I Could Write For Days.

I could write for days about how he lavishes mercy on people. How he rarely has to forgive, because it’s unusual for him to take offense to something said or done. Because, he is the master at making allowances for other’s faults. I could spend all day telling you how he pours out wisdom over and over and over again. How he has saved me from so many blunders. How he has kept me so many times from letting my words fall at the wrong time at the wrong place. I could tell you how much he loves God’s Word. How much he loves His Maker. How much he loves doing what he does. How good he is at doing what he does. How much he just loves. Doesn’t judge. I could tell you so many things.

How he is the most fun person on earth to sing Garth Brooks songs with.

How he can make you laugh harder than any other person.

How he can laugh at himself.

How adorable it was that his favorite part of Ireland was riding on this site seeing bus.

I could spend all day sharing all of the hilarious things, all of the inspirational things, all of the love-filled things about him.

But, it would take an eternity to tell you what it’s like to call him Dad.

It would take forever to share the stories of what kind of father he was to me when I was growing up. How he practiced patience. Made me laugh. Spent huge amounts of time with me. Didn’t buy into the “quality time is better than quantity.” He knew quantity mattered. So, he spent as much time as he possibly could with me. And, he still does.

Every single day that Kris is gone, he will call and ask me, “What do you need me to do today?” I thank him over and over again for helping me. He replies, “It’s a joy.” I called him the other day to say thank you for picking up the kids from school. He responds, “I love spending time with my grandchildren. I’m glad I get to do what I do for them.”

He does everything without complaining.

He does everything with immense joy. With immense grace. With immense love.

Dad, I could not imagine a more wonderful father than you. I could not dream of a more amazing, a more present grandfather to John Henry, Anna, and Jett. I am so thankful that I get to call you my pastor, my mentor, my friend. But, nothing compares to being able to call you Dad. Nothing. You are the best. Period.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Thank you for making life filled with so much grace, so much love, and sooooo much fun.

I love you,

Dusty

 

 

 

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Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, parenting, Relationships, Writing

You Gotta Believe Jett Takle Is Five.

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It is impossible to spend time with Jett and look away from him without him demanding my attention back. I’m sure you’ve experienced this with little ones grabbing your face and turning it to face theirs. Jett, like most kids, has always done this. But, now that he’s older, he doesn’t grab my face. He simply shouts, “Mom! You gotta believe this!” It’s his twist on “You’re not going to believe this!” I like his version better. Because, more than the things we don’t need to believe, there are so many more things we actually “gotta” believe. And, he reminds me everyday to believe in the good.

To believe that it’s important to be an observer of life and notice every inch of it.

To believe that life’s wonder and beauty are found in what most of us consider the mundane – the everyday life – the ordinary. To know that we don’t always have to seek an adventure, a destination, or some exotic place or people….but we can find God in every aspect of our daily journey. And, there is nothing mundane at all about that.

And, there is nothing mundane about being with Jett.

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Jett, you replenish my soul. You fill my life with so much joy that I cannot contain it all. It pours out of me in the forms of smiles, laughs, stories, and tears. The good kind of tears. The kind where I sit alone and think about your very existence and I am flooded with emotions wrapped in gratitude and thankfulness. I am so thankful for you, and I love every single thing about you.

I love the way you look at me and tell me you love me.

I love the way you insist on riding your daddy’s back to bed.

I love the way you dream of becoming a pilot and flying “to outer space.”

I love the way you love your big brother and sister and light up when they play with you.

I love the way you get so excited when you tell a story.

I love the way you get so excited about EVERYTHING.

I love the way you love exploring nature on the farm. You make me love the farm even more, too.

I love the way you know when you are entertaining us with your hilarious dance moves, so you don’t stop dancing.

I love the way you get those dance moves from your Ga-Ga.

I love how creative your imagination is. And, how you believe you can do and accomplish anything.

You gotta believe this, Jett Takle. You make our lives sweeter. I recently read, “time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.” You make time stand still for me. And, I will forever be grateful to you for making me soak in so many beautiful moments.

Happy 5th Birthday, Jett. We love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mom.

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Same Big God

He cried all the way to school saying he missed his daddy. Part of me cried with him, because I miss him, too. But, the greater part of me knows that He gives me strength for every single moment. I wept for him, because he doesn’t understand that strength within him. And, then, it hit me. I had shared this scripture on social media this morning:

But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength. 2 Timothy 4:17

I only saw this scripture applying to my life and to yours, although, knowing it is for everyone.

Everyone.

Even for an almost five year old.

And, while Jett may not comprehend the strength within him, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it is there. How many things of God are within me that I have yet to comprehend? That I have yet to grasp fully? Yet, they are still there, and I can activate them within my life at any given moment.

This morning I was reminded that there is no big God in me and little God in Jett. That same power is inside of him. That same God who says you have everything you need to do all He has called you to do, to endure any season, to face any challenge, resides within Jett Takle. That same God has given Jett all he needs to do all He has called Him to do. Even at the young age of four.

And, so my prayer became this:

God, thank You for the gifts that are within Jett. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient within him. Thank You for your strength within him. Thank You that at his weakest, You are strongest. And, right at this moment, he feels Your strength.

In as much as I love my children. I know God loves them even more than I do. And, that same God who has delivered you from your darkest moments, your greatest fears, and your hardest days is the same God who will comfort your little ones, cause them to feel His presence, and give them strength they didn’t know they had.

Rest today in knowing that the same God within you is the same God within them.

….how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11

 

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Filed under life, Motherhood, parenting, prayer

On Love and Marriage

Dear friends,

I thought I would share one of my recent articles published in The Grip on love and marriage. I truly feel as though Kris and I have a beautiful marriage, because we have chosen to become partners in everything. We are a team. There is no competition. No disrespect. And, complete trust. He is my best friend, and I am his. I love this quote and believe it to be true: “It's not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” (Friedrich Nietzsche) Physical intimacy is important as well as date nights and time away from our children. But, it is our views on true partnership that I feel make us strong in our relationship. I pray your own relationships are strengthened, not just this weekend, but every single day. And, that you bring more glory to Him together than you do apart. Happy Weekend of love!


Previously published in The Grip.

My husband and I don’t really exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. Nevertheless, we are still big fans of love. So, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I would share a few not so secret secrets to what helps us enjoy life together and truly love each other well. I’m sure many of you could add to the list, too. But, here are a few things and thoughts I always try to remember about marriage….and about all of my relationships:

1) Don’t take things personally. Not text messages. Not actions. Nothing. Trust that your spouse is always for you. Once you truly believe he or she is FOR you, then you rest in knowing he or she never means to hurt you.

2) Don’t compare jobs or get into a “who has the toughest job” war. Comparison is the thief of joy. And, this is a dangerous road to travel down. One of the biggest keys in refraining from comparison is to always maintain an attitude of “I get to do this.” I get to provide for my family. I get to be available for my children. Gratitude for our roles changes everything.

3) I don’t have to talk through every single issue. I’m not advocating a lack of communication. However, sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Words are powerful and create energy: both positive and negative. Besides, I may feel differently tomorrow than I do today. Sleep on it.

4) Create rules for engagement when it IS necessary to address an issue. You set up whatever works well for your communication. For Kris and I, profanity and name-calling are never allowed when we are communicating an issue. I also try not to use “always” and “never” when discussing an issue. Both can put the other on the defensive and make a small issue become a greater one.

5) Make allowances for each other’s faults. This is so hard! But, we have to allow the people we love to fail us. We are certainly going to fail them.

6) Let thanksgiving and praise become the loudest noise in your home. Say thank you often. Even for the smallest of things.

7) Let laughter become the second loudest noise in your home. A cheerful heart is good medicine. (Proverbs 17:22) Laughter keeps our hearts softened. It makes the darkest days lighter. And, well, for Kris, he knows it completely drops my guard….and makes it really difficult for me to remain upset. Guard your heart (your thoughts), but don’t guard it from being merry.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

 

 

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When Fear and Anxiety Try To Win.

I have moments where I worry just like you. I let my thoughts run wild. I don’t discipline them and before I know it, I am awake in the middle of the night doing the exact opposite of what I tell other people to do. Anxiety fills me. Fear grips me. Stress takes over my physical and mental being. It’s an awful feeling. I long for morning, because I need a new day. A new grip on life. I need Kris to wake up and reassure me what I need reassure myself.

Last night was that kind of night for me. I tossed and turned. I let fear grip me. Hold me. Wrap its ugly hands around me. Grab hold of me like it owned me.

I finally slept the last hour. My alarm went off. I peeled open my eyes. And, I reminded myself of this scripture:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5

DEMOLISH those thoughts that don’t come from Him. Take them captive. Interrogate them. Hold them captive so they can’t hold you. Remind your soul of who God is. Recall every time God proved Himself faithful to you.

Recall every stone that has piled up in your life as a memorial to the goodness, the faithfulness, and the mercy of God.

Remember every situation that looked impossible and how God grabbed you and said, “I am for you.”

Hold onto thoughts of His goodness. Hold onto His love that stretches wider and deeper and longer than anything we can imagine.

Hold onto THOSE thoughts.

Hold them tightly.

Demolish those other thoughts. Take them captive. Strip them of their power. Because, the One inside you is greater. He is truth. He is good. And, in Him, we have no fear.

This Sunday at Eagles Way, I will be opening up our new series, Silent Night, with this very message. I will preach it with as much passion as I possibly can. Because, I know what it feels like to be gripped by something that takes the wind out from under you. But, I also know what it feels like to send those thoughts back to hell. And, to rise up with a renewed confidence, a renewed mind, and renewed passion for TRUTH.

His mercies are new every morning. And, because, of those mercies, this is mind is new….and finally, it caught up with what my Spirit already knew.

 

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey

Life Is Amazing.

Tonight, I dreaded the idea of going out in this painfully cold weather to check on a well and water troughs for cows. Dreaded. As in, how in the world am I living in a world where I check a well in 27 degree temps? Seriously.

But, I did. And, you know what I saw? Besides my breath in front of me? Stars. Amazing, beautiful stars that could not be numbered in a huge, amazing, beautiful sky. And, for a brief moment, I looked up and stared and thought, “Amazing.”

Sunday, I dreaded the thought of Jett becoming sick. Fever, congestion, loss of appetite. You know the stuff those little people get. I dreaded it changing up my Monday. Then, changing up my Tuesday. It did change it up. And, you know what I saw? Besides spilled Tylenol on my living room chair? A little boy who is growing up and changing so fast. Who has turned into the sweetest boy in the entire universe. Who made me laugh out loud so many times that, for a moment, I considered pulling him out of school and keeping him with me all the live long day forevermore….for a moment. And, then I put him to bed tonight and thought, “Amazing.”

Life is always amazing. Full of wonder. Full of crazy gorgeous evening skies and full of moments where your child sits closer to you. It’s always there. And, many times, those amazing moments are noticed in our life’s interruptions.

These past couple of days have reminded me: Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

They don’t just change to become more tolerable. They change to become your greatest blessings.

It’s when life becomes amazing.

Tonight, I go to bed amazed.

Thankful.

In love with life.

In love with the people in my life.

And, in love with the One who created it all and said, “It is good.”

 

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Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, Life Experiences, Motherhood

My Girl Is Ten.

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Had God asked me what I wanted my daughter to be like, I could have never imagined the wonder of you. I could have never dreamed of a daughter who makes me laugh more than you and enjoy life more than you. I could have never imagined a better daughter. A better friend.

I could have never written this story of my life with you.

Anna Takle, you are just always so much more. More of everything that is good. Everyone always hears and reads the hilarious and witty things you say. Trust me, there are many. But, there are stories they don’t hear. Like you coming home from school broken-hearted over a classmate with whom no one really engages. His self-esteem is low. So, you decide to sit right across from him at lunch one day. You tell him he isn’t who people say he is, but he is who God says he is. You don’t care what other people think about it. You don’t care what other people think about you. Instead, you walk confidently in who God created you to be.

“You could change the course of this kid’s life, because of your encouragement,” I tell you.

Tears fell down your face. They fell down mine. You became aware of what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ.

I love the way you ask questions and then truly listen to the answers. You always seek understanding. You are a lover of wisdom.

I love the way you look up to John Henry. I love how even though there are times you come to me with how he disappointed you, you run to his defense so much more.

I love the way you care for Jett. I love how you worry about him in school. I love how you are so proud of him when he learns something new. Especially, when you feared he might “grow up, get his GED, and stay in his PJs all day.”

I love how you know exactly what you like and what you don’t. And, you’re not afraid to tell me that my shirt is “screaming ‘look at me!'” Or how I “might want to reconsider those pants.”

I love how you strive for excellence in everything you do.

I love listening to you play piano. I love how determined you are to play a piece well….no matter how difficult it is. I love how you appreciate music from Beethoven to Jerry Lee Lewis.

I love how you hop on my bed, because you just want to be with me. I love being with you, too. I love how dad came in the room one night, and said, “Someone needs to get out of my bed,” and you quickly responded, “Mom, you heard the man.”

You make me laugh every single day. You make me proud every single day.

I am so thankful I get to spend my days with you. I am so thankful God gave me such an amazing daughter. I know we talk about you staying with me forever. And, I know it’s hard to believe right now, but a day will come and you’ll be ready to head out and take on the world. I call it the day I’ll spend eating boxes upon upon boxes of Junior Mints in my bed while crying.

I’m seriously thankful that day isn’t today.

And, I am so thankful I didn’t write this story of my life with you. Only God could write something so beautiful and fun.

I love you, Anna Takle. Happy 10th Birthday.

Love,

Mom

 

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