Guest Posts, Joy, Trials

Joy: Three Ways to Find Joy in Difficult Times

A zucchini blossom in a garden, a reminder that we must cultivate joy

Guest Blogger: Lindsay Harrel

***For the first three weeks in May, I want to introduce you to three author friends. They have books that have just released, and each of them has wisdom they’ll share in their posts that guided their stories. I am including links to their books, should you want to learn more. And no, I’m not earning anything from sharing them. I just want you to get to know these authors. Enjoy!***

I first came across Lindsay Harrel on a blog we both frequented. When I met her in person at a writer’s conference, I felt like I already knew her. She’s got a way with words and a passion for encouraging people. She’s a wife, a fellow boy-mom, and an author. I’ve loved reading her books, especially her most recent, The Joy of Falling, and walking this writing journey with her. Please welcome, Lindsay Harrel!

Last week’s book winner is: Jennifer Smith! Please email me within the next week with your address so we can get you your book.

*****

I’ve been thinking about joy a lot lately.

Like many, I’ve struggled with a bit of depression over the craziness inflicted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes and goes, and it’s nothing like others experience, but it’s there, lurking in the corner and coming for a visit when I least expect it.

But here’s what I’ve learned about hard times—even in the midst of them, we can experience joy. 

Let me rephrase that: we can CHOOSE joy.

Continue reading “Joy: Three Ways to Find Joy in Difficult Times”
Lisa Jordan, Mothering, Trials

Storm: Hearing God’s Whisper Through the Rain

Dark clouds hovering over a city, dropping rain over mountains

Guest Post by Lisa Jordan

Intro: I had no idea, on the day I met her, the gifts God had in store for me. My friend and award-winning author, Lisa Jordan, has been a confidante, an encourager, and a speaker of deep wisdom. She’s helped me on my writing journey, been a support and a listening ear when my kids have me pulling my hair out, and most of all, she points me to Jesus when I begin to think everything is up to me. I’m thrilled to begin sharing her quiet wisdom and encouraging words with you all on the last Tuesday of each month. Please help me welcome Lisa Jordan.

*****

At the end of March, I spent two days with friends, who lived ninety minutes from my house. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a social visit but one of necessity—at least to this aching mama. 

Earlier that day, I had taken my youngest son to the walk-in clinic in our community and then the emergency department at our local hospital. His jaw and neck were swelling quickly despite the prescribed antibiotics his doctor had given him the day before. After waiting nearly three hours, the ER physicians decided my son needed to be taken by ambulance to a hospital in a larger city to treat the infection more aggressively so it wouldn’t affect his breathing by closing off his windpipe.

Continue reading “Storm: Hearing God’s Whisper Through the Rain”
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!

*****

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. 

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series):Enduring Gratitude—A Gift For All Seasons”

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!

*****

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.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Domino Effect of Practicing Gratitude”

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.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Choice of Saying Yes”

Guest Posts, Trusting God, Waiting

Wait: The Ache of the Waiting Room

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’m so excited to share a little from Jennifer Dukes Lee today! I recently read her newest book, It’s All Under Control, and it has ministered to my heart. Jennifer has a way of speaking real, and being encouraging. A combination I love.

I am traveling today, but I plan to check in and comment and visit as I’m able to this week. Thanks for your patience!

Please welcome—Jennifer Dukes Lee

*******

This is the waiting room. Welcome. You know this place, don’t you? When we are in the waiting room, we eventually have to make this choice: We can either distance ourselves from God or we can trust him in the wait.

This truth became so evident to me over the last three years, a season when I’ve logged many hours in waiting rooms—literal ones. Waiting for a friend when she had a cancerous lump removed. Waiting for our daughter Anna when she underwent procedures for a digestive problem. Waiting for Dad when he had a pacemaker put in, and then more waiting when he had part of his right leg amputated.

Continue reading “Wait: The Ache of the Waiting Room”

Guest Posts, Kelly Balarie

Thoughts: The Blessing of Being Battle Ready

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Years ago, the Lord challenged me to guard my thoughts, to think on what is true, and to learn what that looks like in the lives of believers. I love that Kelly Balarie has just come out with a book, Battle Ready, that covers this in depth and with transparency. She shares practical tips on how to keep our thoughts aligned with God’s word so we are Battle Ready when life’s trials come.

Kelly is guest-posting on my site today. In the comments, I’d love to hear how you keep your mind Battle Ready!

~~~~~

TITLE: The Blessing of Being Battle Ready

By: Kelly Balarie

I was in the waiting room for the MRI. All that was going through my mind was thoughts of, This is horrible. I am never going to survive. I am not going to be able to walk. There is no way out of this. I will be scared to death in that loud machine. I hate needles and they’ll put one in me.

All I could see there was me. It was me and my problems. Me and my trauma. Me and all the horrible pain that was ahead of me.

Continue reading “Thoughts: The Blessing of Being Battle Ready”

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”