Calling, Faith, Trusting God

Motivation: 5 Thoughts for Choosing Motivation

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

Last fall, I left a writer’s conference motivated to finesse the book I’d begun writing early last year. I was going to tear the story apart, make it stronger, put it back together, polish it, and send it to the people who had requested it.

Sometimes we have the best of intentions . . . and then life tromps right over them.

I had no idea I’d have to learn how to choose motivation. 

Continue reading “Motivation: 5 Thoughts for Choosing Motivation”
Faith, God's Love

Note: When Words Matter

Meme with the word, "Note" super imposed on a journal with words on it

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

I don’t know when I fell in love with notes. As a girl, I wrote notes to my father, often accompanied with my attempts at drawing pictures. Every time I walked into his tiny office, my notes adorned his plywood walls. My words meant something to him. And his valuing my words meant the world to me.

Words have always mattered. As I grew into womanhood, I found great pleasure in writing letters to people. Penpals during my school years. Friends in other parts of the country as I began a new life at a college far from home. To friends in other states as I began my life as a military wife.

Continue reading “Note: When Words Matter”
Adventure, Mothering

Teens: Learning to Let Go

By JeanneTakenaka

They were a cluster of testosterone, those teenage boys. As a mom, it was intriguing to watch my son take steps toward manhood as we spent a week on a school tour of Athens and Rome. 

He didn’t want me around. Groaned when he happened to be assigned a seat next to me on a plane ride. 

He didn’t want Mom. 

He wanted his friends. 

He craved independence.

As the mother of two teen boys, my biggest challenge is learning how to let go and let them fly . . . And flounder.

Continue reading “Teens: Learning to Let Go”
Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Woman: What Makes a Woman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

WOMAN

A woman’s shoulders are stronger than they look. 

We bear the burdens of our families, our friends, our jobs. 

Our mouths, they speak. Usually words of life. But sometimes words we later regret. They offer words of life. Of empathy. Of wisdom and truth, as Jesus fills us. They learn when to stay silent. When it’s best not to speak the real thoughts that would hurt a listener. 

Our thoughts, they dwell. On those we love most in this world and on our Father. The Giver of all good things. 

Our hearts, they carry the weight and the secrets our husbands, our children, our families, our friends. We empathize. We cry. We hug. We laugh. We love. We ache. We leak happy tears . . . all because of how our hearts respond.

And we seek. Truth from our Father. The capacity to love as He does. We revere Him because, well, He made us.

Our hands, they serve. They prepare meals. They rub foreheads and scratch backs. They hold tight to steering wheels as we drive precious cargo from one place to another. 

And they clasp in prayer. 

And move with humility, doing the mundane, unseen, necessary things that help those we love.

Our feet, they walk. With children. With friends. On wooded paths. In grocery stores. They learn to walk with grace through life’s joys and disappointments as we learn to walk by Jesus’ side. Not racing in front of or lagging behind Him. 

A woman who walks with Jesus walks, talks, serves, feels as He does. 

When we walk with Him, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. We learn how to live more like Him and reflect Him to those who people our world. 

God created us to reflect Him. He made us to be so much more than appears on the surface. He fills us and strengthens us to walk in the callings He gives us. 

What about you? What part of who you are best reflects God’s image in you? Who has been an impacting woman in your life?

Click to Tweet: Women are often more than what appears on the surface

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Woman. Come join the fun and read other great posts!

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!

~~~~~

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”

Author Interview, Faith

Interview: A Place to Land with Author Kate Motaung

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I first joined the Five Minute Friday (FMF) community, I had no idea about the depth of relationships that would be forged each week through Twitter chats and visiting blogs. I had the privilege of meeting Kate Motaung, FMF’s hostess, in person last summer at a Five Minute Friday weekend retreat. I so enjoyed seeing glimpses of her heart for the Lord, for her family, and for the FMF community.

Continue reading “Interview: A Place to Land with Author Kate Motaung”

Easter, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Settle: Settling the Bill

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

I could have gone so many ways with this word! But, here’s my slightly-over-five-minutes offering.

SETTLE

My grandfather was a hard man. He loved his family, but he was strict and tight with his finances when it came to certain aspects of spending money.

Shortly after hubs and I were married, we were stationed in Alabama. We would sometimes go to visit my grandfather and his wife. One Sunday they took us out for a nice brunch. My grandfather insisted on settling the bill.

The thing was, he was not a good tipper. I won’t tell you what he left, but it was insulting.

I’ve worked in the food industry. I know how hard servers work. So, I went in and left a generous tip for our server.

When I came back out, my grandfather asked, “Did you go back in and leave more of a tip?”

I stood straighter. Looked him in the eye, and with only the slightest quiver in my voice, I replied, “Yes, I did. She gave us good service, and she deserved it.” I was nervous about what his response might be, but he turned and headed to the car.

Jesus is so much richer than my grandfather. He’s good, sacrificing, and generous.

There’s no way for us to settle our debt with God. Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

And in the paying of that bill, He’s given us the gift of eternal life with Him. Even if salvation was the “only” benefit to come from believing the gospel, from accepting Jesus as Lord, it would be enough. 

Jesus gives so much more. He’s given us grace to walk through our days.

To make mistakes and to learn.

To grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

Jesus has given us His acceptance and the benefits of being embraced in the family of God.

He’s given us the gift of faith, so we can know Him more.

And, He’s gifted us with His unconditional love. There’s nothing, no-thing, we can do that will make him stop loving us. His benefits are much better than the tips I left for servers over the years. Even the one that went to a certain server in Alabama.

As we enter into this weekend —as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection—may we remember that He has settled our bill. He has left the tip . . .with us. Grace, faith, and love.

What about you? When have you had the chance to be generous in giving to someone else? How have you seen Jesus lavish you with His love?

Click to Tweet: Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

Come read other great posts on Five Minute Friday—Settle

Faith, Revelation Series, Trusting God

Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

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My college years were my “Laodicea years.” I asked Jesus into my heart at age fourteen. Through high school, I did things that grounded me in my relationship with Jesus. I attended a good youth group, made friends. I went to church. I even read the Bible. No coercion from my family.

There was this seed, though . . . it germinated the lie in my heart that I needed things the world offered as well.

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Provide: What God Provides

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

PROVIDE

Each day, as I drive the boys to school, we pass this pond. I love it. It reflects the mountains when its surface is glassy. It provides food for geese and ducks and other birds.

It’s just pretty to me. Snapping pictures of it makes my spirit happy.

I’m sure as some people drive by and watch me walk to the pond to snap photos some mornings, they may think I’m just this side of crazy.

It’s a pond.

In the middle of a city.

Right next to a development of apartments.

Big deal.

But, God brings beauty from it. Through it. He offers food for the water fowl. And glimpses of His glorious color for those who take a second to glimpse that way when they drive past.

How much more does God provide for us? His provision may not look like we’d expect. Sometimes He doesn’t provide what we think we need.

But God.

He knows exactly what we need.

As the geese need a place to land, rest, and feed, so we need places in our days—our lives—to land and be filled. Physically Spiritually. Soul-fully.

And He gives this. In Psalm 23, the first verse is meaningful to me. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

He knows what I need. If He’s provided something—whatever that is—He knows I needed it.

And, if He doesn’t give me something I think I need . . . did I really need it?

I have seen Him provide for many of our family’s needs, and a number of our wants.

But those things He hasn’t given . . .

sometimes He’s saying, “Wait.”

Other times He’s saying, “This isn’t My best for you, Daughter.”

Like those geese, I need to trust that He knows. And if He hasn’t given it, then I must not need it.

He has a better plan for me. For my life.

As I walk through my days, I want to see His beauty. His provision. I want to be on the lookout for His presence in my days.

What about you? How have you seen God provide in your life? When has he not given you something you thought you needed and offered you something better instead?

Click to Tweet: He knows what I need. If He’s provided something—whatever that is—He knows I needed it.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Provide

Faith, Revelation Series

Revelation (series): Guard—When We Stop Watching

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

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How many of us let down our guards in our walk with Jesus? I’ll own it: I have.

Sardis (See Revelation 3:1-6) was a wealthy city in John’s time. It had seen better days, but the people lived well. The church looked alive. There was little conflict or division. Many called the people of this city soft, and dare I say it—entitled—because of their wealth and luxury.

Sardis was a city with sheer cliff walls protecting them. Though they were in an easily defensible position, they were overcome by enemies, not once but twice.

Why?

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Guard—When We Stop Watching”