Kindness: Simple Acts of Kindness

Red tulips

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I read a story recently about a teacher who donated a kidney to one of the students at her school. Her selfless attitude convicted me. She saw a need, her heart was moved and she had a way of meeting the need. Her simple act of kindness saved the young lady’s life, and changed both of their lives forever.

When someone gives a piece of their life for your own, how do you respond to that?

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Plan: When Plans Change

Sunrise 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

PLAN:

I’m a girl who makes her plan and sticks to it. To the bloody death, no matter how hard it is.

But what is a planner-girl to do when life refuses to cooperate with her plan? When it takes unexpected turns?

When we tried to have a baby, I had my timeline, my plan, of when to start, when we’d get pregnant and that I’d have my first baby by the time I turned thirty-one.

God had other plans.

Sunrise 2

What is a mom to do when she has a plan of teaching her children responsibility? She trains them, encourages them, gives them opportunities to show they can be trusted. . .

. . . and they fall far short of the expectations.

Yes, this is my question now. Today has been a rough day in the Takenaka household. Both boys fell down badly in things I trusted them with. My plans for giving them more independence?

Just went out the window. At least for a little while.

When God allows plans to be thwarted, what is a planner-girl to do?

I’m learning that I need to work through my disappointment. Which sometimes looks a wee-bit like frustration and a short temper. Sorry, weak mom on board here.

But then, I’m learning to let go of my plan. Forgive these precious boys of mine. Forgive the people in my life whose plans contradicted mine, and were victorious.

I’m learning to look to the Lord once again, and relinquish my plans, and ask for His. When I’m still enough before Him, I can see that His plans really are the best plans. For me and for everyone.

If I surrender my will to His? That’s when the best plans can take place in my life and the lives of those around me. 

Sunrise 3

When I’m surrendered to His plans, beauty, rather than bitterness, emerges from the disappointment. And I want others to see Jesus’ beauty in me. Not my bitter flesh. It’s an ugly sight.

What about you? How do you react when your plans go awry? How do you bend to manage the change in plans? 

Check out Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post on Plans.

Send: Sending Memos to God

Peter and jelly fish

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SEND

I pressed the “Send” button on the email note. How exciting that a spot opened up for me to chaperone on my son’s field trip to the aquarium!

Two days later I received a note from my boy’s teacher. “Mrs. Takenaka, if I don’t hear from you by noon today, I’ll have to give your spot to another parent.”

What?!

Striped fish

My heart thudded as I read that note. How could she not have received my excited words from two days before?

For some reason, the address I sent it from doesn’t like the address the note was going to. I’ve tried a couple times since then to send her emails from that address. They always disappear into the ether somewhere.

How many times has this happened in life? I think I’m going to be doing something and send the “memo” to God. Either He doesn’t receive it. Or he laughs at it.

Yeah, I think He may laugh at the plans I tell Him I’m making for a given day.

I’m slowly learning to lean into Him, and ask for His input into the plans I have for a day. Rather than sending Him a list of all I’d like to accomplish.

Peter under aquarium

When the car dies just as I’m ready to run errands? How will I respond? As a frustrated brat, or as a daughter who says, “Okay, God. How shall I spend this time instead?”

Yes, this happened . . . yesterday. No, I didn’t initially respond with that calm yielding to His plans.

But, I learned a lesson.

As I figure out my One Word Breathe for the year, one thing God’s teaching me is to not be so set on accomplishing my to-do’s for a given day. Instead, to ask what His priorities are for me.

Instead of sending Him my agenda, I’m working to write to-do’s in pencil and leave space in my days for Him to fill in as He sees best.

Yes, I attended the field trip, and it was a fun-filled (and exhausting) day. If I hadn’t re-sent that email from a different address, I would have missed watching my son’s delight over sting rays and looking at sea animals from under their aquariums.

Reaching for a stingray

Sometimes I need to push a different Send button. Other times? I need to simply be still.

What about you? How do you handle the divine interruptions that sometimes derails your planned-out days? 

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post: Send.

Discontentment: Watch Those Foxes

Red Foxes 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

One Friday afternoon, as the boys and I arrived home from school, I peeked into our backyard. My heart lurched when I spied two red foxes lounging in the grass as if they owned the place. They looked so cute as they soaked in the winter sunlight. When I opened the kitchen window to snap a picture, they stared back at me without a trace of  fear in their eyes.

They’d found their home.

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Interruption: Change in Plans

HIdden Comb

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“Please go comb  your hair.”

The boy rolled his eyes. “Why? I like it just like this. I never comb my hair!”

Honestly? The boy’s hair didn’t look too bad. But, it’s precisely because he never combs his hair that I asked him to do it. As his mom, was I really asking that much?

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Plans: My Plans and Jesus’ Plans

Lighted Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**Confession: I wrote this piece about a year ago, but I still find myself thinking about the truths I learned. So, I’m sharing it with you. 🙂

So, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself today. As I push forward hard to get things done before my favorite writing conference of the year—American Christian Fiction Writers conference—nothing is going as I planned.

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Organized: Is a “Safe” Life Best?

Black Canyon Steps

By Jeanne Takenaka

Almost everything I’ve read recently has challenged me to step out of “safe” and open myself up to the dangers of living abandoned to the God who created me.

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Celebrating God’s Plans

Image

Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Call me a newbie blogger, or just say I had a blonde moment (yes, there is still some naturally blonde hair on my head), but I forgot about writing anything relating to Mother’s Day last week. Yesterday, I remembered again why Mother’s Day is special . . .

As I write this, my husband is driving the four of us to my sister’s house.

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Planned Passion?

ImageFor the last few years, instead of making a list of New Year’s resolutions, I have focused on one word. Last year, my word was PASSION. I learned a number of things about “passion” that I would like to share on this blog.

I was surprised that this word ended up being the one given to me to focus on. I am a very planned lady. I like my plan. I work my plan. My plan is my comfort zone. This seldom leaves room for the spontaneity passion sometimes requires.

I began thinking about what I am passionate about. Things I’m passionate about include living my life in a way that will point others to God, in a good way. I am passionate about being the best wife and mom that I can be for my family. I am passionate about the stories I write.

Each of these items has an element of planning involved. But, more than that they each require an investment of time and effort. To be a good wife to my hubby, I need to spend time with him, listen, learn to understand what makes him tick. Some of these “lessons” came through arguments, others came through watching him.

As a mom, my plans sometimes fly south for the day before my kids are even off to school. As they grow older, I am discovering they need more of me, not so much what I do for them. Yes, they need good meals and transportation. But they also need a listening ear and a heart that desires to understand them. This requires me to set aside my “to-do” list and focus on them.

I came to writing much later in life than most of my writer friends, but I love it! When some poor person makes the mistake of asking me about my story or what I’m learning about writing craft, they’ll probably get more of an answer than they bargained for. My spirit is light, excited when I get to talk about it. Writing, too, has required me to adjust my “plans,” my timetable.

Being passionate about relationships with God and my family and about writing stretches me, requires more of me than I thought they would. Learning to live with passion is changing me for the better. I’m moving beyond my plan and focus on the “the to-do list” into a place of focusing on hearts.

Your Turn: What are you passionate about? What motivates your passion?