Faith, Summer Break, Uncategorized

Summer-Glimpses So Far

Snowball flowers on a summer morning

@JeanneTakenaka

Happy July, Everyone!

I hope you had a relaxing Independence Day celebration, though I suspect it looked different from past years.

My husband spent the last number of weeks working out of state, so I’ve decided to take a two-week blogging break to spend some time with family. I’m sharing a few glimpses of my summer so far. I hope you’ll join me back here in two weeks!

And, if you are looking for something to read and focus on Jesus this summer, I’m giving away a 28-day devotional book called, Finding God’s Presence in Everyday Living to my newsletter subscribers. Click the book cover below for more information.

Continue reading “Summer-Glimpses So Far”
Faith, Hope

Darkness: Seeing the Light

Moon shimmering on some clouds and rising above tree branches

Byine Lisa Jordan

When I was seven years old, I had a nightmare there was a snake in my bed.

I rushed into the living room where my parents had been watching TV. My dad took a flashlight into my bedroom, pulled back the covers, and shined his light to prove the snake was not there.

It wasn’t real . . . only a dream.

It felt so real in fact that I still remember the details over forty years later . . . and snakes continue to be my greatest fear.

But isn’t that what darkness does?

Continue reading “Darkness: Seeing the Light”
Comparison: Comparing Ourselves to Others, Expectations, Mothering

Mothering: When All We See is Failure

Two boys sitting on a swing together

@JeanneTakenaka

I read the post with a lump in my throat. This writer shared about how amazing her sons have turned out. Oh, not that there weren’t struggles, and pulling out of hair, but as they grew from boys into men, they have become good men.

And images of our own sons came to mind. 

It’s so easy to see the character traits that seem like weaknesses rather than the potential that is still taking root in their hearts.

Continue reading “Mothering: When All We See is Failure”
Family Relationships, God's Love

Father: When Fathers Love

A photo of the author with her father

@JeanneTakenaka

The three men in my life who speak the most of fatherhood are my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband. My father was raised by a single mom, and yet, he figured out this “dad-thing.” He learned how to help his three daughters know they were loved. He encouraged us to chase our dreams and to grow into the women God intended us to be, not the women he thought we should be. I’m sure this was tough, as we sometimes made choices that grated against what he thought was best for us!

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Comfort Zone, Faith, Hope

Comfort Zone: When Hearts are Confronted

A photo of a deer grazing in a meadow

@JeanneTakenaka

I think everyone would agree this version of 2020 was not the year we signed up for when we turned the calendar page on January first. 

First, a pandemic shut down our country and tried to erase hope and joy. As we’ve become a little more comfortable living in the “new different”, we are confronted with where our hearts and thoughts really stand when it comes to racism.

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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”
Expectations, Grace, Lisa Jordan

Expectations: Fear of Not Doing Enough

Inside of a small chapel sanctuary-peaceful

By Lisa Jordan

Once officials began putting precautions in place to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus, millions across the country found themselves working remotely from home, getting laid off, or sadly, losing their jobs all together, and becoming their children’s teachers. 

With many having unexpected time on their hands, people began making plans—projects around the house, losing weight, learning a new skill, or working toward making their dreams happen. And then they’d feel frustrated when they couldn’t get things accomplished. Time wasn’t an issue—emotional and mental cloudiness held them back.

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Faith, Perspective

When Faith Doesn’t Solve Everything

Lilacs not quite opened up yet . . . symbolic of how we are before we begin to believe in Jesus

Guest Blogger: Beth Vogt

***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!***

Some friendships are for a season, and some last a lifetime. Beth Vogt is a life-friend. We’ve walked many seasons together. She was the first person I shared with that God had given me a story. Instead of telling me to wait until my sons were older, she encouraged me to write it. And, she directed me to helpful resources to learn how to write a novel. She’s an encourager, a truth-speaker, an amazing author, and one of the most authentic people I know. I am so pleased to share her words here today. Please help me welcome Beth Vogt!

Last week’s winner of The Joy of Falling is: Anita Ojeda! Please contact me within the next week to receive your book.

*****

I was 21 years old when I embraced living by faith, instead of living by the familiar structure of my religious upbringing. 

I’m thankful my parents taught me to believe in God. But I’m even more grateful my then-future husband told me how important his faith was to him. I’ll admit that, at the time, I wondered why he talked so much about Jesus and the Bible. Both topics are a bit extreme for me—especially since we were on our second date.

Understanding that faith was more relationship than rituals altered my life. Hope began to seep into the parched corners of my soul and expanded who I thought I could be. 

Continue reading “When Faith Doesn’t Solve Everything”
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”
Forgiveness, Joy

Joy: Finding Joy in Forgiveness

Pink flowers with rain drops on them, a reminder that there is beauty after storms

Guest Post by Darlene Turner

***Over the next three weeks, 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!***

Darlene Turner and I have been in the writing trenches together for a number of years. My Canadian friend has such a warmth about her. We’ve finaled in contests together…and consoled each other when someone else won. We’ve talked about personal issues and how God has brought us through. Her debut novel, Border Breach, released last month. If you like romantic suspense, you need to check this one out.

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Early morning is my favourite time, especially during the warmer months (hopefully soon!). I love to sit outside on my patio listening to the cardinals sing. I enjoy smelling the freshness in the air and marvelling in the creation of the brilliant heavenly blue morning glories climbing my fence. It’s almost like they smile at me with their huge faces. I smile back. When I look at them, I see one thing. Joy.

Continue reading “Joy: Finding Joy in Forgiveness”