Category Archives: Love

60 Things I Love About My Mom. 

She was 19 when she became my mother. And, I can’t remember how old she was when she became my best friend. But, she’s been the best of both for as long as I can remember. You have never met a more beautiful human being in all of the world. You have never met a more selfless woman. A woman filled with more grace and kindness and love than my mother. Today, we celebrate 60 years of this world becoming a brighter, kinder, more beautiful place. And, without further ado, I give you 60 Things I Love About My Mom:

1. I love how so very frugal and disciplined you are with your finances. Unless you’re buying for your grandchildren, then all frugality goes out the window.

2. I love that no matter how much my dad can aggravate you with his spontaneity to do the most random of things, you still love him and accept him and tell me, “You know your dad.”

3. I love how you consider riding your Harley Davidson motorcycle “therapy.”

4. I love that you can even ride a motorcycle, because, I would surely not do that so well. (And, all of my friends say, “Amen.”)

5. I love it that you keep a tub full of chocolate candy bars in your refrigerator and add to the tub whatever people request….whether you are family or not. (She thinks you’re family and wants to have all of your favorite things waiting for you.)

6. I love how you introduce ME to new music now. You were shouting Bruno Mars before he was cool.

7. I love that you went to see Prince in concert. I don’t love it that you went without me. But, still, that was awesome.

8. I love that you recognize the dresses you made for me when I was little were not really awesome.

9. I love how you try to get into your chair before Jett comes over, just because Jett expects to find you there and wants to run to you.

10. I love that you always, always remind me to give my children the benefit of the doubt on everything.

11. I love how you give EVERYONE that benefit and always assume the best. In everyone. No matter what.

12. I love how you will give up the best of something, so someone else can have it. Truth is, you always deserve the best of everything.

13. I love how you love to get dad exactly what he wants for Christmas. In as much as his wish list seems so childlike and can make you roll your eyes, you always try to fulfill it.

14. I love how you record every single awards show, because you never know that performance you will want to go back and watch. Over and over and over again.

15. I love how you already know the odds of a horse before he ever gets ready to race.

16. I love how you get emotional at race time.

17. I love that you still talk to Judy everyday after 37 years of friendship.

18. I love it that you taught me you are never too far from a friend to be there for her in the hardest of times and in the best of times.

19. I love it that John Henry can never, EVER do any wrong in your eyes.

20. I love how you will buy Anna most anything she wants, regardless of what I may or may not have thought about it. Surely, forgiveness is better than permission. :)

21. I love how you think everything Jett does is funny….and how hard you try not to laugh at the things you shouldn’t. But still do.

22. I love how you’ve joked (or not joked) before, “You keep your dad, and I’ll keep the kids tonight.”

23. I love how you love coming to the farm, and you can truly relax here.

24. I love that you are always willing to keep the kids whenever I need you, no matter what you have planned.

25. I love how I got my love for the beach from you. And, how we could sit in our chairs and not move until sunset….if only dad and my kids would let us.

26. I love that we got to experience NYC together with Anna.

27. I love how you fell in love with Broadway and the theater.

28. I love how you are always falling in love with new things and new adventures.

29. I love it when people tell me I look exactly like you.

30. I love it that we can wear each other’s clothes.

31. I love how you always ask me when Kris is gone, “How can we help you today?”

32. I love how no one can ever say a single negative word about you, because you live life so well.

33. I love how you always speak the most positive words about people.

34. I love how you love EWC and carry the heart of the people.

35. I love your gift of discernment and how I can trust it.

36. I love how you can flow so effortlessly in the Spirit and minister to people.

37. I love how you truly love and appreciate others and their gifts.

38. I love how you love my friends and call them your girls.

39. I love how thankful you are for every little thing and every big thing.

40. I love the face you make when I talk about Anna taking my things….because, you know exactly what it feels like. (Sorry that I still take your things.)

41. I love how open you are to still grow in the things of God.

42. I love looking into your years ahead and already seeing how God is going to use you to minister to people so beautifully.

43. I love that you taught me how to hear His voice and to always trust it.

44. I love that you remind me of His faithfulness ALL of the time.

45. I love that you are content with so little yet do not fear dreaming big.

46. I love how you always taught me to love and accept all people no matter what they look like, what they believe, or how they live their life.

47. I love how you love Kris and appreciate him…..and, how, he too, can never do any wrong in your eyes. :)

48. I love how you will play the most random of games on your phone. Even though they are loud and ridiculous.

49. I love that you actually address “Siri” when you talk to her.

50. I love how you are my biggest fan.

51 I love how you have encouraged me every single day of my life.

52. I love that you have set such an amazing example of what motherhood looks like for me to imitate.

53. I love all of my memories with you, and how I can still remember what it felt like for my hand to be little inside of yours.

54. I love it that when I look at my own hands now, I see yours.

55. I love that you have been every person I’ve needed you to be….my mom, my friend, my husband, my sister….You have filled so many roles in my life when I’ve been without.

56. I love how much you loved your mom, and I love how you talk about her with so much affection. I know she is so proud of the woman she raised.

57. I love how much you loved your dad and how we can still laugh at the things he said and did.

58. I love how you light up a room when you walk in it. Not just because you are so beautiful, but because His love is so bright within you.

59. I love how you always bring peace into the most difficult of situations.

60. I love how you always bring gratitude into every single triumph.

Thank you for being the best mom and Nan. Thank you for being a living example of God’s grace, mercy, and love. I am so thankful that of all of the women in the world that could have been my mom, God chose you. I love you so very much.
Happy 60th Birthday, Mom. The best is yet to come.


Filed under God Stuff, life, Love, Motherhood

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




Filed under Love, Marriage

Our Family Turns 10.



This Friday, August 16th, Kris and I will have been married ten years. I will never forget how excited I was on our wedding day. No nerves. No stresses. Just pure excitement. And, pure confidence that I was marrying a man who would not only love me for the rest of my life, but love this little guy, too.


These ten years have been a dream. There have been hard moments, but I really can't remember a bad season. And, not a day goes by that I don't thank God that I'm married to Kris Takle.


I am thankful he responds me to with love when he gets the worst of me.


I am thankful that he doesn't take for granted the best of me.


I am thankful for the way that he loves our children and parents them with such grace.


I am thankful for a really FUN marriage.


I am thankful for an amazing ten years.


Kris Takle, I love you so much. I love our adventures. I love raising children with you. I love how you make me feel. I love how you love me so perfectly. And, because of Him, I know the best is yet to come.


Happy Anniversary, Ivar. There simply isn't a better man.




Filed under Love, Marriage

The Wonder of 40.

mom - dad recent wp

These two lovebirds celebrate 40 years of marriage today.  I can honestly say, their marriage is better at year 40 than it’s ever been.  Yesterday, Dad asked Mom to accompany him on the EWC stage and share a few of the reasons they’ve survived 40….and each other.  While they both acknowledged their journey hasn’t been without failures, their longevity of marriage is the result of two people who simply continue to make it better.  I thought I’d share what they say has worked for them.

1) Always go back to your first love.

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
Revelation 2:4

Whatever you did to win his heart in the beginning, keep doing it.

2) Treat your spouse with the same respect you treat others.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

We tend to choose our words with other people a little more carefully.  We make allowances for their faults more easily.  And, we usually show respect to others more intentionally.  Be just as intentional with your spouse.

3) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!  Song of Songs 2:15

Most marriages survive and recover from the big stuff.  It’s the small, trivial things that can really mess it up.  You can’t accept what you continue to complain about.  You’re going to have to accept certain things that will probably never change.  Choose your battles.  Don’t sweat things that won’t matter tomorrow.

4) Compliment his or her strengths.

So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.  Romans 14:19

Be intentional about praising one another’s strengths.  And, don’t ever bring up his or her weaknesses.  Focus on the good stuff.  Whatever you focus on, you give energy to.  Period.

5) Don’t take your marriage for granted. 

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”   Psalm 39:4-5 4

Set up guardrails to protect your marriage.  Be mindful that you can fall any minute.  Trust your spouse’s intuition and discernment.  Dad quoted Henry Ford’s advice on a successful marriage (who likened it to his successful business):  “Just the same as in the automobile business, stick to one model.”

6) Don’t keep a record of wrongs.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Never, ever bring up past failures or disappointments.  Once it’s forgiven, leave it in the past.

7) Don’t ever give up.

Mom said, “There is no Plan B.”  Don’t make giving up an option.  There is always hope for a better marriage.  Always.

For me, I’m grateful for such an example to look up to.  They both continue to inspire me.  They have imparted good stuff to me that I can apply to my own marriage.

I just hope that after 40 years of marriage, I look as good as they do.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I love you both.  And, I’m so glad y’all got married.  Obviously.

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Filed under Love, Marriage, Relationships

Making Allowances.

* Written for The Grip, August 30, 2012

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Colossians 3:13

It’s easy to remember the forgive part.  Okay, it’s easier.  It’s the first part we tend to overlook:  Make allowance for each other’s faults.  Most of us have a difficult time making allowances for each other’s faults.  In other words, we don’t allow people to fail us.  We forget to make those allowances.  The truth is every person we are in relationship with will fail us.  My spouse will fail me.  My children will fail me.  My friends will fail me.  And, I will fail them.  The key is to not allow those moments to define that relationship.  Instead, we must view it as a moment in time.  A moment where we allowed that person to fail us.  A moment where we forgave them as soon as they did.  A moment.  That’s all.

Even though none of us think of ourselves as perfect, we still have a tough time allowing others to be flawed.  As a parent, I have to constantly remind myself to allow my children fail.  I have to guard against over-parenting.  There are times I try to prevent them from failing instead of letting them make mistakes.    Allowing them to fail.  I want to protect them from failure.  But, if I could protect them from every single failure, they would never see their need for a Savior.

I’m going to fail you.  You’re going to fail me.  When we do, we have a gap.  On one side of that gap is my expectation of you.  On the other side of that gap is what actually happens.  We choose what goes in the gap when someone fails us.  We can fill that gap with bitterness, anger, or hurt.  Or, we can fill that gap with forgiveness, grace, and allowances for that person’s faults.

We choose what goes in the gap.

Paul follows up Colossians 3:13 with this:

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

Get up every morning and wrap yourself in love.  Choose peace over being right.  And, be thankful for those people in your life…..

Even when they fail you.


Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, Love, Relationships

Who Is Your Neighbor?

Posted in The Grip – August 2, 2012

I have tried my best to stay out of the Chick-fil-A debates over Mr. Cathy’s position on gay marriage via Facebook and other social networks.  So far, I have been successful.  Many have asked my opinion.  Quite honestly, my opinion doesn’t matter.  When people ask, “What do you think about that?”  I simply respond, “I don’t.”  But for what it’s worth, I will continue to eat at Chick-fil-A, because I like their food.  I will also continue to buy Apple products (a company that supports gay marriage,) because I think the iPhone is the greatest phone ever.  This is all irrelevant to me.

What is relevant to me is this scripture Mark 12:30-31:  “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

That is it.  It’s important that we don’t forget the second part of this scripture.  If it is equally important to the first, then that is a pretty big deal.  We need to love people.  Period.  I recently read an excerpt from a church bulletin that pretty much sums up who our neighbor is.  Kudos to “Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community” for embracing this scripture in such a bold way:

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

 We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

 We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

 If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

 We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

There are times I am lovable.  There are times I’m not.  Don’t believe me?  Ask those closest to me.  But, I am thankful they still love me and accept me in both conditions.  May we discover who our neighbor really is.  And, may we all love them as much as we love ourselves.

No other commandment is greater than these.


Filed under God Stuff, Love, making an impact, Relationships

Ten Years.

In many ways it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  In so many other ways, it really does.  Ten years ago at this time, I was two months pregnant with John Henry.  And, his dad left.

I guess I never imagined I would be in that place.  I certainly never saw myself divorced.  I never thought I’d be a single mother.  It was the single most heart-breaking, devastating time in my life.  Words were said that pierced me.  Actions taken that floored me.  And, I couldn’t imagine that my life would ever be restored back to where it was.

I spent the next few months busying myself with work, getting ready for a baby, and involving myself in the community.  I traveled to Chicago to an Arts Conference hosted by Willow Creek Church.  I headed up the campaign for my uncle who was running for County Commissioner.  He won, by the way.  And, I joined with city leaders in putting together a Memorial Service for the one year anniversary of 9/11.   And, in my down time, I cried.

But, I also prayed.

I prayed scriptures over Bryan’s life every single night of my pregnancy.  I prayed blessings over him.  In the middle of my pain, I cried out to the Redeemer.  And, I released forgiveness little by little until I no longer carried any anger or resentment.

I was still heartbroken.  There were times I would feel sorry for myself.  I’d cry the ugly cry.  My countenance would be less than inviting.  I remember during one of my pity parties, my dad told me, “You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.”  Of course, I knew how I was going to feel.  Exactly like I was feeling at that moment.

Until one day, you wake up, and the weight of it all seems a little less.  The hurt isn’t quite as painful.  And, before you know it, you are smiling.  And, you are staring into the eyes of a little blue-eyed baby boy who has changed everything.

September 24, 2002, I held John Henry.  I looked at my parents and said, “My world is right.”  It was.  The hurt was still there.  But it became less.  A few months later, Kris Takle flew into my life.  Literally.  Six months later?  We were married.  Six months after that?  We were pregnant with Anna Takle.

And, now ten years later?  My life is full.

It is redeemed.

I never believe that divorce is God’s best for one’s life.  But, I do believe He is a God of redemption and will make good out of messes.  I will never write about the nit and the grit of the words said or the actions during it all.  I really see no need, honestly.  It’s not where I live.  I don’t ever want it printed and posted to hurt John Henry or Bryan.

As for Bryan, he has allowed God to work in his life.  He is a great father to John Henry.  He is a great friend to Kris.  And, Kris is a great friend to him.  We celebrate holidays together.  We have vacationed together.  We aren’t “normal.”  We really didn’t think “normal” was working.  So, we just do things differently.

I would defend Bryan’s name until my last breath on earth.  Because, he is a good man.  And, I am forever grateful to him for John Henry Landreth.  I have learned more about compassion and forgiveness because of that little boy than I ever imagined possible.

John Henry is a constant reminder to me of how GOOD God is.

Anna and Jett are constant reminders of His redemption.

And, Kris Takle.  Well, you know what he is.

The one who made my heart beat fast again.

It’s been a good ten years.


Filed under disappointment, divorce, gratitude, Life Experiences, Love, Motherhood, prayer, Writing