Category Archives: life

40 Is A Big Deal.

This guy is 40 today. FORTY. For his 38th birthday, I wrote 38 things I love about him. He thought I should do 40 now. When I suggested just adding 2 more to that old post, well, he thought it was tacky. Here is a brand new 40 reasons. I also enlisted the help the of the big kids.

Ready?

40 Reasons We Love Ivar Takle. I'll go first.

1) You love Bob Marley and John Denver. And, you sing their songs really loud.

2) You are the same person at home as you are everywhere else.

3) You never believe your blessings are just for you.

4) You make me want to be a better wife, because you are always a better husband.

5) I love how you make yourself trip just so I will laugh.

6) You make the best fried rice on the planet.

7) You bring me my coffee every single morning you are home. I feel like I am roughing it when you're gone.

8) You teach our daughter how a husband should treat his wife by setting an astounding example.

9) And, you may or may not spoil both of your girls.

10) You hear my heart and receive from me. You know, when I approach matters of the heart with grace instead of….that other way. :)

11) You are so stinking smart and answer all of my questions on what in the Sam Hill is going on in the world.

12) You can do anything a farmer can do. Drive any tractor. Plow any land. And, do that other farmer-type stuff. And, that's really sexy.

13) Flying an airplane is sexy, too.

14) You never, ever complain.

15) You never speak poorly of anyone. Ever. That is so amazing.

16) You are the hardest working man I know.

17) You teach John Henry how to be a man.

18) You play with our children. That's a big deal.

19) You are the epitome of patience.

20) You bring peace to our home.

 

Anna would like to take the next ten. Hit it, sister.

21) He loves me.

22) He is so much fun.

23) Sometimes, he gives me answers on my homework.

24) He is adventurous.

25) He is as crazy as me.

26) I love it that he fixes my breakfast every morning.

27) He is a really hard worker.

28) He's my favorite person to cuddle with.

29) I'm proud that he is my daddy.

30) He is handsome.

 

John Henry would like to add the next ten.

 

31) Because, he loves me.

32) He teaches me new things.

33) He gives me the chances to do things.

34) He provides me with a home and food.

35) Because, he will fly me around.

36) He doesn't freak out over things like mom does.

37) He loves my Daddy Bryan, and they get along.

38) He will tuck me into bed.

39) He will never give up on me.

40) He gives to others even if it's not a holiday.

 

I couldn't agree more with your big kids. And, number 40 might be my absolute favorite. Because, it is just so true. If Jett could add anything, I'm sure it would be, “He can always find my Super-Man cape” or “He lets me stay in my pjs” or “He lets me drive the tractor” or “My dad can fly an airplane. And, that's just cool.”

I have no idea how in the world you manage all that you manage. And, you are rarely a donkey on the edge. You continually amaze me.

You used to tell me you weren't as “spiritual” as me, because, you didn't have the foundation of scriptures that I had. But, I've seen people quote the entire New Testament and not live out what you live out on a daily basis. You are the most “spiritual” man I know because of how you love your family and how you love and give to others. You are always positive. Always. You always speak positively of others. THAT is spiritual. THAT is you.

You are such a great man. A great husband. A great father. A great friend.

You live out Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatever you do, do well.

Happy 40th Birthday. Thank you for doing all things well.

I love you, Kris Takle. And, I thank God you were born.

 

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Filed under life, making an impact, Marriage, parenting

Observing Life.

Published in The Grip.

“Let us be still so we may hear the whispers of God.” These words are written across a wooden plaque resting in my sunroom, and I see them daily. Yet, still I can forget to heed them. I knew this very article was already past due, but I continued to stare at a blank screen. It's a discouraging feeling – to be uninspired. And, this is exactly what happens to me when I fail to be still. When I fail to slow down. To notice. To watch, carefully, life happen around me. Instead, I can find myself waking up with the sole intent of just making the day happen….instead of noticing the day.

 

I become a participator in life more than an observer. Participating is necessary. But we don't participate well when we don't take the time to observe well. When I'm an observer, I am living in the now moments. I am careful how I respond to those around me. I am careful with my tone. I am careful to notice my eight year old's hands as she scoops the horse feed into the buckets and then careful to watch her walk across the field to be a source of love for those large animals. I am careful to notice my husband's face and see that he needs my encouragement. I am careful to notice the single mother in the store who can't pay for all of her food she struggled to place on the counter while holding her squirmy two-year old. I'm careful to notice how big the sky is and to try to wrap my head around the fact that the Creator of it all actually thinks about me.

 

I am careful to observe life. To notice it. To be thankful for it. And, to participate well in it. Because, I'm still. I still my thoughts. I still my body. And, I hear His whispers in the midst of all that is going on around me. I see Him in the big things and in the small things. And, so, I'm inspired. Inspired to love the way He loves. Inspired to capture and remember the small moments. Inspired to pen words to the emotions flooding my soul.

 

When is the last time you noticed life? When is the last time you observed more than you participated? You don't have to look for God in the obscure places. He's everywhere and in everything. In the young hands of that eight-year old. In the face of your spouse. In the struggling arms of that single mother. Above you. Below you. Within you. And when you stop to observe….

 

When you become still….

 

You will hear His whispers.

 

And, you will see His face.

 

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

 

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Filed under life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey

The Thief of Joy.

Article written for The Grip:

I recently read this Theodore Roosevelt quote on Pinterest, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Isn’t it though?  And, keeping up with the Joneses seems so much more exasperating with the access of social networks like Twitter and Facebook.  We look at their beautiful home.  Her beautiful children.  Their extravagant vacation.  His new car.  She really seems to have it all together.  How do things always fall into place so perfectly for them?  How did their kids get so perfect?  Why can’t I be that kind of mother? Dang, their life is so much more glamorous than mine!

We look at our own lives and wish we had theirs.

I’ve done it on different levels before.  I can remember reading another writer’s blog once and suddenly feeling very inadequate as a writer.  She was just good.  Really good.  And, funny.  Man, if I could come up with the funny one-liners like she does.  How does she do that?

Then there is the girl who is always disciplined to eat the right foods and go to the gym.  I’m not going to lie.  I have coveted another girl’s disciplined habits and six pack abs before.  But clearly, I love Junior Mints more than I love impressive abdominal muscles.

Don’t we often want what we don’t have?  If only I had her sense of style.  If only I had an eye for decorating my house like she does.  If only I had a job like his.  If only I had a personality like hers.  If only, if only.

We can’t trade places with any of the people we envy.  And, you know what?  It wouldn’t fix us if we could.  Then, we would simply take on a new set of problems.  A new set of difficult circumstances.  A new set of struggles.  And, the truth is, everything isn’t always as perfect as it seems.  None of us really know the struggles of another.

Comparison robs us of contentment.  It robs us of joy.  The solution is a better understanding of who we are in Him.  It’s gaining a proper perspective of our own life.  Not too long ago I had let a little resentment set in when I said, “I haven’t had a full 24 hours away from my children in nearly seven months.”  I gained perspective when I did a heart check.  My new perspective became, “I haven’t missed a day with my children in nearly seven months.”

Perspective changes everything.  So, does giving up our right to say “it isn’t fair.”  Because, we really lose the right to say, “it isn’t fair” until we have suffered on the cross as much as Christ suffered.  When my good friend, Cindy Beall, was asked to respond to God not being fair once, she replied, “I’m glad He isn’t.  I need His mercy.”

I may never be as creative a writer as some, but I will do my best to hear God and pen His words when I do write.  I may never be able to pick out the perfect draperies like my friend.  But, I can be thankful I have a friend who can help me.  I may never have perfect children.  But, I can thank God He sees them that way.

And, I thank God that He sees you and I that way.  Perfect.  Blameless.  Without guilt.  Because, when He looks at us, He sees us through the blood of His Son.  Who paid a price that really wasn’t His to pay.  Now, that wasn’t fair.

Let gratitude and perspective fill you today and every day.  Let the knowledge that YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe bring you peace.  Know He is always working ALL things for your good.  And, rest in this truth:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

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Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, life, Writing

But, What About My Circumstances?

I appreciated the encouraging responses and emails about yesterday’s post.  And, I still stand behind the power of our thoughts and words.  But, when I finally crawled into bed last night and let the quiet and stillness take over, I began hearing the question, “What about me?” ring in my head.

What about my friend whose husband left her and their daughter?

What about the son grieving the loss of his mother?

What about the hurtful things being said about her?

What about the judgments being made against him?

What about the children who go to bed hungry every night?

So, I wanted to clarify.

If you have faced, or are facing a difficult situation, it does not necessarily mean you attracted it by your own thoughts or words.  We do live in a world where bad things certainly happen.  And, by no means, do we attract these things.  And, our hearts should definitely be open and ready to comfort the brokenhearted.

The negative thoughts and words I was referring to are those that cause us to have a defeated mentality about life….

Words that judge the actions of others….

Words that are the antithesis of God’s promises of life and future for you.

Thoughts that bind you in fear.

Thoughts that hold you captive.

Thoughts that prevent you from believing that you are who God says you are and not who people say you are.

Maybe this is what you took away from it.  Or, maybe, you asked, “But what about my circumstances?”  Since, I will be held accountable for every word I type, I wanted to have a softer approach to words and thoughts.  Especially, as it relates to people going through difficult situations that they didn’t ask for.  So, if you were one who felt slighted or hurt by yesterday’s post, then I ask for your forgiveness.  Because, I have endured difficult circumstances.  And, I want you to feel loved through yours.

Now, that I got that off of my chest, let’s all go have an awesome Wednesday.

I love you all!

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Filed under disappointment, life, Spiritual Journey

Jehovah Elohim (Part Two)

Jehova Elohim formed the world with His words.  Since we are created in His image, we are also creators.  Likewise, we form our world with our words.  We create the chaos.  We create the blessings.

Life and death is in the tongue.

It can crush the heart of another.  It can destroy a relationship.

It can heal a broken heart.  It can bring joy to everyone around.

Our words frame our world.  They have the power to transform our in lives into everything God intended them to be….

Full.

And, abundant.

And, good.

Every word begins with a thought.  All things in life begin inside of my being as a thought.  What shows up on the outside harmonizes perfectly with what’s happening on the inside of me.  You know the good ‘ol Henry Ford quote:   “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  You always attract what you constantly think about.  You will attract 10% of what you want in life.  You will attract 100% of what you are.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  Proverbs 23:7

If you study the book of Romans, you can read into the fact that Paul was tormented by bad belief systems and thinking.  He says in Romans 7, “18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t.  I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”  But, finally, we read in Philippians 3:10 Paul’s resolve to replace his negative thinking:

10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

How does Paul do this?  How does he experience the power of the resurrection in his life?  How does he experience the good stuff?  Read one more chapter over…

…one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8

Paul learned the power of his thoughts.  So, he urges us all to fix our minds on things that are GOOD.  To THINK about EXCELLENT things.

You see, whenever you start confessing TRUTH, GOOD THOUGHTS, you don’t have to worry about what bad belief systems or thinking you need to replace.  They will reveal themselves.  When you focus on what is right, what is wrong will identify and correct itself.

Kris and I are working hard together, holding one another accountable for negative words and thoughts.  When we do, we replace it with a positive affirmation.  We replace it with truth.  Whenever you begin having a negative, destructive thought, replace it with truth.  Replace it with His truth.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

Whose mind STAYS ON HIM is kept in perfect peace.  And, isn’t that where the good stuff flows from?  Perfect peace?  If I’ve heard my momma say it once, I’ve heard her say it one million times, “Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.”  Now, that I have three little people of my own, I totally get it.

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Filed under God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey

The Terrific Twos.

You may call them terrible. I call them terrific. Perhaps, it’s because I now know firsthand that I will blink my eyes, and Jett Takle will be in Kindergarten. And, if you have children who have already graduated from high school, I really don’t need to hear how that day will be here for me faster than I can say, “Let’s play Candy Land.” Granted, I have days I dream of an empty nest, and Kris and I relaxing in the Caribbean somewhere. We give our grown children our mobile numbers, but we don’t tell them where we are. It’s true. I do think about it. But, most of the time, I think about how much I love these years. With its chaos and laughter and discoveries and first words and piano lessons and guitar lessons, and so many assorted cereal options in one pantry that even Jerry Seinfeld would be jealous.

I love this life.

And, I am so thankful for that day I looked at Kris and said, “You know, I think I do want one more baby.” Because, two years ago today, Jett Takle completed our family. He makes us smile bigger and more often than we ever dreamed possible.

Jett, I love the way you love eating apples. I’m so glad Mr. Jenkins at Piggly Wiggly lets you eat one from the produce section to make my grocery store trips easier. And, I’m so glad you let the cashier weigh your half-eaten apple with the others so, we can pay for it.

I love the way you love “driving” the truck on the farm with your daddy.

Your big brother and sister don’t even ask to drive any more. Probably, because they know you will beat them to it.

I love the way you love learning new things. Like fishing. And, I love how you look to your daddy so many times for his approval on doing it right.

There is no doubt. You get your immense passion for farm life from your father. I love the way you start “mooing” as soon as we drive up to the farm. You make your daddy follow those cows all over. And, you are certain to cry when we leave them.

And, it’s really no surprise one of your first words was “airplane.”

You are fascinated with them.

I have a feeling that once you figure out your daddy flies them, he will be an even greater rock star in your eyes. If that is even possible.

I love how you take your big brother’s hand. I love how he lets you take him anywhere you want to go. I especially love how you call him “Bubba”, and he calls you “Bubba” right back. Melt. My. Heart.

I love how you love crawling up into your Sissy’s bed to watch her draw.

Just a word of advice: Try not to touch all of her stuff in her room. It’ll save us both a lot of heartache.

You make our lives so much richer. You make us so much more aware of all of the good stuff around us. You make us press pause and soak in the joys again of blowing dandelions. And, roaring like a lion. And, rolling in the grass. And, eating popsicles. And, cheering, “Yay!”

Happy Birthday, Jett. I pray that over this next year you begin learning about your Creator. Because, when He made you, He really made a wonderful thing.

I love you to the moon and back one million times,

Mom

;

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Filed under Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood

Taking More In.

It’s been seven days since I put down social networking.  It was an awkward first two days.  You know, I wasn’t shaking or anything.  I jest.   I do.  No, really.  One of my colleagues asked me yesterday morning what I hoped God was going to work in me through this.  I didn’t really have a definitive answer of what I hoped He would do.  I told her I felt that by giving it up, I would inevitably be replacing it with other things.  Things that would invoke me to be more personal with my children.  With my husband.  With my friends.  And, I am doing just that.

Through becoming more aware of the people in my life, I find myself becoming more aware of God.   After all, doesn’t God live in each one of us?  So, by being totally present with people, we become more present with Him.  It’s really a pretty awesome phenomenon, I tell ya.

A couple of nights ago, Anna climbed into bed with me with her book, The Lorax.  She wanted to read it aloud to me.  She would pause throughout the book, and we would talk about it.  If you’re unfamiliar with The Lorax, it’s a wonderful story to encourage readers to take care of the earth.  I listened as Anna talked about her desire to be nicer to the planet.  Through conversation with my seven year old, I began to see God in His creation.  Again.  I acknowledged His handiwork in shaping every part of it.  It made me want to be a better steward with this undeniably amazing planet.  So simple.

I’m loving the simple.  Breathing in the simple.  It’s wonderful.  It’s life-giving.

Here are a few of my favorite things I’m taking in:

I’m pretty sure that this is the “full” John was writing about.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

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Filed under Favorite Things, God Stuff, Kid Stuff, life, Life Experiences, Motherhood

Girl Interrupted.

Kris is watching Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners right beside me.  What is this guy in the hat and overalls saying?  Anna-pedia walks in to let us know that the Whale Shark is the largest species in the ocean and has 3000 teeth and wants to know when she can go swim with a few of them.  John Henry enters behind Anna with a few questions of his own.  The littlest Takle is behaving nicely in his bed.  All the while, I am trying to write this post.

Interruptions.

Life is full of them.  We can resent them.  Try to avoid them.  Become irritated by them.  Whatever our response, they are going to happen.  So, we may as well embrace them.

Because, by embracing them, we allow ourselves to become fully present in that moment.  It’s like that moment when you run into an old friend in grocery store.  You’d really prefer to skip the interruption and move right along with your cart full of sundries.  Wouldn’t you?  But, usually you can’t.  You stop.  You half-way listen to what your friend is telling you, because you can’t stop thinking how hurried you are.  You aren’t fully present.  And, you miss an opportunity to really be with that someone.  To connect with them and embrace them.  To embrace that interruption.

I’m not arguing that every life interruption is a beneficial one.  Certainly, there are interruptions that can actually divert us from something God has called us to do.  But, many are beneficial.  And, often times, God will use them to our advantage.

During His ministry on earth, Jesus was interrupted ALL THE TIME.  And, many people were healed during His interruptions.

We will never know how many times God is using people and circumstances to interrupt our lives.  He loves you.  He wants your attention.  And, He wants us to attend to the people He places in our lives.  This year, I want to embrace those interruptions without my internal (and sometimes external) sigh of annoyance.  Because, by embracing them, I am embracing that friend who may have something life-giving to impart to me.  I am embracing a moment to look up the history of moonshining and learn something new.  I am embracing the courage of a little girl who wants to swim with the largest animal of the sea.

I am embracing LIFE.

Most of the good stuff in life happens in between our scheduled plans.  They are called interruptions.  And, I am choosing to be present in them.

I don’t want to miss the good stuff.  Because, it is most certainly the God stuff.

How do you respond to life’s interruptions?

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Filed under God Stuff, Kid Stuff, life, Relationships, Writing

38 Reasons

Had Anna Takle held off another 1.5 hours, she would have shared her birthday with my favorite man. And, clearly, her favorite man, too.

Kris Takle is 38 today.

That calls for 38 reasons I love Kris Takle:

1. Generosity. He is one of the most giving men I know.

2. He tells me right away whenever he trips, stumbles, or hurts himself, because he knows I will laugh until tears pour.

3. He is my greatest encourager. Well, after my momma.

4. He can make the kids laugh so dang loud and hard to the point that I have to leave the room.

5. He is sentimental. The boy will hold onto everything I allow. (Sorry about throwing out those old watches, Ivar.)

6. I never wonder if he is thinking about me when he travels, because, he tells me almost every time he does.

7. He is a great cook. Or “cooker,” as Anna Takle says.

8. Speaking of cooking, his fried rice beats all. Uh-maz-ing.

9. He can’t keep his hands off of me. I’m just sayin’.

10. When I share my heart, he listens.

11. He once said when we were dating, “I don’t think I’d love you as much as I do if you didn’t have John Henry.”

12. And, I have never, EVER seen him treat John Henry differently than his own flesh and blood.

13. He is safe.

14. And comfortable.

15. He forgives quickly.

16. He has a lot of wisdom in how to handle difficult situations.

17. He will take ownership when he makes a mistake.

18. His honesty is scary, funny, and just downright impressive.

19. His love for farming is pretty adorable.

20. He gets excited about driving his tractor.

21. His passion for aviation inspires me to always stay passionate about the call of God on my life.

22. And, he still appreciates flying the little single-engine props whenever he gets the chance. I, on the other hand, really appreciate two jet engines. With nice leather seats. And, a bathroom. Amen.

23. He lets me record his “Taklisms.” Exhibit A: “Take the world by the horns.” Exhibit B: “I’m just not feeling on the top of the weather today.”

24. He loves his friends.

25. If it’s within his power to meet a need, he does it. Without hesitation.

26. He makes every date night enjoyable.

27. He is slow to anger.

28. Content. He is always content. Which makes him extremely hard to buy for.

29. As a matter of fact, whenever I ask him what he wants for his birthday, Christmas or anniversary, his answer is always the same: “Just you.”

30. He loves babysitters, and he’s not afraid to call them. Glo-ree.

31. He is a great son. I love how he always honors his mom and dad in word and deed.

32. The man appreciates really good food.

33. He makes me laugh every single day. Sometimes, I think it’s one of his life missions.

34. He is just a really great dad. He disciplines with love. He plays with them like he’s a kid, too. And, he provides opportunities for them to succeed.

35. He watches animated films ALL OF THE TIME. With and without our children.

36. I never doubt his love for me. Ever.

37. And, because of the way he loves me and others, he is one of the most spiritual men I know.

38. He loves God. And, he trusts Him in everything.

And, that last one always impresses me. As much of the Word that’s inside of me, I can still have moments of, “God, please pull through on this one.” Kris? He trusts in the sovereignty of God.

And, his faith always strengthens mine.

Happy Birthday, Ivar. You make this world a sweeter, kinder place.

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Filed under life, Love, Marriage

Unraveling.

There are seasons in our lives when it seems the world is caving in around us.  There are days where anything that can go wrong, does.  There are moments we are sure that one more blow is going to take us completely out.

So, we begin unraveling.

Piece by piece.  Thread by thread. 

Until, we hit our knees.  And, the tears begin to flow.

I have those moments, too.  Just like you.

And, then the thought of throwing my hands in the air and surrendering it all to God just seems too easy.  Sometimes, it’s my pride that gets in the way.  Because, if I surrender my feelings, my day, my season to Him, then, I have nothing left to hold onto that says, “I am stressed.”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“I have had all I can take.”

Whoever said God will not give you more than you can handle was wrong.  Way wrong.

He will. 

Because, He wants you to need Him.  He wants you to depend on His strength.  That’s why Paul says he was thankful when he was weakest, because, that’s when God was strongest. 

Tonight, I began unraveling.  So, I let go of my pride.  I let go of my stubbornness to hold onto something that really doesn’t belong to me. 

I threw my hands up in the air.  And, I told Him, “God, this day is Yours.  This season is Yours.  I can’t do this without you. ” 

And, He took it from me.

Perhaps, you are unraveling, too.

Surrender.  Let Him into your mess.  Call out to Him.  And, know that His power works best in your weakness. 

He will not fail you.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

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Filed under God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey