Tag Archives: gifts

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

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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Filed under giving, gratitude, Kid Stuff, Love, Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships

Necessary Supplies.

After all that talk yesterday about feeding my spirit, so my flesh will starve, I decided to read the entire New Testament again. 

I lie.  You see what happens when you don’t soak up God’s word?  You lie.  Actually, I fed my flesh a little with this new, fun creature. 

I love my husband.  Not because he gave me this iPad, which he did.  But, because he also e-mails me pics like this:

He had a few mosquito bites.  He sent me this pic of his “supplies.”  I’m just glad he didn’t go overboard.   And, I actually do understand the necessity of something such as Lifesavers Gummies. 

Anyhoo.  I actually waited until the littlest fellow went to bed, so I could give my anniversary gift my full attention.  Of course, when you are a mother of little people, it’s rare that anything ever gets your full attention.  And, my oldest two made sure it didn’t.  They both felt it was unfair that mommy got an iPad and they didn’t. 

Cry me a river. 

Well, John Henry nearly did.  On top of the fact that he doesn’t own an iPad, his sister got to sleep with me, and he didn’t.  And, the conversation that ensued is one that he will never, ever forget.  And, neither will I. 

Come back tomorrow for that one.

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Filed under Marriage, Motherhood, parenting, Randomness

Don’t Close Up Shop.

I can let life swallow me up.  I can.  I can allow the activities and antics of three children cause me to close up shop on sharing my gifts with others.  Serving others.  Because, it seems like too much at that moment.

But, it’s not always too much.  It’s not usually as stressful as we make it out to be.  It’s just our response to those busy moments that mess with our head.  Okay, maybe it’s just my head.  Maybe, it’s just me? 

I almost let one of those moments make me close up shop yesterday afternoon.  My sweet husband had a dinner meeting with airplane-ish type folk.  I had household obligations, two children with obligations, and an infant who, well, was only obligated to let me know when he was hungry.  And, he was.  Of course, he was.   Have you seen him?  Only the cutest chunk of love in the history of chunks of love. 

You see?  I do not lie, friends.

It would have been easier to let these things – life things – consume me.  Stay home.  Pretend there was nothing or no one else besides myself and my three little people.  It really would have.  But, one thing I’ve learned (and my parents have taught me) in my thirty-five plus years on planet earth is this:

My life will be more blessed when I live beyond myself. 

Beyond me.  Beyond my kids’ homework and schedules.  Beyond the constant needs of an infant.  Beyond making sure I’ve emptied the dishwasher.  Beyond getting my hair ministered to – which by the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to fit that in.  Can I get an amen on coverin’ them roots? 

I was responsible for teaching the youth last night.  And, for some dadgum reason, I can’t say “youth” without thinking of My Cousin Vinny.  You know the line.  “Your honor, two utes.”  I seriously can’t.  I drive myself crazy sayin’ it.  ANY. HOW.

By choosing to overcome any stress that parenting, sans my awesome husband, brings, I used one of my gifts.  More than that, I just served.  And, instead of staying home, putting my children to bed, and contemplating how hectic my day was….

I put my children to bed, and then I went to bed fulfilled.  Content.  Happy.  Blessed.

I think that’s what Paul meant in Acts 20 when he said, “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” 

But, don’t get me wrong.  If any of y’all wanna come keep three little people and send me to the spa, I will not make you withhold those good gifts.  You know.  Since that would bless y’all and all.

Ahem.

I mean, Amen.

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Filed under giving, life, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting

Don’t Make Noise. Make A Difference.

Why yes, of course, I missed you.  Did you miss me?  Taking the last week of the year to spend solely with my family just seemed like the right thing to do.  I’m glad I did.  But, I did miss talkin’ to y’all.

There are plenty of photos from this season I could post, but this one is my favorite.  It’s Anna Takle, day one, at my parents’ house, in search of gifts that read her name.  One day, I’m going to miss little bodies under a Christmas tree, shaking their presents with smiles planted across their face.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

But, I’d like to experience many wonderful times of this new year.  I heard my dad recently share on how many of us make New Year’s resolutions to work out, eat less – even though, it profits us little.  However, resolving to pursue Christ above all else, love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind profits us much.  I’m letting that be my New Year’s resolution. 

So often, we focus on things that bother us.  We let those things take up more space than our love for God.  How wrong is that?  A couple of days ago, Mark Batterson posted this on Twitter:

“quit criticizing and start creating.   don’t focus on what’s wrong.   do something right.   don’t make noise.   make a difference.”

Wow.  That’s what it’s all about.  The only way we are ever going to get to that point is to stop being so dang negative and start loving God.  Really loving God.  And, pursuing Him as relentlessly as Anna pursued her gifts. 

I bet we might just discover a few gifts, too. 

That’s my resolution. 

Yours?

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Filed under God Stuff, Kid Stuff, Love, Spiritual Journey

I’m Letting My Dad Hijack My Blog.

Dad wanted to guest blog, and post this earlier.  It just seemed it may appear, I don’t know, a little selfish on my part?  Anyhoo.  After several requests to read his gift and for posterity’s sake, here ya go.  He’s a great dad.  A really, great dad.

Happy Birthday to the most wonderful daughter in the world.

 35 Things I Love About You:

  1.  God gave you to your mother and me.

 2.  I love your laugh.

 3.  I love the way you interact with your children.

 4.  I love the way you love God.

 5.  I love your hair and how you wear it.

 6.  I love your Blogs.

 7.  I love talking with you.

 8.  I love seeing you with your bags and children at the airport.

 9.  I love the way you treat your mom and me.

10. I love how you worship God.

11. I love the way you treat your friends.

12. I love how generous you are.

13. I love the way you love the local church.

14. I love the way you encourage me.

15. I love the way you carry yourself with such dignity.

16. I love how you look at me when I’m preaching, as that’s not my dad but a man of God.

17. I love how you and your mom cherish each other.

18. I love how you stress out over the most trivial stuff sometimes.

19. I love going out to eat with you, especially at Red Rock and Chelinos.

20. I love how smart you are.

21. I love how you love Christmas.

22. I love how you talk about Big Mama.

23. I love how you uplift other people.

24. I love how you honor and respect your husband.

25. I love your honesty about yourself.

26. I love hearing other people say how much you mean to them.

27. I love being the most proud Dad on earth.

28. I love seeing you cry tears of compassion for people.

29. I love watching you buy someone else’s groceries when you are checking out.

30. I love how you love Dr. Takle and Christina.

31. I love playing Scrabble with you.

32. I love all the quality time you give us.

33. I love how much you have matured in OKC.

34. I love everything about you.

35. I love the fact that I could say a gazillion more things.

Love,
Dad

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Filed under giving, parenting, Relationships

Picking Up The Mantle

My dad is currently covering a series on the prophet, Elisha.  Here is a guy who had so much anointing in his dead bones that they revived another corpse that had been thrown into his tomb.  (2 Kings 13:21)   That’s kind of a big deal.  I mean, what do you have to do to die and leave this kind of anointing behind?  According to the life of Elisha, you have to serve in another man’s field – the way he did for Elijah.  You have to seek this kind of anointing with your own blood, sweat, and tears the way Elisha did.  And, you have to be willing to pick up the mantle God places on you.  Or, in some cases, pick up the mantle when it’s passed onto you. 

I emphasize “when”, because I see so many men and women in ministry itching to pick up a mantle that hasn’t even been passed to them instead of picking up a mantle that God already placed inside them long ago.  Good examples of “when” are the Joel Osteens, Ed Youngs, and Andy Stanleys of the world who had fathers to pass on their mantle. 

The fact of the matter is, God has given each of us a mantle – a calling.  We can run our entire lives and never pick it up.  God won’t give it to someone else, but He’ll certainly allow someone else to operate in your place.  Someone may wait until the latter years of his life to pick up his mantle.  Another may never pick up hers.  Others, from an early age, will pick theirs up and begin operating in it the way God intended. 

Elisha wasn’t below serving in another man’s field.  He gave his life to doing the work of the Father, even when it made sense to do otherwise.  And, when the mantle fell, he picked it up with obedience and fulfilled the call of God on his life.

What would the scriptures look like had Elisha not been obedient?  What would have that next generation looked like?  It’s a scary thought.

What will this generation look like if we don’t pick up our mantles and operate in the gifts and callings Christ has given us? 

There is a mantle lying on the ground waiting for you to pick it up.  God has given you a gift to use for His Kingdom.  So, when you leave this earth, your anointing remains and affects another generation. 

Have you picked up your mantle?

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Filed under God Stuff, making an impact, Spiritual Journey

Gifts We Can Give.

I realized something kind of huge last week.

There are areas I don’t serve my husband where I should. 

It’s true.  I recognized this in myself after I sighed at his request for me to go to his office and check the mail.  Check.The.Mail.  Sounds miniscule, I know.  It just seems that with two kids in school, one on the way, and compounding lists to complete, driving twenty minutes one way is not something I want to do.  So, I sigh.  And, I run these office errands with great disdain. 

God convicted me of my attitude in running these little office errands.  He made me painfully aware that I’m not serving my husband in this way.

There are things I’m not going to want to do in my marriage.  But, if I look at those things as a gift I can give my husband, it changes my attitude.  As a matter of fact, I become excited, because I GET to give Kris this gift.

So, the next time your spouse needs something from you, and you are resistant in obliging, remember this:  it’s a gift you can give him.  Or her. 

And, that my friends, keeps the home fire a burnin’. 

Is there a gift you can give your spouse?

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Filed under giving, Marriage

Favorites Party – Week Two

favorites-party1

It’s FAVORITES time again.  What a way to get in the holiday spirit.  Since I’m not decorating my house due to impending holiday travel, I’ll ‘tis the season right here in bloggy world.

Today’s FAVORITE topic is FAVORITE gift.  A favorite gift you’ve given or received.    

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love to give.  But, I sure do get silly excited when I’m the recipient of presents.  Except for that puffy Christmas vest one of my students gave me years ago. 

My favorite gift.  I had a hard time narrowing it down between Dolly Pops, Brooke Shields  Barbie Doll, Snoopy Snow Cone Machine {carpal tunnel hell}, and the Barbie Townhouse.  But in the end, the Barbie Townhouse beat all.

barbie-townhouse1

Do you know how awesome that yellow elevator was?  You pulled a string to raise it up and down.  It was seven year old HEAVEN for this little girl.  I loved it.  Thank you mom and dad for making my Christmases so grand.  They were perfect.  Even without the beloved Cabbage Patch Doll J

I’ve actually looked at buying one of these vintage Barbie items on eBay for Anna.  I did manage to acquire a Brooke Shields Barbie Doll for her still in the box on eBay for 99 cents.  I really didn’t get the reaction from Anna that I was looking for on that one.  Can’t imagine why.  Brooke is way cooler than Hannah Montana.

What is a favorite gift you have given or received?

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Filed under Favorite Things, Randomness

Today is kind of a big deal.


Today is my birthday.  And, well.  That’s kind of a big deal.  I’m not like all into myself or anything.  It’s just my favorite day of the year. 

Oh, Dusty.  You mean you enjoy it more than your own child’s birthday?  Of course, I do.  It’s MY birthday.  It’s apparently not that big of a deal to some other people.  I won’t go to namin’ names.  But, Kris has just been a little preoccupied lately.  And, to think his preoccupation has been around my entry into this world would lead me to one big letdown.  I’m not bitter or anything.  I just keep reminding him that my birthday is kind of a big deal.

Last night, I asked him if he wanted to do a guest blog and describe 34 things he loves about me.  (I’ve seen it done by some other bloggy husbands.)  Anyhoo, he was like, “I’ll do it after my meeting tomorrow morning.” 

As if my OCD would EVER let me post a blog that late in the day. 

N.E.V.E.R.M.I.N.D.  I said in the most understanding wifey voice. 

Later in the evening, he decided he needed to make a run to pick up some ink cartridges.  Uh huh.  I bet you are. 

You can bet he did.  Pick up ink cartridges, that is.

Not to worry.  I have no problemo going to buy my own birthday present. 

Truth be told.  Here are a few of my favorite gifts.

Getting aluminum up to two-five-o is kind of a big deal.  I have my own private pilot.  And an even better husband and dad.

Seriously.  Be still my heart.  And to think.  He lives down the hall from me. 

 

To never be short on pure joy?  Well, that’s a really big deal.

There you have it.  My three favorite gifts (and a few of my vacation pictures.) 

Happy Birthday to me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Randomness