Fear, God's Love, Life, Trusting God

Storm: Walking Through Life’s Storms

Windmill and stormy sky

It’s so good to be blogging again! I missed connecting with you all these past couple months. Our family had some crazy weeks, with family things needing my attention in May. We spent the better half of June on the Takenaka 2016 Road Trip. Which was great fun, filled with wonderful memories, many glimpses of rural America, time with friends and family, and time together in the car. And a whole lot of crazy in the mix. Thanks for your patience while I was on my break. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with everyone again. 

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My heart always thrills at the thought of a road trip. My husband. Our boys. All in one car, seeing our country’s amazing beauty. Me taking pictures out the window like a crazy woman And I love it. Well, most of it.

Continue reading “Storm: Walking Through Life’s Storms”

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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!

Calling, God, Jennifer Kolb, Trusting God

Calling: Our Timing and God’s Timing—Guest Post by Jennifer Kolb

Kileaua lighthouse

 

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve lived a lot of life—in person and over the telephone—with my dear friend, Jennifer Kolb. She is truly a lady of wisdom. As I talked through the ideas of knowing God’s best and what is good enough with her, her thoughts challenged me to really think through what each of these look like. I asked her to share some thoughts in a guest post. Please welcome Jennifer!

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I grew up watching “I Love Lucy” reruns. I watched them so often I memorized much of the dialogue. In one of my favorites, Lucy becomes the spokesperson for a miraculous tonic called Vitameatavegamin. “Are you tired, run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle…”

Continue reading “Calling: Our Timing and God’s Timing—Guest Post by Jennifer Kolb”

Calling, Priorities

Priorities: Discerning God’s Best

Hollyhocks

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part three of a three part series. In part one, I explored the idea of When Good Enough Isn’t and compromise). In part two, I shared thoughts on when Good Enough is Good Enough. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

When I met my husband, I was teaching third grade, serving in the nursery at church, serving in the high school ministry, leading worship at a start-up church, attending a home fellowship and sometimes helping with worship there. I was a busy lady.

As our relationship grew, we spent more time together. One by one, God encouraged me to set aside these other ministries. He was preparing me for the ministry of marriage. Was it easy to step back from all these ministries? No! I loved being a part of every single one of them.

Continue reading “Priorities: Discerning God’s Best”

Dreams, Five Minute Friday scribblings, God

Dream: Pursuing Dreams God’s Way

 

Les Brown dream quote

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

DREAM

For decades, I was afraid to pursue a dream that had been on my heart since I was about thirteen .  . . To write.

Oh, I’d write in my journal, use descriptive language, and try to be coherent. I developed a love for God through writing out my struggles.

Hearing His voice through the written words, when I could hear it no other way.

But a few years ago, He upped the stakes. Or shall I say, He upped the calling. . .

. . . To take my writing from the privacy of my journal to a much more public, and intimidating venue—blogging and pursuing publication.

He began to prepare me to fulfill the desires He’d placed on my heart as a teen. To write a book.

Sometimes, God walks us through years of equipping—preparation—before He begins to grow those seeds, those dreams, He planted within our hearts.

He allows that dream to die. Not the dream itself, but our perceptions of what the dream would look like.

Then, He begins to give us His vision of what that dream will look like.

Open Gate

One obedient step at a time. It’s only as we take the first step that He shows us the next. We can stop at any stage of the process, but we’re the ones who miss out . . .

. . . On the beauty He’s fostering within us

. . . On the blessings He has for us on the journey

. . . On the closer relationship with Him

. . . On the fulfilling of the dream.

It’s never an easy thing to pursue a dream. I’m still dying to myself one day at a time. Learning to trust Him to bring me to the next place on this writing road. Still releasing my vision for the dream to come true. Still writing, making mistakes . . . and seeing how He brings accomplishments along the way.

Seeing a dream fulfilled is never really a solo project. If it is, I’d bet the dream is incomplete.

Sun dappled road

As I learn how to write for Him—to trust His timing for each step of this journey—I’m a little more conformed into the image of Jesus. Reflecting Him a little more clearly.

What about you? Is there a dream you’re afraid to pursue? What’s stopping you? What’s one lesson you’ve learned as you’ve pursued a God-inspired dream?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Dream—and link up!

Five Minute Friday scribblings, God, Life

World: Lessons of the World

New friends

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

WORLD

I admit it. When I was a girl, I thought it would be cool to travel the world. I wasn’t sure how it would happen, but I dreamed of the experiences and seeing different places. I am pretty sure I idealized what it would be like to meet new people, live in different cultures and see amazing sights.

God didn’t have plans for me to make a trip around the world, but He’s given me opportunities to see certain parts of it.

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Philippines with a missions team. I was so sure we were there to help them.

Delightful girls

Instead, God opened my eyes to so much more. I have so much materially. The believers I met there have such depth spiritually.

The way they served our team amazed me. Such whole-hearted kindness heaped upon us. In meals served, in meeting our needs. And in letting us come alongside them as they served the people in their communities.

At first, I was uncomfortable as I watched the people of the towns we visited. They loved us with simple abandon. They shared pieces of their lives with us. I tried not to share too much of my life in the respect of how much our family is blessed with. But I loved sharing lessons God was teaching me. And hearing theirs.

Special family

In that part of the world, families sometimes live in small shacks that sit next to mansions. My family is blessed with a moderate-sized home, according to US standards. As I shared pictures of my family, I included a dark photo of Peter crawling up a step. One lady commented about how big my home was. Her words played me. Never mind the fact that she couldn’t see the second story of our home in the picture.

God has given us much. I am convicted to realize I don’t use it all as wisely as I should for His glory. I am sometimes selfish with what He’s given us . . . when really? I should follow the example of the Filipinos I met and share lavishly, love lavishly.

Special friend

Even after all this time, I need to cultivate a heart that sees others’ needs . . . not just physically, but spiritually. A heart that sees the richness others have, in spite of physical circumstances.

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Wow, that time went fast! Finishing up here: It’s so easy to want to look for things that are common in our physical world, but really, God has given His children more commonalities in what we yearn for and how we worship. He’s given us similar desires to follow hard after Him.

My too-short time in the Philippines changed me in terms of how I view life and all God’s given me, and most Americans. May we not become so caught up in how things look on the outside—both for us and for those in other parts of the world—that we miss the beauty He’s crafting on the inside. 

What about you? What have you learned from other cultures? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—World

Busy-ness, Life, Plan

Kindness: Simple Acts of Kindness

Red tulips

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I read a story recently about a teacher who donated a kidney to one of the students at her school. Her selfless attitude convicted me. She saw a need, her heart was moved and she had a way of meeting the need. Her simple act of kindness saved the young lady’s life, and changed both of their lives forever.

When someone gives a piece of their life for your own, how do you respond to that?

Continue reading “Kindness: Simple Acts of Kindness”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Life, Uncategorized

Meet: What Comes Next?

 

Pair of birds

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

MEET

I walked into Bible study at our new church that misty March morning, with diaper bag on my shoulder, bible in my hand and the last ounce of courage ebbing from my heart. My first time exposing myself to a whole new body of women.

I was placed in a group with the sweetest lady leading it. And her young co-leader? She reached out to me with her warmth and genuine caring, welcoming me into their class. I watched and listened more than anything, trying to assess how these next few weeks would play out.

That co-leader who sat beside me? She wouldn’t let me remain invisible. We talked, ate lunch together after studies, and a friendship blossomed. I eventually met some of her other friends, who also welcomed the new girl into their fold.

Treasured friends

Seven years later, and we still share coffee, mothering victories and woes, and our hearts.

Meeting her was instrumental in helping me to settle into a new city after we moved for hubby’s job.

Meeting people is a deliberate choice. We may not always want to extend ourselves, to move out of our comfort zone. We may not even be expecting to meet someone, but we’re guided into that opportunity somehow.

The important thing is, what will we do as a result of the meeting? Will we take it to the next step and get to know the person, or will we walk away with a simple, impersonal, “Nice to meet’cha”?

Dewy lilacs

Jesus knew us before we were ever a gleam and desire in our parents’ eyes, but He waited for us to meet Him. To come to him. He invites us into fellowship with Him with wide open arms and a welcoming smile. 

What are we going to do after that initial meeting? Get to know Him better or stop at, “Nice to meet’cha”?

It’s our choice.

What about you? What has someone you’ve met done to make you feel comfortable with them? How do you approach new situations that include people?

Visit Kate Motaung’s site Five Minute Friday—Meet

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And, the winner of either a print copy or an ebook of Catherine West’s, Bridge of Faith, is Jackie Layton! Congratulations, Jackie! I will connect with you to take care of details. Thank you everyone for commenting on Tuesday!

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One last thing: I’m very excited to be sharing a blogpost at EveryDay Life. I’d love it if you stopped by!

Breathe, Life, Perspective, Stress

Stress: Choosing to Breathe

Rainy day road

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The door slammed as boys clambered out of the car. And gave me my first full breath since my guys had awakened on this battle-of-the-wills morning. Sniping and snarking had sapped my joy and irritation had replaced it.

God tried to get my attention with a beautiful sunrise, but one boy had already been snappish by then, and I ignored the colors.

Well, not totally.

Continue reading “Stress: Choosing to Breathe”

Five Minute Friday scribblings

Share: Making an Impact

Cape Cod decor

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

Last night, I attended a “Happy Birthday/Retirement” party for a friend. We women enjoyed an evening of shared laughter, a little roasting, but mostly tributes to the impact this woman has had on so many lives.

She shares of herself . . . not reservedly. When you meet with her, she’s all there with you, not checking her cell phone or looking at her watch. Engaged. With you. All in the moment.

She’s shared much mommy-ing wisdom with me. As the mother of three grown all-boy boys, she’s walked many roads I’m just embarking upon.

She’s shared of herself, investing in the lives of women, being a life-changer to so many.

As I watched her, as people lauded all she’s done—especially her deep love for Jesus—it challenged me.

White laced trees

How many times have I withheld myself because of my own issues, or because I didn’t have time, or because . . .

Fear sometimes keeps me from sharing the giftings God’s given me. Fear of rejection or of “not being enough.”

But, God . . .

. . . when we make ourselves available to Him, when we share what He’s given us with others, shaken down, pressed in and flowing over . . .

. . . then His beauty shines forth.

I need not worry about being rejected, or not enough. When I’m pouring out God, splashing His love into the lives of those around me—invested in each moment—I’m reflecting Jesus to them.

Not that I want a party thrown in my honor, but I do hope to one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . “

Mom Son hands

I want to share all that God’s given me with others, to be an encouragement, an uplifter, a truth-giver.

To share His joy, a compassionate touch, a listening ear and what wisdom God’s given me.

Maybe even have an impact on one life.

What about you? Who has had an impact on your life? How do you share of yourself with others?

Read Kate Motaung’s post about Share.