Mothering, Perspective, Trusting God

Perspective: 5 Thoughts for Navigating the Unexpected

Perspective: Pitcher in motion pitching a baseball

@JeanneTakenaka

I was having “a day” with one of the boys. The other one was at baseball tryouts at his school. 

You never know when something unexpected will alter your perspective. 

The call interrupted me as I spoke with a pharmacist. I didn’t recognize the number, so I ignored it. After my conversation with the pharmacist ended, I listened to the message the other caller had left. 

And my stomach tightened. 

“Mom, I got hit in the face with a baseball…teeth came down. Possible broken jaw.”

Continue reading “Perspective: 5 Thoughts for Navigating the Unexpected”
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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.

Continue reading “Doubt: When We Have to See”
Control, Fear, Perspective, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (Series): When We’re Not In Control

JeanneTakenaka 

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives. But this time? The Lord has shown me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations in our lives.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered some valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing some insights God has given me. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, struggles, and victories here so we can all encourage each other, and maybe even pray for each other.

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Please tell me I’m not the only one who begins to tremble when life spirals out of control. I suspect we’ve all walked through those seasons. Last fall and winter left me reeling as thing upon thing piled on my shoulders. Time demands. Emotion demands. Soul-sapping demands.

Everything felt out of control. 

I couldn’t breathe deep. There were many unknowns . . . things going on with our boys and with my mom after her fall. 

Continue reading “Fear (Series): When We’re Not In Control”
Impact, Loss, Perspective

Impact: Second Chances

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

There’s something introspective about participating in a memorial service. Especially when it is for someone who was so young.

Over the weekend, Hubs and I attended the memorial service for our friends’ daughter. We both teared up. We both laughed. And God spoke to my heart.

For only having lived twenty-one years, this young woman impacted many lives. 

The pastor brought out some beautiful truths about living . . . and dying.

Continue reading “Impact: Second Chances”
Faith, Hope, Loss, Perspective

Gone: Death . . . and Life

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

A person never expects to hear about the death of a friend’s child. Especially when that child only spent twenty-one years this side of heaven.

Just over a week ago, I learned that a friend’s daughter died unexpectedly. Gone. How does one even grapple with that?

Even as my One Word for the year is Live (as in to live well), my friend and her husband were forced to deal with death.

Continue reading “Gone: Death . . . and Life”
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”

Faith, Perspective

Perspective: When We Face the Unknown

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I read in the book of Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen, recently. You know, the story of how Moses sent in twelve men to spy out the land God promised them? He told them to bring back a report and fruit so they could see what they were going into.

I am always a little bit astounded at how these men gave their reports. Caleb shared of the good of the land. He accurately spoke about the size of the people and the cities, but he was ready to go in and kick butt.

Ten other men in the spy party agreed that yes, the fruit was good. But . . . 

Continue reading “Perspective: When We Face the Unknown”

Perspective, Plan

Perspective: When We Feel Stuck

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

We were about thirty minutes outside Washington D.C. when the pilot addressed the plane. Something about weather blocking our path to Reagan National Airport. Waiting for it to pass. Plenty of fuel.

And then we began the circling, skimming the edge of huge, cumuli-nimbus clouds, puffy and reflecting the softening light of the setting sun.

Continue reading “Perspective: When We Feel Stuck”

Discouragement, Perspective

Creating: When Discouragement Hits

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

It hit me out of nowhere. I shouldn’t have been feeling it at all. I’d just come home from a writing weekend away from home. Gifted to me by my husband. I’d had fun with my characters, taking time to let my mind wander and really understand their story.

I came home to laughter . . . 

And piles.

Continue reading “Creating: When Discouragement Hits”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Perspective, Trials

Beauty: Looking For Beauty

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

BEAUTY

The Weather Channel lied to us on Monday. What was predicted to be a cold, breezy day morphed into a snowy, gray day. I always look for the beauty in a day. I see it in fog. In clouds. In sunlight.

But a gray day is still  . . . a gray day. Not as much color. Dreary. One of those days when a girl wants to stay inside, eat popcorn and watch movies or read a book until the sun come back out.

Tuesday started out foggy, but by the time I dropped the boys off at school, the sky was a brilliant blue. Snow-tipped trees brushed it with pure contrast. My heart was happy!

It got me thinking about how we go through seasons in our lives that are dreary.

HARD.

Sometimes the hard passes and blue skies return.

Sometimes, we walk through the Hard for the rest of our days.

One thing I’ve found is, if I can look for the beauty in the midst of the Hard, my heart is often pointed back to God.

When circumstances overwhelm me with discouragement and even despair, it’s difficult to see beyond the colorless pain.

When God reveals Himself color begins to tint the gray. When I look beyond the pain of circumstances and choose to cling to faith in Him instead of reliance on myself? My eyes can see hints of His beauty in the middle of the hard season.

God is always faithful. We may not always see how God works, but we can always be assured that He is there in the hard seasons with us.

If we seek His face, He often reveals glimpses of Himself. When the days are gray, let’s look for His beauty, shall we?

What about you? When have you seen God’s beauty in the midst of your hardship? What aspect of God’s creation is the most beautiful to you?

Click to Tweet: If I can look for the beauty in the midst of the Hard, my heart is often pointed back to God

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Beauty