Perspective, Trials

Fog: 4 Tips for Seeing Through Difficulties

Foggy day with a frame

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Fog wrapped around my vehicle as I pulled from the garage. I glanced to the left and the right—twice—before steering onto the street. In a way, I felt as if I was the only person on the road.

There’s something almost eerie about driving when you can’t see anything around you. I’m comfortable driving in various conditions, but my hands still gripped the steering wheel. I leaned forward to check for shadows before me. Headlights from the other direction sliced through the soup, cutting a path in the mist.

Continue reading “Fog: 4 Tips for Seeing Through Difficulties”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, God, Life

Give: Giving On Empty

Big hands little hands 2

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

GIVE

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind where you pour out and give of yourself and serve and  . . . the list goes on. You come to the end of the day exhausted, weary. And just plain DONE.

As a mom and as a wife, as a friend and as a daughter of God, sometimes I feel as though I have nothing left to give. The kid comes to me for the third time that day asking for forgiveness for mean words spoken.

The green beans burn on the stove top as I help with homework.

Snow falls and needs shoveling and the husband is out of town.

A friend calls with the worst kind of news to be shared.

I am empty.

Bread Dough Overflow

It’s when I come to the end of myself—of my reserves—that I see how much I need God. I need Him to fill me with Himself so I can continue to give to those He places in my daily path. I need to lean hard into Him, asking for His help.
I can’t do life on my own.

We’re heading into what could become a chaotic season, a time of celebrating Jesus’ birth and all He’s given to us. It’s imperative that I—that we—spend quiet time with him daily. It’s only after coming into His presence that we can offer the gift of ourselves to others.

My desire is to be His light, speak His encouraging words, be His hug to someone hurting. I want to be a gift to those around me. To give of myself to help them feel better.

WillowTree Creché

To give beyond my resources, I must ask the Lord to fill me with Himself. I can only give of Jesus when I’ve been with Him.

As we step into Christmas busy-ness, let’s purpose to give our time, our worship to the One who’s given everything to us.

What about you? How do you give of yourself to others? What do you do when you feel empty?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Give

Comparison: Comparing Ourselves to Others, Contentment, God, Life, Plan

Discontentment: Watch Those Foxes

Red Foxes 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

One Friday afternoon, as the boys and I arrived home from school, I peeked into our backyard. My heart lurched when I spied two red foxes lounging in the grass as if they owned the place. They looked so cute as they soaked in the winter sunlight. When I opened the kitchen window to snap a picture, they stared back at me without a trace of  fear in their eyes.

They’d found their home.

Continue reading “Discontentment: Watch Those Foxes”

Uncategorized

Fun: 20 Questions

Autumn Brilliance

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This new game has given those of us who are playing a fun way to get to know each other. And now I am inviting you to play, too!

What is the game?  Answer as many of the questions below as you want. Fun answers are definitely permitted, serious ones allowed, and cornier than ever ones preferred. Ready to get started?

First, I must credit my friends Shelli Littleton and Mary Vee for tagging me in this game which started this round.

1. How tall are you? 

5’ 7 1/2”. People love to ask me to reach thing for them. However, since hubby and I are the same height, I seldom those fun heels that are so popular now. I guess my legs will thank me as I grow older.

2. Do you have a hidden talent?

Yes. I’m good at purging (stuff from my home, not the other kind of purging). My mom dreads when I come over to my parents’ house with a trash bag in hand. Actually I only purge other people’s stuff when I have permission. But, I love uncluttered spaces.

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Change, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Life

New: New Pages In Our Lives

Mountain fall leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEW

I set out to open a document to write an FMF post and the button I pushed? “New.”

This got me thinking. Sometimes a new chapter in my life begins as a blank page. I get to fill it with words, actions, memories, smiles. It becomes written on, even wrinkled.

Sometimes, New pages interrupt my life, changing what I think is already a good thing. I don’t ask for the New, it just presents itself in my days.

Like when appendicitis came knocking Easter weekend.

When infertility barged its way into my husband’s and my careful plan for our family.

When we think things are one way with our family . . . only to find out there’s a new diagnosis to grapple with.

Sometimes I love New because I hold the pen that writes my impressions, hopes and dreams on it’s empty surface.

First glimpses of fall

Other times I need to accept New—the New Normal. The thing I get to do?

Control how I respond to the New that enters my life unexpectedly.

New isn’t bad. It’s different. Whether I choose the New document—for my day, for my season in life—or whether it’s given to me by the God whose mercies are new every morning, I have the choice of how I respond.

Is it with acceptance?

Or with resistance?

Or resignation?

I’ve done it each of these ways.

Fall colors on the mountains copy

And God is faithful to meet me in each. Though, when New enters my life in ways I’m not fond of, and I accept it with His grace guiding me? It’s incorporation into the pattern of my life becomes a little less New and a little more comfortable to live with.

What about you? What New page has opened giving you the chance to write on it? How have you worked through the New pages that turned when you weren’t ready for them?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday site—New

Confidence, Friendship, God, Identity, Relationship, Uncategorized

7 Heart Lessons From ACFW 2014

ACFW Collage 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It always amazes me how much my inward thoughts shape the way I see events in my life. Attending ACFW this year was a very different experience than the previous two years. I believe this is due, in part, to the fact that I am more confident in who I am as God’s girl, and as a writer. I know more how things work, what’s expected (though pitching my books still makes me tremble), and I’m getting to know more people.

Continue reading “7 Heart Lessons From ACFW 2014”

Change, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Life, Uncategorized

Change: Yearning For Change?

Change Arrow

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

Change

Isn’t it crazy how we sometimes yearn for change without realizing it? When I was single, I wanted a change in my status, in the form of a gold band (and a diamond) on my left finger.

hands wedding photo 001 copy

God gave me an amazing husband. A change in status led to many changes in addresses as we traveled at Uncle Sam’s will with the Air Force.

After a few years in marriage, I yearned for a change in status again. Children. We’d tried to have children, but God’s plan was not for us to conceive. That change in my plans about broke me. But, he did give us a change…..we had the privilege of adopting two amazing boys.

Baby toes 2 copy

Anyone who’s a mother knows that change is the daily constant with kids in the home. I haven’t yearned for any more changes in status because I want to cherish each moment with our kids.

And it might be in part because under it all, I don’t like change. I like predictability in my schedule, in my days.

God has a way of mixing things up though—of changing them—because it’s through change that I am forced to draw near to Him, to trust Him through it.

Change is not something I often ask for, but when I have it 1) leads to more change and 2) challenges me to grow deeper with Jesus.

Black Canyon Steps

Change…..status, roles in life. Yearning for change without knowing it has led to lasting changes in my character (thanks to Jesus taking over more of who I am). It’s led to depth in empathy and compassion for others.

Evening Sun

It’s led to Him shining more brightly through me.

Change is seldom something I yearn for. But, when God’s given the asked-for yearning, He’s blessed me far more richly than I could have ever imagined in the initial asking.

What about you? What’s your take on change? WHat’s one word of advice for walking through change?

Check out Kate Motaung’s FMF: Change

Gift: Receiving Gifts of Love, Life, Perspective

Gift: Receiving Gifts of Love

A gift given

by +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever been given an unexpected gift?

In my twenties and thirties, I often privately questioned gifts people gave me. Why would someone give me a gift of ___________? What was their motive? I’m not sure when I became a cynic.

Continue reading “Gift: Receiving Gifts of Love”

Decisions: What's Good and What's Best, God, Life, Uncategorized

Decisions: What’s Good and What’s Best

Blue Mesa Reflections

By Jeanne Takenaka

We always have to  decide if something is the good or the best for us.

I first learned this lesson as a single-twenty-something wanting desperately to have someone to walk through life with. I’d dated a few guys, but all left me thirsting for more.

More depth.

More care.

Continue reading “Decisions: What’s Good and What’s Best”

Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate, Life, Uncategorized

Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate

Image

By Jeanne Takenaka

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s independence later this week, it’s good to remember what we’re celebrating.

We’re not (or shouldn’t be) celebrating the latest sale at Macy’s and the great deals we’ll get if we shop on July 4th weekend. Although, we’re certainly free to do that if we so desire.

Continue reading “Freedom: Remember What We Celebrate”