Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate, Life, Uncategorized

Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate

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By Jeanne Takenaka

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s independence later this week, it’s good to remember what we’re celebrating.

We’re not (or shouldn’t be) celebrating the latest sale at Macy’s and the great deals we’ll get if we shop on July 4th weekend. Although, we’re certainly free to do that if we so desire.

Continue reading “Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate”

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FMF Lost, God, Identity, Uncategorized

Lost: Lost and Found


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By Jeanne Takenaka

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

 

For years I clung to my insecurity. Convinced that if I just said the right words, did the right thing, I would find acceptance in the minds and hearts of those who mattered to me.

I determined to find my way into acceptance by people I thought were important. I overlooked those who seemed to be insignificant. I yearned to be known, not realizing that I too lived among the insignificant.

It took the Lord revealing a gaping wound in my own heart to bring me to a place of realizing that I was lost.

Lost in the maze of striving for acceptance.

Lost in the lies that I had to be a certain way to become known by those around me.

Lost in a veneer of who I really was.

As I grappled with the wound in my heart called rejection, I saw that I had lost parts of myself in pursuit of acceptance. In pursuit of significance.

Allowing Jesus to spread his salve over my wound, I began to see that I needed to lose the devices I used for being accepted. I began to lose the need to say just the right thing. The need to be super woman.

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I lost the craving to be known only by certain people.

I found that Jesus could meet me in that place of emptiness and fill me with Him. He helped me see my identity as one of His girls. And not only that, I found out how much He cherishes me, and each of his children.

Losing what I thought I needed to have a certain identity and finding what it meant to be identified in Him? That was something worth losing that led to a satisfying discovery.

What about you? What have you lost that led to a worthwhile find?

Lisa-Jo Baker Five Minute Friday—Lost

Appearances: 4 Thoughts For Finding the Gold in People, Authenticity, Relationship, Uncategorized

Appearances: 4 Thoughts For Finding the Gold in People

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By Jeanne Takenaka

As a girl, I found some pyrite while on a family hike. It sparkled like gold in my little-girl mind, and I was beyond excited. I showed my father, and he patiently explained that what I’d found was fool’s gold, or pyrite. Disappointed, I set it back on the ground.

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Uncategorized

Release: Releasing My Plans

By Jeanne Takenaka

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

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I used to think I had control of my life.

Get my college degree. Check,

Get my first teaching job: Check

Life had gone according to my plans. I walked with God, grew with Him through my twenties.

I prayed until God brought me an amazing husband. Checked that off the list.

Then, according to our plans, we began trying to have a baby. No check.

Unless you count the one that went on my calendar each month when my body declared I was not pregnant.

It was during those early days on the infertility journey that I began to discover I was not truly in control of my life. God is sovereign. He revealed to me that in HIs sovereignty is His love.

How did I reconcile this with the fact that I wanted a baby to cradle in my arms?

I fought Him, of course. For awhile.

He let me. Until I came to the point where I could release my desire for my plans and embrace His plan. Even though I didn’t know what it would be.

Even if it might not include children grown in my womb.

Releasing my plans and looking to His gave me the peace and the strength to walk through the journey of infertility.

It prepared me for when He did sew motherhood into the fabric of my story, through adoption.

Releasing my plans for His is one way I live my love for Him out loud. Trusting His plan, trading good for best.

Release all I clung to so I could embrace all He had for me.

It was definitely worth the trade.

What about you? When have you released something in your life? What was the end result?

Lisa-Jo Baker Five Minute Friday—Release

Contentment, Contentment: What Does It Take to Live With Contentment?, Grace, Relationship, Uncategorized

Contentment: What Does It Take to Live With Contentment?

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By Jeanne Takenaka

When we were deep into our walk in infertility, I struggled with discontentment, I yearned for a child weighting down my arms down. A wee one to nurture. It became my daily—no, hourly—prayer. My cry when my body revealed I was not pregnant. The sorrow and grief of being denied what my heart was designed to yearn for about broke me.

Continue reading “Contentment: What Does It Take to Live With Contentment?”

FMF Messenger, Mothering, Relationship, Uncategorized

Messenger: Living in the Moment

As I checked Lisa-Jo Baker’s word for today—Messenger—I was stumped. Then I began thinking about it a little more…..Here’s the result. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. 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!

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By Jeanne Takenaka

I thought about who has been a messenger in my life.

And then it dawned on me.

I see smiles from two of the sweetest faces this side of heaven. I hear, “Mom! Mom!” just before some new discovery or animal fact pops out of their mouths.  My two boys have exuberance and joie d’vivre in abundance.

And me?

Well, I feel like I’m running from this task to the next most days. There’s much for this wife and mother to complete in a given day.

But these two precious sons—for whom I prayed for years—they summon me to slow down and enjoy life on their level for a little while.

Set aside my oh, so slowly plotting book . . .

Turn my back to the dishes in the sink for a few moments.

And simply listen. To their message.

Their hearts shine through their faces, through their words.

The message is, “Enjoy this moment, Mom! Enjoy it with me? Live it with me!”

I wrap my arms around my messengers and squeeze them close. They’ll only be little for a little longer.

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I want to embrace each day with them, loving them in the moment. Listening to their explanations, and their attempts at sounding like the men they’ll one day be.

I need to listen to their message of being in the now. It’ll be gone too quickly.

These messengers fill me with joy when I take time to really look at them. Really listen to their words and tones and thoughts.

What about you? Who’s a messenger in your life? What message have you been hearing?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s FMF Messenger

 

Forgiveness, God, Grace, Grace: Grace Lived Out, Uncategorized

Grace: Living Out Grace

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By Jeanne Takenaka

I’ve been thinking about grace and what it means to live with grace. When people say, “I gave grace in that situation.” Or, “You are a gracious person.” What does it really mean, this word—grace?

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Life, Relationship, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Hands

This week’s Five Minute Friday post topic is—Hands. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out Lisa-Jo Baker‘s site. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

Hands

By Jeanne Takenaka

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I take my hands for granted. They clean. They cut vegetables, tend to gardens, hold the water container to pour life onto my container garden. My hands comb out the knots in my hair, wash my face, and wipe children’s tears away.

My hands stroke the heads of my “babies” ( now 9 1/2 and 11) when they’ve had a difficult day. They comb through hair, rub backs, cuddle close these boy-men when they are on the boy side of manhood.

Hands . . . I can’t imagine life without them. They type on my computer, pouring words onto the page. Hopefully bringing encouragement to those who read them. They hold the camera to capture scenes and smiles on the spur of a moment.

What about God’s hands? His hands move planets, craft new life. His hands move in my life, in the lives of all who know Him. They give rain in due season, move the sun and moon at appropriate times. They do big, important life-essential things for his small creations on planet earth. Even when He’s not acknowledged, He continues to provide all we need for life.

His hands give comfort to His children. They wipe my tears away, sew up the wounds on my heart inflicted by others. His hands hold me in the crook of His arms, cradle me on His lap when I’m in need of a cuddle, of comfort.

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My prayer is that my hands will emulate what His hands do—bringing life to those in my circle. Bringing comfort and encouragement and service, whether or not others acknowledge it.

What about you? What are you thankful your hands can do? How have others’ hands blessed you?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday

Encouragement, Encouragement: Watering the Seeds, Life, Uncategorized, Words

Encouragement: Watering the Seeds


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By Jeanne Takenaka

Who knew that in my mid-forties, this city-girl would fall in love with gardening? I’ve considered planting a garden for a few years now, but something always prevents me.

Last week, a friend offered me some tomato plantings and seeds. As I thought about her offer, an idea took shape. I stopped by the nearby hardware store and purchased some rectangular planters and soil. Our yard doesn’t have a space ready for these offerings, but I could begin some container gardening.

Continue reading “Encouragement: Watering the Seeds”