God, Life Lessons, Perspective

Life Lessons: Finding Peace

Summer Snowballs

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part three in a five-part series about life lessons. Some friends and I are answering the question: What life lesson has changed you the most? You can read part one and part two here.

I don’t know when I fell in love with photography. As a girl, I begged for a camera. And for my tenth Christmas, my parents gave me their old Kodak 110 camera. I made everyone shrug into their winter coats and stand outside on bare, brown ground so I could take family photographs. My camera made occasional appearances after that.

Wintry sun thru trees

As I grew into my teens, I got busy with activities and clubs and sports. I took pictures now and then.

Dance of the leaves copy

College, my twenties—they passed in a blur of discovering who I was as a student, then a teacher, then a wife. I always loved taking pictures, but I wasn’t purposeful in preserving those memories.

It’s been in the past number of years that I’ve discovered beauty all around me. My eyes have begun to look for the beauty. Whenever we go somewhere, our camera is hanging by my side. Or my phone is at the ready to capture the images that make my soul sigh deep.

Stormy beauty


Fog liftingI’ve discovered that when the world around me is going a little bit crazy—whether it’s hubby’s busy work schedule, the kids’ activities or just an emotionally draining day—if I take some time to look for the beauty God’s placed in the world around me . . .

. . . if I capture it on film (so to speak), it reinvigorates my spirit.

Peace comes from being intentional about looking for the beauty around me. And capturing a beautiful image? It just makes my heart happy.

Beach stones at sunset

I’m learning we all need to find those things that allow us to slow down and be intentional about seeing God’s grace, His presence, His essence around us. He’s filled our world with beauty, and with opportunities to just stop and see Him.

Blazing sunset beauty

In those seasons when I’m too busy? I don’t take those few moments to stop and watch the sun shining through an orange-tinted leaf, or reflecting off fresh fallen snow on branches. I don’t take time to just breathe in the nearness of God’s presence.

2012 Orange leaves in sun copy

When I don’t take a few moments each day to look for the beauty around me, my spirit ends up rollicking with turmoil. I get stressed and knotted up inside.

Hawaiian wavesWaves wash onto shore

It’s good—healthy, even—to take time to find the beauty in my world. Because when I do this, God’s peace unknots the feelings and the stress winding me up tight inside.

Sun after fog

Taking those moments to look for glimpses of beauty and capturing them with a camera give me time away from the stressful situations. They renew my perspective, and they strengthen me to go back into the difficult situations.

Version 2

When I take a walk, camera in hand . . . .

When I take time away from the stress-factors . . .

And I look for God’s fingerprints in my world?

That’s when I can begin to breathe and settle into the nearness of His presence, even when life gets a little crazy.

What about you? What shows you God’s nearness in your days? What helps restore peace during the stressful seasons in your life?

8 thoughts on “Life Lessons: Finding Peace”

  1. You’re an artist with the camera, Jeanne. You have such a gift!

    I wish there was a place where I found God’s nearness, and peace…but they are distant now. I can hold to the faith that they exist, and that’s about all. The nightmare of loneliness is here. Sunrise is a legend…almost a myth.

    But as the demons come over the wall, flashing bright steel – I will meet them, in the cause of God, decency, and fair play.


    1. Andrew, I can only imagine the loneliness and the pain. Makes for a difficult combination of haze to see God through. Choosing to walk in faith in the midst of all you are going through . . . You may not see how God is working through you, but He is. You may not see God’s presence right now, but He is near. You may not see how He honors you, but He will…probably on the other side of the veil. Praying for you today my friend.


  2. I found my outlet through photography in high school & college. Not just in capturing images but in the quiet hours spent in the darkroom, processing and developing the film. When life got too stressful, I knew I needed to carve out an hour alone in the dark. Now with kids and smartphones, it’s easy to lament the lack of process in taking pictures. Yet…. When I’m intentional, when I take time to notice the beauty around me, I’m so thankful for a quick, easily accessible way to remember those moments. Like life, right? Thanks, as always, for your beautiful gift of storytelling and connection to help me remember these truths.


    1. Annie, the processing of photography has definitely changed. 😀 But, as you said, life moments happen in a second, and we can snap and save and treasure them. And being intentional in remembering deepens our days and who we are as people, wives and moms. I hope your transition into being a mom of two is going smoothly! 😀


  3. One of the sweetest compliments I ever received was from a friend visiting my home … she looked at the pictures on my walls of the girls and said, “Shelli, I didn’t know you were a photographer.”
    “I’m not,” I said.
    “Yes, you are,” she said.
    Just made my heart so happy. Yes … it’s sweet to zoom in on the little, often unnoticed things of this world … see and capture the beauty. I love your photos … always. 🙂


  4. Always so drawn into beauty by your photos, Jeanne. And the words to match are pure joy. Thank you fir the reminder to slow, still, and choose peace. Today, I need it! Blessings, friend.


    1. I can imagine, Tiffany! I hope the moving process is going smoothly. It’s chaotic, but you can know peace even in the midst of that. 🙂 May God show you special glimpses of His beauty over the next few days!

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