Faith, Relationship

Regret: After We’ve Failed

Photo of trees on each side of a pathway making an overhang above it

@JeanneTakenaka

One sure thing about life is that we will face opposition. We’ll be confronted with our own failings and shortcomings. We’ll be forced to decide how to respond to our regrets.

I love how, each time I read through the Bible, God brings different things alive in my heart. As I read through 2 Samuel, I gleaned insights about David. After his mistake with Bathsheba, God brought many consequences into his life. I was reading 2 Samuel 15 about how David’s son, Absalom, attempted to overtake the kingdom. Animosity toward his father had built in his heart for years (read 2 Samuel 13-16). Some would say he was justified in his anger toward David.

Continue reading “Regret: After We’ve Failed”
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Faith, Relationship

Reader: 4 Thoughts for Reading People

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

Some of my earliest memories of my mom involve her curled up on our sofa lost in a book. When she read, it sometimes took WW3 in miniature form to bring her back to the world of three young, quarreling daughters. 

She was the first one who taught me to love reading. Even when I had to have eye therapy at five years old, I loved the feel of a book in my hands, the images from the story coming to life in my imagination.

As an adult, I’ve discovered there are many kinds of reading. We read not only the written word, we also read people and life situations. 

Continue reading “Reader: 4 Thoughts for Reading People”
Faith, Trusting God

Unexpected: How Do We Handle Change?

Meme that says Plot Twist super-imposed over a pic of a snow-covered tree

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

I might take ridiculous pleasure in creating plot twists for my stories. Maybe I’m a little mischievous because I enjoy watching my characters struggle. Mostly I enjoy it because I know they’re going to learn and grow through the challenge.

Can I just be honest and say that I’m not fond of real-life plot twists? Torn ACL’s, snow days in May (yes, we had a snow day on May 21st this year, with three days left in the school year), and other challenges that force a change to the rhythms of my days? 

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Calling, Faith, Trusting God

Motivation: 5 Thoughts for Choosing Motivation

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

Last fall, I left a writer’s conference motivated to finesse the book I’d begun writing early last year. I was going to tear the story apart, make it stronger, put it back together, polish it, and send it to the people who had requested it.

Sometimes we have the best of intentions . . . and then life tromps right over them.

I had no idea I’d have to learn how to choose motivation. 

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Faith, God's Love

Note: When Words Matter

Meme with the word, "Note" super imposed on a journal with words on it

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

I don’t know when I fell in love with notes. As a girl, I wrote notes to my father, often accompanied with my attempts at drawing pictures. Every time I walked into his tiny office, my notes adorned his plywood walls. My words meant something to him. And his valuing my words meant the world to me.

Words have always mattered. As I grew into womanhood, I found great pleasure in writing letters to people. Penpals during my school years. Friends in other parts of the country as I began a new life at a college far from home. To friends in other states as I began my life as a military wife.

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Faith, Trusting God

Mantra: What Guides You?

Meme that says "Mantra" on a backdrop of a pond

@JeanneTakenaka

Last month, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both challenging and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I wanted to share some of those posts with you all, and I’d love your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*******

I know. This word kind of sounds hoo-doo, voo-doo. When I first saw this word as part of the writing challenge, I cringed. The images that came to mind were of monks on their knees, incense puffing through the air as they chanted the same thing over and over again.

But, as I considered this word—mantra—I realized I have a mantra that guides my choices in real life and writing life. 

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Faith, Perspective, Trusting God

Doubt: When We Have to See

@JeanneTakenaka

Confession time: I’ve always looked down on the disciple Thomas. 

The doubter.

The unbeliever.

But after reading through John 20 recently, my regard for him has changed.

When the other disciples saw Jesus, talked with Him, ate with Him . . . Thomas was missing in action.

Then, when the other disciples declared they’d seen Jesus—alive—he poo-poohed them, declaring he’d only believe if he could put his fingers in Jesus’ nail wounds, in the slice in His side.

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Faith, Impact

Creating: Making a Lasting Impact

@JeanneTakenaka

I had no idea what to expect when I boarded a plane to Athens with Edmund in March. What transpired has left me thinking about how big this world is. 

How amazing people are. 

How often I sell people short in my thoughts. 

How creating the visions in a mind can impact the world.

After visiting ancient sites—the Acropolis, the Olympic stadium where Greek Olympians trained and competed, the meticulous artwork of St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, smaller churches, the Pantheon, and Flavius’ amphitheater (a,k.a. The Colosseum), I’m humbled.

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Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Opportunity: When Opportunity Feels Inconvenient

@JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—OPPORTUNITY. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

OPPORTUNITY

Have you ever heard about a hard situation and wanted to do something, but you didn’t know what to do?

Can I be honest and say that, sometimes, I am grateful all I’m called to do is pray? It’s easier to pray while I’m driving my boys somewhere, as I’m living daily life. It’s simpler to think on what others are doing in a hard situation.

Sometimes, I crave an opportunity to do something new or to venture into unknown pathways. 

Other times, opportunity feels ill-timed. I have so much that occupies my days right now. My boys’ schedules. Hubs’s travel. My own desire to finish my book. 

Opportunity’s knocking is sometimes inconvenient. 

What if God sends opportunities our way so that we can be stretched? So that we have to look to Him for His direction?

Often, opportunity takes us beyond ourselves and places us in a position where we have to choose to trust if we are to find our way forward. 

And sometimes, that opportunity has nothing to do with us, but everything to do on the behalf of another

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read about multi-published author, Rachel Held Evans. She’s a wife, a mama to young children, and she’s fighting for her very life. Her situation is dire. My heart has broken for her husband and her children, through they may be too young to really understand what’s going on with their mama.

My opportunity tonight is to step out of my own comfort zone and share with you about her. Will you please pray for her and her family? Will you please lift them up? 

I’m not good at issuing calls to action, but tonight, I’m taking an opportunity to step out, to invite you into this chance to minister. I’d love if you could pray for the Evans family. And, if God so leads you to follow through with more, there is a link at the bottom of this post where you can give financially to help the family with their staggering medical bills. 

***I just learned that Rachel went home to be with the Lord early this morning. Please continue to pray for her family.

What about you? What opportunities have scared you? When has God challenged you to step out of your comfort zone to follow Him on a new journey?

If you’re interested in learning more about Rachel Held Evans, how to pray for her family, or in helping out financially, here are some links that can help.

Her husband posts updates on her blog: Rachel Held Evans

And her friends have set up a GoFundMe – the costs are going to be devastating for them. Click here, if you feel prompted to donate: GoFundMe

Click to Tweet: What if God sends opportunities our way so that we can be stretched?

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday

Easter, Faith

Cross: The Reality of Persecution

By JeanneTakenaka

True Confession: I must have had a huge blonde moment (and, yes, I really am blonde in real life…mixed in with some grays) last week. I had it in my brain that there was one more week until Easter. And . . . I shared a different post than I’d intended. So, though Easter has already passed, I am posting this one for this week. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done this sort of thing.  🙂

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During our time in Rome, Edmund and I toured the Colosseum, and my eyes caught on a cross. It brought to mind the reality that Christians were persecuted in this place.

Flavius’ Amphitheater was an extravagant undertaking for the men who visualized and built it. What stopped me hard was learning the reason it was built:

So Romans could watch people fight and spill blood. This was the sole reason.

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