Tag Archives: Love

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


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. 


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.


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.


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.


Filed under life, Love, Marriage, Writing

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.


Filed under life, Love, Relationships

She Is Still Anna Takle.

“I love the way I look,” she declared staring at her new clothes in the mirror before church on Sunday morning.

She insisted the scarf and purse were necessary “accessories” to complete her look.  I had obliged and made the shopping trip about her. 

“I want you to like the way you look.  I want you to feel good about how you look.  But, always be careful not to tell everyone how fabulous you think you look.  It’s not a good character trait,” I told her.

“Oh, right.  It’s kind of like being proud,” she agreed.


“Yes.  It says in Corinthians that love is not proud.  It is patient, kind, it isn’t jealous, it isn’t proud, and a bunch of other stuff,” she told me.

She gets it!  She is learning to apply scripture to everyday life!  I couldn’t be more thrilled! 

After church was over, her teacher, Mrs. Layna, took a picture of a note Anna wrote to her that day and sent it to me.

So, she may not apply every scripture to her life.  Of course, neither does her momma.

She is still the determined, creative, and fun girl God created her to be.  She is still Anna Takle. 

And, I’m so glad she is.


Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, Virtue

My Funny Valentine.

Me:  Kris, you never complain about anything.

Kris:  It’s because I have a closer walk with God.

Not only is my sweet husband a contented non-complainer, he’s also very funny.  He knew he would make me laugh with his explanation of why he doesn’t complain.  Kris has an incredible ability to not let things really get to him.  He also has quite the propensity to make me laugh every day we are together. 

But, it’s his capacity to let things go….

To let hurts go.  To overlook people’s faults.  To forgive without hesitation….

It’s one of the things I love about him most. 

How often we think we cannot get over a hurt or an offense.  We internalize and dwell on them.  We want vengeance.  We want that person to know exactly how we feel.  Exactly how they’ve hurt us.  We want to hold them accountable for their words and actions. 

But, that’s just not God’s way. 

God’s way is to think of others as better than ourselves – Philippians 2:3.

God’s way is to be kind to one another and tenderhearted, forgiving them as quickly and fully as God forgave us – Ephesians 4:32.

God’s way is to never avenge ourselves – Romans 12:19.

God’s way is to love our enemies – Matthew 5:44.

God’s way is unconventional.  His way was to go to a cross and never open His mouth even to defend Himself.  His way was to take communion on the same night he was betrayed. 

The. Same. Night.

Now, Kris Takle is no saint, I tell ya.  And, he might confuse a scripture or ten, albeit, sometimes purposefully, because he knows it’ll make me laugh.  But, he gets that God’s way stuff on letting things go pretty dadgum good. 

Kris, thank you for being such an incredible example of God’s love.  You continue to inspire and push me to do things God’s way while still giving me room to grow.  I might be able to quote 1 Corinthians 13 in my sleep, but, you walk it out with such greater ease. 

You’re a good man.  And, a really fun Valentine. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.  Now, go love on somebody.


Filed under God Stuff, Love, Marriage