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”

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Expectations, Gratitude

Gratitude: When There Are Expectations

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

These weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (for those of us in the United States) are a great time to consider gratitude. In these shorter posts, let’s explore some different quotes about gratitude and see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming holiday season.

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“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” ~Tony Robbins, Author

God has been talking with me about expectations. Honestly? He’s been talking to me for years, but it’s only as I age that I see the impact that holding tightly to expectations has on my heart.

Continue reading “Gratitude: When There Are Expectations”

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.

Continue reading “Gratitude: What Gratitude Does”

God, Gratitude, Mothering, Perspective

Gratitude: What We Have and Have Not

for-what-i-have-received-storm-jameson-copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve said before . . . it’s been a year. I’m choosing to focus on gratitude this month. As I’ve pondered what I want to share, the above quote stood out to me.

I have received much from the Lord this year:

When I tore my ACL, I had a great surgeon to help fix me up. And superb physical therapists to exercise me back to full mobility.

Continue reading “Gratitude: What We Have and Have Not”

Family Relationships, Gratitude, Mothering

Gratitude: Training Our Children to Have Grateful Hearts

Presence not presents quote copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This all started with a picture . . .

Though we’ve tried hard to prevent that sense of entitlement in our boys, they’ve have fallen prey to the “I deserve this” mentality. We have never bought them stuff just because they wanted it, never impulsively purchased a candy bar in the check out aisle.

We’ve worked hard to help our boys see nothing truly belongs to us. All that we have (and we have a lot) has been given to us by our good God.

Continue reading “Gratitude: Training Our Children to Have Grateful Hearts”

Gratitude, Joy, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy

A Voskamp Thanksgiving and joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Today, I had planned to share some tips for dealing with busyness for this holiday season.

I think it’s more important we take time and consider Thanksgiving. Both the holiday and the attitude. So, that  post will be up next week.

I love this quote by Ann Voskamp. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart, and it’s a choice. When we choose thankfulness, joy is the result in our hearts. We see the good things God has placed in our lives. When we take the time and make the effort to say, “Thank you,”  we not only show Him appreciation, we build up a storehouse of joy within us.

It’s not always easy to choose thanksgiving in our circumstances. Some people have lost loved ones this year. Others are dealing with terminal illness. Divorce. Prodigal children. Heartbreak. Job loss. And perhaps the thought of “putting on a happy face” absolutely drains you.

Maybe, taking a few minutes to write down things you can be thankful for will help ease the sense of being overwhelmed. It won’t change your circumstances. But, choosing to give thanks will lift your heart, and begin letting joy back into those dark places.

D Bonhoeffer gratitude makes life rich1

As we Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the beginnings of our country, may we also choose thankfulness in the midst of our circumstances.

What about you? What’s one thing you are thankful for right now? How can I pray for you over the next week?

I’ve linked up with Holly Barrett‘s and (for today) Angela Parlin’s sites this week. Check out some other wonderful blogs!

Expectations, Gratitude, Life, Perspective, Plan, Plans: My Plans and Jesus' Plans

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.

Continue reading “Plans: My Plans and Jesus’ Plans”

Choosing Gratitude, Life

Choosing Gratitude: Three Thoughts

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A sprained ankle

A washer that stops working mid-load

Infertility

Cross country moves

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Gratitude, Life, Thankfulness An Unexpected Souvenir

Thankfulness: An Unexpected Souvenir

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Image courtesy of chayathonwong2000 at freedigitalphotos.net

The vacation started off as most for our family. I pushed hard to organize and plan, make sure the boys packed the necessary items in their suitcases. I chose not to cringe at the pile of clean, crumpled clothing bunched into their pullmans.

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Gratitude, Life, Memorial Day-Real Life Sacrifices

Memorial Day: Real Life Sacrifices

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Image from pfflyer on morguefile.com. A Marine guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

I know I’m a few days early, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Memorial Day and real life sacrifices. Men and women in our military make sacrifices every day on behalf of our country. The honor of Memorial Day seems to be forgotten. Many people view it as a day off work, the day that ushers in the official beginning of summer.

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