Leave: Leaving and Left Behind

Dry creek bed

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

LEAVE

Hubby and I stole our final few moments, sitting in the waiting area of the airport. The last few moments before he left for a month-long business trip.

Part of me wanted to savor every moment before he stepped into the security line and out of my sight. Part of me wanted to walk away, rather than endure the ache of watching him leave our boys and me for a month.

Frozen flower

I’ve decided between being the one leaving and being the one left behind, the second one is the more painful of the two scenarios. Being the one leaving, you have a purpose, a reason for going. Being the one left behind? Loneliness fills the place where his vibrant presence normally dwells within me.

When he leaves for an international trip, I always fear something will happen. It’s a constant choosing to trust that God holds him in the palm of His hand. A constant choosing to believe that God will bring him back to our little family again.

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No matter who does the leaving and who does the staying, there’s heartache involved. The absence of the person’s presence, life—the absence of vitality—is the hardest to walk with every day of his being gone.

But, the good thing with his leaving? We get to celebrate his home coming. We get to marvel at all the great ways God showed up to help each of us through the lonely times. How He met us in our sadness and uplifted us with His joy.

Red leaves

And on that day when one of us leaves Earth first? We will celebrate being reunited as a son and a daughter of the Father. Together.

The one who stays behind will walk a path of sorrow, certainly. Will also know the anticipation of seeing the other again. I hope it’s many years down the road. I am reminded that leaving is never permanent when we have Jesus in common.

What about you? Which do you find more difficult? Leaving or staying behind? How do you stay strong when a loved one is absent for a long period of time? 

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Leave post!

Fun: 20 Questions

Autumn Brilliance

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This new game has given those of us who are playing a fun way to get to know each other. And now I am inviting you to play, too!

What is the game?  Answer as many of the questions below as you want. Fun answers are definitely permitted, serious ones allowed, and cornier than ever ones preferred. Ready to get started?

First, I must credit my friends Shelli Littleton and Mary Vee for tagging me in this game which started this round.

1. How tall are you? 

5’ 7 1/2”. People love to ask me to reach thing for them. However, since hubby and I are the same height, I seldom those fun heels that are so popular now. I guess my legs will thank me as I grow older.

2. Do you have a hidden talent?

Yes. I’m good at purging (stuff from my home, not the other kind of purging). My mom dreads when I come over to my parents’ house with a trash bag in hand. Actually I only purge other people’s stuff when I have permission. But, I love uncluttered spaces.

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Interruption: Change in Plans

HIdden Comb

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“Please go comb  your hair.”

The boy rolled his eyes. “Why? I like it just like this. I never comb my hair!”

Honestly? The boy’s hair didn’t look too bad. But, it’s precisely because he never combs his hair that I asked him to do it. As his mom, was I really asking that much?

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Dare: Loving Through Hurts

Heart and knot necklace

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

DARE

“How dare you?!” roared around in my mind as my son spewed disrespectful words at me. Again.

He’s a boy. I’m the mom. But I can never quite swallow those hurtful darts without them slicing me on the way down.

He’s learning—and so am I—how to deal with the surge of emotions that roil over him and spill onto me. The hurt is there. Sometimes it dares me to retaliate, to not forgive when asked.

Sometimes the greater dare comes in loving after being hurt. Yes, he’s a child. He’s my strong-willed, amazing, loving-big, arms-wide-open boy. Except for when he’s not.

I dare not stop loving this child of mine. As if I could.

Hurt sometimes tempts us to withhold love. Acceptance.

Hurts caused by others challenge us to move beyond them. Or hurts encourage us to give up.

There are situations where hurts must be stopped, and that comes with distancing ourselves from the one doing the hurting.

In my case, my dare is to love through it. To love well. And to train godly.

Big vine, little vine

It’s hard. But I’m the example of love for this boy of mine. I’m the example of Jesus with skin on, of what daring to love—even when one is unlovely—looks like.

I’m not big into taking dares from people . . . but a dare from God? Dare I not accept the challenge to reflect Him to my boys, to the circle of influence I’m placed within?

Is it easy? No! but, it’s necessary. Love well.

Dare to be like Jesus in all of who He is. Including loving when it hurts.

What about you? Have you ever been dared to do something? Did you do it? How do you love those who are hard to love?

Kate Motaung—Dare

Hats: Do Our Roles Define Us?

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By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How many hats do you wear in a day?

No, I’m not talking physical hats, but those we don when we fulfill a certain role.

Sometimes in the wearing of so many hats—in fulfilling many roles—I seem to lose the essence of who I am. I am Wife. Mom. Friend. Homemaker. Writer. Chef (which  may or may not be a generous title for the food I serve up on a daily basis). Lover. Confidante. Counselor. Cheerleader. Maid. Supporter. Teacher. Organizer. Event Planner.

The list could go on.

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Long: When Days Are Long

Long Shadows

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

LONG

When the boys were little—scrapping with each other, daring me to defy their strong wills—an older and wiser friend shared this quote with me:

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

And how true I’m finding this statement to be. The boys are now 11 1/2 and 10 years old. Bigger, stronger, more able to reason . . . and some days just as able to drive me to my knees in discouragement and prayer.

But now, I see the quickness of the years. One is almost a teenager. We have maybe seven more years to be his mama and dad while he’s under our care.

After that, our boys will spread their own wings into their beautiful lives. Independent, hopefully living for Jesus.

I see how much we still need to teach them.

Where have the days gone?

They’ve been filled with training, laughter, cuddles, battles, playing, watching movies, hopefully making fun memories they will take with them when they leave our nest.

Dusk Sundial

I’m not in a hurry for our boys to grow up. I want to cherish each day they live under our roof. Some days truly are long, but the years are picking up speed with each birthday.

And it scares me a little.

The struggles in the long days pale when I hold them up to the years our boys have already lived. It makes me a wee bit sad to see them grow. I tell them to stay small. And one of them says he will.

The other . . . he’s ready to make his days fly by and live with freedom and independence he still needs to learn to manage well. But in his mind, he is ready.

I am not.

Boys aging Collage copy

I want more long days (but not the ones where we’re battling!). Days where we hike, laugh, enjoy being together. Shared memories. Shared love.

The days may be long, but the years truly are short.

What about you? When have you wanted to slow down time, just a little? What one piece of advice would you share with those walking behind you in life?

Kate Motaung—FMF Long

Growing: Encouraging Personal Growth

Unless you try to do something RW Emerson

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

***Hubby and I took a few days away, so I don’t have a regular blogpost ready for this week.

With that being said, I have been contemplating the idea behind this quote. I’ve completed three rough drafts that have the potential to become full-fledged books. If I revise and polish and submit them.

I stretched myself with the first word I wrote for my first book. I—the woman who never thought she could make up a plot, imagine up characters and dream up dialogue—wrote my first story. With a lot of help from God. And guidance from friends.

As my third story marinates for a bit, I’ve discovered a hesitancy to take it through the process to completion. I suspect I’m nurturing a fear of rejection.

So . . .

It’s time to try to do something beyond what I’ve mastered and refine this story. Pour more of myself into it and see what God does with it. If I  entrust the end result to Him, I don’t need to fear rejection or anything else. I’m going to grow as I walk through this stretching process.

What about you? What have you tried to do beyond what you’ve already mastered? What was the end result?

Care: Reaching Out to Others

Grandfather clock face

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

CARE

I’ve been pondering this word, CARE, since I saw it as the word prompt for today. What can I write about this word that people don’t already know?

I’m learning that to care for someone is more than simply saying “I care for you. I’m here for you.” It’s follow through, action, prayer, words.

Sometimes my kids need to know I care for them. After a fight, after mom or child fail, care needs to show itself in words and action.

In a broader scope, we show care for each other by caring enough to ask how another person is doing, and really listening to the answer. To look for ways to come alongside, encourage. We show care by bringing their needs before Our Father in Heaven. But care shows itself when we take time out of our own busy days to reach out to someone else.

Cross doors

When I had surgery a few years ago, friends cared enough to stop by and visit during my recovery. They brought meals for my family. They took my kids so my husband could be with me.

These actions of caring spoke deeply to my soul, to the inner fabric of who I am.

Care is more than words—it’s heart action. Reaching out to someone else to make their load easier. To encourage and strengthen with words. It’s being in community (physical or virtual) and reaching beyond our own comfort zones, and extending concern to others.

Caring happens when we look beyond ourselves and see the hearts of others, the wounds, the needs, and we do what we’re able to do to help them.

Praying…words of life…actions.

Reaching out to others in the ways we’re gifted to do so.

What about you? What has someone done that showed care to you? How do you show care to others?

Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Care

Intentional: 5 Thoughts For Numbering Our Days

Framed sunset

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

What would you do if you knew the number of your days?

Most of us know we’re going to die at some point in time. Many will die in their older years. But what if you discovered the number of days you had left to live? How would it change you?

Someone I’ve known for awhile received a diagnosis. This person has lived a full life . . . made wonderful friends, created cherished memories.

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New: New Pages In Our Lives

Mountain fall leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEW

I set out to open a document to write an FMF post and the button I pushed? “New.”

This got me thinking. Sometimes a new chapter in my life begins as a blank page. I get to fill it with words, actions, memories, smiles. It becomes written on, even wrinkled.

Sometimes, New pages interrupt my life, changing what I think is already a good thing. I don’t ask for the New, it just presents itself in my days.

Like when appendicitis came knocking Easter weekend.

When infertility barged its way into my husband’s and my careful plan for our family.

When we think things are one way with our family . . . only to find out there’s a new diagnosis to grapple with.

Sometimes I love New because I hold the pen that writes my impressions, hopes and dreams on it’s empty surface.

First glimpses of fall

Other times I need to accept New—the New Normal. The thing I get to do?

Control how I respond to the New that enters my life unexpectedly.

New isn’t bad. It’s different. Whether I choose the New document—for my day, for my season in life—or whether it’s given to me by the God whose mercies are new every morning, I have the choice of how I respond.

Is it with acceptance?

Or with resistance?

Or resignation?

I’ve done it each of these ways.

Fall colors on the mountains copy

And God is faithful to meet me in each. Though, when New enters my life in ways I’m not fond of, and I accept it with His grace guiding me? It’s incorporation into the pattern of my life becomes a little less New and a little more comfortable to live with.

What about you? What New page has opened giving you the chance to write on it? How have you worked through the New pages that turned when you weren’t ready for them?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday site—New