Stuff: What We Hold In Our Hearts

early-morning-reflection

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part two of a three-part series about creating white space in our homes and our lives. You can find the first post here.

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Last week, I shared a bit about how I repurposed my “junk/project” room into a creativity space.

Purging stuff from our homes can become addictive. At least for me. As I worked through the things in my “creativity nook,” joy infiltrated my spirit. There is something about opening up space that opens up breathing room in my spirit.  Continue reading

Stuff: When We Need White Space

snowy layered morning

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I can’t believe we’re two weeks into 2017! In the interest of starting things new, I’m sharing a three-part series about something that impacted me in a powerful way last year.

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I never knew a simple decision would lead to so much heart change.

A challenge to create more white space in my life, my home . . .

An author friend issued a challenge to a create white space in my home. Though I longed to do this, the only room that came to mind was my project/clutter/things-to-sell/stuff-I don’t-know-what-to-do-with room.

And I had no idea of how to begin.

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Connect: How Connecting Happens

two-friends

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—CONNECT. 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!

CONNECT

When I saw our word for tonight, I smiled. I kept thinking about the ugly green phone I used to have to pick up and listen to—the dial tone and the number tones, or clicks buzzing in my ear as I dialed each number. Then listening to the phone as it rang on the other end.

When I would call a friend to get together, I was so glad the telephone could connect us so we could talk.

In a way, that kind of connecting hasn’t changed. I still pick up the phone to talk with some people. I have a friend who I’ve talked with almost every week for the last twenty or so years. So hard to imagine. She lives in another state. I anticipate our conversations.

In our phone calls, we’ve chatted about child rearing, recipes, heart issues, the joys, struggles, disappointments, stretching, and rewards this life has offered us.

We’ve connected on deep levels. There’s no pretense between us.

Connecting is like that. We have to choose to reach out. It takes time to grow a relationship—a connection—to the point of depth.

older-couple

When we share pieces of ourselves, when we offer wisdom or vulnerability to another, connecting happens. A weaving of two spirits grows.

God created us to be interdependent. He gives us opportunities to weave our lives and experiences together with others.

But we have to be intentional in the weaving. We must be willing to reach out—through a phone call, a text, an email, or snail mail (does anyone besides me still hand write letters?).

It’s in the intentional effort of sharing ourselves, giving of our time that connecting happens.

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That’s when there’s a foundation of trust that depth grows and fulfills.

I never mind picking up the phone to call someone I care about. More often than not, I come from the conversation away fulfilled. Sounds selfish, I know. But I hope the person on the other end of the line also has a sense of connection. That deep down satiation of spirit and soul. Because that’s what connection is about.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to connect with others? What’s one way you’re intentional about connecting with those around you?

Click to Tweet: God created us to be interdependent.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Heading Home site: Five Minute Friday—Connect

2017: One Word

 

wave-rolling+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How can it be 2017 already? Though we’re in the middle of winter, what some may consider a drab season, a new year has begun, full of hope. Promise. Uncertainty.

There’s something within me that does little leaps when the calendar turns to January first. Call me crazy, but there’s always a sense of anticipation to see what God is going to do in the next 365 days.

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Christmas: The Greater Gift

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I think this is one of my favorite images of Christmas. We celebrate the amazing gift of Jesus in the manger. But the even greater gift came as Jesus offered Himself in our place on the cross. What kind of love is this?

It’s the kind of love that leaves me humbled and feeling small. And yet, knowing I’m loved with that kind of passion fills me with a deep-down joy. As Christmas draws nearer, I am taking a break to spend time with my family.

Know that you, my readers, are a great gift to me as well. I thank God for you. May your Christmas be one that holds much joy, leaves you with treasured memories, and confirms that truth that you are greatly loved by our heavenly Father.

I’ll see you back here on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 (can you believe it?!).

Merry Christmas!

Now: Living in the Now

Christmas on the outside

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—NOW. 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!

NOW

I’ve written before about living in the now. And most of the time, that’s where I want to be.

But I confess, in the middle of a crazy season the now is all I see. This moment. The huge to-do list to “make Christmas happen.” My soul longs for more than this moment offers. More depth. More peace.

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about the peaceful season I was determined to have. Yeah, well . . . Unexpected business trips, a kiddo coming down with strep, and the opportunity bless friends by watching one of their kiddos put a huge dent into my idyllic peaceful season.

My now has felt weighted down by the burden of the things to do, to organize for our Christmas season.

My now has been consumed with wrapping presents, getting them in the mail, running errands, and planning for happenings later in the month.

gift-wrapping

Sometimes, I wish my now looked different than my reality. I wish that each moment could be filled with quiet, with a sense of God’s presence.

When the to-do list grows, my shoulders stoop. When all I can see is the tasks demanding my attention, my spirit deflates.

When that’s all my now holds, I end up weary.

I know that’s not where God wants me to live. Sometimes our nows are temporary states. Other times, they are conditions where we have to choose how to respond.

joy-shelfIt’s a little over a week before Christmas, and I’m choosing to change what my now looks like.

Instead of the tasks ruling my days, I’m giving myself permission to enjoy certain activities, like watching old Christmas movies. I’m reminding myself of the beauty of spending time with my guys in the family room, lit only by Christmas lights.

I don’t have to get all those cards in the mail before Christmas. It’s in the moments when my boys want to cuddle, to talk, or to goof around that now feels most pleasant.

Those moments are my priorities, my gifts from God and from my boys.

how-will-i-spend-my-now-copyI don’t want to look back on this season, only to regret missing the gifts God gave me in my “now.”

Each moment is precious. Each moment I live with the opportunity to make a choice. How will I spend my now?

What about you? How do you choose the best over the “must?” How do you make your moments count?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung at Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Now

Click to Tweet: Sometimes, I wish my now looked different than my reality.

Christmas: God’s Provision in Difficult Times

Mary Manger copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**I first posted these words a few years ago, but I believe they bear repeating. May you be encouraged as you read today. :)**

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It has been said there’s nothing new under the sun. Things people dream up, actions carried out, sins committed, heroics undertaken—all have been done before

In all of history, one person faced something no one else would ever experience . . . Mary. She alone was gifted with the privilege and the heartache of being mother to the Son of God. And with unique opportunities to see God’s provision.

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Hope: When We Can Say It Is Well

sunrise-through-trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

A little over a year ago, when I first heard Bethel Music’s, “It Is Well,” things in my life were going well. It seemed I was close to fulfilling a long-held dream. My health was good. I was surrounded by people who “got” me. They understood what made me tick. The song resonated. Of course it was well with my soul. I could hum it and sing it and believe it with all my heart.

It’s easy to say, “It is well with my soul” when we’re in the good times.

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Crave: When We Want More

christmas-mugs

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—CRAVE. 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!

CRAVE

First of all: I confess, I went slightly over five minutes on this one. I hope you’ll allow me a bit of grace. 🙂

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It’s only December first and I’m already weary. It’s been “A Week.” With internet woes and an injury requiring stitches, I already feel the glare of this month, as it tries to stare me into submission. As it attempts to make me obey its whims and plans.

But what I crave is times of stillness, of quiet moments with Jesus. It’s only as I spend time in His word and in worship that I am able to recalibrate my spirit.

It’s the only way to get through a busy season without arriving at Christmas morning exhausted, grouchy, and worn down. I’ve had too many Christmas seasons where I do and do and do. I come to the morning most anticipated by my boys . . . too tired to enjoy it.

The older I grow, the more I crave simplicity. The only way toward simplicity is to be intentional.

So instead of letting the month of December stare me down, and tell me I have to bring about all our traditions, say yes to every invitation or opportunity to serve, I’m going to be intentional.

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I am going to pray before saying yes. I’ve learned that I need to say no to some good things to say yes to the best things.

I may sound idealistic, but I am taking control of this month, as best as I can.

I’m going to say no to certain traditions because we simply don’t have time to do them this year.

I’m going to pray for God’s guidance before committing to anything.

I’m going to be intentional about savoring moments with my family. Our boys are growing quickly. I love to laugh with them. To talk about the things on their hearts.

If I’m too busy with trying to make things happen, I’ll miss those moments. I’ll miss Jesus’s whispers into my heart about what’s most important.

I don’t want to arrive at the day where we celebrate Him too exhausted to care. I don’t want to wake up on December 25th and wish it was over already.

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If I am intentional now, I can satisfy the craving in my spirit to connect with Jesus. And the bonus will be having a heart open to His promptings about the other things that come up this month. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t feel quite so weary come Christmas morning.

What about you? what does your spirit crave during December? How do you feed yourself during busy season?

Click To Tweet: I crave is times of stillness, of quiet moments with Jesus.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung Five Minute Friday—Crave

Gift: What We Can Give To Others

Jesus ornament

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are officially in the holiday season. Though there’s not much snow and festive weather in my corner of the country, it doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is in the past and Christmas looms large in my life’s windshield.

Hubs and I have completed most of our shopping. But there are parties to prepare for. Boys’ band concerts to attend. Activities to do so we can build memories with our quickly growing up boy-men. A house to decorate. Things to make. Gifts to wrap. Things to DO.

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