Tag Archives: Love

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.

 

Love,

Mom

 

 

4 Comments

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

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.

 

 

4 Comments

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Love, Marriage, 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.

5 Comments

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

Nine.

Is it possible for a dude to be funny, smart, generous, and cool all rolled up into one? 

Clearly, it is. 

And, tonight, you will go to bed an eight year old, and wake up tomorrow morning nine years old. 

NINE.

For nine years, you have taught me how to love with more compassion, give without thinking twice, and enjoy dessert like it’s nobody’s business. 

Your love for the guitar makes my heart smile.  Your taste in music impresses me.  Your quick wit makes me laugh. 

But it’s your heart that inspires me.

John Henry Landreth, you are one AMAZING young man.

You not only make my world a better place, you make this entire world a better place.

Thank you for allowing God to mold you into a warrior for His Kingdom. 

And, thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to be the one he calls “Mom.”

Happy Birthday, JH.  I love you more and more.

3 Comments

Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood

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.

5 Comments

Filed under Love, Marriage

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.

8 Comments

Filed under life, Love, Marriage, Writing