% of all cups of tea served around the world were made using teabags.

The first tea used in England came from Dutch sources between 1652 and 1654. When Charles II of England married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, she introduced the pleasures of tea drinking to the English Court.

 

 

Missed Blessings

That nudge I get, the one that I can’t ignore, that’s The Holy Spirit. My JESUS living in me. Convicting. Pushing. Nudging. HIS presence.

Every single time that I obey whatever it is that God lays on my heart, I am blessed.

Usually the obedience is preceded with an uncomfortable feeling of SELF fighting with The Holy Spirit.

I.E. : “you should really go say something.” “But they will think that I am weird.” “What if they reject me?” “I’m probably just imagining that God is telling me to go.” Combined with a nervous feeling in my stomach. Accompanied by my heart pounding.

Do I go? Do I ignore it?

Sometimes I respond in obedience. Sometimes I ignore the feeling.

All I know is this, when I don’t obey I miss a blessing.

Being Present In REAL LIFE

Being Present
In REAL LIFE

Here is an instance where I listened to the prompting from The Holy Spirit and received a blessing… Read this post for the story.

Just recently I felt God nudge me to go pray with someone { in front of other people}. I just couldn’t ignore that still small voice telling me to go pray with this person. Afterwards, she thanked me several times. She said that she had been praying about some physical pain that she had been experiencing. I had no clue what I was praying for when praying with her. She said that when I touched her shoulder and held her hand that she felt a rush of heat. I didn’t feel that. My hand felt very sweaty afterwards. If she hadn’t told me this I wouldn’t have known. It was ALL GOD. Not me. I tell you this as a testimony to how God uses us as his vessels if HE so chooses, when we are obedient to HIM.I told her that it was God who led me to pray with her. All glory to GOD. The same power that conquered the grave lives in you if you are a child of God, and HE lives in me.

You may not believe me. Trust me, even I was skeptical at first. Then I remembered the verse below.. WHY SHOULD I DOUBT MY GOD AND HIS ABILITY ?! 

 

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) ~ Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Being obedient just feels right. The blessing of joy and peace follows.

I’m sure you have your own stories of how obedience led to a blessing for you or someone you know. Share them. By sharing your testimonies you point to GOD and bring glory to God. Share them here in the comments or wherever…but share them.

{This is Day 13 of the 31 Days of Writing challenge. If you would like to see the other posts in the series, click here.}

Until Next Time,

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Beauty in the Ordinary

Beauty in the ordinary. Ordinary beauty. It’s everywhere.

Beauty tends to be a term that is reserved for the PERFECT things that we deem beautiful by our standards of judging.

There is beauty in the ordinary.

I step onto the pavement, and the breeze is blowing cool and crisp air, and I look down and see a very unique cone of some sort. At first glance I think it is just a pine cone. I pick it up and it is so different and beautiful. Beauty in the ordinary.

The weeds growing in the empty lots along the way, covered in a raspberry colored flower. Beauty in the ordinary.

I realize that when I am out in nature that I feel closest to God. He speaks to me through the ordinary beauty. Is it really all that ordinary?

I can’t create a pine cone. I can’t make the wind blows through the trees and make that beautiful breezy tune. God can.

I can’t create real life flowers on a simple old clump of bushes. God can.

How many times do I miss the ordinary beauty? How many times during the day do I miss the beauty in the ordinary everyday things?

I look down at my phone. Check pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and twitter. Oh, let’s not forget email. I look down and away and miss the beauty as I walk right past it.

Do you? Do you miss the beauty in the everyday ordinary?

I quickly put my phone down away from my face as I walk. I intentionally look around and see all of the beauty that I would miss otherwise. Reminding myself to be present in the now. Smell the air. See the beauty. Feel the crisp breeze.

I pass an older gentleman walking. He nods, and I intentionally say hello. He asks: “How’s it going?”  I reply: “It is a beautiful day and feels so great this morning.” He smiles and nods his head in agreement and we keep on walking our separate ways.

There is beauty in the ordinary. Ordinary hellos. Ordinary walks. Ordinary fall days. Ordinary weeds. Ordinary pine cones.

In the Bible, it even says that Jesus was ordinary looking. But Jesus is the MOST beautiful to me.

Isaiah 53:2 NIV ~ He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Read that verse again.

No beauty or majesty. In man’s opinion.

And, this is the only place in scriptures where we are directly told about what Jesus looked like while he lived on earth. It doesn’t tell us what he looked like. Maybe because that didn’t matter. It says what he did not look like. He didn’t look majestic or beautiful. Jesus had an ordinary appearance.

Ordinary is beautiful. Jesus…He is beautiful to me.

We have to look up and see it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say. Will you choose to see the beauty in your ordinary today? Whatever that ordinary may be, there is beauty to be found in it.

 

Until Next Time,

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And I Am Sure Of This

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

 

Ever feel like a FAILURE ? An outright no good can’t do it right failure ? (yes, I am aware that I just wrote a run-on sentence )  Yeah? ME TOO. 

Examples of feeling like a FAILURE  (may or may not be MY personal examples..just sayin’) : 

- Trying to be obedient and encouraging and then not being very “encouraging” with your (my) spouse.

- Having a negative attitude.

- Not sticking to what you said you weren’t going to do anymore.

- “Falling off the wagon”

- Not being as successful in your own eyes as you want to be.

- Not shining Jesus.

- Not meeting the expectations that others place on you.

- backsliding

 

You get the point.

 

That is when I am even more grateful for the mercy and grace my Jesus FREELY lavishes on me! Ahhhh! Don’t you agree with me?

SO. DO. NOT. DESERVE. IT.

 

That is BEAUTY my friends. Real life down to earth BEAUTY.

Grace is beauty.

Mercy is beauty.

Forgiveness is beauty.

I’m sure of it.

 

Satan says (I am guessing) : “You have sinned and you fall short. Take your ‘damaged goods’ stamp or sticker or tattoo and give up sister (or brother). Just lay down and have yourself a good ole whiny pity party. Better yet, stay there.”

 

God says (as is written in HIS Word, THE B. I. B. L. E.  and what scriptures say and yes I am paraphrasing,  *scripture reference below)  :“All have sinned and fall short. Accept my GIFT of forgiveness and redemption and walk WITH me. Take your ‘REDEEMED by the blood of JESUS’ stamp and STAND my child. You are loved. You are precious. You are MINE. I am not finished with you yet. Trust me, nothing you have done or will do surprises me.”

 

* For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 3:23,24 (ESV)

 

I don’t know about you, but I prefer God’s truth over Satan’s lies.

 

When you fail, and you will, don’t lay down and roll all around in it. Get up and brush your self off and start over. Stand up.

 

AND I AM SURE OF THIS :

HE IS NOT FINISHED.

HE keeps on keeping on and offers us mercy and grace that is so stinking beautiful. Like rainbows on a cloudy day beautiful.  Like the sunshine peeking out after days and days of thunderstorms beautiful. You get the picture.

It is almost too hard to believe it.

Failure is only failure when you give up. Failure is only failure when you don’t learn something from it. Isn’t that how we learn? By making mistakes? (I am not saying that you should fail on purpose. No, not giving you permission to do that.) Just don’t lose HOPE and do NOT give up. STAND UP and rest in JESUS.

 

You might want to listen to this…

07 Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave :

 

 

Striving to SHINE,

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Picture Perfect

Can I speak bluntly for a moment?

Women need to stop wearing masks and stop assuming that everyone else has it all together. We need to be real and transparent and share the good the bad and the ugly. (No, I don’t mean to rant or tell all.. Face it, nobody wants to hear it all) I’m saying share the real you, not just the “highlight reel” or the “photoshopped version”. And we also need to quit comparing what we assume others are to how we think of ourselves.

None of us are perfect. None of us have it all together. Just because we have a great photo that looks like we do..doesn’t mean it’s real. Or maybe it is at that moment. What about after? Is it always picture perfect?

And I’m not saying that a great photoshopped photo is bad! Trust me.. I love them. I’m just saying that if we want to reach other women for Christ, then we might need to let them see that we don’t have it all together all of the time either.

How can one relate to someone that pretends to be perfect? Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. Why do women,especially, believe the lies that we tell ourselves? Why do we compare our wrong thoughts about ourselves to what we assume to be real about another woman?

What if instead of assuming, and comparing, and being prideful, that we were real?

It is a pride issue ladies.

Call it what it is.

You can’t pull a weed from the top and expect it not to grow back. You have to dig deep and pull the weed out at the root.

And I’m not saying that we should vomit negativity. I’m saying that we need to deal with ourselves. Deep digging. Get real with the root. Take off the masks. Stop assuming. Quit comparing. Walk in faith.

Walk in belief.

The belief that God is enough and that he doesn’t make junk.

The belief that not every other woman has it all together.

Yet, if they do have it more together, then what is their secret?

I’ll tell you the secret. It’s found in Philippians. The secret to contentment is belief and faith in Jesus.

Paul found the secret to being content.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

The truth is that we are all dealing with our own insecurities. Yet, we don’t have to be in bondage to those insecurities. God doesn’t talk to us the way we talk to ourselves. Why do we?!

Faith is the secret.

Faith that Jesus is enough. That Jesus provides all that we need and at just the right time.

And honestly, we as women, need each other.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT)

Maybe, just maybe, if we would stop assuming and take off the masks, we would see that we are not all that different.

To me picture perfect is showing the real you.

The real you (or ME) that messes up. Fails daily. That Desperately needs Jesus every single second of every day.

Love,

Heather

Without JESUS

I’ve found that with grief comes moodiness. Some days I’m more irritable than others. Some parts of the day I’m “ok” and at other moments I’m not.

Not many people see those sides of my grief. Or if they do, I don’t even realize it.

Truth is, I don’t know when the low moments will occur. Anything can trigger them. They may last 5 minutes. They may last 5 hours.

I’m learning that it’s part of the process. Riding the waves of grief. Learning to swim in it. Getting better at holding my head above the waters so that I don’t drown in it.

If I drown in it then I’m not shining Jesus like I should.

As the saying goes: “My lifeguard walks on water.”

I’m so thankful for this TRUTH.

Without JESUS I’d surely drown in grief.

I don’t share these truths for pity. I share them so you’ll know that you are not alone. Everyone will experience their own losses.

We are all appointed once to die. Eternal life is a gift promised to all who believe and call upon The Lord to be saved.

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NIV)

That’s where my hope rests.
That’s where my source of peace is found.
JESUS.

Without JESUS I’d have no hope.
Without JESUS I’d have no peace.

Grief is real. You never “get over” the loss of those you were closest to. You just don’t. Nor should you. They are a part of you. You just learn to swim in the ocean of grief. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes the water is choppy. You just learn to navigate through and soon it becomes your new normal.

With JESUS it is possible to smile through the tears and shine through the rain.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8, 9 NIV)

Believe me. It’s true. But only WITH JESUS.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

Striving to SHINE,

Heather

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To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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