Organized: Is a “Safe” Life Best?

Black Canyon Steps

By Jeanne Takenaka

Almost everything I’ve read recently has challenged me to step out of “safe” and open myself up to the dangers of living abandoned to the God who created me.

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Bloom: When Relationships Bloom

Flowers Bloom quote

By Jeanne Takenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Bloom. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out Lisa-Jo Baker‘s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

Daisies in bloom

I just returned from our family vacation. My sister and her family, my parents, my other sister and us.

We spent days “almost camping,” because this girl doesn’t do tent camping.

One afternoon, we walked around Crested Butte, in the mountains of Colorado. Wild flowers bloom everywhere (which must be why they hold an annual Wild Flower Festival). We talked, ate ice-cream and other sweets and laughed. Together.

Three boys running, one girl gazing at and pining for stuffed animals.

And relationships bloomed.

Sharing happened that has never happened within our family before.

Hearts opened. And seeds were planted and bloomed.

Poppies

As I watched my brother-in-law with his children, arms wrapped around each other, I smiled. He’s (and my sister) watering seeds planted within them. Teaching them how to be a man and a woman.

My honey and I learned from our family this week. We want our relationships with our children to bloom, not just with a flower here or there, but with vine arms wrapped around necks and waists and hearts.

Blooming happens with sun and water. With words of honesty and affirmation. And in the case of children, with intentional training.

Maroon columbines

The wildflowers in Crested Butte were colorful and amazing.

But what I’ll remember most is children laughing and hearts connecting as the sun shone down on us. As we watered each other with hugs, a little begging, with smiles and sharing memories.

BIL with kidsFamily relationships bloom when watered with love.

That’s what I want for my kids, for my family.

What about you? What helps you bloom? How do you water the relationships in your life?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday: Bloom

Decisions: What’s Good and What’s Best

Blue Mesa Reflections

By Jeanne Takenaka

We always have to  decide if something is the good or the best for us.

I first learned this lesson as a single-twenty-something wanting desperately to have someone to walk through life with. I’d dated a few guys, but all left me thirsting for more.

More depth.

More care.

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Belong: Belonging to God

Holding Hands 2

By Jeanne Takenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Belong. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out Lisa-Jo Baker‘s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

Rejection was my first identity marker when I was a girl. Attending a small elementary school where the kids had known each other since long before I was added to the roster was difficult. As I grew older, I made friends—good friends—but the lie had been planted. I was never truly going to belong anywhere, in any group of people. I’ve struggled with wondering if/when I would do something that would cause others to stop letting me belong in the friendship, in the group. God has had to speak his truth into that aspect of my life.

Some days I still struggle with a sense of belonging. Yet God in his goodness has gifted me with an amazing husband who loves me through my pretty days and my ugly days. He’s added to our lives two amazing boys to whom I belong. Our family is the perfect place for me to belong. Here, I have learned what that acceptance feels like.

Boys n me 7-4

The interesting thing is: I’ve belonged to God’s family since I was fourteen. Yet, I walked through years of doubting it. That lie of rejection runs deep, it’s roots entwined throughout my heart. A little at a time, God has pulled those roots out, and replaced them with the truth that I belong to Him.

He loves me passionately, perfectly, completely. I will always belong to him. I never have to worry about if He will stop accepting or loving me. I am His. And He is mine. Oh Joy!

Each one of us belong to Him. There is nothing we can do that will cause Him to stop loving us. He’s just faithful that way.

What about you? Do you have a place in life where  you belong? How well do you receive it? Do you believe it’s God’s gift for you?

Crystal Stine is the guest hostess for Five Minute Friday this week.

Alone: Truth and Lies

Bird flying solo

By Jeanne Takenaka

I walked into church, alone. Hubby waited for a delivery at home. Of course, the only window of time for said delivery was during our worship time at church. So, I got kids to classes and settled in a seat. Alone.

How is it that one can feel so invisible in a house filled with brothers and sisters?

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Summer flower

Five Minute Friday: Exhale

By Jeanne Takenaka

***Sorry there aren’t images in the post. WordPress changed their format and I have not figured it out yet. :)

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Exhale. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out Lisa-Jo Baker‘s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

You know those seasons in life, where the to-do’s pile up to the point where you can’t breathe?

Well, I had a month of that. Last month, in fact. My hubby had to be gone on business for most of the month.

God is always faithful. He provides what I need in those seasons, but life just doesn’t stop. Dinners to cook, boys to get to appointments or playdates or summer camps, laundry calling my name.

The load was on me.

I have told people to Just. Breathe.

How hard it is to do that when life piles its obligations on me?

When Hubby got home from his trip, I literally felt the burden lift from my body.

We’re not meant to carry the entire load ourselves. When we try to, we can’t truly exhale. We take on the tyranny of the urgent, but forget to exhale the prayer for help. We forget to ask for one more breath.

Sometimes, when the loads of life pile on high, I need to just be still, exhale and look to Jesus.

It’s only when I focus my eyes on Him that I can truly exhale the burdens of my day, the ups and downs of motherhood and the unexpected happenings that try to keep me overwhelmed.

Exhale.

Let Jesus fill us with the peace of His presence. This is the trick to get through the crazy times of life.

Exhale. Breathe in His peace and savor it, like a breath after a rain fall freshens the air around.

Exhale. Trust him to provide what we need.

Exhale. And breathe in deep the truth that He loves us.

What about you? How do you exhale and inhale when life gets a little crazy?

Lisa-Jo Baker: Exhale

Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate

Image

By Jeanne Takenaka

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s independence later this week, it’s good to remember what we’re celebrating.

We’re not (or shouldn’t be) celebrating the latest sale at Macy’s and the great deals we’ll get if we shop on July 4th weekend. Although, we’re certainly free to do that if we so desire.

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