Begin: Unexpected Beginnings, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Life, Perspective

Begin: Unexpected Beginnings

Bright Zinnia

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Begin. 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 Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

Begin

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Begin

There’s something about the chance to begin a new thing. Have you ever felt it? That anticipation at the possibilities yet to unfold?

I’ve had a few times in my life when a chance to begin a new thing came unexpectedly. I suspect God knew that if I had a chance to think things through—to analyze the pros and cons—I would have said no to His divine opportunity.

August Zucchinis

Whether it’s something as small as planting a garden on a whim, like I did this year, or something as potentially  monumental as beginning my master’s program . . .

There are times when I wake up in the morning thinking it’s going to be the same old sort of day. But within the time when the sun rises and the sun sets, I’m heading in a completely new direction.

Tomatoes

Zucchini blossom

God has a way of using those unexpected chances to begin something in our lives— to begin something within us.

He plants a seed, nurtures it, waters it. In time, sprouts unfurl from the soil of our hearts. Leaves unfold to embrace the Son and the blossoms promising fruit begin to bloom in their beauty.

Sometimes a new beginning does this in our lives . . . produces fruit we had no idea was waiting within us. Waiting to grow into something beautiful.

Summer zinnias

And it all came about because we were willing to begin something new.

When I begin something new, the anticipation thrills my heart and puts a smile on my face. God is behind it all, probably grinning just a little bit, as I catch a piece of the vision He has for that new beginning.

What about you? What do you feel when you begin something new? Have you ever talked yourself into or out of a spontaneous new beginning?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday post

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Five Minute Friday scribblings, FMF Finish, Uncategorized

Finish: Finishings and Beginnings

Sunrise and moonset

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Finish. 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 Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

Finish

By Jeanne Takenaka

I have a friend who was recently on Extreme Weight Loss. In 365 days, she lost an incredible amount of weight, walked through major life changes, and mind set changes. She finished that year with the understanding that achieving her goal and then some was the beginning of a new way of living for her and her family.

Finishing one thing seems to be the first step to a new beginning. We’re never quite finished.

How often have I finished something, only to find out it opened up the beginning of the next something?

Finishing writing my first book was the beginning of revisions and editing and seeing just how much work that story needed.

The End copy

Finishing an active role in our church women’s ministry years ago turned into the beginning of life as a new mother.

Though my sons will always be my kids, one day my role as the most important woman in their lives will be finished. They will (hopefully) find special ladies to marry who will walk with them through life.

One day, my life on earth will finish as I breathe my last breath here and then begin breathing heaven’s sweet air.

Each finish we experience seems to be the first step of a new beginning.

One finish I’m thankful for is this: God’s never finished with me. I can make mistakes, I can fail big, I can blow it in relationships He’s gifted me with. I can make up in those relationships. But God is never finished with me. For this I am most thankful.

What about you? What’s been one “finish” in your life that was the first step to a new beginning? What’s one important season, activity, project you’ve finished?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday—Finish

Family Relationships, FMF Bloom: When Relationships Bloom, Mothering, Uncategorized

Bloom: When Relationships Bloom

Flowers Bloom quote

By Jeanne Takenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Bloom. 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 Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

Daisies in bloom

I just returned from our family vacation. My sister and her family, my parents, my other sister and us.

We spent days “almost camping,” because this girl doesn’t do tent camping.

One afternoon, we walked around Crested Butte, in the mountains of Colorado. Wild flowers bloom everywhere (which must be why they hold an annual Wild Flower Festival). We talked, ate ice-cream and other sweets and laughed. Together.

Three boys running, one girl gazing at and pining for stuffed animals.

And relationships bloomed.

Sharing happened that has never happened within our family before.

Hearts opened. And seeds were planted and bloomed.

Poppies

As I watched my brother-in-law with his children, arms wrapped around each other, I smiled. He’s (and my sister) watering seeds planted within them. Teaching them how to be a man and a woman.

My honey and I learned from our family this week. We want our relationships with our children to bloom, not just with a flower here or there, but with vine arms wrapped around necks and waists and hearts.

Blooming happens with sun and water. With words of honesty and affirmation. And in the case of children, with intentional training.

Maroon columbines

The wildflowers in Crested Butte were colorful and amazing.

But what I’ll remember most is children laughing and hearts connecting as the sun shone down on us. As we watered each other with hugs, a little begging, with smiles and sharing memories.

BIL with kidsFamily relationships bloom when watered with love.

That’s what I want for my kids, for my family.

What about you? What helps you bloom? How do you water the relationships in your life?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday: Bloom

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity, Rejection, Uncategorized

Belong: Belonging to God

Holding Hands 2

By Jeanne Takenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Belong. 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 Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

Rejection was my first identity marker when I was a girl. Attending a small elementary school where the kids had known each other since long before I was added to the roster was difficult. As I grew older, I made friends—good friends—but the lie had been planted. I was never truly going to belong anywhere, in any group of people. I’ve struggled with wondering if/when I would do something that would cause others to stop letting me belong in the friendship, in the group. God has had to speak his truth into that aspect of my life.

Some days I still struggle with a sense of belonging. Yet God in his goodness has gifted me with an amazing husband who loves me through my pretty days and my ugly days. He’s added to our lives two amazing boys to whom I belong. Our family is the perfect place for me to belong. Here, I have learned what that acceptance feels like.

Boys n me 7-4

The interesting thing is: I’ve belonged to God’s family since I was fourteen. Yet, I walked through years of doubting it. That lie of rejection runs deep, it’s roots entwined throughout my heart. A little at a time, God has pulled those roots out, and replaced them with the truth that I belong to Him.

He loves me passionately, perfectly, completely. I will always belong to him. I never have to worry about if He will stop accepting or loving me. I am His. And He is mine. Oh Joy!

Each one of us belong to Him. There is nothing we can do that will cause Him to stop loving us. He’s just faithful that way.

What about you? Do you have a place in life where  you belong? How well do you receive it? Do you believe it’s God’s gift for you?

Crystal Stine is the guest hostess for Five Minute Friday this week.

FMF Lost, God, Identity, Uncategorized

Lost: Lost and Found


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By Jeanne Takenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Lost. 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 Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

 

For years I clung to my insecurity. Convinced that if I just said the right words, did the right thing, I would find acceptance in the minds and hearts of those who mattered to me.

I determined to find my way into acceptance by people I thought were important. I overlooked those who seemed to be insignificant. I yearned to be known, not realizing that I too lived among the insignificant.

It took the Lord revealing a gaping wound in my own heart to bring me to a place of realizing that I was lost.

Lost in the maze of striving for acceptance.

Lost in the lies that I had to be a certain way to become known by those around me.

Lost in a veneer of who I really was.

As I grappled with the wound in my heart called rejection, I saw that I had lost parts of myself in pursuit of acceptance. In pursuit of significance.

Allowing Jesus to spread his salve over my wound, I began to see that I needed to lose the devices I used for being accepted. I began to lose the need to say just the right thing. The need to be super woman.

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I lost the craving to be known only by certain people.

I found that Jesus could meet me in that place of emptiness and fill me with Him. He helped me see my identity as one of His girls. And not only that, I found out how much He cherishes me, and each of his children.

Losing what I thought I needed to have a certain identity and finding what it meant to be identified in Him? That was something worth losing that led to a satisfying discovery.

What about you? What have you lost that led to a worthwhile find?

Lisa-Jo Baker Five Minute Friday—Lost

Uncategorized

Release: Releasing My Plans

By Jeanne Takenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Release. 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 Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

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I used to think I had control of my life.

Get my college degree. Check,

Get my first teaching job: Check

Life had gone according to my plans. I walked with God, grew with Him through my twenties.

I prayed until God brought me an amazing husband. Checked that off the list.

Then, according to our plans, we began trying to have a baby. No check.

Unless you count the one that went on my calendar each month when my body declared I was not pregnant.

It was during those early days on the infertility journey that I began to discover I was not truly in control of my life. God is sovereign. He revealed to me that in HIs sovereignty is His love.

How did I reconcile this with the fact that I wanted a baby to cradle in my arms?

I fought Him, of course. For awhile.

He let me. Until I came to the point where I could release my desire for my plans and embrace His plan. Even though I didn’t know what it would be.

Even if it might not include children grown in my womb.

Releasing my plans and looking to His gave me the peace and the strength to walk through the journey of infertility.

It prepared me for when He did sew motherhood into the fabric of my story, through adoption.

Releasing my plans for His is one way I live my love for Him out loud. Trusting His plan, trading good for best.

Release all I clung to so I could embrace all He had for me.

It was definitely worth the trade.

What about you? When have you released something in your life? What was the end result?

Lisa-Jo Baker Five Minute Friday—Release

FMF Messenger, Mothering, Relationship, Uncategorized

Messenger: Living in the Moment

As I checked Lisa-Jo Baker’s word for today—Messenger—I was stumped. Then I began thinking about it a little more…..Here’s the result. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out Lisa-Jo Baker‘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!

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By Jeanne Takenaka

I thought about who has been a messenger in my life.

And then it dawned on me.

I see smiles from two of the sweetest faces this side of heaven. I hear, “Mom! Mom!” just before some new discovery or animal fact pops out of their mouths.  My two boys have exuberance and joie d’vivre in abundance.

And me?

Well, I feel like I’m running from this task to the next most days. There’s much for this wife and mother to complete in a given day.

But these two precious sons—for whom I prayed for years—they summon me to slow down and enjoy life on their level for a little while.

Set aside my oh, so slowly plotting book . . .

Turn my back to the dishes in the sink for a few moments.

And simply listen. To their message.

Their hearts shine through their faces, through their words.

The message is, “Enjoy this moment, Mom! Enjoy it with me? Live it with me!”

I wrap my arms around my messengers and squeeze them close. They’ll only be little for a little longer.

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I want to embrace each day with them, loving them in the moment. Listening to their explanations, and their attempts at sounding like the men they’ll one day be.

I need to listen to their message of being in the now. It’ll be gone too quickly.

These messengers fill me with joy when I take time to really look at them. Really listen to their words and tones and thoughts.

What about you? Who’s a messenger in your life? What message have you been hearing?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s FMF Messenger

 

Life, Relationship, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Hands

This week’s Five Minute Friday post topic is—Hands. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out Lisa-Jo Baker‘s site. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

Hands

By Jeanne Takenaka

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I take my hands for granted. They clean. They cut vegetables, tend to gardens, hold the water container to pour life onto my container garden. My hands comb out the knots in my hair, wash my face, and wipe children’s tears away.

My hands stroke the heads of my “babies” ( now 9 1/2 and 11) when they’ve had a difficult day. They comb through hair, rub backs, cuddle close these boy-men when they are on the boy side of manhood.

Hands . . . I can’t imagine life without them. They type on my computer, pouring words onto the page. Hopefully bringing encouragement to those who read them. They hold the camera to capture scenes and smiles on the spur of a moment.

What about God’s hands? His hands move planets, craft new life. His hands move in my life, in the lives of all who know Him. They give rain in due season, move the sun and moon at appropriate times. They do big, important life-essential things for his small creations on planet earth. Even when He’s not acknowledged, He continues to provide all we need for life.

His hands give comfort to His children. They wipe my tears away, sew up the wounds on my heart inflicted by others. His hands hold me in the crook of His arms, cradle me on His lap when I’m in need of a cuddle, of comfort.

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My prayer is that my hands will emulate what His hands do—bringing life to those in my circle. Bringing comfort and encouragement and service, whether or not others acknowledge it.

What about you? What are you thankful your hands can do? How have others’ hands blessed you?

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday