Busy-ness, Christmas, Faith

Christmas: Making Jesus Known

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

“I must decrease that He may increase.” 

~John 3:30

Isn’t this the whole idea of Christmas? Making Jesus known?

The angels worshiped and declared the Savior had been born.

The shepherds worshiped and declared Jesus’s birth. They set aside their work, their busy-ness, their identity, and even their fears of condescension from those higher on the status rankings. They left their livelihood to worship their Messia

Over the past month, I’ve been busy and distracted—in mind and in heart. The boys’ activities, doctor’s appointments, life’s interruptions . . . they’ve all kept my eyes pointed toward . . . 

Me.

Continue reading “Christmas: Making Jesus Known”
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Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude

Choosing Gratitude (series): Themes of Gratitude

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Over the past five weeks, I have been challenged by, encouraged by, and uplifted by my five blogging friends who shared their thoughts on gratitude. Lisa Jordan, Meghan Weyerbacher, Michele Morin, Lesley Crawford, and Marie Gregg . . . thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your words at my place. If you missed any posts in this series, you can find them at: Choosing Gratitude.

To wrap up this series, I am sharing a few final thoughts . . . 

I gave myself a challenge. Find thirty things I was grateful for during the thirty days of November.

On the hard days, I had to look beyond disappointment and frustration in the current day to the bigger picture of my life. 

I found hope. Beauty. Family. Friends. And especially the reality of God’s love.

These themes are what my heart revolves around. 

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): Themes of Gratitude”
Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts, Perspective

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Beauty in Aging

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

*****

Marie Gregg and I met through the Five Minute Friday linkup some years ago, one of our blogs was usually posted right after the other’s. Over the years, I have discovered what a beautiful spirit this lady has. She is a deep thinker, passionate writer, and lover of God’s word, dogs, and young people (among other things). Her blogposts always leave me thinking. One day, I hope I’ll have the privilege of meeting her in person. Until then, I will enjoy her words on her blog. Please help me welcome Marie to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere!

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As I slide into my mid-thirties, I notice more and more advertisements promising to delay the aging process. Lotions and potions for younger-looking skin. Hair dye to cover up those unsightly silver strands. Torturous devices labeled “waist trainers” to smooth out lumps and bumps. Magical, easy solutions for every Madison Avenue conjured problem.

Of course these ads have always existed; they catch my eye now only because I have joined the target demographic. I find it so odd that we are shamed for aging, as if we’ve broken the rules. As if we have control over the onward, relentless passage of time.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Beauty in Aging”

Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): A List of Blessings

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

*****

I first met Lesley Crawford on one of the link-ups we each contribute to, Five Minute Friday, maybe? Whichever one it was, I am changed for the better for having crossed paths with her. Her genuine  heart for people and for Jesus shines through in her blog posts. I love that she loves music and uses her gifts and talents on a regular basis. And her writing? It’s real and vulnerable. It’s been beautiful to watch how God has given her a voice in the blogging world. I haven’t gotten to meet her in person . . . yet. But I hope to one day. I’d love to hear her Scottish way of saying things and her wise insights in real time. Please help me welcome Lesley to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!!

*****

By Lesley Crawford

At the start of 2017, I began keeping a gratitude list. 

It was something I did on a whim. There was no particular reason for it or fixed goal in doing it. It just seemed like a good idea to try—to pause for a moment at the end of each day and write down two or three things for which I was thankful. I had heard others talk of doing this and I was curious about the impact it could have.’

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): A List of Blessings”

Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series):Enduring Gratitude—A Gift For All Seasons

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

*****

I wish I could say I’ve had the privilege of meeting Michele Morin in person. Alas, that has not been the case, yet. I have, however, had many interactions with her online. She is a deep thinker, an intentional mama and Grammy. She is an avid reader, and a thought-provoking writer and blogger. And today, I have the opportunity to share her words here in my little space. Please help me welcome Michele Morin to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!!

*******

By Michele Morin

The distance around my elliptical driveway is one tenth of a mile. I know this because I drove around it, watching the odometer—and then did it again just to be sure. This fall I’ve been doing a careful jog-trot around its leaf-strewn gravel, a compromise intended to jump start a flagging metabolism without putting undue wear and tear on aging joints and narrowing spinal interstices. Five times around with the dog makes for a half mile of elevated heart rate, deep breathing, and an uncluttered brain. 

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Control, Fear, God

Control: How Letting Go Can Beat Your Fears

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Surprise! I’m posting on a Monday! Actually, my friend, Jerusha Agen, asked me to guest post on her site this week. So, I wanted to share this post with you, my readers, in my little space.

For anyone who’s read my blog this year, you know our family has had some challenges. You also know that I like control. I like to be able to predict what’s going to happen. Heck, I like to control the outcomes of every situation. 

But God . . . 

He has a way of taking situations out of my control. And, as He allowed things to unfold this year, He showed me some things about myself that are not . . . shall we say, pretty. For example, what drives my desire for control . . .

*****

I’m just going to say it. I hate not being in control. I’ve played tug-of-war with God for years over who’s in control of my life. I would yank on that rope, thinking I had control of my plans and dreams, and that God would come alongside and nod agreement to my plans.

I know. Silly me.

And then He tugs back when life circumstances overwhelm me with their bigness . . . 

I’ll see you over at the Fear Warrior blog for the rest of this post.

Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Domino Effect of Practicing Gratitude

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?

*****

I first met Meghan Weyerbacher online a few years back, I believe through the amazing Five Minute Friday linkup. We’ve followed each other on social media. In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of meeting Meghan in person. She’s real and delightful and has a heart to encourage others. It’s been fun watching God take Meghan and use her to encourage and minister to writers through her blog, and recently, through her book. Please help me welcome Meghan Weyerbacher to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!

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Gratitude. It’s something I want to have, something I want my children to understand. It can be frustrating when I’ve done my utmost best in something and it doesn’t seem to matter. I become agitated. I begin to worry “why” did I even bother?

See where I am going with this?

This cycle wears my mama heart right out onto the sticky floor and I find myself more focused on what I did wrong, or what my kids did wrong—than the right that happened.

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Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Choice of Saying Yes

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends. 

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful? 

*****

I met Lisa Jordan early in my writing journey. She has great wisdom and an encouraging spirit. She’s been my cheerleader, the one who listens when I’m grappling with something in my story. And she has a heart for people. She’s a multi-published author with Love Inspired, and her stories have depth and wonderful characters. Please help me welcome Lisa to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!

*****

Everyday we are faced with making choices. Wake up or hit snooze. Eggs or oatmeal. Coffee or tea. Love or hate. Grace or judgment.

What about the choice of saying yes? Especially if it means experiencing pain and overcoming challenges? Choosing to say yes can come at a time when we are at our weakest and crying out to God.

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Expectations, Faith

Expectations: When All Is Not Well

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

“Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You.”

This line comes from one of my most-favorite-est songs, “It is Well,” (click the link to listen) by Kristene DeMarco. But, this line challenges me. Do I really live it?

When we miscarried our only pregnancy, my heart shattered. The dream of being a mom to that baby . . .

. . . of carrying our child to term, feeling the kicks, 

. . . of one day meeting him or her . . . 

. . . of becoming a mom . . . 

It was gone. With the ceasing of a heartbeat.

My expectations of God—of Him bringing this dream to life—were also shattered.

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Faith, Perspective

Perspective: When We Face the Unknown

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I read in the book of Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen, recently. You know, the story of how Moses sent in twelve men to spy out the land God promised them? He told them to bring back a report and fruit so they could see what they were going into.

I am always a little bit astounded at how these men gave their reports. Caleb shared of the good of the land. He accurately spoke about the size of the people and the cities, but he was ready to go in and kick butt.

Ten other men in the spy party agreed that yes, the fruit was good. But . . . 

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