Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reflections on 2016

Reflections On 2016
Written by Amanda Hawkins


  As we are about to enter the new year, I've been looking back at 2016 and all of the things that have happened. I realized that this has been a huge year for us!

  Just back at the beginning of this year we were sleeping in our 2000 Ford Explorer every night.

  I became a teacher this year. Dominic went through 4 different jobs before he ended up where he is now, with a job that is not through a staffing agency, thank you Jesus!
  
  We went on some great road trips, made some bad and good investments, lost some friends, made some new friends, probably ate out too many times, took some things off our bucket list, started a blog, got married, (or eloped, not really sure which....) and moved into our first apartment together.

  I would love to share the pictures, and some of our very best memories. 


  Ah, Josephine. That's the name we gave to the 1984 Chevy Caprice Classic that we bought from a farmer for 600 dollars. Meet, bad investment number 1. 
  She was a beautiful car, complete with rust, dents, missing exterior side panels, a gas tank that was rusted through, a broken radio, caving in roof upholstery, and leaking oil. 
  We took it to the drive-in theater to see Finding Dory, and sold it a month later because it leaked oil like a waterfall, and we had already dumped almost 300 dollars into trying to repair it.
  We'll never truly regret her though, she was Dominic's first pride and joy car that he ever bought.



  The first spontaneous road trip we took this year, and also the first lighthouse I ever seen. We went to Michigan City to see the Lighthouse that was built in 1837, and to go to the outlet mall there. It was a great road trip, and I hope to go back again. 

  





  We went hiking with my sister, Autumn, this summer. Complete with a bible study at an elevation of an 885 foot hill that we hiked, picking wild berries, and getting a workout. It was the best hike ever.



  Our first time trying Japanese Fusion at a Sushi place near us. Dominic took me there for my birthday.
  The Sushi was phenomenal! It made me crave Sushi for every meal thereafter. It was more of an experience than a meal, and that Japanese Fusion place is now one of my favorite restaurants. 


  Of course I can't forget to include our wedding picture, even though I've already posted it before. 
  April 6, 2016. It was our one year anniversary that we decided to get married.
  Our wedding was sweet, just Dominic and I and the courthouse appointed official who married us. I felt terrible though that we didn't even tell Dominic's side of the family that we were married until a half a year later. Long story.


  The time we went to Indianapolis zoo with my sister.
  I had always wanted to see a Dolphin in person, and that dream was made reality. There was an underwater dome where you could hear the Dolphins talk, and walk side by side with them. We were even able to see a Dolphin show where we sat in the splash zone. It was amazing.
 I know I sound like a kid, but it was my childhood dream.




  The day we found a life-size Chess board in the park and played it together. That was fun. I almost won too, which is rare. I'm still learning how to play.






   The balloon glow we seen when we went to a festival near us. Dominic said my eyes lit up when I was watching the show. I couldn't understand why he was watching me the whole time instead of watching the glow. He said that it was more fulfilling seeing my reaction to it, than watching it himself. He's so sweet.


  Our trip to the Albanese candy factory. 
  That was pretty amazing too. 
  They had a chocolate waterfall, and a lookout station where you could watch the people making the candy. 
  It was a neat experience.












  Apple picking at a little orchard out in the middle of no where.
  We picked one bushel, and had apples for over a month and a half afterwards, which half of them we threw away; they started to go bad because we were tired of eating apples and apple pie.
  





  Our third road trip of the year, and lo and behold, bad investment number 2.
  We went to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Home of Zhender's Splash Village indoor water-park, and Bronner's Christmas wonderland, right next door to each other.

  We went to Bronner's first, which had so much stuff. Floor to ceiling, lights, ornaments, statues, snowflakes, showcases, elbow to elbow with hundreds of Christmas shoppers. It was a nightmare for anyone who hates crowds, which we do.

  So we left Bronner's, and went to the waterpark, which we had already purchased a day pass for, only to find out it was more of a waterpark for kids. There were 2 slides that were pretty intense however. One was a family raft slide which was fun, and the other was a drop slide which we did not try. 
  We did have a lot of fun though on that road trip, and we will not regret it. We even met someone from Canada!



  Meet, our cat, Kneady.
  She was hanging around for a couple of days on the back porch at my work.
  It had been snowing and below zero degree temperatures. 
  Dominic and I decided to take her and find her owner.
  When we finally tracked down who she belonged to from the tags that were on her collar, the people said they didn't want her or care, and that they had too many cats already. 
  We were surprised at how someone could be so cold towards an animal in need. We took her in ourselves, and that night, on December 6, had one additional family member. 
  We went out and bought her 100 dollars worth of food and litter and toys and flea combs and shampoo, and treats, and all kinds of cat goodies. She's a spoiled brat, and we love her.

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  We made so many lifelong memories just in this one year.
  I can't wait to make more memories as we continue on our walk together in marriage, in Christ, and in life.
  I can't wait for whatever the coming year holds, because whatever it is, it's in God's hands.
  My only hope for the coming year, is that it be a year full of God's grace, and filled with opportunities to share the love of the Lord. I pray that we are able to build a ministry this year if it be in His will. I pray that 2017 be given to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever is ahead of us this year Lord, let it be to glorify you.
  
  
  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Crock-Pots Are A Blessing

Our Crock-Pot Is A Blessing
Written by Amanda Hawkins








  Dominic and I bought a Crock-Pot a couple months ago, and finally just started using it.

  The first thing we made together, was a pot roast. It turned out tender, mouth watering, and just amazing.


  The second thing we made was a batch of Chili Mac that I probably shouldn't talk about. I cooked it for way too long, and the macaroni turned gummy and gross. Haha, what was I thinking? But that was no fault of the Crock-Pot. 

  We are now learning to use the Crock-Pot for almost every meal throughout the weekdays, because when we come home from work, it's very nice to have a hot home cooked meal. 

  We found that without the Crock-Pot, we were going out to eat all the time throughout the work week, because we didn't feel like making dinner when we came home, we just wanted to relax and spend time with one another.

  As I was cleaning and putting away just the three dirty dishes left from the slow cooker meal that first day we made the pot roast, I realized that the Crock-Pot is a blessing.
  
  We are no longer going out to eat all the time and wasting money that could be put towards more important things. We are learning to use the slow cooker together, which is great bonding time, and I get to please my husband with a great home cooked meal every night.

  Last night I made stuffed cabbage rolls in the Crock-Pot.

  They turned our great as well!

  I would highly suggest for every wife, husband, and busy family, to invest in a slow cooker. It has been a blessing for Dominic and I thus far, and will continue to be as we learn to make new meals together.

  



 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Part 2 - A Job In God's Hands


     My husband got a new job.
I don't know if you remember my post entitled 'A Job In God's Hands.' In case you don't remember it, the brief overview is this: Dominic's boss said he was going to be letting him go, but that he could continue to work with their company until he found a different job. 
     We were worried that at any moment his boss was going to cut him for good, and then a month went by. After we had applied for countless jobs, and Dom had countless interviews, finally a company contacted him.

     'Hi Dominic,
     I found your resume online. Please reply to this email if you are interested in discussing the following job opening.'

     He replied immediately, and after two interviews with the company, he got the job! Just as Dominic was beginning to feel as if he would never find a permanent job, God provided a great opportunity. The position is a two dollar pay cut from his previous job, but raises are offered regularly, there is plenty of room to move up in the company, and enough overtime to make up the difference.
     We feel so grateful to the Lord.
     Something I've learned, is that everything eventually works out for the better. When we first found out that Dominic needed to find a new job, we were worried, stressed, and disappointed. Everything was beginning to feel like an uphill battle. It was so disheartening, and we thought things would never work out. But they did. 
     There is no reason to be worried. We need to give all of our worries, fears, and stress to Jesus, with open hands, surrender ourselves to His will, because He will always sustain us, protect us, hold us above the water when we feel as if we are going to drown. God has always carried us through, regardless of how little faith we had, He has always showed to us that we need not worry. We have learned to put our faith in Him more and more with every battle. And God always keeps His promises. He will provide us the things that He knows we have need of, just as He always has. We must trust in the Lord.

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." -- Matthew 6:31-32

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 4:19