Gift: Receiving Gifts of Love

A gift given

by +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever been given an unexpected gift?

In my twenties and thirties, I often privately questioned gifts people gave me. Why would someone give me a gift of ___________? What was their motive? I’m not sure when I became a cynic.

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Finish: Finishings and Beginnings

Sunrise and moonset

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Finish. 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!

Finish

By Jeanne Takenaka

I have a friend who was recently on Extreme Weight Loss. In 365 days, she lost an incredible amount of weight, walked through major life changes, and mind set changes. She finished that year with the understanding that achieving her goal and then some was the beginning of a new way of living for her and her family.

Finishing one thing seems to be the first step to a new beginning. We’re never quite finished.

How often have I finished something, only to find out it opened up the beginning of the next something?

Finishing writing my first book was the beginning of revisions and editing and seeing just how much work that story needed.

The End copy

Finishing an active role in our church women’s ministry years ago turned into the beginning of life as a new mother.

Though my sons will always be my kids, one day my role as the most important woman in their lives will be finished. They will (hopefully) find special ladies to marry who will walk with them through life.

One day, my life on earth will finish as I breathe my last breath here and then begin breathing heaven’s sweet air.

Each finish we experience seems to be the first step of a new beginning.

One finish I’m thankful for is this: God’s never finished with me. I can make mistakes, I can fail big, I can blow it in relationships He’s gifted me with. I can make up in those relationships. But God is never finished with me. For this I am most thankful.

What about you? What’s been one “finish” in your life that was the first step to a new beginning? What’s one important season, activity, project you’ve finished?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday—Finish

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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