Enough: Our Search For Significance

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I read a post recently that reminded me of a conversation I had with God a number of years ago. I had been very involved in our church, working in women’s ministry.

All that changed when God decided to fulfill a dream for my husband and me. He gifted us with our oldest son. As soon as we knew we were going to become parents, I let my boss know. He looked at me, a knowing expression in his eyes. “You’re leaving us, aren’t you?”

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Marriage: The Importance of Staying Connected

older-couple

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My husband’s job has required a number of longer business trips over the past few years. Navigating our separations has been its own journey for our family. He must witness some of the struggles from afar. I walk out the emotional turmoil and busy schedules on the home front.

Maintaining our home, driving the boys to and from school, appointments, football practice, band rehearsals, Boy Scouts . . . All of these fill our days and weeks.

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Gratitude: What We Have and Have Not

for-what-i-have-received-storm-jameson-copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve said before . . . it’s been a year. I’m choosing to focus on gratitude this month. As I’ve pondered what I want to share, the above quote stood out to me.

I have received much from the Lord this year:

When I tore my ACL, I had a great surgeon to help fix me up. And superb physical therapists to exercise me back to full mobility.

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Test: When Life Tests Us

wave-after-wave

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TEST. 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!

TEST

Today’s been a testing-sort of day. And I confess, I’m pretty sure I failed.

I learned a long time ago that in order to pass a test, I need to prepare.

Somehow, I keep having to relearn that lesson.

From getting to bed way too late last night and up early this morning, I didn’t prepare well for the tests this day held. I’ve been running on tired for days now, and my sharp responses and impatient words give me away. Not to mention that need of a nap at about noon today.

The test was handling two boys on fall break, both of whom had to live out consequences from earlier in the week.

Yeah, I know. Not a great way to begin fall break.

I tried to cram for this test with time in the Word. And I got some reading time in . . . in bits and pieces. Between interruptions from one boy or the other.

Bits and pieces of time with God has been all I’ve gotten lately. See? Cramming. Trying to get some good time today, because I knew I was going to need His presence, His wisdom, and His grace.

When I don’t prepare well for life’s tests, my failings often show up in how I treat others.

The hard thing is? This is such a reflection of what’s going on in my heart.

storm-over-water

 

I’m learning with the boys coming into the teen years that I must be on top of my game. I have to be prepared for whatever the day throws my way.

The best way to prepare for any test is to come before my Father. 

It’s when I come before Him that I can be at peace with what may be coming. Something about that time in His word and in prayer equips my spirit for whatever tests the day holds.

It’s the meditating on His word that reminds me how to pray when my boys affirm they’re most definitely still in training.

Getting the physical rest I need, eating right? These also prepare me for life’s tests.

But it’s that time in the Word, that time spent still before Him that is the most effective way to prepare for any test that comes my way.

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Thank goodness for God’s grace. And for those mercies that are new every morning. I have a chance to begin tonight to prepare for tomorrow’s tests.

Because I already know, they’ll be written into my day.

What about you? How do you prepare for life’s tests? What Bible verse helps you on a day when you feel like you’re failing?

Click to Tweet: When I don’t prepare well for life’s tests, my failings often show up

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

Miracles: When You’re Not Looking

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was sitting in my “creativity nook”, the junk room I repurposed this summer. Autumn breezes blew through the open window. I listened as it whispered through the tree, and rattled the boys’ art hanging on my “family” wall in this new, peaceful room.

My heart was heavy with all that is going on around us. And then, I read a post on those miracles you don’t pray for.

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Mothering: When Our Kids Are In Training

family-shadows

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be mama-level honest for a moment?

With a pre-teen and a teen boy living under our roof, consuming more and more food, our days with them are passing lightning-strike fast. Soon, one will be in high school. Just after that, we will celebrate a couple of graduations, and our boy-men will launch into the world.

Hubby and I have worked to instill godly values into them. We strive to live out our faith and share with them the things Jesus is teaching us.

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Worry: Living Out Today

Father-son kayaking

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be honest and say that I was naive about the teen years? I had this idea that, sure, the boys would grow bigger, hormones would pulse, change their voices, add odors, and transform them from children into men.

I had the idea that, though there would be disagreements, we’d be able to work through them the way we always have: talking about them.

What I didn’t anticipate was the changes in personality. The sneakiness as their thought processes develop. I didn’t expect the volatile emotions. I know, I know. I should have.

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Growing Up: Who’s Responsible?

Big foot little foot+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

UPDATE: I’m so sorry I forgot to mention the winner of my giveaway from last week! Michaela Weidinger, you won! I’ll contact you to get information to send you your prize. Thanks for entering, everyone. 

How is it they grow so quickly?

I remember holding our first son in the hospital—twenty minutes old—gazing into his dark blue eyes, feeling my heart twist and turn to mush. Counting each finger. Each toe.

I remember tickling the palm of his tiny hand and his fingers instinctively wrapping their sweetness around mine.

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Discouragement: 4 Ways to Move Beyond Discouragement

Crumby counter

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As I walk through the garage door into the kitchen, they’re the first thing that catch my eye. On the table, the counters, even in the pantry.

Crumbs. They’re everywhere.

It doesn’t matter how many times I wipe things down, they’re magic. They keep appearing.

Especially when the boys rush from breakfast to the car for school. Somehow they never see the crumbs they’ve left behind.

Always I see them with my mama, want-a-clean-house eyes.

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News: Sharing Good News

baby-peter-and-me copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEWS

I couldn’t wait to hear my parents’ response the night we called to share that we were going to be parents. Years of waiting would finally result in them becoming grandparents. Finding that creative way to share our news made me giddy with joy—both for hubby and me—but also for my parents.

And for the sheer joy God had finally offered to us in the giving of good tidings for our family.

As I expected, they were thrilled. Happy tears spilled on my mom’s and my cheeks.

As we called other loved ones, our good news wasn’t always received with as much joy and excitement. Some cast doubt on our joy.

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I wonder how God felt when the time finally came for Him to offer Jesus for mankind? When the angel said, “Behold I bring glad tidings of great joy!” was that angel giddy with the news of redemption for a hurting world?

And how was it received? We know the answer to that.

The shepherds who heard those words that night? They received it with great joy, and probably a large dose of humility.

 

Others? Did they question or doubt? Surely, some people went on with daily living, unbelieving.

And yet God . . . He had such great news to share with His creation! How special that He found that unique, stand-out way to share HIs good news, His great love for this world. Who but He would have a glorious angel get peoples’ attention?

I love sharing good news, but I can’t control how others will receive it. Will this stop me from sharing it?

It shouldn’t.

Silhouette sunset

Just like when we shared about the coming birth of our first son, I should be that excited to share the amazing gift of God’ salvation with those around me.

There is no shame in sharing good news. We get to be the bearers of it, and we should be joy-filled with the gift we offer.

We can’t control how it’s received. We can only control if we will share.

What about you? What was the best news you got to share with others? How do you share God’s gift of salvation with those in your world?

I’m linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—News