Category Archives: parenting

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,






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

You Gotta Believe Jett Takle Is Five.


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.


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.




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Filed under Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood, parenting

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.


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



Filed under life, Motherhood, parenting, prayer

My Girl Is Ten.



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.






Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, Writing

Twelve: A Soul Well Tended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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







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

A Time To Draw Closer.

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


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


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


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


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


Growing. Learning.


Becoming more like Him every single day.


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


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





Filed under Motherhood, parenting

Captain America Turns 4.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Happy 4th Birthday, Captain.



Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting