Identity, Priorities

Identity: The Greatest Showman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

We just got home from watching The Greatest Showman (Click title to see trailer). I’m just going to say it. I loved the movie. So many life-infusing themes woven into one story . . . besides the fact that they made my writer’s heart happy, they uplifted me at the deepest levels.

There are so many different themes that resonated with me, but the one that hummed the deepest parts of me was P. T. Barnum’s journey to understand the essence of his identity.

I’ll begin by saying this is Hollywood’s rendition of P. T. Barnum’s rise to fame. That said . . .

Phineas T. Barnum comes from a poor background. He holds certain beliefs based on things that happened when he was a boy.

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Christmas, Priorities

Christmas: Finding Peace in a Stressful Season

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Peace on Earth. Good will to men.”

How many of us crave peace? ’Tis the season when we hear about it. We sing about peace. We talk about the Prince of Peace who came from heaven to earth on our behalf.

Yet, in a season when this word—peace—is tossed around like a fix-all, it seems tiny compared to the stress that pervades every moment.

Continue reading “Christmas: Finding Peace in a Stressful Season”

Mothering, Priorities, Time

Time: Time Is a Gift

Clock on shelf

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TIME. 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!

There’s so much I could have said about this topic, but I narrowed it down to today’s life lesson. I have a suspicion Time will figure into more blog posts. 🙂 And I confess, I went a wee bit over. 


The older my boys get, the faster time flies.

There are so many distractions that eat up the minutes in a day. So many things to take care of that require my attention be focused on a screen.

There’s a place and a time for this, yes.

But my boys . . . they only live this day once. They come home from school with issues. And, when I’m distracted, it’s beyond easy to deal with the surface disrespect, the incomplete homework the binder left at school. So easy to reprimand.

But it takes a willingness to give of “my” time to get below the surface of that disrespectful answer.

Today one boy came home, glibly declared he’d left an important binder at school. And wrote me a note that about broke my heart.

God stopped me right there.

I went to his room. He poured out the struggles, the frustrations, the weariness that comes from being made to feel less-than by his peers.

I wish I had the answers! But, as my boys grow older, I won’t always have the perfect response to their heartbreaks. Sometimes, all I can give them is my time, my heart.

Glittery watch

My heart needs to be aligned with Jesus first. This takes time.

Yes, my boys will never be this young again.

They deserve my time—my full attention—as they walk through life’s hard during their pre-teen and teen years. When I’m focused on my to-do’s, its easy to forget how painful these years are. How painful it is to be the last picked for a team on the playground.

Time is a gift I can give to my children. Giving them time means my time won’t be spent on something I’m trying to accomplish.

When it comes right down to it, my family is the most important priority God’s given me. He’s the giver of all good gifts, and that includes time. But, He leaves the choice up to me as to how I use it.

Hands fingers intertwined

If I’m not willing to spend the time God gives me on them, then His gift is wasted. The boys are hardened. And I lose out.

I’m working to gift the time God gives me to those who are most important in my life.

What about you? How do you make choices to spend your time wisely? How do you gift your time to others?

Take a moment and read Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post on Time.

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Priorities

Seasons: Seasons Pass

Snowy branches

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SEASON. 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!


When my boys were little, I felt like I had cling-ons attached to my legs for-ev-er. But now, one is on the cusp of the teen years, and I am seeing how quickly the time flies by. In a few more years, he won’t be here to share family dinners, to make me laugh out loud, to drive me crazy by leaving his socks on the floor (okay, I won’t miss that part). My season of active mothering slips, day-by-day, into the past. And sometimes, it scares me a little bit.

As I look at the Christmas season, I’m a little amazed that we’re already at December 3rd. Sure, Thanksgiving was just last week. I’m seeing all that I feel I need to complete, and how the days speed past with very little marked off my to-do list.

Sun Shimmers

As I contemplated this word tonight, I was reminded that seasons pass. And when they’re gone, we’ll never have another one that’s just the same. We have one chance to live that season well. Because once it’s gone, it’s only a memory.

The beauty, the heartache, the awe-moments . . . slip into our past. Will we remember these aspects of our seasons?

How do we live each season well? The answer lies in finding that mix of living in each moment, yet still being purposeful with what God gives us to do.

For Christmas, my tree’s up, and we had a great time decorating it.

Will the Christmas letters all be mailed out on time? I’m not sure. I want to keep in touch with people, but my family is my most important priority.

As I purpose to insert stillness into my days, not as much is going to be accomplished.

Edmund and the cross

But what is the most important thing in each season of our lives? Living well. Loving well.

When we do these things—when we seek Jesus to know how to live them out—then we can rest in the truth that we are blessing Him.

What about you? How do you find the balance between the doing in a season and the living in each moment? What’s your favorite part about the Christmas season?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Season. Come read other great blogs!

Intentional Living, Life, Priorities

Priorities: Living Well

Autum's yellow blanket

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

What does it mean to “live well?”

Does it mean taking care of your body—exercising every day, eating right, never eating sugar, getting eight hours of sleep a night and drinking the perfect amount of water for your body?

Does it mean pouring yourself out all the time, even sacrificing things you want or need with the intention of helping others?

Does it mean pursuing that dream job, that perfect home, the nicest car, getting your kids into the best schools?

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Calling, Priorities

Priorities: Discerning God’s Best


By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part three of a three part series. In part one, I explored the idea of When Good Enough Isn’t and compromise). In part two, I shared thoughts on when Good Enough is Good Enough. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

When I met my husband, I was teaching third grade, serving in the nursery at church, serving in the high school ministry, leading worship at a start-up church, attending a home fellowship and sometimes helping with worship there. I was a busy lady.

As our relationship grew, we spent more time together. One by one, God encouraged me to set aside these other ministries. He was preparing me for the ministry of marriage. Was it easy to step back from all these ministries? No! I loved being a part of every single one of them.

Continue reading “Priorities: Discerning God’s Best”

Priorities, Relationship, Uncategorized

Good Enough: When Good Enough Isn’t

Sun lightened leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part one of a three part series. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

One of the messages on my heart is never settling for good enough. I was single-longing-to-be-married for what felt like going on forever. I watched friends get married. I was invited to eleven—yes, eleven—weddings in one year, and I was a bridesmaid in three of them.

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God, Marriage, Priorities

Priorities: What’s Most Important?

hands wedding photo 001 copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

What am I married to?

I mean, yeah, I’m very happily  married to my husband of nineteen years. No regrets there.

But, if an outsider were to peek in on my daily living, what might they see as my groom? What do I devote time, attention and emotion to?

Is it busy-ness? That hurry-up, hectic pace that kids and family schedules keep me on?

Continue reading “Priorities: What’s Most Important?”

Busy-ness, Christmas, Priorities, The Chaos of Christmas 11 Gifts (Tips) For Thriving in the Busy-ness, Uncategorized

The Chaos of Christmas: 11 Gifts (Tips) For Thriving in the Busy-ness


The first draft of my post last week was, um, depressing.

Continue reading “The Chaos of Christmas: 11 Gifts (Tips) For Thriving in the Busy-ness”

Priorities, Simplicity, Time-Gift Or Given

Time: Gift Or Given?

Image courtesy of adamr at

“Time to go.”

“So many books. So little time.”

“Time flies when you’re having fun.”

How many sayings are out there about “Time?” Time is one thing that sets definite boundaries around our lives. We receive twenty-four hours each day. No more. No less. Let’s face it: women have lots to do. I often cram as much as I can into a day.

Cynthia Heald said something that’s stayed with me: “Time is a gift, not a possession.” Simplicity views time as a gift, not a given. I tend to take time for granted. I figure I’ll have time to do ____________ (fill in the blank) later. That way I can do ______________ now. If time is a gift, should I assume I’ll have an unlimited amount of it? None of us knows how many days we’ll walk this earth.

Continue reading “Time: Gift Or Given?”