Faith, Living with Intention, Trusting God

Faith: When Everything Is Not Okay

Picture of a fence holding you back from a river flowing and trees on the opposite bank, reminder that we still live with boundaries on our lives

@JeanneTakenaka

Our boys completed their school year from home, as did most American students.

Nine weeks of staying at home (except for buying a few groceries and taking morning walks).

Nine weeks of together time.

Nine weeks of trying to figure out what life should look like in this pandemic-defined world.

And there are still days when I wonder if we’ll ever move beyond the restrictions, the sometimes tedium, the testing of boundaries by our sons. There are days when I wonder if everything will ever be okay again.

Continue reading “Faith: When Everything Is Not Okay”
Faith, Joy, Trusting God

Joy: 7 Thoughts for Cultivating Joy in Hard Seasons

Two teen boys climbing up boulders and scoping out the view beyond

@JeanneTakenaka

This picture brings me great joy. A few weeks ago, I insisted my two boy-men go walk/hiking with me. Getting our teen boys outside rarely meets with whoops of excitement.

When we arrived, my two guys trudged ahead on a dirt trail. There must have been magic in the air that day because, all of a sudden, they were running. With smiles on their faces. 

And the coup de grace came when they discovered large boulders to explore and to test their bravery.

Eighteen months ago, each of our sons were dealt life-altering events. 

Continue reading “Joy: 7 Thoughts for Cultivating Joy in Hard Seasons”
Authenticity, Relationship, Trusting God

Normal: Being Honest About Our Hearts

Moon hanging over a frozen pond-there is peace in a sense of normal, but there are dark times when there is no sense of normal

@JeanneTakenaka

Can I be honest and say I’m missing my “normal?” 

Normal tends to keep us grounded. It offers a sense of rhythm to our days, our lives, our spirits.

When “normal” is stripped away, as it has been recently, we’re forced to deal with the impact of that loss on our hearts. My normal defined my days. I knew what to expect. I gained a sense of achievement by accomplishing my tasks, by being on time to pick up the boys from school and then get them where they needed to be. 

Continue reading “Normal: Being Honest About Our Hearts”
Infertility, Surrender, Trusting God

Heart: 4 Steps for Dealing With Idols

Picture of a valley leading down to the ocean with high mountainous walls on each side

@JeanneTakenaka

I slumped on our bed and cried. 

Every month, I careened on an emotional roller coaster. Every month, I prayed, begging God for a baby. Every month, when my cycle came on time, my heart plummeted.

I don’t remember the exact day or event when God confronted me. But He showed me where my heart was set.

…on a pregnancy

…on filling my arms with a squirming newborn

…on having my heart craving satisfied.

And that was the problem.

Continue reading “Heart: 4 Steps for Dealing With Idols”
Faith, Fear, Mothering, Trusting God

Faith: When We Must Choose Between Fear and Faith

A young man standing at the edge of a rock cliff with arms outstretched looking at a wide open space

@JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes, I’m a poser.

Oh sure, I tell people to pray for their children, their husbands, and the heart needs they each have. I tell them God hears, and He answers each and every prayer. Sometimes, it’s with a “Yes.” Other times, the answer is, “No.” And then there’s the “Not yet,” answer.

I believe these truths with all my heart. I know that I know I am a daughter of the King . . . that He loves me completely, passionately, and perfectly. I know we must choose faith.

And still . . . 

Continue reading “Faith: When We Must Choose Between Fear and Faith”
Perspective, Trusting God

Scars: When We Live with Wounds

Image of yellow flowers with some dead and some still alive

@JeanneTakenaka

I was talking with a friend recently. We both have teenaged boys who are scraping wounds across our mama’s hearts. At times the pain is so raw I still feel like I’m bleeding. 

We both like the song, “Scars” by I Am They. But neither of us feel thankful for the scars right now. As I thought about it, I believe this is okay. In the moment.

Sometimes, we’re still living in a wounded place. We’re still walking in the pain of the strikes against our hearts. 

Continue reading “Scars: When We Live with Wounds”
Perspective, Trusting God, Writing

Dreams: When Dreams Don’t Come True

Meme with typewriter and the word: Publish

@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. This is my final post with this series. 

*****

Have you ever had a dream that felt so big, so out of reach, you never thought it was possible to achieve?

From the time I was fourteen, I’ve wanted to be published. I set the dream aside for decades because of . . . well, life. 

And fear.

At first the idea of writing a full-length novel—with characters, plot, and setting—overwhelmed me. The fear of failure cast a large shadow in my thoughts. 

And then there was the fear—of my dream never coming true.  

Continue reading “Dreams: When Dreams Don’t Come True”
Perspective, Trusting God, Writing

Direction: 3 Things to Remember When God Changes Our Plans

Meme with rocks that are slanting downward and the word, "Slant"

@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.

*****

Have you ever thought you knew where your path was leading, only to have it slant in another direction? 

If I had to guess, most of us have experienced occasions in our lives where we thought we knew the plan, only to have it change in some way.

I thought I’d procure a teaching position straight out of college, only to work in other jobs for two years before God led me to the job He’d intended for me. 

I thought Hubs and I would begin having children before I turned thirty . . . and our first child came along when I was nearly thirty-six. 

Continue reading “Direction: 3 Things to Remember When God Changes Our Plans”
Faith, Trusting God

Unexpected: How Do We Handle Change?

Meme that says Plot Twist super-imposed over a pic of a snow-covered tree

@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.

*****

I might take ridiculous pleasure in creating plot twists for my stories. Maybe I’m a little mischievous because I enjoy watching my characters struggle. Mostly I enjoy it because I know they’re going to learn and grow through the challenge.

Can I just be honest and say that I’m not fond of real-life plot twists? Torn ACL’s, snow days in May (yes, we had a snow day on May 21st this year, with three days left in the school year), and other challenges that force a change to the rhythms of my days? 

Continue reading “Unexpected: How Do We Handle Change?”
Calling, Faith, Trusting God

Motivation: 5 Thoughts for Choosing Motivation

@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.

*****

Last fall, I left a writer’s conference motivated to finesse the book I’d begun writing early last year. I was going to tear the story apart, make it stronger, put it back together, polish it, and send it to the people who had requested it.

Sometimes we have the best of intentions . . . and then life tromps right over them.

I had no idea I’d have to learn how to choose motivation. 

Continue reading “Motivation: 5 Thoughts for Choosing Motivation”