Category Archives: Love

Our Family Turns 10.

Ten.

 

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.

 

 

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Next Year, I Might Say, “Be Mine.”

Can I just be honest and say that Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday of the year?  I don’t mean to be a love humbug.  I mean, I love love and all.  I just don’t like using it to celebrate Kris.  And, he is not allowed to buy me a Valentine’s Day gift.  I know this makes me odd.  And, I’m okay with that.  I’m sure Kris is, too.  Not to worry about my littles.  We certainly lavish on them on this day of “Be My Valentine.”

So, instead of making the day about recognizing how much I love Kris, I pick a person really needing to feel some love to bless.  I started this tradition two years ago.  It’s kind of given me a reason to look forward to the holiday.

However, yesterday ended up being one of my favorite days of the year.  No expensive gifts.  No over-priced roses.  But, a string of texts, notes, and unexpected surprises made me so thankful for the relationships in my life.  Several members of Eagles Way Church surprised the staff with the most heartfelt, delicious lunch at the office.  Kris surprised me….and I do mean surprised me, by cleaning the house before he took off into the wild blue yonder.  An unexpected text from a friend simply expressing her appreciation broke me.  And, then?  A surprise knock at my door with none other than my father bringing me my favorite hummus and pita bread.

I spent the rest of the evening playing Pictionary on the Xbox with my big kids and laughing at this littlest kid while he saw himself being videoed.

Why do videos start and stop on the most awkward of facial expressions?  Have. Mercy.

Anyway, my heart swelled with an immense gratitude for the people in my life.  A gratitude that I get to wake up every morning to the most incredible beings in my home.  A gratitude that I get to be Kris Takle’s wife.  A gratitude that I get to be a mother.  A gratitude that I get to work at the greatest church on the planet.  A gratitude that I get to be a pastor.

I am so rich.  So rich in relationships.  Rich in love.  Rich in contentment.

So, perhaps, after days like yesterday, I just might become a fan of Cupid.  After all, I am definitely a fan of lunch.  And, a clean house.  And, sweet messages.  And, hummus.  And Eagles Way Church.

And, Kris Takle.

And, these little love bugs.

 

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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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Viva Love.

I’ve been married to Kris Takle 8 years today.  He likes to keep things exciting, so he surprised me with a trip to Vegas this past weekend.  It was pretty perfect save losing my iPhone and driver’s license.  I’m on day five without the iPhone, and heart palpitations haven’t started yet, so I take that as a good sign I’m doing okay.  It was in a clutch that was taken from a craps table.  Of course, that wasn’t all that craps table took from us, but, you know…it’s Vegas.  And, if you think gambling is a sin, you might wanna go ahead and click that “x” in the top right hand corner now, ‘cause momma likes to bet on the hard ways. 

I’m all talk, really.  Those tables make me nervous.  Unlike the umbrella and comfy chairs we sold a kidney to rent by the pool out there.  Purchasing comfort clearly does not make me nervous.  At least, not that trip.  Mercy.

I’ll go ahead and tell you I cried when Celine Dion sang “My Heart Will Go On.”  And, “Because, You Loved Me.”  And, when she sang Billy Joel’s “Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)”, I knew I had lost the battle preventing puffy eyes the next morning. 

Because, it’s in these songs that my mind thinks about the amazing people in my life. 

Especially my husband.

I love him.

As a matter of fact, I think I’m addicted to loving him.

I love how he knows what makes me laugh, so he does it.

I love how he believes in me and my gifts.

I love how he loves me. 

And, I’m pretty sure I love him more today than I have ever loved him.  And, you won’t hurt my feelings if you click that “x”, because this is just too sappy for you. 

In the words of Matt Nathanson, “you make my heart beat faster.”

You just do.

Happy Anniversary, Kris Takle.

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Loving Until The Twelfth of Never.

The following was written and published in The Grip newspaper as my tribute to the love of John and Dianne Herbert.  Dianne took her last breath on earth with John by her side, Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 12:30AM.  I will never forget the exchanges I had the honor of witnessing their last few weeks together.

There are days when one of us is trying to simultaneously console a tummy ache and cook dinner while the other is reconciling a bank statement with a toddler running a big truck up and down his leg.  There are situations where he sees things one way and I assume the burden of making him see things the right way.  Okay.  My way.  There are times my words are curt and his actions seem insensitive.  And, there are moments we both wish we could re-do.

We can’t.  And, parenting aside, marriage is one of the hardest institutions to navigate through.

But, I know it’s possible.

What is that thing that makes her stay even when the hard moments are unbearable?  What is it that makes him still say, “I love you,” after she has hurt his heart?  When bills pile up and the funds are low?  When one is running to soccer and the other is running to the office?  When time is scarce?  When emotions are running high?  When patience seems to have packed herself up and moved across town? 

What is it that makes a marriage run until the very end? 

Respect.  Honesty.  Intimacy.  Selflessness. 

Those are all words I think of when I think of a successful marriage. 

But, perhaps, the simplest answer is commitment.  Staying in the game.  Choosing love over and over again.  Saying no to the easy way outs and saying yes to until the twelfth of never. 

For better or for worse.

This is the kind of love I witnessed every day I went to see John and Dianne.  Bed-ridden with cancer, Dianne forced a smile into the eyes of the man who sang to her while he held her water.  Nurses would come and go, and John swore they were all scared of being out of a job because of the care he gave Dianne himself.  “She’s the queen of the house,” he’d tell everyone.  I watched him leave her side only to turn and run back and steal a kiss.  And, she obliged. 

I’m not sure what their last day looked like as he requested to be alone with his wife of more than forty-six years.  I don’t know the words he told her or the songs he sang. 

But, if he didn’t sing these words aloud, I know they echoed in his heart:

You ask how much I need you, must I explain?
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain.
You ask how long I’ll love you; I’ll tell you true:
Until the twelfth of never, I’ll still be loving you.

May we all be inspired to love….

until the twelfth of never and that’s a long, long time.

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Loving Hurt.

I’ve always heard and maintained the philosophy that sometimes you’ve gotta play hurt.  In other words, sometimes, you’ve got to play and give and serve even when you don’t feel like playing and giving and serving.  But, quite frankly, we usually WANT to play even though we are hurt.  Most athletes will continue to play their game hurt, because they are passionate about that game.  So, it’s not really that much of a sacrifice.  I mean, I’m no athlete, but I do have some pretty awesome running apparel that I wear to carpool little people. 

The real sacrifice comes in loving hurt. 

Kris is my safe place.  He is the one who understands when I don’t feel like giving or serving.  He’s the one who loves me no matter what.  That being said, it’s pretty dang easy to bow out on serving him when I’m physically or mentally exhausted or hurting.  Besides, he understands.

And, with my recent back injury, I was little good to anyone, and Kris served me without a single complaint.  He’s good like that.  He’s compassionate and understanding.  He does, however, fail to understand how accessories really do make the wardrobe.  I know, right?

But, it hit me a few days ago.

Sometimes, you’ve got to love hurt. 

I’m not just talking about loving in spite of the proverbial headache.  Well, sort of, I am.  I am talking about stepping outside of yourself. 

Outside off your physical pain. 

Outside of your emotional pain. 

Outside of your exhaustion. 

Outside of your broken heart.  

Outside of your stuff.   

And, choosing to love hurt. 

I was really tired the other night.  (It’s okay.  You can keep reading.  This doesn’t get graphic.  This is a family blog.)  I had the worst headache of all the headaches in the world.  (And, I never exaggerate.)   I looked at my husband lying beside me and this little revelation hit me:  love hurt.  So, I rubbed his back….  And, we will just leave it at that, friends.   

At that moment, I sure would have loved to fall asleep watching House Hunters and nurse my headache.  But, I knew I needed to choose him this time.  I knew I needed to love hurt. 

You see, often, the person we love the most is the person we serve the least. 

For me, it was my physical pain keeping me from loving hurt.  For you, it might be a different kind of hurt.  Loving hurt for you may look like having to forgive while hurt.  It might be loving even though your feelings are hurt.  Loving even though you are disappointed.  Loving even though you are mentally exhausted and feel like you just can’t take any more. 

Loving even though….

Because, when we do love hurt, that love never returns void.  It is never without effect.

Because, love never, ever fails. 

And, that is one certainty I know with all of my heart.

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