Christmas, Intentional Living, Mothering, Uncategorized

Christmas: When We Need to Give Grace

A lit Christmas tree in dim room casting light on the walls

@JeanneTakenaka

It seems like this happens every year.

Thanksgiving is a couple of days behind me, and I determine I’m going to make this year the Christmas season where I’m truly resting in the midst of the busy-ness of it all. I decide to cut back on activities and things I feel obligated to complete.

Each year I promise myself I’m going to come upon Christmas Day rested and worshiping my Savior, grateful for all that the Day represents. 

And almost every year Christmas Day arrives and I am weary.  I forget to give myself grace.

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Joy, Thanksgiving, Trials

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy in Every Circumstance

Meme with the quote: "If you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength." ~Ann Voskamp, Author on a backdrop of fall-leafed trees near a creek.

@JeanneTakenaka

As we are in the throes of Thanksgiving week here in the United States, I decided to add to a post I originally shared a few years ago. It’s short but sweet. And, I’m still sticking with a quote. 🙂

***

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.

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Family Relationships, Gratitude, Perspective

Gratitude: Thankful for the Little Things

Meme with the words: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." —Robert Brault, Author on a backdrop of a photo of berries

@JeanneTakenaka

The phone rang. It was Hubs. “Honey. I’m in a bit of a panic. I’m at my first flight layover, and I can’t find my passport. Can you check my desk to see if it’s there?”

My husband, world-traveler that he is, had made this trip to the far East many times. My heart dropped when I heard his words, and I sprinted to his office. The edge of his passport peeked out from beneath a short, elevated pile of papers. 

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Choosing Gratitude, Quotes

Gratitude: In Every Moment, Thank God

Meme with the quote: "In happy moments, praise God. In difficult moments, seek God. In quiet moments, worship God. In painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God." ~Rick Warren, pastor. This is set on a back drop of trees silhouetted against a sunset.

@JeanneTakenaka

Though I try to be intentional about practicing the art of giving thanks throughout the year, it seems like November is the month when life finally slows down a little bit and I can really, truly think on the nuances of gratitude.

This month, I’m going to keep things a little shorter and share quotes that mean something to me. I hope you’ll share quotes and your thoughts on gratitude as well.

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What kinds of moments are you living right now?

I’ve been living in busy moments, especially over these past couple of weeks. I attended a retreat, and then I made the five hour drive to cheer on my oldest’s marching band at the state competition. And that on top of preparations for these and daily life.

I find it’s in the busy moments that I most need to fix my heart on God. My focus tends toward doing the next thing. I drive myself hard to complete everything. And I end up drained at the end. 

And a drained Jeanne tends to lead to . . . unpleasantness all around.

 

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Autumn, Trials

Autumn: Reflections in a Busy Season

Tree with brilliant red leaves

@JeanneTakenaka

I’m coming clean. I had a “grand plan” for this week’s post. I really did. But life . . . became a bit unwieldy these past couple of weeks and stripped my normal preparation time for the posts I share with you. I hope you’ll indulge me as I offer a few photos and autumn reflections I shared on Instagram in October. Next week, we’ll jump into November with quotes and thoughts on gratitude. I especially look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic. 

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Faith, Forgiveness, Relationship

Wounds: 5 Thoughts For Letting Go of Offenses

Image of a country road lined by trees heading into a sunset

@JeanneTakenaka

We all have wounds. 

Not long ago, my wound got stomped on by people close to me. Things were said. The message conveyed felt like a snub, and it stung. My first response was to leave the situation. 

I moved on from the incident, but that re-opened wound festered, leaving me stinking on the inside, insecure in my thinking, and holding onto a grudge. My first thought was to ignore the pain caused by words.

But, ignoring rarely heals.

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Identity, Mothering, Relationship

Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?

A bridge leading to a pathway with a mountain in the background

@JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever lain in bed at night and found yourself praying for your children or another loved one in your life? 

After a day filled with teen ‘tude from one boy and some extreme emotion that morphed into choices that left the other boy regretting how he’d handled himself, I felt unsettled. Part of me questioned when we would move beyond this stage of angst and grappling to our sons being at peace with who they are.

I suspect many of us wrestle with being at peace with who we are. Even in my fifties, I have days . . . But God. 

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Contentment, Relationship

Belonging: Understanding Where We Belong

Two girls holding hands

@JeanneTakenaka

For much of my life, I’ve tried to belong . . . somewhere. There was this deeper fear, that when it came down to it, I wouldn’t belong anywhere. So, I attempted to fit in everywhere . . . the popular group in high school, the swim team, various clubs, the “little sisters” of a fraternity in college, the choir for Sunday services. The singer-types on the worship team as a new wife.

But I couldn’t find my fit. I would reach out, but others wouldn’t reach back. And it only stepped on my childhood rejection wound.

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Faith, Fear, Mothering, Trusting God

Faith: When We Must Choose Between Fear and Faith

A young man standing at the edge of a rock cliff with arms outstretched looking at a wide open space

@JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes, I’m a poser.

Oh sure, I tell people to pray for their children, their husbands, and the heart needs they each have. I tell them God hears, and He answers each and every prayer. Sometimes, it’s with a “Yes.” Other times, the answer is, “No.” And then there’s the “Not yet,” answer.

I believe these truths with all my heart. I know that I know I am a daughter of the King . . . that He loves me completely, passionately, and perfectly. I know we must choose faith.

And still . . . 

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ACFW, Discouragement, Identity

Discouragement: When Lies Impact Our Identity

Waterfall on the Riverwalk in San Antonio

@JeanneTakenaka

Attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) National Conference is one of the highlights of my year. But this year, I came into this conference feeling discouraged, because of something, not writing-related, that happened a few weeks ago. The results of that event had absolutely nothing to do with the conference, but everything to do with how I felt someone important to me perceived me. 

And the hurtful impressions have colored my perspective since then. 

I hate when lies rise up and call me cursed. 

I hate when I open myself up to listen to their whispers.

And I hate when said lies impact something I’m looking forward to.

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