Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts, Perspective

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Beauty in Aging

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

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Marie Gregg and I met through the Five Minute Friday linkup some years ago, one of our blogs was usually posted right after the other’s. Over the years, I have discovered what a beautiful spirit this lady has. She is a deep thinker, passionate writer, and lover of God’s word, dogs, and young people (among other things). Her blogposts always leave me thinking. One day, I hope I’ll have the privilege of meeting her in person. Until then, I will enjoy her words on her blog. Please help me welcome Marie to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere!

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As I slide into my mid-thirties, I notice more and more advertisements promising to delay the aging process. Lotions and potions for younger-looking skin. Hair dye to cover up those unsightly silver strands. Torturous devices labeled “waist trainers” to smooth out lumps and bumps. Magical, easy solutions for every Madison Avenue conjured problem.

Of course these ads have always existed; they catch my eye now only because I have joined the target demographic. I find it so odd that we are shamed for aging, as if we’ve broken the rules. As if we have control over the onward, relentless passage of time.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Beauty in Aging”

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Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): A List of Blessings

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

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I first met Lesley Crawford on one of the link-ups we each contribute to, Five Minute Friday, maybe? Whichever one it was, I am changed for the better for having crossed paths with her. Her genuine  heart for people and for Jesus shines through in her blog posts. I love that she loves music and uses her gifts and talents on a regular basis. And her writing? It’s real and vulnerable. It’s been beautiful to watch how God has given her a voice in the blogging world. I haven’t gotten to meet her in person . . . yet. But I hope to one day. I’d love to hear her Scottish way of saying things and her wise insights in real time. Please help me welcome Lesley to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!!

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By Lesley Crawford

At the start of 2017, I began keeping a gratitude list. 

It was something I did on a whim. There was no particular reason for it or fixed goal in doing it. It just seemed like a good idea to try—to pause for a moment at the end of each day and write down two or three things for which I was thankful. I had heard others talk of doing this and I was curious about the impact it could have.’

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): A List of Blessings”

Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series):Enduring Gratitude—A Gift For All Seasons

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

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I wish I could say I’ve had the privilege of meeting Michele Morin in person. Alas, that has not been the case, yet. I have, however, had many interactions with her online. She is a deep thinker, an intentional mama and Grammy. She is an avid reader, and a thought-provoking writer and blogger. And today, I have the opportunity to share her words here in my little space. Please help me welcome Michele Morin to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!!

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By Michele Morin

The distance around my elliptical driveway is one tenth of a mile. I know this because I drove around it, watching the odometer—and then did it again just to be sure. This fall I’ve been doing a careful jog-trot around its leaf-strewn gravel, a compromise intended to jump start a flagging metabolism without putting undue wear and tear on aging joints and narrowing spinal interstices. Five times around with the dog makes for a half mile of elevated heart rate, deep breathing, and an uncluttered brain. 

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series):Enduring Gratitude—A Gift For All Seasons”

Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Domino Effect of Practicing Gratitude

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

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I first met Meghan Weyerbacher online a few years back, I believe through the amazing Five Minute Friday linkup. We’ve followed each other on social media. In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of meeting Meghan in person. She’s real and delightful and has a heart to encourage others. It’s been fun watching God take Meghan and use her to encourage and minister to writers through her blog, and recently, through her book. Please help me welcome Meghan Weyerbacher to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!

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Gratitude. It’s something I want to have, something I want my children to understand. It can be frustrating when I’ve done my utmost best in something and it doesn’t seem to matter. I become agitated. I begin to worry “why” did I even bother?

See where I am going with this?

This cycle wears my mama heart right out onto the sticky floor and I find myself more focused on what I did wrong, or what my kids did wrong—than the right that happened.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Domino Effect of Practicing Gratitude”

Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Choice of Saying Yes

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends. 

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful? 

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I met Lisa Jordan early in my writing journey. She has great wisdom and an encouraging spirit. She’s been my cheerleader, the one who listens when I’m grappling with something in my story. And she has a heart for people. She’s a multi-published author with Love Inspired, and her stories have depth and wonderful characters. Please help me welcome Lisa to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!

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Everyday we are faced with making choices. Wake up or hit snooze. Eggs or oatmeal. Coffee or tea. Love or hate. Grace or judgment.

What about the choice of saying yes? Especially if it means experiencing pain and overcoming challenges? Choosing to say yes can come at a time when we are at our weakest and crying out to God.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Choice of Saying Yes”

Guest Posts, Trusting God, Waiting

Wait: The Ache of the Waiting Room

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’m so excited to share a little from Jennifer Dukes Lee today! I recently read her newest book, It’s All Under Control, and it has ministered to my heart. Jennifer has a way of speaking real, and being encouraging. A combination I love.

I am traveling today, but I plan to check in and comment and visit as I’m able to this week. Thanks for your patience!

Please welcome—Jennifer Dukes Lee

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This is the waiting room. Welcome. You know this place, don’t you? When we are in the waiting room, we eventually have to make this choice: We can either distance ourselves from God or we can trust him in the wait.

This truth became so evident to me over the last three years, a season when I’ve logged many hours in waiting rooms—literal ones. Waiting for a friend when she had a cancerous lump removed. Waiting for our daughter Anna when she underwent procedures for a digestive problem. Waiting for Dad when he had a pacemaker put in, and then more waiting when he had part of his right leg amputated.

Continue reading “Wait: The Ache of the Waiting Room”

Guest Posts, Kelly Balarie

Thoughts: The Blessing of Being Battle Ready

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Years ago, the Lord challenged me to guard my thoughts, to think on what is true, and to learn what that looks like in the lives of believers. I love that Kelly Balarie has just come out with a book, Battle Ready, that covers this in depth and with transparency. She shares practical tips on how to keep our thoughts aligned with God’s word so we are Battle Ready when life’s trials come.

Kelly is guest-posting on my site today. In the comments, I’d love to hear how you keep your mind Battle Ready!

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TITLE: The Blessing of Being Battle Ready

By: Kelly Balarie

I was in the waiting room for the MRI. All that was going through my mind was thoughts of, This is horrible. I am never going to survive. I am not going to be able to walk. There is no way out of this. I will be scared to death in that loud machine. I hate needles and they’ll put one in me.

All I could see there was me. It was me and my problems. Me and my trauma. Me and all the horrible pain that was ahead of me.

Continue reading “Thoughts: The Blessing of Being Battle Ready”

Guest Posts, Michelle Lim, Perseverance

How to Persevere Through the Unexpected—Guest Post by Michelle Lim

M Lim Capturing Joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I met Michelle at my first-ever writing adventure five years ago. One of the things that first drew me to her is her encouraging spirit. As I’ve gotten to know her better, I have appreciated her sweet spirit, a great listening ear, and she’s crazy-good at brainstorming stories and all things writing! 

Please help me welcome Michelle Lim!

ACFW 2014 Jeanne T. and I 10665173_10202733710168671_3921977619193028321_n

Life is complicated. There are so many times that we make plans that never happen because of life’s unexpected struggles.

Continue reading “How to Persevere Through the Unexpected—Guest Post by Michelle Lim”

Guest Posts, Jill Kemerer, Life Lessons, Relationship

Life Lesson: Making an Effort—Guest Post by Jill Kemerer and a Giveaway!

J Kemerer Making an effort quote

I first met Jill Kemerer over at the Books and Such blog. When I was ready to brave beginning my own blog, Jill stepped up to answer my every last question (with much patience, I might add!). We’ve since met in person, and she has become a special friend. I’m so excited to host her here today for the final installment in my series about Life Lessons. (You can read parts one, two, three, and four here). Read to the end and learn about her latest book and a giveaway.

Please welcome Jill!

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What life lesson has changed you the most?

When Jeanne posed this question to me, I had no idea it would be so hard to answer. Unfortunately, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons! I am NOT perfect.

But looking back, I think the one thing I learned that changed me the most was to make an effort with strangers and acquaintances. I’ve always been introverted yet oddly social. As a kid, I loved making my friends and family laugh, but I felt awkward around people I didn’t know.

For some reason, I always had this feeling that I didn’t have anything to offer, like why would they want to talk to me? Silly, huh!

My dog’s nose peeking out from the blanket reminds me of how I used to feel. Introverts often don’t enjoy crowds.
My dog’s nose peeking out from the blanket reminds me of how I used to feel. Introverts often don’t enjoy crowds.

As I entered my teen years, I made friends naturally, but I heard the following a few times, “When I first met you I thought you were stuck up, but you’re not like that at all.”

My first reaction? Gee, thanks. But I took their words to heart. I realized I had a different view of myself than others did. By allowing shyness to prevent me from making an effort, I was unknowingly giving the impression I was arrogant.

This is my husband and I on a recent vacation. A smile conveys so much. If I’m too tired or drained to speak to someone, I at least smile!
This is my husband and I on a recent vacation. A smile conveys so much. If I’m too tired or drained to speak to someone, I at least smile!

I began talking to people I would have been too intimidated to speak to previously. I’m not going to lie. It felt uncomfortable. Sometimes they weren’t friendly. Other times they were wonderful. But I realized how they reacted wasn’t the point. If someone didn’t like me, no big deal. At least I tried.

I’m glad I learned that lesson early, because my entire adult life has involved relocating every few years. Starting over in a strange town would have been much more isolating and difficult if I had never learned this lesson. When my kids were young, I joined playgroups. Often there were clusters of other moms who knew each other from way back when. I forced myself to talk to them. Sometimes it took three or four different tries before they were receptive. In other towns, I was blessed to connect with a kind soul right away.

I also learned not to jump to conclusions about people. If I’m at one of my kids’ practices and a mom I don’t know is sitting off by herself, I don’t assume she’s stuck up or antisocial. It might mean she’s uncomfortable or lonely. It could mean she had a bad day or had a bad experience with some of the parents. Maybe she’s nervous about her kid’s performance. Who knows? It’s none of my business. What is my business is to introduce myself and make her feel welcome.

Now when I’m at a writer’s conference or a dinner with strangers, I do my best to be friendly and welcoming to anyone I meet. And you know what? I think this was the real me all along. It feels good to brighten someone’s day. So many people feel lonely at big events. I’m glad God is using me to encourage others.

Thank you so much, Jeanne, for hosting me today.

Have you ever felt shy and self-conscious around strangers? If so, how do you work through this?

Jill’s newest book is releasing TODAY! She’s hosting a giveaway that begins at 6:00 a.m. on August 31st and ends at 9:00 p.m. September 5th. This contest is open to US residents.Read about her book and enter by pressing on “Entry Form” below to earn entries.  

Unexpected Family SmallUNEXPECTED FAMILY

His Surprise Daughter

After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he’s never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn’t understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he’s afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.

Unexpected Family purchase links: http://jillkemerer.com/books/unexpected-family/

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About Jill

Jill-Kemerer-Blue-300dpiJill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

You can also connect with Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

Faith, Guest Posts, Life Lessons, Tiffany Parry, Uncategorized

Life Lessons: If We Will Just Move—Guest Post by Tiffany Parry

Moving Stream

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I met Tiffany Parry on a weekly link up we both do called Five Minute Fridays. As we’ve gotten to know each other through our blogs, my respect for this lady continues to grow. She’s a beautiful writer and a sweet lady with a vibrant relationship with God. I asked her to share part four of my series Life Lessons. (Find Parts One, Two, and Three here). I look forward to the day I get to sit and have coffee with Tiffany in person. Until then, I will continue to enjoy the words she shares on her blog.

Please help me welcome Tiffany!

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My 40th birthday is a few weeks away. As I look ahead with anticipation, I also look back and assess the landscape of my life. I’m counting what I’ve accomplished, the dreams I’ve pursued, and even the longings I’ve allowed to slip through my fingers.

It’s true what they say: youth is wasted on the young.

Continue reading “Life Lessons: If We Will Just Move—Guest Post by Tiffany Parry”