Book Reviews, Control

Control: It’s All Under Control Book Review

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

***I am traveling for the next week, but I plan to check in and comment and visit as I’m able to this week. Thanks for your patience!***

I’m just going to say it. I was beyond excited to learn I had been accepted as a member of the launch team for It’s All Under Control, by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Yes, getting an advanced copy of the book was pretty cool. But, even more, I have read Jennifer’s blogs for awhile now, and I loved her style. I couldn’t wait to read her book. 

And, (ahem), I might have a wee bit of an issue with . . . control. 

From opening the pretty pink cover to flipping the final page of this book, I loved reading it. 

Continue reading “Control: It’s All Under Control Book Review”

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Control, Hope, Trusting God

Hope: What It All Comes Down To

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Do you ever get halfway (or more through the year) and wonder how you’re doing with those aspirations and areas of focus you decided on in January?

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I am a One Word girl. I don’t make resolutions, because I’m far too prone to break them in a weak moment. 

Instead, I ask God to give me a word to focus on for the year. Some years, I resonate with the word right away. And I see how God weaves it into the fabric of who I am.

Continue reading “Hope: What It All Comes Down To”

Fear, Hope, Trusting God

Uncertain: When There Are No Easy Answers

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

***I wrote this post about a month ago, but everything still holds true.***

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“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

It had been about two weeks since the conversation that changed my paradigm. The way I thought our family would grow up and mature and launch two boys into the world as young men, prepared and equipped to take on the challenges of adulting and figuring out who they really are.

Two weeks since I had talked with a person who “loves” my boy-man enough to share the hard truths with me. 

Continue reading “Uncertain: When There Are No Easy Answers”

Humility, Writing

Writer’s Life: Dealing With Past Pain

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I began writing fiction, I had no idea of all the things I still had to learn about life. And especially writing.

When God planted a story idea in my heart a number of years ago, I had this naive idea that I could write and publish a book within a year. 

Me. The one who hadn’t even published a magazine article. Or a blog. Or anything else.

All I knew was I loved reading, and I’d had this secret desire to write a book since I was thirteen. But I knew I could never succeed in such an endeavor. Not me. The less-than girl.

The one who was so sensitive her heart still bore painful scars from the bullying in her elementary days. 

But, decades later, when this crazy idea for a story wrote itself upon my heart, I knew it was time to pull out my brave and give this a try. 

Click to continue reading

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I’d love it if you joined me over at Meghan Weyerbacher’s to read the rest of my story:

How Humility & Healing Transform Our Writing

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth

Faith, Fear, Trials

Storms: When We Are Afraid

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have I mentioned I’m not a fan of tornadoes? They scare me. They always have. From the time I rode in a car as a girl following a huge storm to hearing alerts recently? Yep. They strike that cord of fear in my heart. 

Clouds had filled and then darkened the sky for the past few hours one recent day. I had taken one of the boys to a doctor’s appointment. While there, my phone signaled that we were under a severe thunderstorm warning.

I live in Colorado. 

This is not uncommon.

Continue reading “Storms: When We Are Afraid”

Choices, Faith

Choices: Walking Through Hard Times

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Every time I read these words, they speak to my heart. I love the contrast of weeping and joy. 

Let’s face it. We all will walk through times of weeping. Of pain. Of hardship. We have a choice on how we walk through those difficult seasons of life.

When I read this psalm recently, something pinged that I had never seen before. We sow seeds, even in times of weeping. I usually view hard seasons as a time where I’m stuck. Not doing much beyond trying to get through a day without falling to pieces. 

Continue reading “Choices: Walking Through Hard Times”

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Woman: What Makes a Woman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WOMAN. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

WOMAN

A woman’s shoulders are stronger than they look. 

We bear the burdens of our families, our friends, our jobs. 

Our mouths, they speak. Usually words of life. But sometimes words we later regret. They offer words of life. Of empathy. Of wisdom and truth, as Jesus fills us. They learn when to stay silent. When it’s best not to speak the real thoughts that would hurt a listener. 

Our thoughts, they dwell. On those we love most in this world and on our Father. The Giver of all good things. 

Our hearts, they carry the weight and the secrets our husbands, our children, our families, our friends. We empathize. We cry. We hug. We laugh. We love. We ache. We leak happy tears . . . all because of how our hearts respond.

And we seek. Truth from our Father. The capacity to love as He does. We revere Him because, well, He made us.

Our hands, they serve. They prepare meals. They rub foreheads and scratch backs. They hold tight to steering wheels as we drive precious cargo from one place to another. 

And they clasp in prayer. 

And move with humility, doing the mundane, unseen, necessary things that help those we love.

Our feet, they walk. With children. With friends. On wooded paths. In grocery stores. They learn to walk with grace through life’s joys and disappointments as we learn to walk by Jesus’ side. Not racing in front of or lagging behind Him. 

A woman who walks with Jesus walks, talks, serves, feels as He does. 

When we walk with Him, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. We learn how to live more like Him and reflect Him to those who people our world. 

God created us to reflect Him. He made us to be so much more than appears on the surface. He fills us and strengthens us to walk in the callings He gives us. 

What about you? What part of who you are best reflects God’s image in you? Who has been an impacting woman in your life?

Click to Tweet: Women are often more than what appears on the surface

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Woman. Come join the fun and read other great posts!

Brokenness, Identity

Accepted: When We Want to Fit In

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I learned to embrace the lies at an early age. I don’t know if it came from being a tender-hearted girl, or if I was just a sucker to want to fit in, oh . . . .from kindergarten on.

From being pushed around in second grade, and bullied throughout elementary school, I was certain there had to be some way I could fit in. I just needed to discover that secret key to unlock popularity. Or at least acceptance.

Continue reading “Accepted: When We Want to Fit In”

Mothering, Relationship, Trusting God

Mothering: What’s Most Important

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Mothering teens requires so much emotional, physical, mental, spiritual energy. Some days I’m wrung out. It’s in those days when I must remember the most important things.

We’re walking through an issue with one of our boys. It’s been hard. 

Draining. 

Hit-my-head-against-the-wall frustrating, at times. 

And yet, I love this boy with all my heart.

This is a challenging time in history to be raising up young men and women to follow God. Watching our kids leap into pitfalls can be absolutely heart-breaking. 

Continue reading “Mothering: What’s Most Important”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Thirteen: Aspects of Thirteen

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—THIRTEEN. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

THIRTEEN

I had told myself I wasn’t going to write tonight. It’s been . . . a week. Hard. Stretching. Wearying. Wrecking in some ways. 

But I see this word and the first thing that came to mind was my youngest. My thirteen year old. Who can count the days on two hands until he is no longer thirteen. 

He brings laughter and joy. He’s learning how to express his heart and his mind in such amazing, honest ways. He blesses me with his smile and humor.

He drives me crazy with his constant comebacks. He is the one teaching me I don’t always have to have the final word. 

Though there are times I want that final word.

It’s amazing to think that thirteen Augusts ago, God saw fit to add this boy to our family. He’s special and tender and amazing and tough and resilient and gentle with animals and hard-hitting in football.

He’s a lover and loyal and funny and helpful.

He’s thirteen.

I always worried that thirteen year old boys would drive me to the edge of crazy. 

Okay, there may be days when he’s done that. 

But there have been more days when he’s left my heart smiling with something he said or did.

I love watching him discover his passions and his interests and his strengths. 

I love thirteen. I love being a mom to teenage boys. 

I know fourteen will hold its own special challenges, but for these few days left of thirteen, I’m going to enjoy it. Laugh with him. Engage with him.

Thirteen sounds scary when your kids are little. But now that we’re almost through the thirteenth year? I’m going to miss it. Just a little. 

And I’m going to thank God for all the things He’s taught my boy and me during this thirteenth year.

What about you? What blessings have/did you find when your children walked through the teen years? What has God taught you through your own teen years, or your children’s?

Click to tweet: There have been more days when he’s left my heart smiling

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Thirteen