Dreams, Faith, Trusting God

Comparison: God’s Timing

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Today was gorgeous. The sun shone, creating all kinds of blue in the sky. Leaf buds and bare branches alike reflected it’s rays.

As I walked around our neighborhood, the trees captured my attention. Call me silly, but I got caught up in how bare some trees looked compared to others. 

Some trees bore branches with the nibs of buds on the very tips of them. Others were garbed in shimmers of green.

Continue reading “Comparison: God’s Timing”

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Comparison: Comparing Ourselves to Others, Dreams, Encouragement

Comparison: When Others Move Ahead

Nashville bridge at sunrise

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There’s something special about gathering with a big group of people who share a common dream. Attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) national conference in Nashville this year was such a refreshing, uplifting experience (just don’t ask how much sleep I got).

Talking writing with others who “get me,”

who understand the joys of a story coming together,

the uncertainties of where our dreams might be leading us,

the disappointments of a “No” when we pitch our book ideas . . .

there’s a sort of reassurance in this community.

Continue reading “Comparison: When Others Move Ahead”

Calling, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Easy: When God Calls

Rock Wall 1 copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

EASY

When I took my first steps on this writing journey, I was pretty confident it would be relatively easy to get published.

I knew I’d have a big learning curve. I’d need to figure out how to create characters, plot, an interesting story, but I found great websites that helped me to learn that.

I stepped back from some ministry responsibilities at church, and assured people: I’ll be back in a year. This story burned in me, and I just knew I’d have it written, be represented by an agent, and have this book baby on its way to delivery shortly after that.

Fast forward six (yes, six) years. I’m getting ready to begin my fourth book. None of the first three are published (and yes, I’ve been asked about when they’re coming out! Don’t ask a writer this question).

I’m not agented.

I’m nowhere close to having something publishable.

Six years.

Many, many words typed onto the pages in my computer.

Heartbreaks. Disappointments.

This journey is anything but easy.

When the journey is hard

But the thing I’m learning? Anything God calls us to is worth sticking with, even when the journey is hard. (Click to tweet) 

When the obstacles look bigger than the possible outcomes.

When the disappointments feel like they’ll never be hurdled.

God is teaching me that on this step-by-step journey into the humbling hard, He is with me. He is teaching me about His presence. His constant presence.

When someone says no to the story of my heart, it hurts. But God is there to encourage. He uses people, but He also uses His word.

The “easy” journeys seldom are that . . . if they are callings God’s given us.

clouds and sun on rocks

Those callings God places on our lives are the ones designed to bring us to the end of ourselves, to teach us to depend on and trust Him, and to refine us so we reflect Him more clearly.

What about you? What is the “easiest hard journey” you’ve walked? How do you keep going when the disappointments overwhelm you?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Easy

Guest Posts, Michelle Lim, Perseverance

How to Persevere Through the Unexpected—Guest Post by Michelle Lim

M Lim Capturing Joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I met Michelle at my first-ever writing adventure five years ago. One of the things that first drew me to her is her encouraging spirit. As I’ve gotten to know her better, I have appreciated her sweet spirit, a great listening ear, and she’s crazy-good at brainstorming stories and all things writing! 

Please help me welcome Michelle Lim!

ACFW 2014 Jeanne T. and I 10665173_10202733710168671_3921977619193028321_n

Life is complicated. There are so many times that we make plans that never happen because of life’s unexpected struggles.

Continue reading “How to Persevere Through the Unexpected—Guest Post by Michelle Lim”

ACFW, Goals, Trusting God

Brave: 5 Heart Lessons from ACFW 2015

ACFW program

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I just returned from my fourth American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) writing conference. I brought home priceless memories, lived through some struggles and am pondering lessons learned during my four days in Dallas, Texas.

The challenging aspects of the conference always come down to my innate tendency to: 1) compare myself to others and where they are in their journey, and 2) question my giftings as a writer.

Continue reading “Brave: 5 Heart Lessons from ACFW 2015”

Being Still, Busy-ness, Family Relationships, God, Intentional Living

Ambition: The Quiet Life

Quiet purple blossoms

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I had a B-U-S-Y spring. My hubby had to travel overseas on business for six-and-a-half weeks. Forty-five days to be exact. In that time, he missed two birthdays, all the end of school activities, including a sixth-grade celebration ceremony for Peter before he heads to junior high next year.

Continue reading “Ambition: The Quiet Life”

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!

Author Interview, Catherine West, Uncategorized

Author Interview: Catherine West and a Giveaway!

Destin Silhouette walker

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was first introduced to Catherine West on a blog shortly after she published her first book, Yesterday’s Tomorrow. I loved the premise of her story. We’ve connected online in different places, and my respect for her continues to grow. Meeting her in person was the icing on the cake, as they say. 

In reading her most recent release, Bridge of Faith, I discovered she has a heart that feels deeply, and a way with words that speaks with authenticity. I am absolutely loving this book! The depth of her characters and the way Cathy brings real life into her story keep me reading late into the night.

Please welcome . . . Catherine West!

First off, what’s it like to live in Bermuda? What do you like? What would you change if you could?

Well, since I was born and raised here, it’s home. I have lived other places, England and Canada, and I can truly say there is no place like Bermuda. It’s just a slower, more peaceful way of life, really. Kids don’t seem to grow up as fast. And of course, no snow. Ever. ☺ It’s wonderful to have greenery and flowers year round.

What would I change? They way we relate to each other here. Unfortunately, race can be an issue, and it’s been that way ever since I can remember. I wish people would find a way to get past it and see each other for the person, not the color of their skin. I think big strides have been made, but we have a ways to go. Still, it’s a wonderful island and for the most part, our troubles are small compared to other places in the world.

When and how did your writing journey begin?

I’ve always loved to write. I started writing stories just for fun when I was a teenager. No, you can’t see them. ☺ I guess I began thinking seriously about pursuing publication when I was in my early 20’s. But kids came along and you know how that goes. I continued to write, but it wasn’t time then. By the time both my kids were in school, I went back to the computer and really started to take it seriously, wrote a few books, and began to look for an agent. I attended my first ACFW conference then, and it was so long ago I can’t even remember who I pitched to! But it was a blast and I was hooked. That’s really when I knew I wanted to do this.

What inspired your story about Julia and Reid in Bridge of Faith?

I love stories about lost love and second chances. I can’t say there was any one thing that really inspired this particular story. Like everything I write, I played around with a few ideas, tried out a few characters, and it all came together.

What’s next for you on the writing journey?

Ah. ☺ Can I say “To Be Announced!” ? I’ve got some very exciting news in the works but I’m not yet able to share. You’ll have to check my Facebook Author page for updates, but the good news is, more books will be on the way!

What are three little known facts about you?

Little known? Hmm. Well, I’m actually quite shy! I love being online because it’s much easier for me to sit behind a screen and interact than have a face-to-face conversation.

I hate to fly. Which is rather inconvenient since I live on an island and have to fly if I ever want to go anywhere! I’m getting better, but I had a bad experience with turbulence some years ago, and ever since then, I’ve been more nervous than I used to be.

Let’s see, what else … I spent two years at an all-girls boarding school in England. I hated it, but I don’t regret it. I had a lot of fun experiences as well and got to see quite a bit of the country. But it was very difficult being so far away from home at the age of fifteen.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Oh, I have so many! LOL! Okay, I’ll pick one. Cheese. I love cheese. I could eat tons of it every day. I’m not terribly fond of smoked cheese, but any other kind, send it my way and I’m happy!

*****

Thanks for joining me today, Cathy! I loved getting to know more about you.

Cathy has generously offered to give away one copy of her book, either in ebook format or paperback—winner’s choice! Anyone who leaves a comment today will be entered into the drawing. I’ll announce the winner on Friday’s blog.

*****

Bridge of Faith Cover lo-resTwo lives taken down different roads – one enduring love – one shot at starting over.

                               If only they believed in second chances.

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation.

When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind.

Confronting his past was not in the plan.

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul.

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him. 

They say you can’t go home again. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

*****

Catherine West copyINSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s latest novel, Bridge of Faith, is now available on Amazon.

Website – http://www.catherinejwest.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CatherineJWest

Twitter – https://twitter.com/cathwest

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4715219.Catherine_West

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/cathwest/

Google + – https://plus.google.com/u/0/108781711729974539211/posts

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-West/e/B004RWZUHK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon link to Bridge of Faith – http://tinyurl.com/kje35ju

Interview With a Debut Author Melissa Tagg, Uncategorized

Interview With Debut Author: Melissa Tagg

I met the fun, uplifting Melissa Tagg at a My Book Therapy retreat a few years ago. Her sincere faith in Jesus and humorous way of stringing words together have always made me smile. She is one of the most encouraging people I’ve met, and I’m thrilled she’s joining me here today.

Please welcome . . .

Continue reading “Interview With Debut Author: Melissa Tagg”

Passion, Passion in Hard Times

Passion in Hard Times

Image

The day I began to write my first book was the first day I discovered unexpected passion. The story came into my head, exciting me and making my heart pound. Could I seriously write a book?

With the decision to try, I discovered passion in a whole new way. Passion to write well, to tell the story God gave me to tell. He didn’t give it to someone else. That thought instilled a deeper passion and an intense determination to do it well.

I will say writing is the second (after mothering two boys) most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted. The hard days have come. Remembering this story is mine to write has revived my passion when hope of ever finishing flailed. It’s helped me to not give up.

What about you? What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever attempted? Do you agree or disagree that passion is sometimes what keeps you going when the temptation to give up is strong?