Busy-ness, Christmas, Relationship, Uncategorized

Busy: 15 Tips For Managing Holiday Busyness

Christmas peace

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Two weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the effects of busyness on the heart . When I’m too busy for my own good, everything—and those closest to me—suffers.

A too-busy heart—a too-busy life—has no room in it for connections . . . with Jesus, or with those around us. We respond to people and situations on a surface level, because there’s nothing in us that can dig any deeper.

Continue reading “Busy: 15 Tips For Managing Holiday Busyness”

Advertisements
Gratitude, Joy, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy

A Voskamp Thanksgiving and joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Today, I had planned to share some tips for dealing with busyness for this holiday season.

I think it’s more important we take time and consider Thanksgiving. Both the holiday and the attitude. So, that  post will be up next week.

I love this quote by Ann Voskamp. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart, and it’s a choice. When we choose thankfulness, joy is the result in our hearts. We see the good things God has placed in our lives. When we take the time and make the effort to say, “Thank you,”  we not only show Him appreciation, we build up a storehouse of joy within us.

It’s not always easy to choose thanksgiving in our circumstances. Some people have lost loved ones this year. Others are dealing with terminal illness. Divorce. Prodigal children. Heartbreak. Job loss. And perhaps the thought of “putting on a happy face” absolutely drains you.

Maybe, taking a few minutes to write down things you can be thankful for will help ease the sense of being overwhelmed. It won’t change your circumstances. But, choosing to give thanks will lift your heart, and begin letting joy back into those dark places.

D Bonhoeffer gratitude makes life rich1

As we Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the beginnings of our country, may we also choose thankfulness in the midst of our circumstances.

What about you? What’s one thing you are thankful for right now? How can I pray for you over the next week?

I’ve linked up with Holly Barrett‘s and (for today) Angela Parlin’s sites this week. Check out some other wonderful blogs!

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Dwell: Where Joy Dwells

Falling leaves

 

 

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DWELL. 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!

DWELL

Christmas. Holidays.

Sometimes those words strike fear into the heart of this girl.

Not because of what they mean, but because of what I think they’ll require.

Busy. Preparations. Gifts. Cooking. Oh yeah, and trying to be filled with joy.

The thing is, I can’t really fill myself with lasting joy. Oh, I may be able to for a little while . . . like when I drink a cinnamon latte from one of those little red cups.

But sooner or later, that joy filters out, and stress too often replaces it.

This year, I’ve been thinking about how to do the holidays differently. The biggest thing I can change is where my thoughts—my heart—dwell.

They can focus on everything on my to-do list. The food to buy. The gifts to wrap. The letters to write and send out.

They can focus on getting my kids to concerts, to parties, to activities.

Clouds on the mountain

Or, they can choose the stillness route. And focus on the Lord.

Only as my eyes and my heart and my thoughts are inclined toward the Lord will I be able to dwell in peace. To know His true joy.

And really? That’s what I want the most. To walk in His joy. Dwelling in anticipation of what Jesus’ coming means for all of us.

The gift of salvation. Of freedom.

The gift of being able to dwell face-to-face with Him one day.

So yes, the Christmas chaos is coming. But this year, I am choosing to not get wrapped up in it.

Instead, I’m going to take quiet moments each day. To still my heart. To think on HIm. For my thoughts to dwell on the many gifts Jesus has already given me.

Gathered leaves

His word, His amazing love. His joy.

My family. friends. A passion for writing.

Opportunities to see His fingerprints in my every day.

And the chance to celebrate Jesus and the wonderful gift He’s given us—the gift of His presence each day.

What about you? Where do your thoughts tend to dwell during the weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas? How do you find joy amid the busyness?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung. Check out her post on Five Minute Friday—Dwell

Busy-ness, Life, Time With God

Heart: Too Busy

Bench Alone

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We’re quickly moving into a busy time of year. Most Americans feel weary before Thanksgiving ever rolls around. Never mind Black Friday, all the Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping presents, sending out Christmas letters, viewing the lights, etc.

I met with my functional medicine doctor last week. I’ve been dealing with some issues for years, and things aren’t getting better. In spite of taking different medicines and supplements. In spite of attempting to make a few lifestyle changes.

Continue reading “Heart: Too Busy”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Living with Intention

Weary: The Cure For Weary

Red leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WEARY. 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!

WEARY

I’ve been running on weary for years. In my late forties, my body is beginning to say, “Enough!”

I won’t go into details, but I’m having issues now that my doctor can’t give me a cure for. No pills will fix my problems.

No, it’s not cancer, just inconvenient tough-to-deal with/get-my-head around issues.

My doctor’s answer?

Rest.

Sun Shimmers

In a busy culture, as a wife, a mom of two preteen boys, a friend, a writer, an involved person . . . life can make me downright weary with all its demands.

Rest.

If I want to have a hope of getting things better for my body, I need to be intentional about incorporating rest into my daily life.

It’s HARD. I want to run at my crazy pace and accomplish lots each day.

But sometimes, we accomplish more when we give our bodies, our spirits, our minds a rest.

When we come away with Jesus for awhile.

When we choose stillness over productivity? That’s when refreshment comes.

Saying no to one more thing can be the most productive thing we do.

Talking with the Lord about this, I’m seeing that His edict for a Sabbath was pretty smart (imagine that).

He knew when He created us that our bodies required downtime.

When I don’t give myself downtime, or enough sleep, or mind-breaks during the day, I end up weary. And my body rebels with its symptoms.

Red Maple Leaf

If I want a truly productive life—living my days well rather than speedy—I need to be willing to yield my will to God’s plan. I must give my body, every part of who I am, time for rest.

When we rest in Jesus’ plan, weariness dissipates in the midst of renewed energy, creativity, and joy.

What about you? How are you doing at giving yourself rest? How do you combat complete weariness in your life?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. Read her post here—Weary

God, Life, Trials

Life: God’s Presence in the Hard Times

Pinecones in leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I confess that I don’t like hard? I don’t want to have to suffer in doing what I’m expected to complete in a day.

I don’t want to run into an obstacle that knocks me down in the pursuit of living well.

I don’t know where I got the idea that living this life would be—should be—easy.

I don’t know why I have this desire to sail through my days with no pain, no difficulties, no trials.

Maybe it’s the human condition?

Continue reading “Life: God’s Presence in the Hard Times”

Five Minute Friday scribblings

Dance: Trusting Your Partner

Father and daughter dance

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DANCE. 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!

DANCE

I took ballroom dance lessons a few years ago. I thought it would be much easier than it is (Yes, you can stop laughing at me now). In ballroom dancing, one leads and one follows. As the woman—the follower in the dances—I didn’t think it would be hard.

Until my partner told me I needed to stop trying to lead.

Following requires trust in the leader. During those lessons, I had some partners who did not know how to lead, and it was challenging not to tell them. I consider myself pretty good at following, but those weeks of lessons showed me otherwise.

How many times have I thought I was following Jesus’ lead, only to discover—after frustration or heartbreak—that I was trying to lead?

Launch on zipline

How many times do we try to tell him where the next steps for our life-dance should go? In doing the waltz, do we follow His lead, or do our toes get stepped on when He moves us somewhere we didn’t foresee?

When dancing, you aren’t supposed to look at your feet, but into your partner’s eyes. That was the challenge.

If I could look at my feet, I could be in control. Looking up, over the shoulder or into the eyes, required me to trust where my partner led.

In walking with Jesus, sometimes I prefer to look at my plans and say, “Okay, this is where we’re going. Right?” . . .

Rather than looking into my Partner’s eyes, trusting His lead . . .  

Knowing the intimacy that shone in them . . .

Seeing the love that reflected from them . . . 

Dance of the leaves copy

In this dance of life, I can’t imagine having anyone besides Jesus leading me. Trusting Him isn’t always easy, but it’s always, always best in the long run.

When I can let his lead be what I follow, I know peace and I experience the beauty that comes only through following him. Only through trusting Him.

What about you? How have you seen Jesus leading in your life? Have you ever tried ballroom dancing? What lessons did you learn?

Visit Kate Motaung’s post on Five Minute Friday—Dance

Guest Posts, Michelle Lim, Perseverance

How to Persevere Through the Unexpected—Guest Post by Michelle Lim

M Lim Capturing Joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I met Michelle at my first-ever writing adventure five years ago. One of the things that first drew me to her is her encouraging spirit. As I’ve gotten to know her better, I have appreciated her sweet spirit, a great listening ear, and she’s crazy-good at brainstorming stories and all things writing! 

Please help me welcome Michelle Lim!

ACFW 2014 Jeanne T. and I 10665173_10202733710168671_3921977619193028321_n

Life is complicated. There are so many times that we make plans that never happen because of life’s unexpected struggles.

Continue reading “How to Persevere Through the Unexpected—Guest Post by Michelle Lim”