Rise: When Tides Rise

Tide rising

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—RISE. 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 our hostess, Kate Motaung’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!

RISE

I was determined.

We’d been in San Diego for four days, and I had yet to get even one beautiful sunset picture. We were only a mile from the beach!

So, after enjoying a day of activity with my family, I told my husband the sunset was calling. I took my own little adventure that evening. I drove toward where I thought I could get to the sand. Looked for a place to park. Figured out how to get down to the beach.

Cliffs

I walked a narrow, uneven path that ended at a rock. The sand was a good six feet jump below. I hurled my 40-something self and landed on my backside. But I was on the beach! Camera intact. I had seen what looked like a good place for photos a ways up the beach, and I snapped pictures as I walked in that direction.

God’s beauty never ceases to stop me in awe. The sun setting. Reflecting on the sand. Rocks adding dimension to each glimpse of glory He showed me.

Beach stones at sunset

But the waves . . . they were rising.

I walked a little further, in my trekking sandals, exhilarated at the spontaneity of this endeavor.

Those waves began pushing me against the cliffs, and I realized I had a choice to make. I could try and dash for the desired spot and hope I made it. Or, I could turn back and hope I could climb that six-foot rock to safety before the waves rose too high.

Boulder to sand

Life is like those waves sometimes. We set out ready to do those things impressed upon our hearts. We walk forth and love the feeling of freedom. But the waves . . . sometimes they rise, and we’re forced to make a choice. Go forward or go back.

When life’s cliffs hem us in, there’s really no way to stay put and wait out the rising tide.

I’m learning that God forces us to choose sometimes. We have to rely on Him for guidance and move in faith in one direction or the other.

Sunset over Pacific

Faith is like that. We don’t stay put. We’re either moving toward God or away from Him.

What about you? When have you set out on an adventure and been forced to go back or change direction? What’s been an unexpected adventure you’ve undertaken?

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Those five minutes passed waaaay too fast tonight! I had more on my mind, but the timer went off, so please forgive the abrupt end of the post. Thanks for stopping by!

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday site—Rise

Grace: When People Forget

Butterfly on flowers

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Of all the times for the boy to forget to do his asthma-managing breathing treatment  . . .  it was on a day when we were already thirty minutes down the road to an adventure.

On vacation, he’d already neglected to check his inhaler and make sure it still had medicine in it. I had no idea how many days he’d puffed on empty . . . which led to a prolonged asthma flare-up, lots of coughing, and purple-rimmed eyes.

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Follow: Where Do You Seek Affirmation?

3 Big T, little T

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—FOLLOW. 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 our hostess, Kate Motaung’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!

FOLLOW

Affirmation comes easy on social media. We “like” a post. We “follow” a person on Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook, or Pinterest. If we’re the one being followed, yay for us!

As one who’s prone toward being an affirmation-seeking-addict, it’s so easy to get caught up in the “follow-me” kudos social media offers. I admit it, when someone follows my blog, it makes me feel good inside. Like maybe I’m doing something right. I’m reaching someone that day.

How easy it is to find my value in the temporal.

We can chase after these temporary, impersonal kudos . . .  

. . . or we can pursue Jesus.

Yellowstone boys hiking 2

I need to look to what’s most important in Jesus’ eyes for me. Is writing a part of that? I believe so. Is seeking as many followers as possible a part of it? Not if it’s to gain affirmation from each follow.

One of my all time favorite worship songs reminds me where my heart should be leaning. Toward following hard after Jesus . . . wherever He leads. It’s not always going to be easy. In fact, it’s rarely easy, or simple. Following Him means sacrifice. Giving up what I want, what makes me feel good to embrace what He wants. What brings eternal value.

When I stop trying to satisfy my desire for affirmation from people and look to Him for value? Then I am living just the way He wants.

Feet on the beach copy

When I follow hard after Jesus, my heart’s focused on Him, rather than what this world offers—the temporary feel-good click of a “Follow.” If people do follow me, may it because they see Jesus in me, in the words I type on a page. Not because of me in my limited self.

May we all follow Jesus’ lead, running hard after Him.

What about you? How is Jesus leading you today? What steps have you taken to follow Him as He leads you?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Follow

Obey: Deep Waters

Casting the net

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“Cast your net into the deep water.” ~Brooke McGlothlin    

How many times have you tried to accomplish something, like Peter fishing all night, and come to the end of your striving with nothing to show for your efforts?

Except perhaps frustration, a sense of failure and discouragement?

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Meet: What Comes Next?

 

Pair of birds

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—MEET. 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 our hostess, Kate Motaung’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!

MEET

I walked into Bible study at our new church that misty March morning, with diaper bag on my shoulder, bible in my hand and the last ounce of courage ebbing from my heart. My first time exposing myself to a whole new body of women.

I was placed in a group with the sweetest lady leading it. And her young co-leader? She reached out to me with her warmth and genuine caring, welcoming me into their class. I watched and listened more than anything, trying to assess how these next few weeks would play out.

That co-leader who sat beside me? She wouldn’t let me remain invisible. We talked, ate lunch together after studies, and a friendship blossomed. I eventually met some of her other friends, who also welcomed the new girl into their fold.

Treasured friends

Seven years later, and we still share coffee, mothering victories and woes, and our hearts.

Meeting her was instrumental in helping me to settle into a new city after we moved for hubby’s job.

Meeting people is a deliberate choice. We may not always want to extend ourselves, to move out of our comfort zone. We may not even be expecting to meet someone, but we’re guided into that opportunity somehow.

The important thing is, what will we do as a result of the meeting? Will we take it to the next step and get to know the person, or will we walk away with a simple, impersonal, “Nice to meet’cha”?

Dewy lilacs

Jesus knew us before we were ever a gleam and desire in our parents’ eyes, but He waited for us to meet Him. To come to him. He invites us into fellowship with Him with wide open arms and a welcoming smile. 

What are we going to do after that initial meeting? Get to know Him better or stop at, “Nice to meet’cha”?

It’s our choice.

What about you? What has someone you’ve met done to make you feel comfortable with them? How do you approach new situations that include people?

Visit Kate Motaung’s site Five Minute Friday—Meet

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And, the winner of either a print copy or an ebook of Catherine West’s, Bridge of Faith, is Jackie Layton! Congratulations, Jackie! I will connect with you to take care of details. Thank you everyone for commenting on Tuesday!

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One last thing: I’m very excited to be sharing a blogpost at EveryDay Life. I’d love it if you stopped by!

Author Interview: Catherine West and a Giveaway!

Destin Silhouette walker

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was first introduced to Catherine West on a blog shortly after she published her first book, Yesterday’s Tomorrow. I loved the premise of her story. We’ve connected online in different places, and my respect for her continues to grow. Meeting her in person was the icing on the cake, as they say. 

In reading her most recent release, Bridge of Faith, I discovered she has a heart that feels deeply, and a way with words that speaks with authenticity. I am absolutely loving this book! The depth of her characters and the way Cathy brings real life into her story keep me reading late into the night.

Please welcome . . . Catherine West!

First off, what’s it like to live in Bermuda? What do you like? What would you change if you could?

Well, since I was born and raised here, it’s home. I have lived other places, England and Canada, and I can truly say there is no place like Bermuda. It’s just a slower, more peaceful way of life, really. Kids don’t seem to grow up as fast. And of course, no snow. Ever. ☺ It’s wonderful to have greenery and flowers year round.

What would I change? They way we relate to each other here. Unfortunately, race can be an issue, and it’s been that way ever since I can remember. I wish people would find a way to get past it and see each other for the person, not the color of their skin. I think big strides have been made, but we have a ways to go. Still, it’s a wonderful island and for the most part, our troubles are small compared to other places in the world.

When and how did your writing journey begin?

I’ve always loved to write. I started writing stories just for fun when I was a teenager. No, you can’t see them. ☺ I guess I began thinking seriously about pursuing publication when I was in my early 20’s. But kids came along and you know how that goes. I continued to write, but it wasn’t time then. By the time both my kids were in school, I went back to the computer and really started to take it seriously, wrote a few books, and began to look for an agent. I attended my first ACFW conference then, and it was so long ago I can’t even remember who I pitched to! But it was a blast and I was hooked. That’s really when I knew I wanted to do this.

What inspired your story about Julia and Reid in Bridge of Faith?

I love stories about lost love and second chances. I can’t say there was any one thing that really inspired this particular story. Like everything I write, I played around with a few ideas, tried out a few characters, and it all came together.

What’s next for you on the writing journey?

Ah. ☺ Can I say “To Be Announced!” ? I’ve got some very exciting news in the works but I’m not yet able to share. You’ll have to check my Facebook Author page for updates, but the good news is, more books will be on the way!

What are three little known facts about you?

Little known? Hmm. Well, I’m actually quite shy! I love being online because it’s much easier for me to sit behind a screen and interact than have a face-to-face conversation.

I hate to fly. Which is rather inconvenient since I live on an island and have to fly if I ever want to go anywhere! I’m getting better, but I had a bad experience with turbulence some years ago, and ever since then, I’ve been more nervous than I used to be.

Let’s see, what else … I spent two years at an all-girls boarding school in England. I hated it, but I don’t regret it. I had a lot of fun experiences as well and got to see quite a bit of the country. But it was very difficult being so far away from home at the age of fifteen.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Oh, I have so many! LOL! Okay, I’ll pick one. Cheese. I love cheese. I could eat tons of it every day. I’m not terribly fond of smoked cheese, but any other kind, send it my way and I’m happy!

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Thanks for joining me today, Cathy! I loved getting to know more about you.

Cathy has generously offered to give away one copy of her book, either in ebook format or paperback—winner’s choice! Anyone who leaves a comment today will be entered into the drawing. I’ll announce the winner on Friday’s blog.

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Bridge of Faith Cover lo-resTwo lives taken down different roads – one enduring love – one shot at starting over.

                               If only they believed in second chances.

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation.

When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind.

Confronting his past was not in the plan.

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul.

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him. 

They say you can’t go home again. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

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Catherine West copyINSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s latest novel, Bridge of Faith, is now available on Amazon.

Website – http://www.catherinejwest.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CatherineJWest

Twitter – https://twitter.com/cathwest

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4715219.Catherine_West

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/cathwest/

Google + – https://plus.google.com/u/0/108781711729974539211/posts

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-West/e/B004RWZUHK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon link to Bridge of Faith – http://tinyurl.com/kje35ju

Door: Walking Through

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By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DOOR. 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 our hostess, Kate Motaung’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!

DOOR

For years—decades even—I wouldn’t go near the door. The door that God placed in my heart that would open to let me explore my heart’s desire. If only I would be brave enough to turn the handle and see what was on the other side.

I’d told myself since I was a teenager I would never be qualified to walk through that door. That I wasn’t creative enough, or knowledgable enough.

The door? Writing.

I’d always yearned to be a writer. But man, it’s intimidating to try and come up with words someone else will want to read. And an entire book? Bar the doors now. Jeanne could never, ever walk through that particular door.

Manor Door 2

But, sometimes, God . . . He gives a nudge. Sometimes He sparks the idea which is the beginning of inspiration, which lights the first embers of bravery.

And so I walked through it. I dared to share a crazy story idea with a friend who said, “You need to write that book.”

You can bet I was shaking in my flip flops after that little get together.

The funny thing is? As I have walked further inside the writer’s world, I’ve learned that often walking through a door leads to greater dependence on Jesus. He’s teaching me many lessons I never would’ve learned if I hadn’t been brave enough to take the first steps through a door I had marked “never.”

Trusting God to give me words. Story ideas. Characters.

And He hasn’t set me on this journey alone. He’s placed friends, encouragers, confidantes on my path to walk alongside me.

Sometimes it takes trusting God when he gives that nudge.

GE Door

I never would have learned how to look to Him to define me if I hadn’t taken that first step through a door I had locked from my side.

God cracked it open, and the funny thing is? Since He did, I’ve found joy in ways I never thought I would. He’s brought me to the end of myself many times and shown me more of Him. He’s helping me learn to reflect Him to the world around me.

I would have missed all of this if I had let fear rule my decisions and never stepped through the door I’d marked “never.”

What about you? Is there a door God’s nudged you to walk through? Do you have any dreams you’re reluctant to explore?

Visit Kate Motaung’s site for Five Minute Friday—Door