Stuff: Renewing Our Hearts and Minds

Rocky doorway

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is the final installment of a three-part series about creating white space in our homes and our lives. You can find the other posts here.

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Purging a closet, much less a room, can feel overwhelming. When we do the work, a room is opened up . . . and so is something inside of us.

But what things do we need to purge from our internal closets? Last week, I shared a few thoughts on our schedules and fear. What else sits on the shelves of our closets? Here are a couple I’ve worked on purging from my heart.

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Stuff: What We Hold In Our Hearts

early-morning-reflection

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part two of a three-part series about creating white space in our homes and our lives. You can find the first post here.

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Last week, I shared a bit about how I repurposed my “junk/project” room into a creativity space.

Purging stuff from our homes can become addictive. At least for me. As I worked through the things in my “creativity nook,” joy infiltrated my spirit. There is something about opening up space that opens up breathing room in my spirit.  Continue reading

Collect: When We Collect Hurts

A cup of tea

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—COLLECT. 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!

COLLECT

What do you collect?

I used to collect tea cups—one from every country I have visited. I’ve collected stamps, scrapbook papers, and other things that I would use or hope to use.

I’ve recently discovered I’ve been collecting something else.

Hurts.

I know, it sounds horrible. But I have. I’ve stored up in my mind and my heart those painful memories, hurtful words, and spiteful actions others put upon me.

God’s recently been showing me that I have a tendency collect these things.

Though collecting tea cups can add beauty to a shelf or a space, and stamps and scrapbooking paper can create beauty and reminders of special times . . .

Collecting hurts? That only promotes a whole lot of ugly.

Broken leaves

Unforgiveness.

Bitterness.

Painful sores on my heart.

God is reminding me that I need to let go of those hurts. To forgive, which is a hard, hard process.

Those hurts? They keep coming up to the surface of my thoughts. Different nuances of the conversations and situations reveal themselves.

The only way I can truly forgive is to make the decision I’m going to, and then ask God to enable me to.

Forgiveness is a choice made over and over again.

For the people who have hurt me, and I’m still holding onto those hurts? I’m asking God to give me a heart that genuinely loves them. Yes, LOVES them.

Each time a memory comes up and an acerbic word slips from my mouth? I have to confess it to God. Which reminds me to pray for that person, and for my own heart.

Some hurts can only be forgiven with God’s help. Some wounds can only be healed with God’s touch.

white flowers snowy backdrop

For me, the first step is admitting I have a problem. With the person. The wounds of the memory.

The next step is confessing my own sin of withholding forgiveness.

The third step is choosing to let go of the hurt and ask God to change me (before I ask for change in the other person).

I’m tired of collecting hurts, and them taking up space on the shelves of my heart. I want beauty to replace the ugly that’s been on display.

What about you? What do you collect? How do you work through forgiving the hard to forgive?

Click to Tweet: Forgiveness is a choice made over and over again.

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

By the way, Susan Shipe has coordinated The FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY BOOK with a number of Five Minute Friday posts in it. It released on Monday, September 26th! If you choose to purchase one, all the funds go to support two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar TribePlease consider helping these ministries and being blessed by the words of many wonderful writers!

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Favorite: When Relationships Are Restored

Thistle in evening

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

FAVORITE

Sometimes, to experience a favorite, I have to live through the hard.

It was a hard day with one of my littles. He got mad. Something set him off. Still not sure what.

We spent hours today going around and around. Him determined to trip my temper trigger. Me determined to show him grace . . . and discipline. By the time hubby got home. I. Was. Done.

I took a long walk on a trail I’ve never traveled before. With the evening light, God showed me glimpses of His beauty. He renewed my spirit and my perspective. He gave me lots of pretty things to take pictures of. Something that always lifts my heart.

Evening sun on water

By the time I got home, this little of mine was ready to talk  . . . and to ask for forgiveness. It’s these times of connecting that are favorites for me. There’s something about fellowship restored that touches a deep place inside.

I wonder if that’s how God feels when one of His kids comes to him, repentant and longing for fellowship restored? I’m so thankful that He’s quick to forgive. That His love is ever-there. That His loving-kindnesses are new every morning, and throughout every day.

My favorite times are connecting with others. Especially when relationships are restored. When I’ve had to ask forgiveness and then been given that gift? Yep, that’s something you can’t put words to.

Yellow wild flowers

Sometimes we have to walk through the hard things of life before we can really know . . . really embrace . . . our favorites. God gives us His beauty and his faithful love. He gives us the ability to forgive and have relationships restored. 

What about you? What is your favorite aspect about God? How do you walk out forgiveness?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post on Favorite to link up and read other great blogposts!

Love: Undeserved Love

Low Storm Clouds

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

His storm rolled in on the heels of a decision I made that he didn’t like. These storms he goes through always lead to dark places for this boy. First, he got mouthy. After ignoring a warning to take a step away from the situation, he went in for the attack, his words aiming to wound.

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Guest Post: Healing Broken Relationships, by Jill Kemerer

Hubs and Ed

Jill Kemerer is one of the first people I met online when I began writing. She is one of the people who motivated me to begin blogging, and she answered LOTS of my questions as I set my blog up just over two years ago. Meeting her in person at ACFW one year showed me she’s as lovely in person as she is online. She’s such an encourager and an inspiration to me, and to many. Her debut novel came out on March 17th, and it’s a wonderful read. Without further ado . . . .

Here’s Jill!

Relationships can be the most wonderful things in the world. There’s something amazing when you meet a new friend and instantly connect. Families can be more comfortable than the comfiest couch. And falling in love—is there anything better?

But relationships can also cause so much pain. There’s a reason many people dread the holidays, and it’s not the commercialism. It’s being confronted with imperfect, stressful relationships when we’re all supposed to be happy. Christmas movies make the holidays look good, but how often do you really end up with everyone in harmony?

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Grace: Choosing to Accept Grace

Spilled cereal

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It was one of those mornings . . .

It seems we’ve had a lot of them lately. I’ve gone from being mad mama, to hurt mama, to  . . . this morning seeing the hurt in one of my boys and my heart aching for him.

He’s in a place I can’t touch. Change has always been difficult for this one. He resists it with temper tantrums and angry outbursts, leveling all hearts in his path when he’s on a rampage. When his sanity returns, we talk through what happened amid lots of cuddles.

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Intentional: 5 Thoughts For Numbering Our Days

Framed sunset

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

What would you do if you knew the number of your days?

Most of us know we’re going to die at some point in time. Many will die in their older years. But what if you discovered the number of days you had left to live? How would it change you?

Someone I’ve known for awhile received a diagnosis. This person has lived a full life . . . made wonderful friends, created cherished memories.

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Grace: Living Out Grace

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By Jeanne Takenaka

I’ve been thinking about grace and what it means to live with grace. When people say, “I gave grace in that situation.” Or, “You are a gracious person.” What does it really mean, this word—grace?

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Surgery: Working Through Hidden Hurts

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Almost two weeks ago, my right side and back throbbed with pain. I suspected it was a kidney stone. Past experience revealed nothing would ease the pain, and I’d have to grit my way through it. The low-grade fever concerned me. The pain worsened the next morning.

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