Mothering, Prayer, Words

Words: Making Words Count

Meme: Word Count super imposed over a dictionary page

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

Stories of the heart are built by adding word count. I belong to an online group for writing 1000 words in one hour. Not everyone does this, and not everyone who’s part of the group is adding word count to their manuscripts. But it’s a great community where we hold each other accountable to work on our projects. For any book to come to a place of completion, words must be added in the creating of said book.

As important as it is to build word count in a book, it’s even more essential that we make our real-life words count. 

Continue reading “Words: Making Words Count”
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Adventure, Mothering

Teens: Learning to Let Go

By JeanneTakenaka

They were a cluster of testosterone, those teenage boys. As a mom, it was intriguing to watch my son take steps toward manhood as we spent a week on a school tour of Athens and Rome. 

He didn’t want me around. Groaned when he happened to be assigned a seat next to me on a plane ride. 

He didn’t want Mom. 

He wanted his friends. 

He craved independence.

As the mother of two teen boys, my biggest challenge is learning how to let go and let them fly . . . And flounder.

Continue reading “Teens: Learning to Let Go”
Adoption, Faith, Mothering

Mothering: When We Want to Be Angry

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

A few years ago, one of the boys was having a hard time with his homework. We sat together, him working it through, me explaining as I could. It just so happened on this day that the other boy needed extra help with his math. Dinner needed cooking. And Hubs was out of the country.

I can manage all these things simultaneously . . . as long as everyone works with my plan. 

On this particular day, the first boy went to his room for a break before he dug into more homework. I waited the ten minutes I gave him. And then fifteen.

Continue reading “Mothering: When We Want to Be Angry”
Focus, Mothering, Trusting God

Focus: When Living Well Is Hard

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

This is a post I first shared here a number of years ago. Somehow, the truths still hold, so I thought I would share it again.

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Can I confess that I don’t like hard? I don’t want to suffer in doing what I’m expected to complete in a day.

I don’t want to run into an obstacle that knocks me down in the pursuit of living well.

I don’t know where  the idea came from that living this life would be—should be—easy.

I don’t know why I have this desire to sail through my days with no pain, no difficulties, no trials.

Maybe it’s my humanity peeking through?

Continue reading “Focus: When Living Well Is Hard”

Mothering, Relationship, Trusting God

Mothering: What’s Most Important

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Mothering teens requires so much emotional, physical, mental, spiritual energy. Some days I’m wrung out. It’s in those days when I must remember the most important things.

We’re walking through an issue with one of our boys. It’s been hard. 

Draining. 

Hit-my-head-against-the-wall frustrating, at times. 

And yet, I love this boy with all my heart.

This is a challenging time in history to be raising up young men and women to follow God. Watching our kids leap into pitfalls can be absolutely heart-breaking. 

Continue reading “Mothering: What’s Most Important”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Thirteen: Aspects of Thirteen

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

THIRTEEN

I had told myself I wasn’t going to write tonight. It’s been . . . a week. Hard. Stretching. Wearying. Wrecking in some ways. 

But I see this word and the first thing that came to mind was my youngest. My thirteen year old. Who can count the days on two hands until he is no longer thirteen. 

He brings laughter and joy. He’s learning how to express his heart and his mind in such amazing, honest ways. He blesses me with his smile and humor.

He drives me crazy with his constant comebacks. He is the one teaching me I don’t always have to have the final word. 

Though there are times I want that final word.

It’s amazing to think that thirteen Augusts ago, God saw fit to add this boy to our family. He’s special and tender and amazing and tough and resilient and gentle with animals and hard-hitting in football.

He’s a lover and loyal and funny and helpful.

He’s thirteen.

I always worried that thirteen year old boys would drive me to the edge of crazy. 

Okay, there may be days when he’s done that. 

But there have been more days when he’s left my heart smiling with something he said or did.

I love watching him discover his passions and his interests and his strengths. 

I love thirteen. I love being a mom to teenage boys. 

I know fourteen will hold its own special challenges, but for these few days left of thirteen, I’m going to enjoy it. Laugh with him. Engage with him.

Thirteen sounds scary when your kids are little. But now that we’re almost through the thirteenth year? I’m going to miss it. Just a little. 

And I’m going to thank God for all the things He’s taught my boy and me during this thirteenth year.

What about you? What blessings have/did you find when your children walked through the teen years? What has God taught you through your own teen years, or your children’s?

Click to tweet: There have been more days when he’s left my heart smiling

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Thirteen

Discouragement, Hope, Mothering, Trusting God

Hope: When We’re in the Battle

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I was going through a hard season with one of our boys. Fights, angry words, hatred in the eyes because of every word I spoke. I was the loser-mom in his eyes. 

His hard heart about broke mine. 

The back talk, the disrespect, the hate-laced words gouged holes my spirit until it felt as pocked as the moon.

This wasn’t a day’s worth of struggle. This was weeks. The constant ripping apart within me left me depleted and weary. 

Continue reading “Hope: When We’re in the Battle”

Calling, Mothering

Calling: When Opposition Hits

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

May was my month to write the rough draft of my book. I prayed about it. I made a schedule I thought I could meet. I know how to write a story. Mostly. 

What I didn’t expect was the car to be in the shop twice . . . in one week. 

Extra appointments for the boys. 

Late nights talking with one or the other of them.
Mind you, I’m not complaining. I love talking with my guys.

My days ticked by with much reduced or no word count toward my story. 

Continue reading “Calling: When Opposition Hits”

Intentional Living, Mothering

Time: When the Years Fly By

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Only three more slots.

I admit it. I’ve been terrible about keeping baby books for the boys. Or even those cute little books that highlight their elementary years. Yeah, I think they’re more empty than full.

But, this weekend, I determined to catch up their kindergarten through twelfth grade photo frames. And it hit me so hard I had to swallow back tears.

I only have three more slots to fill with pictures of my oldest. When he noticed it, he got a little sad.

How is it the years have flown so quickly?

Continue reading “Time: When the Years Fly By”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering, Relationship

Discover: When They Talk

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

DISCOVER

His eyes had held the look all night. That expression saying something was on his mind, but he wasn’t sure if he should talk about it. Maybe all teens wear that expression. I know mine do.

Whenever I’m invited into the inner sanctum (a.k.a. his room), I try to say yes. That night, he asked me to walk to his room with him before he went to bed. What followed was an amazing conversation of questions, reassurances, honest sharing. I closed his door over an hour later, my heart full.

I’ve prayed for years that during these most trying years we would still connect with our sons. 

But friends.

Friends are so important to both of our boys.

Hanging out.

Being accepted by their peers. All of these things often seem to take priority in our boys’ hearts.

That night, though, I discovered something. My boys? They still want me in their inner circle.

I think this is true with most—if not all—teens, even when they seem to push us away.

No, we don’t talk as much as we used to. But the beauty is, when I take time to just listen as they express their fears, their thoughts, their joys, their secret desires? 

That’s a gift.

 

Nothing can replace knowing that they will share their confidences with me.

I know I’m just their mom. But, . . . I’m their mom.

Our boys don’t want to push us into the backseat on their life-car-ride. Well, not always anyway. They want us riding in the front seat with them. They don’t always want to hear our words, but they want our companionship. To be told we love them.

No matter what.

They want to know that we will always accept them. Be in their corner. 

And we will.

The discovering comes when we are intentional and take time to listen. Not always to give them advice (and man, is this on hard sometimes!)

Often, they just want to know they are being heard.

I’m discovering the beauty God’s planted in each of them as I listen to their words.

So, the next time one of our boys invites me into his room? I’ll say yes. In a heartbeat. There’s nothing so precious as being a part of their inner circle.

What about you? What encourages you to invite someone into your inner circle? How do you foster relationship with those around you that goes below skin-deep?

Click to Tweet: We can learn the most interesting things 

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Discover