Hope, One Word

2018: One Word

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I just say it?

How can it already be 2018? I’m still trying to catch my breath after all that 2017 held. I don’t know about you, but last year was kind of a crazy year for our family. I can look back now and better see why God had me focus on the word Intentional.

Here, at what is probably the quietest time of my year, I am preparing for the unknowns the coming days will hold. I love the early days of January where I can be still. Where there aren’t a lot of demands on me.

Continue reading “2018: One Word”

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Gratitude, Perspective

Gratitude: What Gratitude Does

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We were tromping through a dump in Manila when I first understood how much abundance I possess.

I was on my first far-away missions trip, and that day was eye-opening. In groups of two-three, we visited with the residents who lived there.

Yes, people lived in the dump. Where rancid water puddled on the unpaved roads. Where young children dug in the high mounds of trash, searching for copper to sell. Where the danger of the methane gas and the instability of those mounds could lead to death with one misstep.

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Five Minute Friday scribblings, Marriage

Build: One Choice At a Time

Wedding pic

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

BUILD

When Kate posted the word for this week, my mind went crazy with ideas to write on.

Build a wall?

Build a bridge?

The thing that kept coming to mind with these ideas is the thought of building a relationship. Some of you know my sisters and I are throwing a party for my parents this weekend. They’re celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

No doubt, there were days and seasons when they didn’t feel like working at this thing called marriage anymore. Times when they were raising three close-in-age girls when they had no time for them…dealing with 3 chicken pox laden toddlers, girls in various activities, sibling rivalry, etc.

Yet, they continued to stay with their relationship. They built their marriage, one decision at a time.

They made time when they went out for coffee (or something) just to have a little “them” time.

There were times when they stuck with each other when one or the other of them made painful choices, choices that impacted the other.

They learned to laugh together. To cry together. To bear with each other in love (Click to tweet).

They’ve been through health scares, joyful times, the death of parents.

They’ve survived willful teenager daughter years when we did things that brought them embarrassment, and probably grief.

They chose to grow with each other.Relationships-one choice copy

I’m learning that marriages are built. Yes, they’re established with those first “I do’s,” but the building of the relationship comes after the first time they say those two little words.

The building of an enduring relationship happens one single choice at a time. A choice to say, “I do” when life happens. When life’s hard hits the core of the relationship.

They chose to stick together. They chose to turn to God, to look to Him to help them in those places where their relationship was weary.Dancing together

They have chosen to stay with each other. To encourage each other and to build each other up, every step of their fifty-year journey.

I’m so thankful for the legacy they have left my sisters and me. The reminders that marriages thrive one choice at a time.

What about you? What helps you choose to stay in a relationship when the hard times come? If you’re brave, how did you meet your spouse? (Because I LOVE these stories)

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday—BUILD

PS—I’m running a giveaway for Beth K Vogt’s latest novel and an Amazon gift card. I’d love it if you’d enter. The link is here.

Being Grateful For All Things, Gratitude, Life

Being Grateful For All Things

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How many times have I chosen bitterness or irritation over gratefulness in the midst of difficulty?

After being humiliated?

How often have I held onto the pain rather than look for even one small reason to thank God?

And disappointments? Don’t get me started on those.

Yet, I find encouragement in this quote today. Because it is one step from bitterness to gratitude. Two small words. And one big perspective shift.

It begins with a willingness to look beyond the initial hurt of a difficulty, a disappointment, a failure, of being humiliated. Sometimes, I must choose to move beyond the pain and into the beginning of healing. Into a place of rest, of peace.

And it begins with a simple choice.

As I make the decision to stop allowing these situations to dominate the way I perceive them, as I take my eyes off of me and place them on the One who created me, then I take one more step into spiritual maturity.

When I can say, “Thank You,” for allowing these into my life, I can walk in Jesus’ peace. Difficulties will visit another day, but when I choose thankfulness over bitterness, I am strengthened to walk through them in peace.

What about you? How do you move beyond the pain of life’s challenges into a place of gratitude? What’s a lesson you’ve learned through struggles that you’re thankful for now?