Crave: When We Want More

christmas-mugs

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—CRAVE. 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!

CRAVE

First of all: I confess, I went slightly over five minutes on this one. I hope you’ll allow me a bit of grace. 🙂

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It’s only December first and I’m already weary. It’s been “A Week.” With internet woes and an injury requiring stitches, I already feel the glare of this month, as it tries to stare me into submission. As it attempts to make me obey its whims and plans.

But what I crave is times of stillness, of quiet moments with Jesus. It’s only as I spend time in His word and in worship that I am able to recalibrate my spirit.

It’s the only way to get through a busy season without arriving at Christmas morning exhausted, grouchy, and worn down. I’ve had too many Christmas seasons where I do and do and do. I come to the morning most anticipated by my boys . . . too tired to enjoy it.

The older I grow, the more I crave simplicity. The only way toward simplicity is to be intentional.

So instead of letting the month of December stare me down, and tell me I have to bring about all our traditions, say yes to every invitation or opportunity to serve, I’m going to be intentional.

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I am going to pray before saying yes. I’ve learned that I need to say no to some good things to say yes to the best things.

I may sound idealistic, but I am taking control of this month, as best as I can.

I’m going to say no to certain traditions because we simply don’t have time to do them this year.

I’m going to pray for God’s guidance before committing to anything.

I’m going to be intentional about savoring moments with my family. Our boys are growing quickly. I love to laugh with them. To talk about the things on their hearts.

If I’m too busy with trying to make things happen, I’ll miss those moments. I’ll miss Jesus’s whispers into my heart about what’s most important.

I don’t want to arrive at the day where we celebrate Him too exhausted to care. I don’t want to wake up on December 25th and wish it was over already.

Big hands little hands 2

If I am intentional now, I can satisfy the craving in my spirit to connect with Jesus. And the bonus will be having a heart open to His promptings about the other things that come up this month. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t feel quite so weary come Christmas morning.

What about you? what does your spirit crave during December? How do you feed yourself during busy season?

Click To Tweet: I crave is times of stillness, of quiet moments with Jesus.

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

Gift: What We Can Give To Others

Jesus ornament

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are officially in the holiday season. Though there’s not much snow and festive weather in my corner of the country, it doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is in the past and Christmas looms large in my life’s windshield.

Hubs and I have completed most of our shopping. But there are parties to prepare for. Boys’ band concerts to attend. Activities to do so we can build memories with our quickly growing up boy-men. A house to decorate. Things to make. Gifts to wrap. Things to DO.

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Enjoy: When Life Is Busy

Thanksgiving Breakfast table

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—ENJOY. 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!

ENJOY

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is in ONE. WEEK. Where has this year gone? How much activity and busy-ness will these final weeks hold?

It’s going to be a struggle to not get sucked into the siren’s call to get everything finished. Concerts attended. Hugs given out. Letters completed and mailed out. Presents wrapped. Parties attended.

With so much busy-ness and unexpected happenings on the calendar? How does one enjoy the season?

As I recall, Jesus came into this world on a quiet night. The world was bustling around Him, but He came in stillness. And in stress. Joseph sought a place for Mary to give birth to Him. The Savior of the world.

He didn’t come into the middle of a big city. But in a stable. With the low rumble of animal breathing for His lullabies.

Shepherds were His greeters. And a few wise men.

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The point is, there was some busy-ness, but there was also sacred stillness.

I’m staring down the squares that represent the days left in this year, and if I let them, they are going to consume me.

I could come to December 31st tired. Disappointed in the things the season didn’t hold.

I feel the stress. I want the stillness.

The beauty of thinking about this now is that I have time to make some choices.

Because in the midst of the busy-ness, I can create times of stillness. I can choose to slow down enough to savor moments with my husband, our sons. With extended family. With friends.

I get to decide which activities I say yes—or no—to. I can decide what I do so I can enjoy this season.

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After all, we’re celebrating giving thanks, aren’t we? We’re rejoicing in Jesus’ birth in a few short weeks. I’m pretty sure He doesn’t want us so worn out that we can’t enjoy the party. That we can’t savor being with Him.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about for this post, but I think the post found me. God’s giving me a nudge to choose to enjoy. Not to endure. And not to exhaust myself.

What about you? What choices can you make to enjoy this season? How do you create moments of stillness during this time of year? 

Click to Tweet: I feel the stress. I want the stillness.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s site Heading Home—Enjoy

Listen: When We’re Busy

heart-pond-reflection

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—LISTEN. 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!

LISTEN

When the end of May hit, I had this crazy notion that life would slow down. That our family would have time to hang out, talk, play games. Relax.

Well . . . not so much.

We raced through a lot in a couple months. I felt like I was constantly on the go.

I got to August and realized I had not spent the time with our boys that I had wanted to. I had been busy . . .

. . . planning for our road trip

. . . planning my parents’ anniversary party

. . . planning as my husband prepared to leave town for a few weeks

. . . planning for the start of school (August 18th).

I hadn’t taken time to slow down and listen to them.

And, as August marched on, I hadn’t even had much time to listen to my Father. To be still before Him and hear His words for me.

He has ways of speaking anyway.

There was a niggling in my spirit. Some things I sensed He wanted to address with me.

But when was there time??

Nashville bridge at sunrise

When I went to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference (ACFW) in August, He spoke.

And I listened.

God shared some truths that I needed to hear.

As I came home from the conference and hit life full force again, I spent time journaling with the Lord, every chance I could.

I find that when I journal, I can listen to His words to me. I can begin to process them. Apply them.

I can begin to hear His voice more clearly.

So, that niggling is gradually becoming definite messages from my Father to me.

I’m so glad He always listens to me. He hears my heart’s cries and answers them. In His way. In His time.

When I listen to Him when I’m still before Him, I hear much more clearly.

But even when I’m not, He’s still hearing my heart, my thoughts.

He’s still working in my life. Reminding me just how much He loves me.

jer-29-12-copyIt’s always worthwhile to be still enough to hear His voice. His words. To experience His love poured out in His perfect way.

And as for my boys? I’m becoming intentional (again) to be available to just listen to them.

Just like my Father does for me.

What about you? When you’re racing in life, what do you do to listen to our Father? When has the Lord spoken to you in the midst of your busy-ness?

Click to tweet: He hears my heart’s cries and answers them.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Listen

Limit: I’m No Wonder Woman

Old picket fence

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

**I confess, I took a little over five-minutes to write this post. 

LIMIT

Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking I’m Wonder Woman. Except that I don’t have an invisible vehicle.

I think I can do it all—take care of the house, the kids, the husband.

I can be all things to all people.

I can rush through my days at mach 10, rarely slowing down long enough to be still.

I can depend on myself to do all things that must be done.

Except, when I can’t.

Tearing my ACL three weeks ago has shown me another side of life. Mach ten has turned into mach zero, limping rather than rushing through my days.

Mountains with yellow sky

I’ve come face-to-face with the reality that I am not Wonder Woman.

I can’t fly off and fight piles of laundry on my own. I can’t fight off the insecurity thoughts that sometimes threaten my spirit.

I can’t be the always-patient mama with a boy who  has consumed hours of “my” time.

No, I most certainly am not Wonder Woman. Sometimes I’m barely-clinging-to-the-rope woman, with ever-graying hair.

I’m the one who’s confined to the couch for a few hours each day to give her knee a rest until surgery happens.

I’m the one who’s been limited by mobility.

God’s given me a limp where once I had the capacity to do everything I thought had to be completed in a day.

God is teaching me the beauty of depending on Him and on others. There’s nothing beautiful about a person who can do it all yet misses moments connecting with kids, spouses, friends.

There’s beauty in learning to hear God’s voice, learning to set aside the things I thought were important to listen to a hurting kiddo.

Fences

Yeah, sometimes God limits us so we learn to hear His voice, to depend on Him. To begin living out some of those lessons He’s been waiting so patiently to help us learn

Being limited is inconvenient, but not always a bad thing. Especially when we can see God’s fingerprints in the limitation.

Maybe sometimes the wonder in Wonder Woman comes in acting on the important rather than the demanding.

What about you? When have you been limited in some way? What have you learned? Where have you seen God’s fingerprints in your life lately?

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

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.

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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.

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Ambition: The Quiet Life

Quiet purple blossoms

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I had a B-U-S-Y spring. My hubby had to travel overseas on business for six-and-a-half weeks. Forty-five days to be exact. In that time, he missed two birthdays, all the end of school activities, including a sixth-grade celebration ceremony for Peter before he heads to junior high next year.

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Kindness: Simple Acts of Kindness

Red tulips

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I read a story recently about a teacher who donated a kidney to one of the students at her school. Her selfless attitude convicted me. She saw a need, her heart was moved and she had a way of meeting the need. Her simple act of kindness saved the young lady’s life, and changed both of their lives forever.

When someone gives a piece of their life for your own, how do you respond to that?

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One Word: Starting the New Year Well

Breathe Bracelet

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last fall, as life’s stresses kept me in an adrenaline-running mode, I found myself breathing shallow breaths rather than replenishing my lungs and my body with deep breaths. At times, my breathing was shallow enough that I hardly inhaled any air, much less filled my lungs to capacity.

I breathed in shallow breaths spiritually as well. I gave the little I had to the Lord in my daily quiet times. I received what I could from Him. But it was hindered, limited by stress.

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