So, This Is 40.

Completely lame to title a blog post after a movie. But, I’m in my 40s now. So, I’m comfortable being lame. I always thought turning 40 would bother me. Because, in my mind, I am always, always 18. Aren’t we all? Sure, we don’t feel 18. But, we are always that 18 year old who still feels like they are navigating through this thing called life. I can still remember as vividly how it felt to be embarking on my college career as much as I can remember how I felt walking my third child into school the first day. Feelings are just so powerful. And, they hard to forget. I can remember walking into Mrs. Howard’s third class at Jackson Road. I can remember how she made me feel secure. I can remember almost drowning in the Gulf and my father never letting go of my hand. I can remember holding onto the OUTSIDE of the escalator of Southlake Mall and riding it up until my mom climbed on top of a brick display, grabbing the soles of my shoes, pulling me back down.

I can remember the first time I felt the presence of God and thinking that I never wanted to leave it.

I can remember graduating from college and looking into the mass of onlookers and seeing the gleam in my grandfather’s eye.

I can remember not being able to stop the tears when John Henry was born and holding him in my arms for the very first time. I remember looking at my mom and saying, “My world is right now.”

I can remember being heartbroken. But more than the heartbreak, I can remember my friends taking care of me and being there.

I can remember opening my heart up to love again. I can remember kissing Kris Takle on his brother’s sofa for the first time. I can remember my mom’s tearful face when we loaded up in a King Air and moved to Oklahoma City.

I can remember when Anna Takle was three years old, and I realized that I had to start recording how fun she made my life.

I can remember deciding to have a third child after swearing two was enough. But, then, looking at that future super-hero in the face with gratitude and thanksgiving that he was mine.

I can remember Kris telling me, “I think we can do this,” when he told me we were moving back home to Georgia.

I can remember fully surrendering my life to the ministry and my father ordaining me a pastor.

I can recall exactly how those moments felt. And, I am so thankful for them all. For the good moments. For the bad. The good have taught me gratitude. The bad have taught me forgiveness and love.

I’m no expert in life. I have many more miles to travel and hopefully many more candles to extinguish. But, I have penned 40 things that I have learned so far. Perhaps, next year I will have a different view. A different outlook. A different perception of life. I hope I do. Because, that means I’m evolving. But, today, this is 40:

1. Don’t put too much weight into a present emotion. Because, you never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.

2. You don’t have to talk through every single feeling, emotion, or issue.

3. Friendship in marriage is just as important as love.

4. Having a third kid is a game-changer. Don’t do it unless you’re willing to change the game.

5. I like our new game with three kids….now that I’ve regained my sanity. Somewhat.

6. My blood pressure rises when I read status updates or comments that portray a God who is ready to take out His vengeance on people. Or when people read the Word but don’t get the Spirit behind what’s being said. God is a God of love. Period.

7. I need to not let myself get so worked up over #6.

8. God is not up there, out there somewhere. He is within me.

9. My mom is the person I can tell anything to.

10. I don’t always have to be right. And, my way isn’t the only way. In parenting, in life. We all have the same mission but different methods. We have to work through our own salvation.

11. It’s okay to simply say, “that’s not going to work for me” without giving further explanation.

12. If I don’t schedule my time, someone else will. Create margin with your time.

13. Gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, and praise are the keys to EVERYTHING.

14. Pain doesn’t last.

15. Being skinny is fun. But not as fun as a really good meal.

16. Whatever I focus on will expand – whether positive or negative.

17. Kris and I travel really well together. He is my favorite travel partner.

18. It’s important to jump into your kids’ passions and be amazed with them.

19. Never, ever give up on people.

20. Even when you become frustrated with where someone is in his or her life, don’t stop being their friend. They will get through that rough place. Love them through it instead of pulling back.

21. When you know you’re wrong, own it.

22. Say thank you as often as possible.

23. Chill when life gets interrupted. Accept it. It happens.

24. Dreading makes everything worse. Don’t dread what you know you already have to do.

25. If you see a need, and it’s within your means to meet that need, do it.

26. Give, give, give.

27. Laughter is not only the best medicine, it’s the heartbeat of my life.

28. Not everyone is going to believe the way I do. And, that’s okay. (So, let crazy Facebook comments and otherwise go.)

29. My mom thinks my kids are just has hilarious as I do. I am so thankful I can share my life with her.

30. My dad is the most consistently loyal, forgiving, compassionate, merciful person in the universe. Hands down.

31. I have the best friends in the world. And, the older I get the more I realize how much I need them.

32. I could never leave the ministry.

33. I love being alone with God.

34. I either cry or almost cry every time I worship the One who has made all things so good.

35. Don’t sit alone when you’re down. As hard as it is, call someone. Go be with someone you trust. Just don’t be alone.

36. Whenever you think something good is going to come from telling someone exactly what you think or “finally giving them the what for,” please know, nothing good will EVER come from that. Ever.

37. Don’t close the door to new friendships.

38. It’s none of my business what other people think of me.

39. Try really hard to not yell at your children. They are real souls with real feelings.

40. God is for me. So, all moments have been for me. The good ones and the bad ones. Because, God has been IN all of those moments.

If you’re still reading, thank you for indulging me in such a long post. And, thanks to all of you for being in my world. I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am so thankful to serve a God who is full of love. And, I am so thankful to enter my forties. I think I’m going to like it here.

7 Comments

Filed under gratitude, life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey

Twelve: A Soul Well Tended.

Middle School. First year. That’s where we are now. Everyone tries to tell you to hold on tightly. Because, the years are set to mach speed when you’re raising children. And, how well I now know that you are 12 years old. TWELVE. One minute I’m walking you into your first day of Kindergarten.

Then, the next I’m dropping you off and watching you walk into Middle School. And, two things consistently astonish me: how I blink my eyes and you are almost as tall as me…..

and how you continually make everyone around you feel good about themselves.

Someone recently made the comment how you have the unusual ability to make even “old folks feel important.” It’s one of the traits that makes me most proud. Everyone leaves your presence feeling a little better about themselves. Please, son….don’t ever lose this gift. It’s really what the Kingdom is all about. Love. Acceptance. Mercy. I am amazed watching you make these three things the epitome of who you are.

You love people. You encourage them. You accept them for who they are and embrace who they are. And, your mercy is so long and wide. So much so that you remind me often to be a giver of mercy. I can remember one evening you overheard me saying something negative about someone. I was so embarrassed. I went to you and asked you to forgive me. Your response: “I forgive you. Just remember, he is a good man.”

Those words went straight to my heart. Such holy, good conviction that reminded me to allow to people to fail me. To make allowances for other’s faults. To always look for the good in others.

John Henry, your soul is even more beautiful than your eyes. And, that is saying a lot. You tend to your soul beautifully. At the start of this school year I told you I wanted us to begin studying the scriptures together. You immediately went to retrieve your Bible, and we turned to the Sermon On the Mount and began to read. This part of that sermon defines who you are so well:

7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:7-9)

And, God blesses you, John Henry Landreth. I am so proud of the man that you are. I will always miss my little boy. I will always smile when I think about this little face.

But nothing compares to the tears of joy I cry when I look into this face. Full of mercy. Full of love.

 

Happy 12th Birthday, John Henry. I love you more today than yesterday. And, I will love you even more tomorrow.

 

Love,

Mom

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Kid Stuff, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting

He Is For You.

Originally written and published in The Grip January 2014.

Romans 8:31 says, “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Minsters quote this all of the time. Heck, you’ve probably posted it as your Facebook status before. But, what does this truly mean? If God is for you, who can be against you? Does it mean exactly what it says? That, He is for you? Always? If this true, then that means ALL moments are for you. Because, God is in all moments.

That interruption in your day you weren’t expecting. That moment was for you. The cereal spilled all over the counter. That moment was for you. The trip back to your child’s school, because he forgot his lunch. That moment was for you. That busted pipe over the recent freeze. That moment was for you. Your spouse walking out the door and leaving you a single mother. That moment was for you.

That amazing sunset you paused to watch. That moment was for you. Witnessing the birth of your child. That moment was for you. Your littlest putting his nose to your nose and saying, “I love you, Mommy.” That moment was for you. Enjoying that incredible dinner with good friends. That moment was for you. Falling in love again. That moment was for you.

It doesn’t mean God caused any of the difficult circumstances. But, He as certainly been in them. And, in all moments. Because, He is for you. And, when you can wrap your head around the fact that if God is for you, then all moments are for you….then, you can learn to say, “Nothing goes wrong in my world.” But, all moments have been for me. On Christmas Day, when my husband and I realized our hot water had been leaking and ruined our downstairs floors….Neither of us became upset. Neither of us said, “We can’t catch a break” or “just our luck.” Neither of us felt attacked by a devil. It’s just life. Things break. And, instead of focusing on that inconvenience, our thoughts turned to gratitude for a wonderful first Christmas on our farm. When my oldest had a lot of questions about his dad leaving, I explained to him that if his dad could go back, he would make a different choice. He responded, “I wouldn’t want him to. Because, then I wouldn’t have my Daddy Kris and my little sister and brother.” Oh, if we could all see life’s moments as a child.

My most difficult moments have been my greatest teachers on forgiveness. My most beautiful moments have been my greatest teachers on thankfulness. And, I know He has been in them all. Because, He is always, always for me. And, He is always for you.

1 Comment

Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey

A Time To Draw Closer.

She couldn't find her piano bag as we were rushing out the door. She was wearing shorts that were too small, and she appeared unkempt. In the moment of her struggle where she needed me to pull closer to her, I reprimanded her for not keeping up with her things. For not taking pride in how she looks. I allowed it to domino into a discussion about what she's not doing. At first, she responded to me with exasperation in her voice.

 

And, then there was silence. Silence as my tone threatened her confidence. As my words ran the risk of becoming her inner voice.

 

She stepped out of the car empty handed, prepared to explain to her piano teacher that she was without her music. I watched her walk in. We pulled away, and my heart broke. Careless with my words. Unconscious of my tone. Because, I failed to see her in that moment as a real soul. As a representation of God in my life. In the world of parenting where we make deposits and withdrawals, I made a withdrawal. A big one.

 

This morning I read, “The moment when you are most repelled by a child's behavior, that is your warning light to draw the very closest to that child.” (Ann Voscamp) Holy conviction gushed out of me. Especially, in the light of my own thousands of moments where God could reprimand my behavior. I was reprimanding how she clothes herself yet failing to clothe myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

 

Instead in our own weaknesses and failings, God pulls Himself even closer to us. And, He reminds us of who we really are. Wonderful. Marvelous.

 

Growing. Learning.

 

Becoming more like Him every single day.

 

I have a lot of deposits to make today. I ask forgiveness. And I tell Anna Takle who she really is.

 

Wonderful. Marvelous. Beautiful. Brave. Funny. Inspiring. Gifted.

 

Loved.

 

6 Comments

Filed under Motherhood, parenting

Captain America Turns 4.

I thought the title of this post was appropriate seeing as how this was Anna Takle’s birthday blog back in 2008. How do I love thee, Jett Takle? Let me count the ways. My friends with three children always told me before Jett was born, “There is just something about that third kid.”

 

I’m here to tell you. There is just something about that third kid.

 

I’ll admit. We don’t enforce some things with Jett the way we did with our first two. Here are some our parenting philosophies that were thrown out of the window after Jett Takle was born:

 

“High chairs are required in restaurants just like carseats are required in cars.” (Now, we just try to coral him within a 100 foot vicinity of our dining table. Shout out to the patio at El Toro Loco.)

 

“Bed time is 7:00, because moms and dads need time to themselves.” (Have you seen those sweet feet in those flannel pajamas and felt him snuggled next to you on the sofa?)

 

“Do not leave the table without asking, ‘May I be excused?’” (Don’t judge me. We get tired.)

 

“Kids should be potty-trained before they reach the age of 3.” (Whatever.)

 

“Using the word ‘butt’ isn’t appropriate for children under age ten.” (Every time he says “butt,” the entire family erupts with laughter. Also true for “crap.”)

 

“One treat a day.” (We stay stocked up on popsicles like Jerry Seinfeld stays stocked on cereal.)

 

“Be careful what your children listen to in the car.” (He knows every word to Zac Brown Band’s “Sic ‘Em On A Chicken.” Again, don’t judge me. We live on a farm now.)

 

“Never leave a child unattended.” (Ok. This is still true. But, we did lose him once. We found him in the chicken coop smashing eggs. Perhaps, we should be careful what our children listen to in the car.)

 

We’ve relaxed in a lot of ways. Perhaps, we’ve relaxed too much in some respects. BUT, we have adopted some new parenting philosophies since he’s been born, too:

 

“So, what if you’re kid stays up a little longer? Some of our best conversations happen at night.”

 

“Don’t stress over the small stuff and hard seasons. They’re just seasons. Sometimes, they just need a few more birthdays.”

 

“It’s okay to be friends with your kids.”

 

“ENJOY every season. You’ll blink your eyes, and they will be in Kindergarten.”

 

Jett Takle, we have all been in love with you since the moment we met you. You are our bright light. Our sweetest snuggler. Our charming smile. Our favorite superhero. The other day you told me, “Mom, you’re a great web shooter.” Jett, you are a great kid. A great little brother. A great son. I can’t even think about your future without getting so stinking excited. Because, you are destined to do great things. Until then, I’ll keep slinging webs and protecting the universe with you.

 

Thank you for teaching me how to enjoy being a mom. I love you so very much.

 

Happy 4th Birthday, Captain.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting

And the soul felt its worth.

'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth. – Oh Holy Night

 

Out of nowhere, she walked into the kitchen while I was preoccupied cleaning countertops and focusing on those other kitchen duties that seem to win my attention all too often.

 

“You know when we say 'I am who God says I am?'”

 

Without looking up, I shook my head yes.

 

“It's the same as saying 'God is who He says He is.' Because, He is I Am. You know, the I Am that I Am. So, if saying 'I am who God says I am' is the same as saying 'God is who He says He is,' then I am also who God says HE is.”

 

She had my attention now.

 

“Anna Takle, yes. Yes, yes, yes. YOU are who God says HE is.”

 

It's in that moment, her soul felt its worth.

 

Everything God says He is, you are. For you were created in HIS image.

 

So, you are light. You are love. You are holy.

 

Go be who you already are. Be God in someone's life.

 

And, may YOUR soul feel it's worth this season.

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under God Stuff, Motherhood, parenting

Overlooking Offenses.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. (Proverbs 19:11 NLT)

 

Sometimes, we think that if we overlook a wrong, then we won't be validated or defended. Remember, Jesus was wronged. Yet, He went it the cross like a lamb led to slaughter, and he opened not His mouth. We are never more like Jesus when we overlook an offense. And, we earn respect when we do.

 

I don't always keep my mouth shut about an offense. I don't think, if we are honest, any of us do. However, I have learned one thing about choosing to “vent” an offense. To make sure the offense is redeemed in that vent. In other words, don't share an offense without the intent of it leading to the redemption of it. In doing so, I am careful who I share, or vent, offenses to. I always know that if share an offense with my father, his response will not be, “I can't believe that person” or “I would be done with that person.” He first acknowledges my hurt and says he's sorry. But, then he quickly helps me see the hurt the offender is speaking from and also makes me look within myself at what may be drawing it out of that person. Then, I am able to release forgiveness, and overlook the offense moving forward. And so, it is redeemed.

 

One of the greatest examples of overlooking an offense is when King David traveled to Bahurim, and Shimei, a member of Saul's family came out to curse him. Shimei threw gravel at David and cursed him and accused him of stealing Saul's throne. David's officer, Abishai, couldn't take it and said, “Let me go over and cut off his head!” But, David responded, “Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”

 

Later in scripture, Shimei begs for mercy. But, to Abishai, this was no small thing. No small offense. To throw gravel at a king and curse the Lord's anointed was a huge deal. Most of us would have agreed with Abishai's response and wanted Shimei punished. But, David shocks his men seeking justice and says “what do I have in common with you?” In other words, how are we even alike? You seek vengeance, and I seek mercy? Ouch. And, then, he says, “Do I not know I am king over Israel?”

 

Ahhhh. The key to David overlooking an offense. He KNEW who he was. His security was built in knowing who he was. Not in other's opinions of him.

 

Remember who you are when you are offended. You are a child of the King. You are OF God. Let this truth go deep within you, so you can overlook wrongs. And, when you must vent, make sure redemption is the end result.

6 Comments

Filed under Life Experiences, Relationships, Virtue