Comparison: When Others Move Ahead

Nashville bridge at sunrise

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There’s something special about gathering with a big group of people who share a common dream. Attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) national conference in Nashville this year was such a refreshing, uplifting experience (just don’t ask how much sleep I got).

Talking writing with others who “get me,”

who understand the joys of a story coming together,

the uncertainties of where our dreams might be leading us,

the disappointments of a “No” when we pitch our book ideas . . .

there’s a sort of reassurance in this community.

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Affirmation: Looking For Five Stars

digitalart FDP

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I am at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference this week. I had intended to put up a fresh blog, but I ran out of time. I hope you will enjoy a little post I wrote a few years back. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I’m going to do my best to respond to comment and comment on your blogs. Please have patience with me. 🙂

*****

I recently visited a friend’s blog. She had wonderful news to share, and I eagerly celebrated with her. I happened to notice at the bottom of her post that people had given that post a five-star rating.

Hmmm. I wondered if anyone had given me a five star rating? Or less? Here’s where it gets sad (in that I did this to begin with). I checked my recent blog posts, and sighed.

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Community: Live in Community

Morning light on flowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I sat at my kitchen table, golden light filtering in. My back door slid open to let in the cool of the morning. As I closed my eyes I heard chickadees singing, dogs barking and a baby crying. Soft sunlight glittered on the puddles of last night’s rain storm. Piano music played from my computer.

As I listened to the noises all around, felt included in our community.  Continue reading

Lift: Who Lifts You?

Holding Hands

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—LIFT. 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!

LIFT

Did you ever have one of those days where you just have to keep pressing on? You’re weary. The kids are pulling at every strand of who you are. But you cannot quit. You can’t run away to Australia (though I threaten to sometimes).

Or, maybe the job is demanding every part of you. A rough boss. Taxing schedule.

We all become weary.

I love the picture of Aaron and Hur lifting Moses’ arms during the battle. They strengthened him to do what he had to do.

To lower his arms meant death for the Israelites.

They were an interdependent community. Moses knew he needed help. Aaron and Hur were available to help him.

Why is it, we think we have to go through life strong . . . alone?

Why do we fall for the lie that everything must be carried on our shoulders?

God has given us friends, He’s placed people in our lives for a reason. He created us with a deep need for fellowship.

Can we do life alone? Maybe. For awhile.

But we’re going to fall to pieces. We’re going to be defeated by the enemy when we try to do life in our own strength, isolated.

Dad-son arm in arm

He created us to benefit from being helped by others. I believe God may even place us in situations where the only way to get through is to reach out for help.

When we ask for help, when we let others lift our arms? That’s when we are strengthened. When we let others help us, we are given hope . . . and so are they.

There are blessings to be given when we allow others to come alongside us in lifting our arms, our spirits, our eyes to Jesus.

It’s only when we invite others to lift us up in prayer that we can thrive. It’s when others lift us up physically—spiritually—that we grow.

Three friends silhouette

And we also gain a better view of who God is, and who He is in us and others.

Don’t be afraid to let others in. Don’t fear trusting others to lift your arms.

What about you? What’s the hardest thing about asking for help? What’s been the greatest benefit of letting others help you?

Click to Tweet: When we let others help us, we are given hope . . . and so are they.

Today, I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—LIFT

Worry: Living Out Today

Father-son kayaking

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be honest and say that I was naive about the teen years? I had this idea that, sure, the boys would grow bigger, hormones would pulse, change their voices, add odors, and transform them from children into men.

I had the idea that, though there would be disagreements, we’d be able to work through them the way we always have: talking about them.

What I didn’t anticipate was the changes in personality. The sneakiness as their thought processes develop. I didn’t expect the volatile emotions. I know, I know. I should have.

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Happy: Happiness and Joy

Rain kissed flowers

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—HAPPY. 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!

HAPPY

When Kate announced our word this week, I had to stop and think. I had John Denver going through my head (Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…”)

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I frequently struggle with living out happiness and living out joy. Sometimes happiness seems the more shallow emotion, the more temporal choice.

But really, there are times when I’m. Just. Happy. Period.

When the boys make me laugh big. When my husband wraps an arm around me, or pulls me into a kiss.

When a friend confides something to me.

When I have the privilege of praying for someone struggling wth something BIG.

I’m happy.

Joy is something that comes when things are rough. Joy is something I can choose. Good has given us joy. And this is wonderful. It’s a part of who He is.

With Edmund and Peter

He’s filled us with it. “The joy of the Lord will be my strength.”

Joy helps us through the most difficult of times. The struggles. The heartaches. The fun times.

Happiness seems more ethereal at times. More temporary. But it sometimes fills every cranny of who I am.

Happiness fills me when God paints the sky in bright vibrant colors. Ribbons of peach with soft hues of creams and yellows, make my heart sigh in wonder.

I feel happy.

God shows His artistry with the changing leaves. The spring flowers. The contrast of white on tree branches against a deep azure sky.

Happiness is something we can feel in the moment. It may not always last. But that doesn’t make it a lesser thing.

Joy runs deeper, but happiness sometimes fills me. Fulfills me, shining a bit of light in a dark season.

Happiness comes when

Happiness comes when we can look beyond our hard and see God’s handiwork all around us. Or maybe just in front of us. The point is, we can look for, and find Him.

Then we can know happiness and joy.

What about you? What makes you happy? When is one time when you chose joy?

Click to tweet: Happiness is something we can feel in the moment.

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

And, just in case you’re interested, here’s the song by John Denver I mentioned above:

 

Dream: Staying Strong

Sunkissed white flowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Chasing a dream rarely looks the way we expect it to. Real life, in the form of boys home for the summer and writing disappointments, has swooped in and sapped my enthusiasm.

I thought I would be much further along in my journey by now. Yet, here I am, in the same place I stood a year ago. Only, not entirely.

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