Busy-ness, Christmas, Perspective

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.

Continue reading “Gift: What We Can Give To Others”

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Busy-ness, Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Thanksgiving

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.

candles-stillness

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.

in-times-of-busy-ness-copy

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

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Hope, Joy

Tender: Jesus’ Reflection Through Us

Christmas on the outside

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—OUR CHOICE. Yeah, this one scared me a little bit. But the word came quickly, so here goes!

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!

TENDER

This week we lost a student in our high school. It’s left our school’s community in shock. Though my boys aren’t in high school yet, they’ve been impacted.

When I heard the news, my heart cried for that mama. She’s probably already bought Christmas gifts for her chid. Had plans and ways to make memories with her family. This family who will walk through their first Christmas without this precious son.

What happened to “peace on earth, good will to men?” What’s happening in our world that strips away the tenderness in our hearts, our spirits?

We’re divided with so much to do in a season that should also encompass joy. And yet, so many are struggling with hard, hard situations.

My prayer this Christmas season is that I would have a heart that is tender toward those hurting in my circle.

That I would see beyond the smiling exterior and know how to speak a word of hope or encouragement.

That I would take the time to see beyond the surface and speak something that would make them feel just a little bit better.

snow-blown landscape

This season is not always happy and cheerful for people. Especially those who’ve lost loved ones this year.

And yet, Jesus.

Jesus knows the hurts so many people face. He knows that celebrating this Christmas is beyond them. Maybe all they have energy for is to get out of bed. To try to—I don’t know—eat a meal.

May we who are not in those hard situations right now look beyond the busy-ness in our own lives, and at the very least, take a moment to pray for those hurting during this season. May we take that extra moment to express, “I care” through words to those in pain.

Jesus didn’t tell us to be happy all the time. And though He gives us joy, there are times when the feeling eludes us.

He does exhort us to be a reflection of Himself. When Jesus saw someone hurting, He came alongside them, spoke truth and hope to them. Not condemnation. Not fake euphemisms.

Jesus ornament

With this unexpected death rocking our little school community this week, it’s got me thinking about how I can celebrate Christmas with authenticity, with a tender heart and with eyes that see beyond the initial and into the “real.”

May we see people around us through Jesus’ eyes and reach out to them with His tender love.

What about you? How do you grapple with the tragedies and still hold onto hope? What’s one thing you do to celebrate Christmas authentically?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. Click to see many other great posts!

*****

I am taking a little blogging vacation to spend time with my family. As you celebrate Christmas, may you know Jesus’ presence in special ways.

I’ll see you on January 5, 2016!

Christmas, God

Gift: God’s Love

snowy layered morning

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was reading in Ezekiel 46 recently. This chapter talks about how the prince went into and out of the temple to worship the Lord. Verse ten says the prince goes into the temple among the people, and out among the people. It got me thinking about how—though he was elevated in his position, his importance in the community—he was still on equal footing with everyone else before God.

Continue reading “Gift: God’s Love”

Christmas, God, Identity, Intentional Living, Uncategorized

Light: Light in the Darkness

Christmas Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As we head into the Christmas season, it’s so easy to see the darkness in our world . . . terrorists claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent people, like in Paris a few weeks ago . . . mass shootings here in the States, false religions drawing people into their belief systems. Commercialism claims the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

Continue reading “Light: Light in the Darkness”

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Priorities

Seasons: Seasons Pass

Snowy branches

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SEASON

When my boys were little, I felt like I had cling-ons attached to my legs for-ev-er. But now, one is on the cusp of the teen years, and I am seeing how quickly the time flies by. In a few more years, he won’t be here to share family dinners, to make me laugh out loud, to drive me crazy by leaving his socks on the floor (okay, I won’t miss that part). My season of active mothering slips, day-by-day, into the past. And sometimes, it scares me a little bit.

As I look at the Christmas season, I’m a little amazed that we’re already at December 3rd. Sure, Thanksgiving was just last week. I’m seeing all that I feel I need to complete, and how the days speed past with very little marked off my to-do list.

Sun Shimmers

As I contemplated this word tonight, I was reminded that seasons pass. And when they’re gone, we’ll never have another one that’s just the same. We have one chance to live that season well. Because once it’s gone, it’s only a memory.

The beauty, the heartache, the awe-moments . . . slip into our past. Will we remember these aspects of our seasons?

How do we live each season well? The answer lies in finding that mix of living in each moment, yet still being purposeful with what God gives us to do.

For Christmas, my tree’s up, and we had a great time decorating it.

Will the Christmas letters all be mailed out on time? I’m not sure. I want to keep in touch with people, but my family is my most important priority.

As I purpose to insert stillness into my days, not as much is going to be accomplished.

Edmund and the cross

But what is the most important thing in each season of our lives? Living well. Loving well.

When we do these things—when we seek Jesus to know how to live them out—then we can rest in the truth that we are blessing Him.

What about you? How do you find the balance between the doing in a season and the living in each moment? What’s your favorite part about the Christmas season?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Season. Come read other great blogs!

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”

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, Christmas, Doing or Being, Intentional Living, Life

Christmas: Weary or Celebrating

Christmas Cross 2014

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I promised myself I was not going to do it again this year. I always come to December First, determined to not let my calendar get the best of me. Determined to make Jesus the center of all I do.

Almost without fail, I enter into Christmas morning, weary. Not excited to create a special breakfast for my family. Opening presents? Sure it’s great, but then there’s the dish to prepare for that evening’s celebration with my family, an hour away.

Continue reading “Christmas: Weary or Celebrating”

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living, Relationship, Uncategorized

Dear: Making Sure They Know

Christmas lights and ornaments

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

DEAR

Why is it easier, during the Christmas season, to make sure those I hold most dear to my heart know they have claimed that place?

I buy gifts for them, take time to write personal messages in cards and letters. I look for opportunities to bless them in special ways.

I am purposeful.

Why not be purposeful during the rest of the year? Purposeful in dropping a line via email, or even on social media, to say, “Hey, I was thinking about you today.”?

Why not leave a note in my kids’ lunch box for them to discover sometime during their day? Reminders of my love for them, of what they mean to me?

It’s fine to take time during Christmas to make sure my dear ones know how I feel about them.

Grateful card

Wouldn’t it mean even more to them if on say, June 12, I sent them a note in the mail, of all things? Just to tell them, “I’m thinking about you? You matter to me.”?

I love receiving notes like this. They take me out of the normal of my day and leave me feeling special.

I want those I call dear to know by my actions that they are important to me. I may not have the money to buy them expensive gifts, but I have heartfelt words to share.

I can be intentional in letting them know they matter. To me. To others.

Sometimes it’s in that extra thought that a life is changed, that someone knows they are significant on this big blue earth filled with masses of people.

Even more, what if I was able to share with people just how dear they are to God? The Creator of these masses of people. And how amazing is it that we as individuals are dear to God—each one of us? I can’t quite fathom it.

Mary Manger copy

I guess I’ll have to focus on the way He showed us this: through the birth of his Son. Jesus. Amazing taking on the flesh of humble.

What better way for us to know just how dear we are to our heavenly Father?

What about you? How do you show people they matter to you? What’s one way someone has shown that you are dear to them? 

Visit Kate Motaung’s site for her Five Minute Friday: Dear post and a giveaway she’s doing until midnight tonight.