Christmas, Intentional Living, Mothering, Uncategorized

Christmas: When We Need to Give Grace

A lit Christmas tree in dim room casting light on the walls


It seems like this happens every year.

Thanksgiving is a couple of days behind me, and I determine I’m going to make this year the Christmas season where I’m truly resting in the midst of the busy-ness of it all. I decide to cut back on activities and things I feel obligated to complete.

Each year I promise myself I’m going to come upon Christmas Day rested and worshiping my Savior, grateful for all that the Day represents. 

And almost every year Christmas Day arrives and I am weary.  I forget to give myself grace.

Continue reading “Christmas: When We Need to Give Grace”
Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living

Intentional: Living With Intention

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—INTENTIONAL. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

As I learned what our word is for this week, I had to smile. I spent last year focusing on this word: Intentional. As I prayed tonight, I got excited about what I might share. So…here goes…


One year ago, I had some understanding of what it means to live intentional. Walking through 2017 focusing on this One Word was transformational for me. God taught me how to be more intentional in my relationships with my family, with friends, with Him, and in writing.

I learned a lot about what it means to live intentional.

I got lots of practice on relating with our boys as they mature and walk out the teen years. I became intentional in the words I did—and didn’t—share.

God still has much to teach me about living every area of my life with intentionality.

The biggest thing He’s speaking to me about right now is to do life WITH Him.

To parent with Him.

To “wife” with Him.

To write with Him.

God wants me to do things with Him. He doesn’t want me to do everything on my own and then ask/expect Him to bless the work of my hands. Done in my own strength.

By myself.

When I commit my ways to the Lord, when I trust in Him? That’s when he goes to work in my life.

But more than that, He wants me (us) to remember that I’m not “doing life” alone. He is always with us. He yearns for intimacy with me and each of us. He wants us to remember we are not orphans. We are loved. Deeply. By a caring Father.

When we walk through life we can intentionally draw near to Him. Commit our thoughts, desires, fears, frustrations, those deep yearnings of our hearts to Him. 

We all have things we’re called to do. Whether it’s caring for others, for animals, vocations, nurturing relationships . .. He wants us to do these things with Him.

More important than the things we do, we are the main thing with God. Not our dreams, responsibilities . . . not our jobs, our callings.

Intimacy with God . . .

When I’m intentional about spending time with Him, seeking Him out each day, He renews my perspective. And God aligns the other things in my life. That is the best way to live intentional.

What about you? What helps you to be intentional in how you live out each day? How do you define “Intentional?”

Click to Tweet: God wants us to remember we’re not “doing life” alone

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Intentional

Fear, Intentional Living, Rejection, Trusting God

Intentional: Accepting What God Offers


+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ll never forget the day.

I was sitting with a friend at a Quizno’s. She always had a way of speaking truth, even hard truth, with gentleness. And she had the gift of prophecy.

“You have a gaping wound in your heart, Jeanne.”

Nine eye-opening words.

With those words, God opened my spiritual eyes to see the wound and its cause.


Continue reading “Intentional: Accepting What God Offers”

Faith, Intentional Living, One Word

2017: One Word


wave-rolling+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How can it be 2017 already? Though we’re in the middle of winter, what some may consider a drab season, a new year has begun, full of hope. Promise. Uncertainty.

There’s something within me that does little leaps when the calendar turns to January first. Call me crazy, but there’s always a sense of anticipation to see what God is going to do in the next 365 days.

Continue reading “2017: One Word”

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living

Now: Living in the Now

Christmas on the outside

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—NOW. 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’ve written before about living in the now. And most of the time, that’s where I want to be.

But I confess, in the middle of a crazy season the now is all I see. This moment. The huge to-do list to “make Christmas happen.” My soul longs for more than this moment offers. More depth. More peace.

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about the peaceful season I was determined to have. Yeah, well . . . Unexpected business trips, a kiddo coming down with strep, and the opportunity bless friends by watching one of their kiddos put a huge dent into my idyllic peaceful season.

My now has felt weighted down by the burden of the things to do, to organize for our Christmas season.

My now has been consumed with wrapping presents, getting them in the mail, running errands, and planning for happenings later in the month.


Sometimes, I wish my now looked different than my reality. I wish that each moment could be filled with quiet, with a sense of God’s presence.

When the to-do list grows, my shoulders stoop. When all I can see is the tasks demanding my attention, my spirit deflates.

When that’s all my now holds, I end up weary.

I know that’s not where God wants me to live. Sometimes our nows are temporary states. Other times, they are conditions where we have to choose how to respond.

joy-shelfIt’s a little over a week before Christmas, and I’m choosing to change what my now looks like.

Instead of the tasks ruling my days, I’m giving myself permission to enjoy certain activities, like watching old Christmas movies. I’m reminding myself of the beauty of spending time with my guys in the family room, lit only by Christmas lights.

I don’t have to get all those cards in the mail before Christmas. It’s in the moments when my boys want to cuddle, to talk, or to goof around that now feels most pleasant.

Those moments are my priorities, my gifts from God and from my boys.

how-will-i-spend-my-now-copyI don’t want to look back on this season, only to regret missing the gifts God gave me in my “now.”

Each moment is precious. Each moment I live with the opportunity to make a choice. How will I spend my now?

What about you? How do you choose the best over the “must?” How do you make your moments count?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung at Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Now

Click to Tweet: Sometimes, I wish my now looked different than my reality.

Living with Intention, Mothering, Relationship, Uncategorized

Savor: Savoring Each Day

Spices 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How do I walk out my days? Do I savor them? Or do I rush each moment, perhaps sprinkling a wee bit of salt on them, but coming to bedtime bland?

I have fallen into the trap that prompts me to believe busy-ness equals value. Busy-ness equals productivity. Busy-ness equals worth.

Continue reading “Savor: Savoring Each Day”

Eternity, Focus, Intentional Living, Time

Eternity: Making An Impact

7-4 Dandelion

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I only met her once in person.

Yet, she had a life-changing impact on me. Her gracious words, her honesty in her blog  and her love for her God, her family and those who crossed her path shone through her words and actions.

A friend first introduced me to the writings of Kara Tippetts when a loved one in my life was diagnosed with cancer. I began reading the words of this thirty-eight-year old mother of four and I was challenged, and convicted to look beyond the now.

Continue reading “Eternity: Making An Impact”

Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living, Relationship, Uncategorized

Dear: Making Sure They Know

Christmas lights and ornaments

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DEAR. 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!


Why is it easier, during the Christmas season, to make sure those I hold most dear to my heart know they have claimed that place?

I buy gifts for them, take time to write personal messages in cards and letters. I look for opportunities to bless them in special ways.

I am purposeful.

Why not be purposeful during the rest of the year? Purposeful in dropping a line via email, or even on social media, to say, “Hey, I was thinking about you today.”?

Why not leave a note in my kids’ lunch box for them to discover sometime during their day? Reminders of my love for them, of what they mean to me?

It’s fine to take time during Christmas to make sure my dear ones know how I feel about them.

Grateful card

Wouldn’t it mean even more to them if on say, June 12, I sent them a note in the mail, of all things? Just to tell them, “I’m thinking about you? You matter to me.”?

I love receiving notes like this. They take me out of the normal of my day and leave me feeling special.

I want those I call dear to know by my actions that they are important to me. I may not have the money to buy them expensive gifts, but I have heartfelt words to share.

I can be intentional in letting them know they matter. To me. To others.

Sometimes it’s in that extra thought that a life is changed, that someone knows they are significant on this big blue earth filled with masses of people.

Even more, what if I was able to share with people just how dear they are to God? The Creator of these masses of people. And how amazing is it that we as individuals are dear to God—each one of us? I can’t quite fathom it.

Mary Manger copy

I guess I’ll have to focus on the way He showed us this: through the birth of his Son. Jesus. Amazing taking on the flesh of humble.

What better way for us to know just how dear we are to our heavenly Father?

What about you? How do you show people they matter to you? What’s one way someone has shown that you are dear to them? 

Visit Kate Motaung’s site for her Five Minute Friday: Dear post and a giveaway she’s doing until midnight tonight.