Joy, Thanksgiving, Trials

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy in Every Circumstance

Meme with the quote: "If you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength." ~Ann Voskamp, Author on a backdrop of fall-leafed trees near a creek.


As we are in the throes of Thanksgiving week here in the United States, I decided to add to a post I originally shared a few years ago. It’s short but sweet. And, I’m still sticking with a quote. 🙂


I love this quote by Ann Voskamp. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart, and it’s a choice. When we choose thankfulness, joy is the result in our hearts. We see the good things God has placed in our lives. When we take the time and make the effort to say, “Thank you,” we not only show Him appreciation, we build up a storehouse of joy within us.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving: Finding Joy in Every Circumstance”
Quotes, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: What We Celebrate

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

These weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (for those of us in the United States) are a great time to consider gratitude. In these shorter posts, let’s explore some quotes about gratitude and see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming holiday season.


Times have changed since the day the Pilgrims stepped foot on unfamiliar soil. Many died on the journey from Europe to what would become America. Those who made it barely survived those first couple of winters. And yet, their hearts were set on something much greater than survival.

Their minds focused on sustaining their community, but they were not consumed by the thought of how much could they prosper here.

These men and women chose a dangerous voyage with one hope—freedom to worship God in honesty and without persecution.

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Busy-ness, Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Thanksgiving

Enjoy: When Life Is Busy

Thanksgiving Breakfast table

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—ENJOY. 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!


I cannot believe Thanksgiving is in ONE. WEEK. Where has this year gone? How much activity and busy-ness will these final weeks hold?

It’s going to be a struggle to not get sucked into the siren’s call to get everything finished. Concerts attended. Hugs given out. Letters completed and mailed out. Presents wrapped. Parties attended.

With so much busy-ness and unexpected happenings on the calendar? How does one enjoy the season?

As I recall, Jesus came into this world on a quiet night. The world was bustling around Him, but He came in stillness. And in stress. Joseph sought a place for Mary to give birth to Him. The Savior of the world.

He didn’t come into the middle of a big city. But in a stable. With the low rumble of animal breathing for His lullabies.

Shepherds were His greeters. And a few wise men.


The point is, there was some busy-ness, but there was also sacred stillness.

I’m staring down the squares that represent the days left in this year, and if I let them, they are going to consume me.

I could come to December 31st tired. Disappointed in the things the season didn’t hold.

I feel the stress. I want the stillness.

The beauty of thinking about this now is that I have time to make some choices.

Because in the midst of the busy-ness, I can create times of stillness. I can choose to slow down enough to savor moments with my husband, our sons. With extended family. With friends.

I get to decide which activities I say yes—or no—to. I can decide what I do so I can enjoy this season.


After all, we’re celebrating giving thanks, aren’t we? We’re rejoicing in Jesus’ birth in a few short weeks. I’m pretty sure He doesn’t want us so worn out that we can’t enjoy the party. That we can’t savor being with Him.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about for this post, but I think the post found me. God’s giving me a nudge to choose to enjoy. Not to endure. And not to exhaust myself.

What about you? What choices can you make to enjoy this season? How do you create moments of stillness during this time of year? 

Click to Tweet: I feel the stress. I want the stillness.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s site Heading Home—Enjoy

Gratitude, Joy, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy

A Voskamp Thanksgiving and joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Today, I had planned to share some tips for dealing with busyness for this holiday season.

I think it’s more important we take time and consider Thanksgiving. Both the holiday and the attitude. So, that  post will be up next week.

I love this quote by Ann Voskamp. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart, and it’s a choice. When we choose thankfulness, joy is the result in our hearts. We see the good things God has placed in our lives. When we take the time and make the effort to say, “Thank you,”  we not only show Him appreciation, we build up a storehouse of joy within us.

It’s not always easy to choose thanksgiving in our circumstances. Some people have lost loved ones this year. Others are dealing with terminal illness. Divorce. Prodigal children. Heartbreak. Job loss. And perhaps the thought of “putting on a happy face” absolutely drains you.

Maybe, taking a few minutes to write down things you can be thankful for will help ease the sense of being overwhelmed. It won’t change your circumstances. But, choosing to give thanks will lift your heart, and begin letting joy back into those dark places.

D Bonhoeffer gratitude makes life rich1

As we Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the beginnings of our country, may we also choose thankfulness in the midst of our circumstances.

What about you? What’s one thing you are thankful for right now? How can I pray for you over the next week?

I’ve linked up with Holly Barrett‘s and (for today) Angela Parlin’s sites this week. Check out some other wonderful blogs!

Adoption, Family Relationships, Staying Connected, Thanksgiving, Traditions

Traditions: Strengthening Connections

Prayerful hands

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The kid had been asking for weeks.

“We’re having breakfast pizza for Thanksgiving breakfast, right Mom?”

“Yes, honey. We are.” I assured him and made the mental list of the ingredients to pick up at the store.

Continue reading “Traditions: Strengthening Connections”

God, Gratitude, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Gratitude: Makes Life Rich


D Bonhoeffer gratitude makes life rich1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

With this being the week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, I thought it fitting to keep the post a little shorter and to meditate on gratitude.

Many thoughts filter around the internet about being thankful. This one from Dietrich Bonhoeffer stirs my spirit.

We have been given much. How often do we take time to 1) think about the many small gifts that enter into our day and 2) take time to acknowledge them with a thankful heart?

Whether the gratitude is for . . .

—each breath we take

—a car that runs

—a person who truly loves us—even when we’re unlovely

—a blue sky after a storm

—the beauty left behind after snow falls

—pets that are unfailingly loyal

—the hug of a child, or spouse, or friend

—food on the table

—a roof over our heads

—unseen protection

—God’s grace strengthening us

. . . we should be purposeful in acknowledging each gift.

We give of ourselves to those around us. This is good. But, let’s also take time to thank our Father for the many, many gifts He gives each day.

Whether we have a lot or we have little in terms of material goods, we have been given much by our Father. When we take time to thank Him for what He’s given, our lives become rich.

When we choose gratitude, I believe peace is a byproduct of this practice.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, my hope is that you can truly enter into a place of giving thanks for what you have been given.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What about you? What is one gift—big or small—you are thankful for? Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions you care to share?

Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving What We're Celebrating

Thanksgiving: What We’re Celebrating


As our family sits down to celebrate Thanksgiving today, we will spend time talking about what this day honors. I hope your Thanksgiving Day gives you something to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude, Mothering, Relationship, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Traditions Five Kernels of Corn

Thanksgiving Traditions: Five Kernels of Corn


Some of my favorite girlhood memories revolve around holidays like Thanksgiving. My mom always woke well before the sun on Thanksgiving morning. She prepared the turkey and slid it into the oven to slow cook all day long. By 2:00 in the afternoon, the aroma of the roasting bird made my mouth water! My parents always invited friends and family to join us around our makeshift table. Food and laughter were plentiful.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving Traditions: Five Kernels of Corn”

Life, Thanksgiving, The Power of Gratitude

The Power of Gratitude


The month of November always finds me thinking about gratitude and having a heart of thanksgiving.

I came across this quote, and was challenged by the power gratitude holds. If we choose gratitude, it fills us, changes us and can bring peace to soothe heartache.

When we focus on being thankful for what we have—being content with that—it is enough. To see how gratitude changes hearts and perspectives . . . that is the “more” we receive when we practice gratitude.

I’m keeping it short today.

Your turn: What gifts have you’ve received as a result of gratitude? Have you ever received some “more” after choosing gratitude? What is one thing you are grateful for right now?