Choosing Gratitude, Quotes

Gratitude: In Every Moment, Thank God

Meme with the quote: "In happy moments, praise God. In difficult moments, seek God. In quiet moments, worship God. In painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God." ~Rick Warren, pastor. This is set on a back drop of trees silhouetted against a sunset.

@JeanneTakenaka

Though I try to be intentional about practicing the art of giving thanks throughout the year, it seems like November is the month when life finally slows down a little bit and I can really, truly think on the nuances of gratitude.

This month, I’m going to keep things a little shorter and share quotes that mean something to me. I hope you’ll share quotes and your thoughts on gratitude as well.

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What kinds of moments are you living right now?

I’ve been living in busy moments, especially over these past couple of weeks. I attended a retreat, and then I made the five hour drive to cheer on my oldest’s marching band at the state competition. And that on top of preparations for these and daily life.

I find it’s in the busy moments that I most need to fix my heart on God. My focus tends toward doing the next thing. I drive myself hard to complete everything. And I end up drained at the end. 

And a drained Jeanne tends to lead to . . . unpleasantness all around.

 

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Autumn, Trials

Autumn: Reflections in a Busy Season

Tree with brilliant red leaves

@JeanneTakenaka

I’m coming clean. I had a “grand plan” for this week’s post. I really did. But life . . . became a bit unwieldy these past couple of weeks and stripped my normal preparation time for the posts I share with you. I hope you’ll indulge me as I offer a few photos and autumn reflections I shared on Instagram in October. Next week, we’ll jump into November with quotes and thoughts on gratitude. I especially look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic. 

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Faith, Forgiveness, Relationship

Wounds: 5 Thoughts For Letting Go of Offenses

Image of a country road lined by trees heading into a sunset

@JeanneTakenaka

We all have wounds. 

Not long ago, my wound got stomped on by people close to me. Things were said. The message conveyed felt like a snub, and it stung. My first response was to leave the situation. 

I moved on from the incident, but that re-opened wound festered, leaving me stinking on the inside, insecure in my thinking, and holding onto a grudge. My first thought was to ignore the pain caused by words.

But, ignoring rarely heals.

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Identity, Mothering, Relationship

Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?

A bridge leading to a pathway with a mountain in the background

@JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever lain in bed at night and found yourself praying for your children or another loved one in your life? 

After a day filled with teen ‘tude from one boy and some extreme emotion that morphed into choices that left the other boy regretting how he’d handled himself, I felt unsettled. Part of me questioned when we would move beyond this stage of angst and grappling to our sons being at peace with who they are.

I suspect many of us wrestle with being at peace with who we are. Even in my fifties, I have days . . . But God. 

Continue reading “Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?”
Contentment, Relationship

Belonging: Understanding Where We Belong

Two girls holding hands

@JeanneTakenaka

For much of my life, I’ve tried to belong . . . somewhere. There was this deeper fear, that when it came down to it, I wouldn’t belong anywhere. So, I attempted to fit in everywhere . . . the popular group in high school, the swim team, various clubs, the “little sisters” of a fraternity in college, the choir for Sunday services. The singer-types on the worship team as a new wife.

But I couldn’t find my fit. I would reach out, but others wouldn’t reach back. And it only stepped on my childhood rejection wound.

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Faith, Fear, Mothering, Trusting God

Faith: When We Must Choose Between Fear and Faith

A young man standing at the edge of a rock cliff with arms outstretched looking at a wide open space

@JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes, I’m a poser.

Oh sure, I tell people to pray for their children, their husbands, and the heart needs they each have. I tell them God hears, and He answers each and every prayer. Sometimes, it’s with a “Yes.” Other times, the answer is, “No.” And then there’s the “Not yet,” answer.

I believe these truths with all my heart. I know that I know I am a daughter of the King . . . that He loves me completely, passionately, and perfectly. I know we must choose faith.

And still . . . 

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ACFW, Discouragement, Identity

Discouragement: When Lies Impact Our Identity

Waterfall on the Riverwalk in San Antonio

@JeanneTakenaka

Attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) National Conference is one of the highlights of my year. But this year, I came into this conference feeling discouraged, because of something, not writing-related, that happened a few weeks ago. The results of that event had absolutely nothing to do with the conference, but everything to do with how I felt someone important to me perceived me. 

And the hurtful impressions have colored my perspective since then. 

I hate when lies rise up and call me cursed. 

I hate when I open myself up to listen to their whispers.

And I hate when said lies impact something I’m looking forward to.

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Perspective, Trusting God

Scars: When We Live with Wounds

Image of yellow flowers with some dead and some still alive

@JeanneTakenaka

I was talking with a friend recently. We both have teenaged boys who are scraping wounds across our mama’s hearts. At times the pain is so raw I still feel like I’m bleeding. 

We both like the song, “Scars” by I Am They. But neither of us feel thankful for the scars right now. As I thought about it, I believe this is okay. In the moment.

Sometimes, we’re still living in a wounded place. We’re still walking in the pain of the strikes against our hearts. 

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Contentment, Expectations, Mothering

Satisfy: Where Does Contentment Begin?

A young man sitting on a stump facing the ocean

@JeanneTakenaka

“I’m never content, Mom.”

These words slipped from my son’s mouth some months back. Probably after I’d gone to great lengths to get him something he wanted, or to do something he desired. 

And then I’d probably made the mistake of asking how he liked it.

I don’t ask that question anymore.

First, I found it revelatory that this boy of mine knew he would never be satisfied. Second, a piece of my heart cracked because all that I had done to bless him—to make him happy—hadn’t been enough.

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Faith, Relationship

Regret: After We’ve Failed

Photo of trees on each side of a pathway making an overhang above it

@JeanneTakenaka

One sure thing about life is that we will face opposition. We’ll be confronted with our own failings and shortcomings. We’ll be forced to decide how to respond to our regrets.

I love how, each time I read through the Bible, God brings different things alive in my heart. As I read through 2 Samuel, I gleaned insights about David. After his mistake with Bathsheba, God brought many consequences into his life. I was reading 2 Samuel 15 about how David’s son, Absalom, attempted to overtake the kingdom. Animosity toward his father had built in his heart for years (read 2 Samuel 13-16). Some would say he was justified in his anger toward David.

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