Five Minute Friday scribblings, Joy

Happy: Happiness and Joy

Rain kissed flowers

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—HAPPY. 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!

HAPPY

When Kate announced our word this week, I had to stop and think. I had John Denver going through my head (Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…”)

*****

I frequently struggle with living out happiness and living out joy. Sometimes happiness seems the more shallow emotion, the more temporal choice.

But really, there are times when I’m. Just. Happy. Period.

When the boys make me laugh big. When my husband wraps an arm around me, or pulls me into a kiss.

When a friend confides something to me.

When I have the privilege of praying for someone struggling wth something BIG.

I’m happy.

Joy is something that comes when things are rough. Joy is something I can choose. Good has given us joy. And this is wonderful. It’s a part of who He is.

With Edmund and Peter

He’s filled us with it. “The joy of the Lord will be my strength.”

Joy helps us through the most difficult of times. The struggles. The heartaches. The fun times.

Happiness seems more ethereal at times. More temporary. But it sometimes fills every cranny of who I am.

Happiness fills me when God paints the sky in bright vibrant colors. Ribbons of peach with soft hues of creams and yellows, make my heart sigh in wonder.

I feel happy.

God shows His artistry with the changing leaves. The spring flowers. The contrast of white on tree branches against a deep azure sky.

Happiness is something we can feel in the moment. It may not always last. But that doesn’t make it a lesser thing.

Joy runs deeper, but happiness sometimes fills me. Fulfills me, shining a bit of light in a dark season.

Happiness comes when

Happiness comes when we can look beyond our hard and see God’s handiwork all around us. Or maybe just in front of us. The point is, we can look for, and find Him.

Then we can know happiness and joy.

What about you? What makes you happy? When is one time when you chose joy?

Click to tweet: Happiness is something we can feel in the moment.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday—Happy

And, just in case you’re interested, here’s the song by John Denver I mentioned above:

 

Five Minute Friday scribblings, God

Create: Made to Create

Colorful wildflowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

CREATE

It’s been one of “those” days at the end of a busy, unexpected-happenings sort of week. And our word is CREATE. I love God’s sense of humor. So, with a slightly weary heart, here goes . . .

*****

Isn’t it an amazing thing to stop and realize that we were created in God’s image? He made us uniquely, but with facets of Himself intertwined within each and every one of us.

God is a Creator. Because we are made in His image, He’s given a bit of that aspect to each of us. Some of us create through words. Others through paints and oils. Still others through photography. We share pieces of ourselves in the ways He’s created us to reflect Him. (Click to tweet)

When we create, we share in His beauty. We share in the joyful art of bringing something from nothing.

No, we don’t create trees with our breaths, our words . . . unless perhaps we’re describing it on paper.

View from half mile point K-trail

We create more than just artistically. Hubby and I aim to create memories with our boys. Things they can hold onto that knit them into the fabric of our family.

Those memories we’ve lived, we’ve shared? They are part of what bind us together.

No one has walked through the joys of body surfing in Hawaii in the way we did. The heartache of working through various emotions. The love of mountains. The laughter that surrounds our table on family game nights.

We create memories with those around us. When we invest in others, we are creating bonds that strengthen us as people. Bonds that encourage us in the low times. Opportunities to speak truth and love into others’ lives.

When I stop to think about it, I’m amazed that God imparted this aspect of Himself into the essence of our DNA. He’s given us opportunities to reflect Him to the world around us.

To be that grace,

To offer the mercy that He gives us.

To be the words that can share Him with those who don’t know him yet.

Reflecting pond

In creating a message with our words and actions, we shine His light to those around us. We create an image for them to see Him more clearly.

What about you? How do you create in the world around you? Which of God’s aspects astounds you the most?

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

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.

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Whole: When We Are Broken

Quiet dandelion splayed

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

WHOLE

As a little girl, I began my school years feeling whole. Confident that I was a nice person, worthy of having friends. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with me?

It only took a couple years of being picked on to see that I was not really all that “whole” anymore.

A couple more years, and the lies broke apart my self-concept, leaving me fractured.

As I’ve written before, I spent decades trying to work through the fractures in who I thought I was, and align it with who God says I am.

I’m watching my boys walk through some of those same childhood struggles. Kids picking on them. Friends turning on them. It breaks my heart.

Always it’s the words that inflict the most damage.
I’m not advocating fighting, but boys sometimes throw a couple punches, and then they’re done with it.

But when the words come in? Those are what devastate a spirit.

white flowers snowy backdrop

When we believe what people say over what God says about us, that’s when our whole spirit becomes a fracture, a broken reflection of who God intends us to be.

That’s when we refract a crooked sort of injured light to the world around us. It’s filtered through the pain of words that broke our spirits.

I pray for my boys that they won’t walk through the years and years of pain that I have. I pray they will begin early to see who they are in Jesus’ eyes, rather than who they are spoken to be through their peers’ mouths.

It’s when we can begin to see that Jesus has made us whole—that He is the One who offers healing, that He is the one who puts the broken pieces back together—that we can be whole again.

Wild flowers burgundy amid white

It’s when we come under the sometimes painful revelations about the lies we’ve believed, the coping mechanisms we’ve developed— and when we allow Him to strip them awaythat we can become the clearer reflection of who God created us to be.

What about you? How have you seen God making you whole in some of the broken areas in your life? How has God done some healing in your life, making you more whole?

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Decide: The First Step

Sunny-shady path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

DECIDE

Have you ever made one simple decision and discovered it was only the first step in an unexpected journey?

Six years ago, when I decided to begin trying to write a novel, I had no idea where it would lead me. I wrote the first words of my first book, and edited. I had a friend who helped me learn craft and jargon and how to plot out a book.

In my naiveté, I was certain I would have it written and be represented by an agent within a year.

Yes, you can stop laughing now.

I’m six years in, three books written, and still figuring things out.

Sometimes when we decide, God is giving us the first step of an adventure, a journey. Just like what it says in Psalm 119:105.

Psalm 119-105 copy

God’s word is a lamp to our paths and a light to our feet. A lamp’s light doesn’t show us the entire path, only a few feet ahead.

We have to take each step in trust with the Lord.

Sometimes our decisions lead to wonderful fun places, dreams fulfilled, and joys refreshing.

Other times, our decisions lead us into hard, humbling, dying-to-self places. It’s in these places where we need God’s light the most. 

These are the places where we may question our decision. But ultimately, if we followed God in saying that first yes, we’re on the path we should be on.

Sometimes we say yes when we shouldn’t, but our God is a redeemer. He redeems our mistakes, gives us grace to walk through them, and still brings glory out of them.

Autumn Leafy Pathway

Making a decision for (or against) something never guarantees the outcome we expect. But, it can lead us into the deeper places with God as we learn to trust Him and to walk closely with Him.

What about you? When have you made a decision that started you on an unexpected journey? What’s one big lesson you’ve learned through deciding yes to something?

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

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Relationship, Trusting God

Share: When We Share

Ladies sharing

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SHARE

God has a way of crafting our dreams into reality.

I’ve walked through a few disappointments lately. Who hasn’t, right?

I had one prayer, a very secret prayer, that I haven’t shared with anyone. And through my current disappointment, God is bringing that prayer to fruition. I have a need, and I don’t know how to meet it on my own. I needed someone to come and help me out a little.

We chatted a bit this morning—my answer-to-prayer and I. And God showed up. He spoke to me through her words. She shared what He put on her heart. For me to hear. And God opened a door for me to see how He wants to begin healing a very old wound.

When we can share honestly, vulnerably with one another, God shows up. He ministers to those areas in our lives—those secret hurts in our hearts—and He begins to brush healing across them.

Sharing involves risk. if we open up to another, we’re risking a piece of ourselves. We’re choosing to trust another with what’s going on in our lives, our hearts, our thoughts.

When we choose to share, we choose to let someone into our lives in a new, deeper, more intimate way.

Women Praying copy

And the good that can come from that fills us. With joy. With hope. God has a way of joining us right where we are when we’re willing to share with others, and with Him.

When we share what’s really on our minds with Him, we offer Him permission to carve out some of the lies we have believed, and replace those spaces with His truth. We open ourselves up to the healing work He wants to do.

If we choose not to share those things on our hearts with Him, He already knows them anyway. God often waits for us to come to the point of trusting Him. Of realizing we can’t go any deeper in our relationships, with Him or with others, until He does that work he wants to do in us.

share prayer

Sometimes the work hurts. But always, it heals. And sometimes when we share, God begins to work those dreams in our hearts as part of our reality.

What about you? When have you received the blessing from sharing? What happened one time when you risked and shared something?

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

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

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.

Meeting Edmund copy 3

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

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Focus

Focus: Peace in Hard Seasons

Winter leaves on snow

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

FOCUS

There’s something so precious about a baby gazing into it’s mama’s eyes. The complete trust, adoration, and love that jumps from tiny eyes to grown-wise eyes that melts my heart.

When I think about Isaiah 26:3, this is what comes to mind. That baby may live in a tumultuous situation, but if it has its mama (and its papa), nothing else really matters. Babies trust their parents to take care of them, to protect them, to provide for them, to love them.

I believe this is how God wants us to look at him.

Life has been challenging these past couple weeks. Disappointments, injuries, and a fair amount of chaos have torn my eyes away from the Lord.

And, unfortunately, I somehow slipped from that place of trusting the Lord to walk with me, to thinking I need to “handle life” on my own. I have struggled with keeping my heart focused on Jesus.

But, when I can look into His eyes—when my mind remembers Who He is—I can rest in Him.

Is 26-3 storm background copy

How do we truly get to know God’s perfect peace?

First by keeping our minds stayed on Jesus. Keeping our thoughts focused on the truth of who He is.

Second, when we trust Him. With everything. The disappointments, the struggles, the hard that joins us on our path.

It’s when we remember who God is in the midst of life’s hard that we can know God’s perfect peace. It’s when we trust Him with all of who we are, when we choose to believe He is who He says He is . . . this is when we can know his peace.

Sun's rays

I want to be like that baby, looking into Jesus’ eyes and not worrying about my present circumstances. I want to see Him through eyes of adoration, complete trust, and deepening love.

And this happens when I’m focused on Him rather than my circumstances.

This song is really speaking to my spirit right now. I hope it doe to yours as well.

What about you? What are you walking through right now that’s causing a lack of peace in your heart? How do you focus your eyes on Jesus when circumstances press in close to you?

 

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

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Quiet: When Life Feels Overwhelming

White laden trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

QUIET

Just before I read what our word was for this week, I got some news that has my spirit in turmoil and my heart all twisted up. No, someone didn’t die. But the news was not what I had hoped to hear. It will be life-changing.

It’s been a crazy couple weeks, with a willful boy, an incomplete science project that’s over deadline and an injury. I am spent. I am frazzled, and I feel beaten up by circumstances.

It’s so easy to go off on someone, to vent my fear, my frustration and my response at God’s “No” answer to my prayer. It’s so easy to get busy and forget that there is One who wants to draw near to me.

I have a choice. I can push Him away and keep my body busy and my spirit sapped.

Or, I can choose to be still. To yield to Him. I can choose to draw near to Jesus.

The world tells us being productive is the answer.

But there are times when being productive is just ignoring a deeper problem. A deep need.

Quiet trees

In this case, my need is to come near to Jesus. To cry a few tears and to humble myself before Him. I didn’t get what I had hoped He would grant.

And that is okay.

He’s giving me an opportunity to see what Zephaniah 3:17 lived out in real time looks like.

If I want to know the blessings of His love, the tenderness of His affection, I’m going to have to quiet myself. Still my fingers. Breathe deep, and jump into the deep places of trusting God.

I love the part in the verse that says He will quiet us with His love.

More than anything else right now, I need this. To have His love wash over every single part of who I am. To feel the calming affects of His presence soothing, quieting the fears trying to overtake me and cause me to live in a frenetic state.

Zeph 317-2 copy

There are times when His quiet love is the only answer to the disappointments in life. If I want to know it, I need to choose to trust God’s plan, even in the uncertainties.

What about you? When has Jesus quieted you with His love? How do you handle the unexpected fears that sometimes crash into your life?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday—Quiet

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Present: Heart Lessons in Being Present

Early morning presenceOur Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PRESENT. 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!

**Please bear with me. This post went a bit over five minutes. 

PRESENT

Being fully present is not as easy as it sounds. Being fully present in body, mind and heart is hard sometimes.

When that presence requires a sacrifice, I confess my heart often chafes at the inconvenience. And when things take longer than I expected, I begin to feel stressed.

This has been one of those stress-inducing weeks with unexpected demands on “my”  time impacting everything I had planned to do this week.

When things don’t got he way I thought they would, when others don’t cooperate with how things are supposed to be done, I begin to be stressed. Which often reflects itself in my words and through the insecurities that surface.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Father son presence

I am learning that, though I say I want to be fully engaged with what’s going on in my boys’ lives, with meeting their needs, I don’t always have the heart attitude that reflects this desire.

I have so much to learn about humility and the beauty that comes from being not only fully present, but willingly present. 

When my heart sets aside the expectations, and my mind lays down the plans I had for “my” time, then I am more willingly present when the unexpected chomps away the time in a week.

I’m seeing God’s hand and His patience as He is fully present with me. He never leaves. He’s always got a shower of grace waiting to wipe off the grime of my pride. To cleanse the stress from my heart.

Sometimes plans need to be laid aside to ease stress, so that being fully present is pleasant . . . especially for the one I’m present with.

sunlight presence

Being fully present also means remembering that “my” time is not really my own. God gives us time, and lets us choose how we spend it. If I want to truly be a light to others, it starts with relinquishing cement-laid plans and asking the Lord to write His plans into my day.

Honestly? I’m not there yet. But this word has challenged me to evaluate my attitude . . . and see the need to make a few things right with my family.

What about you? How do you keep a right heart in being present with those around you? What does being fully present look like for you?