Priorities, Identity

Identity: The Greatest Showman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

We just got home from watching The Greatest Showman (Click title to see trailer). I’m just going to say it. I loved the movie. So many life-infusing themes woven into one story . . . besides the fact that they made my writer’s heart happy, they uplifted me at the deepest levels.

There are so many different themes that resonated with me, but the one that hummed the deepest parts of me was P. T. Barnum’s journey to understand the essence of his identity.

I’ll begin by saying this is Hollywood’s rendition of P. T. Barnum’s rise to fame. That said . . .

Phineas T. Barnum comes from a poor background. He holds certain beliefs based on things that happened when he was a boy.

Continue reading “Identity: The Greatest Showman”

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Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living

Intentional: Living With Intention

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

As I learned what our word is for this week, I had to smile. I spent last year focusing on this word: Intentional. As I prayed tonight, I got excited about what I might share. So…here goes…

INTENTIONAL

One year ago, I had some understanding of what it means to live intentional. Walking through 2017 focusing on this One Word was transformational for me. God taught me how to be more intentional in my relationships with my family, with friends, with Him, and in writing.

I learned a lot about what it means to live intentional.

I got lots of practice on relating with our boys as they mature and walk out the teen years. I became intentional in the words I did—and didn’t—share.

God still has much to teach me about living every area of my life with intentionality.

The biggest thing He’s speaking to me about right now is to do life WITH Him.

To parent with Him.

To “wife” with Him.

To write with Him.

God wants me to do things with Him. He doesn’t want me to do everything on my own and then ask/expect Him to bless the work of my hands. Done in my own strength.

By myself.

When I commit my ways to the Lord, when I trust in Him? That’s when he goes to work in my life.

But more than that, He wants me (us) to remember that I’m not “doing life” alone. He is always with us. He yearns for intimacy with me and each of us. He wants us to remember we are not orphans. We are loved. Deeply. By a caring Father.

When we walk through life we can intentionally draw near to Him. Commit our thoughts, desires, fears, frustrations, those deep yearnings of our hearts to Him. 

We all have things we’re called to do. Whether it’s caring for others, for animals, vocations, nurturing relationships . .. He wants us to do these things with Him.

More important than the things we do, we are the main thing with God. Not our dreams, responsibilities . . . not our jobs, our callings.

Intimacy with God . . .

When I’m intentional about spending time with Him, seeking Him out each day, He renews my perspective. And God aligns the other things in my life. That is the best way to live intentional.

What about you? What helps you to be intentional in how you live out each day? How do you define “Intentional?”

Click to Tweet: God wants us to remember we’re not “doing life” alone

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Intentional

Control, Trusting God

Control: When We Choose to Trust

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I strolled along the beach just after the sun came up, staying to the “combed” part of the sand. I didn’t want the inconvenience of getting my feet crusted with wet sand and then having to rinse them off before I wandered inside the hotel.

As sand crumbled beneath my toes, I was stuck by the way the waves smoothed part of the sand as they washed upon the shore. How they recorded their mark of how far they rolled up and then crept back to where they began.

The contrast intrigued me.

Continue reading “Control: When We Choose to Trust”

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Simplify

Simplify: Good For the Heart

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SIMPLIFY

Simplify is one of my favorite words. There’s something about it that feels so freeing.

One thing I’ve discovered is that if I want an unfettered spirit, it often begins with an uncluttered space. A year and a half ago, I became very intentional about decluttering, first one room, and then the entire house. Man, it felt good to get rid of things that we no longer used or needed. Things that no longer brought joy.

But, here I am 18 months down the road, and the clutter is creeping in again. Life got busy.

I left things undone. Because other things needed attention. And sooner or later, the “undone” piles up in my spirit. When my spirit is burdened, I’m more subject to discouragement and a skewed perspective.

I’ve been staring down all the piles that crept into our kitchen, our family room. My “pretty” room.

There’s something about getting things back in order in my home that prepares my heart for deeper intimacy with Jesus. When I have a clear space, I can unburden my heart to the Lord more easily. My ears seem more open to the promptings of my Father.

When I declutter my heart, I find a certain freedom to worship the Lord without worry. I discover a stillness that I can’t know when I’m holding onto the clutter of unforgiveness, out-of-order priorities. Of discouragement.

So as I continue into this year—as the boxes that mark my days begin to fill—I aim to find those uncluttered spaces in my home and my heart and dwell there. I want to be near Jesus. To hear his truths spoken to my heart.

When I simplify that which I can in my life and I simplify what my heart carries around, I discover the beauty of simply being in God’s presence.

What about you? How do you manage the clutter and the crazy that daily living brings? How do you keep an uncluttered heart with Jesus?

Click to Tweet: Sooner or later, the “undone” piles up in my spirit.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Simplify

Hope, One Word, Trusting God

Hope: Worry and Hope

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The urge to cough tickled my throat . . . and kept tickling. And forced me into hacking.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except that I had a minor procedure scheduled where I would be under anesthesia. And I needed to be able to breathe without difficulty.

Coughing makes this a bit tricky.

Continue reading “Hope: Worry and Hope”

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”

Christmas, Hope

Christmas: Hope in Waiting

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As I read this verse this morning. It stopped me. No, Micah isn’t a book in the Bible that most people flip to when they think of Christmas. Here’s what stopped me:

In this season of Advent, we wait for the Lord’s appearing. For Jesus’ birth. Many of us still watch for Him in our daily lives.

During Micah’s day, the people waited for God to show up . . . when they weren’t distracted by idols. Micah waited for God to fulfill His word. He spoke with confidence, declaring that God heard him. I love that confidence!

In our busy, modern day society, we still hold that longing to be filled, to be heard.

Today, we wait to see Him act in our lives. We yearn to know we are heard by Someone greater than ourselves.

We hold onto hope that God will hear us. That He will answer us. 

In his time of waiting, Micah clung to the hope that God heard him. That God would answer in His perfect timing.

As we watch in anticipation of Christmas, may we watch for God’s fingerprints upon our lives, and in our world. May we keep our hope steadfastly set on Him and Him alone.

Please know that you, my readers are a great gift to me. Thank you for your encouraging words and insightful comments this year. I pray you will know the hope and anticipation of Jesus’ coming, and the gift He gave us on the cross. May your time be spent with loved ones and in knowing that you are loved by One who is crazy about you.

I’ll see you back here on January 2, 2018!

Christmas, Community, Trusting God

Provide: How God Provides

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It has been said there’s nothing new under the sun. Things people dream up, actions carried out, sins committed, heroics undertaken—all have been done before

In all of history, one person faced something no one else would ever experience . . . Mary. She alone was gifted with the privilege and the heartache of being mother to the Son of God. And with unique opportunities to see God’s provision.

Continue reading “Provide: How God Provides”

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Near: Drawing Near

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEAR

The boy cuddled so close to my side I think he would have curled inside my skin, if it was possible. His warmth heated my arm, my waist. My arm swung around his small frame, scooting him in close. And my heart melted all over the place.

There is something about the nearness of a child that undoes me every single time. Knowing one of my guys, or even another child, wants to be that close to me.

For one person to stay that near someone there must be a level of trust. My boys considered me (probably still do, judging from the testiness some days) their safe place. Mama was the place you went when feelings got hurt. When you got scared. When you just needed the reminder that, yes, you are loved, no matter what you do.

That nearness is a trust-place.

I wonder if that’s how God feels about us? He longs for us to draw near to Him. To cuddle right up next to Him, knowing He will keep the world at bay for a little while.

I believe He longs to comfort us when life goes sideways. He longs for us to trust Him like a child trusts his parents. He yearns for the intimacy that only comes when we draw near.

He’ll never force Himself upon us. But He’s there the very second we want to draw close to Him.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I can’t hep but think of the way Mary’s heart must have dissolved into pure love as she held her swaddled son near her. As she cuddled him close to her, and planted soft kisses on His downy head.

Maybe we can draw close to Jesus even as we prepare to celebrate His birth, and hence the amazing work He did on the cross. Maybe we can remember how much He loves us and take moments to draw near to Him in the days leading up to Christmas.

What about you? What is your favorite memory of drawing near to someone you love(d)? How have you seen God draw near to you?

***I may not be able to comment and visit blogs tomorrow (Friday), but I am looking forward to visiting blogs over the weekend.***

Click to Tweet: He longs to comfort us when life goes sideways.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Near

Christmas, Priorities

Christmas: Finding Peace in a Stressful Season

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Peace on Earth. Good will to men.”

How many of us crave peace? ’Tis the season when we hear about it. We sing about peace. We talk about the Prince of Peace who came from heaven to earth on our behalf.

Yet, in a season when this word—peace—is tossed around like a fix-all, it seems tiny compared to the stress that pervades every moment.

Continue reading “Christmas: Finding Peace in a Stressful Season”