Category Archives: Big Mama

My Dreamer is 8.

me jett

Jett: “I see the future sometimes.”

Me: “What do you see?”

Jett: “I see myself on a stage, playing guitar and singing.”

Me: “I see it with you, bud. Hold on to that picture.”

I’m so glad I’ve learned to not downplay these conversations. I’m glad I know to not only allow my children to dream dreams but to dream them myself. I’m thankful I know the power of imagination. And, if anyone has taught me the beauty and power of it, it is Jett.

Today, my sweet, funny, sensitive, creative, smart, imaginative boy is 8. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. But I can tell you that I have soaked in every single second along the way. Because, no one has ever made me pause and be in the moment more than Jett Takle.

I love conversations with him. Some of his stories can take a LONG time to tell. But, many of his conversations, where he seeks truth or shares his own truth, well, those are pretty remarkable. Many times, they are so heartfelt and rich that he blows us all away.

Earlier this week, he and Anna were outside. Anna, my resident philosopher, began sharing with Jett how amazing everything in nature is and how it is connected to everything. “God is in nature. Isn’t everything out here just beautiful and amazing? It is so important we honor the beauty of everything around us.”

Jett responded, “Do you know what the most important thing in the world is? You.”

anna jett

I’m sure later that day he was aggravating her like any little brother can do. But, I can’t tell you how many of those conversations just win us all the time.

Last night he said, “This is my first birthday without Noodles.” (This is our dear friend Mike Thompson who transitioned last September.) He said he’d like to go to his grave and Big Mama’s grave and just hang out there sometime. I reminded him that Noodles and Big Mama aren’t there, and he can talk to them any time. I told him I talk to Big Mama often. “Oh, I get that. I talk to Noodles a lot.”

He is my deep feeler. He is my big dreamer. He is my constant reminder that life is precious and is meant to be FELT. It is meant to be FUN. And, we are meant to take it ALL in.

Jett Takle, I love you so. I love how you say that Saturdays make you “feel lucky.” I love how we can just go to the movies and you will say “this is the best day ever.” I love how you always tell me that you love me. How you always tell all of us that you love us. I love how you love to learn. I love how blown away you get at things in history and science that the rest of us can take for granted. I love how you ask the hard questions, because, you’re not afraid to feel the hard emotions. I love how you love to dress nice. You wouldn’t turn down a good hat or tie ever. I love how you love music. And, how nobody, NOBODY, can hold a candle to Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars. I love how you have legit studied their dance moves and learned the lyrics to every song you can. I love how you look up to your big brother.

jett jh

And, I love how you’re not afraid to be you. You are proud to be you and let other people be who they are. You find your lane, and you enjoy it. And, you make us all want to hop in the same lane with you.

You are fun and amazing and make ALL of us imagine more. I’m so glad you were born. The world needed you. 8 is the number of new beginnings. I can’t wait to see all of the new things you do this year. All of the new things that inspire you. That challenge you. That grow you. That amaze you. I can’t wait to see all of the new things you open us up to. It’s going to be your best year ever, bud. I just know it.

Happy Birthday, Jett. Thank you for being my greatest showman.

I love you so very much,


“Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.” -P.T. Barnum (The Greatest Showman)

Jett - hat

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Mama, Chasing Dreams, imagination, Kid Stuff, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Big Mama Says We Talk Too Much.

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself in my kitchen singing the words to “You Are Good.”  These lyrics rang through my head until nighttime:

Your kindness leads me to repentance
Your goodness draws me to Your side
Your mercy calls me to be like You
Your favor is my delight
Every day, I’ll awaken my praise
And pour out a song from my heart.

Romans 2:4 says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?  Does this mean nothing to you?  Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”

It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.  It’s His goodness that draws us.

My translation:  Stop judging and be so dang intolerant of other people.  God uses kindness, sweet words, and forgiveness to transform our own lives into something beautiful.

When people disappoint us….

When people don’t live up to our expectations….

Fill in the gap of your expectation of someone and what that someone actually does with kindness and forgiveness.

Even with your spouse.

Give him or her the benefit of the doubt.  When has expressing your disappointment with your spouse EVER worked?  There is a definite time and place for healthy communication.  Healthy.  There is also a time to keep your mouth shut.

I remember being aggravated with Kris once for not taking care of something before he left for a trip.  I was so stinking mad.  I picked up the phone to call him and tell him exactly how I felt about his oversight.

Fortunately for Kris, Big Mama was at my house.

“Talk, talk, talk. That’s the trouble with young people.  They think they need to talk everything out.  Sometimes, you just need to keep your mouth shut.  Put the phone down, and just forgive him.”

I’m pretty sure filling in the gap with forgiveness and a closed mouth did more for my marriage than that phone call would’ve done.

Trying to bring conviction to someone’s life never goes the way we think it will.  But kindness will always bring about effectual change.   And often times, our kindness towards others changes US.

It’s how God functions.   And, since we are of God….created in His image….isn’t it how we should function?

I am so thankful for His patience.  For His love.  For His mercy.

And, so thankful that His mercy calls us to be like Him.  Because, His ways are truly better.


Filed under Big Mama, disappointment, God Stuff, Marriage, Relationships

Nobody Puts Big Mama In A Corner.

After chasing Jett minute after minute for hours on in one day last week, I noticed he had disappeared from the room.  And, it was quiet.  Which never really means anything particularly good.  So, I embarrassed my mom by asking Big Mama, “Big Mama, please, go find Jett, and bring him in here.” 

I swear I was only kidding.


But, you don’t challenge Big Mama.

Or, she just might do what you asked.

She found him.

And, she brought him back alright.

He just wasn’t so happy when she took over her walker again, and he lost his awesome ride.

There is not another Big Mama.  And, Jett Takle and I couldn’t be happier that she is in our lives.


Filed under Big Mama, Motherhood

Busy. Busy. Busy.

It’s Monday.  I know what you’re thinking.  Busy week ahead!

Someone will ask you today, “How have you been?”

You will answer, “You know, just busy, busy!”

Kris and I recently had this discussion about how often we answer people with, “Man, busy burning holes in the skies.”  (Okay, he answers that way, I don’t.)  I answer, “Just staying busy with three kids!”

We talked about how socially acceptable it is to make sure people know you’re busy.   Kris commented, “You never hear anyone respond, ‘Man, I’ve got too much money and too many friends!’ or ‘I’m resting and taking it easy every chance I get!’”  It’s also uncommon to hear, “Just trying to spend as much time as I can with the people in my life.”  Or, “Enjoying time with the Father and growing closer to Him!”

Instead, we say we’re busy.

Many of us are busy.  Too busy.  Others of us, me included, equate busy with things we should be embarrassed about.  Especially considering modern day conveniences.  Remember, my dishwasher washes my dishes, unlike Big Mama who uses her hands.  I know, right?  And, I have this really cool thing that I can throw my wet, clean clothes in and just walk away.  One hour later?  They are dry!

When I’m burnin’ slap up in my house, I turn on this little unit thingy that blows cold air!  Oh, and I don’t need to go chop wood.  I turn on a switch and voila! I have a fire! 

What is that John Henry?  You want to know how fast a Cheetah can run?  Well, let’s go to the local library and look it up!  Um, no.  Thank you, World Wide Web. 

Want to cook some eggs, Big Mama?  You don’t have to go the chicken coop any more.  Let me take you to Piggly Wiggly.  Although, your eggs from the chicken coop were much healthier, I am certain.

My Anna needs a new dress to wear.  Let me run to the market and pick up material, so I can get started making her one.  Or, I don’t leave my warm home, and I order not one, but three new dresses from, and guess what?  They ship them to me! 

I really don’t know busy.  Not the kind of busy mothers knew generations before me.

I am spoiled. 

I wonder what Big Mama thinks when I say I’m busy?    

Oh, and a cheetah can run 70 miles an hour.  I know.  I just Googled it.

Okay.  Gotta run.  Busy day ahead.


Filed under Big Mama, life

Soak It Up.

I have a lot of Big Mama stories.  As a matter of fact, every time I talk to her, she says something that bears repeating.  Her unintentional lessons are to my blog posts what Anna Takle’s…well, what any of Anna’s shenanigans are to my entries. 

I called her yesterday after I posted.  I didn’t tell her my post was about her.  She will find out soon enough by one of you.  And, she will tell me, “I heard you’ve been putting me up on that computer!”  She will laugh cautiously then ask me to show the post to her.

After our phone conversation, thoughts of her raced into my mind for the rest of the day.  Even into the night as I lay in bed rereading yesterday’s blog, my thoughts were of her.  How I love being with her and talking to her.  And, how I love repeating the things she says to me. 

I’m not sure how many more years I have to enjoy this incredible lady.  So, I started pondering questions I’ve never asked her.  Stories I’ve never heard.

I want to ask them.  I want to hear it all.  I don’t want to say, “I wish I would have asked her…..”

 Of course, she did recently ask me if she could have my “great big colorful painting” should she outlive me.  She was serious.  I told her yes. 

Who do you need to spend more time with in your life?  What questions do you want to ask him or her?  What stories do you want to hear? 

Maybe it’s the person lying next to you right now.  Maybe it’s that sweet little girl down the hall from you.  The friend who lives two miles from you that you only see or talk to a few times a year. 

Maybe it’s the father who shares a very different view of life from you, so you keep your distance from him.  Or the sister you’re not close to anymore.

I don’t know.  I just know I want to soak up the moments with the people in my life more now than ever.  So, if tomorrow never comes, they know.  Thank  you, Garth Brooks.

And, thank you all for being a part of my life. 

Have a great weekend.


Filed under Big Mama, gratitude, life, Relationships

Big Mama: Solution-Finder, Anti-Whiner.

I’m not always a solution finder.  Oddly, I can offer solutions for your drama and obstacles.  Just not mine.  Not always.

When faced with seemingly difficult situations, I might be one to throw my hands up and say, “It just can’t be done.”  Or, “there is no other way around this one.” 


I get stressed.  And, I whine. 

Not Big Mama.   

She consistently inspires me with her ability to find solutions.  Stress-free.  With a “we can make this work” attitude. 

A few weeks ago, I asked her if she could watch my littlest man for an hour, so I could attend a meeting.  When she arrived to chase him with her walker, he was sleeping.

“Oh no,” she said.  “I wish he wasn’t sleeping.  I’m not sure I can carry him from his crib to the living room when he wakes up.”

I responded, “Big Mama, just call me when he wakes up, and I will come right home.”

She was silent.

Then, she said, “No.  We can do this.  Do you have a stroller?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“Well, alright.  Get that stroller, and put it outside his door.  I can pick him up out of that crib.  I’ll put him in his stroller, and push him right into the living room,” she said with confidence.

“Are you sure?”

“Hmph.  Of course, I’m sure!  Now, go on!”  She assured me. 

And, that’s exactly what she did.  All the while pushing her walker, too.

Since when did the rest of us start making everything so hard?  Since when did we start letting the little things overwhelm us?  How did we stop appreciating modern day conveniences that make life so easy….like a dang dishwasher?  My 91 year old grandmother has hand-washed her dishes since the day she started maintaining a home.  She’s never complained.  Or stressed.  Or thought life too hard.

Not one single day.

Perhaps, it’s because she comes from a generation where you make situations work for you.  You overcome obstacles.  And, you certainly don’t whine about them.  Perhaps, it’s because if she wanted candy as a young girl, she traded eggs for it instead of being given money to buy it.  Perhaps, it’s because she recognizes the small stuff as small stuff and doesn’t sweat it.

I think all of the above.

But, I also know that she has understanding of this scripture:

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

And, she really believes she can.

May I grow up and be just like Big Mama.


Filed under Big Mama, life

An Era Has Ended.

Actually, a near century has ended when you consider the sisterhood of Big Mama and Aunt Kate.  Aunt Kate passed away on Thursday.  The kids and I were blessed to spend time Mother’s Day weekend with her.

And, I’m beginning to think that Aunt Kate’s sassiness was inherited by my five year old.  I’m not sure, but I think had Anna been a teenager post the crash of ’29, she would have cut her hair short, smoked a cigarette, and looked down a well in the month of May in hopes of seeing her true love’s reflection.  Just like Aunt Kate did.  Hence, my great task of parenting her intentionally.

Of course, I did dip snuff with Aunt Kate when I was a young one.  Well, I’d put a tissue down my blouse like she did and she’d give me a red Dixie cup to spit in.  Okay, to spit my cocoa in.  Nonetheless, her personality was contagious enough to want to mimic.

And while I’ll miss her always telling me, “Love ya, babe,” no one will miss her like Big Mama.  Orphaned at very young ages and raised by their eldest siblings, they endured a Depression together, times of war together, good times, and trying times.  Big Mama married one Edward Goss.  Aunt Kate married his brother, Van.  They never closed their eyes to sleep without one calling the other to say, “Goodnight, sweet dreams, I love you.”  Ever.

On the day Aunt Kate died, she called, “Callie Mae!”  Big Mama made her way to her side.  Aunt Kate didn’t say a word, but Big Mama just knew what she wanted to say.

“Goodnight, sweet dreams, I love you.”

A sisterhood that lasted 91 years.  I really can’t imagine.

You’ll be missed, Aunt Kate.  I love ya, babe.


Filed under Big Mama, life, Relationships

Aunt Kate Talks With Unknown Teeth.

I know alla y’all know Big Mama by now.  Do you remember her 94 year old sister, Kate?  Here she is.

Well, Aunt Kate fell and broke her sweet, little hip.  She is having surgery this morning.  According to my momma, she has not lost her ability to “talk up a storm.”  As a matter of fact, when the good doctor asked her if her teeth belonged to her, she cleverly pointed to a couple that did.  Then, added while pointing to other various teeth, “Now, I don’t know who that one belongs to, or that one, or that one….”

There is only one Aunt Kate.  And, one Big Mama.  I love them both.

Say a prayer for Aunt Kate today.  And, pray for Big Mama who will endure her endless gabbing.  Because, she will not leave her side.

Love y’all.  Mean it.


Filed under Big Mama, prayer

Big Mama Loves Me, But She Ain’t Gonna Sing.

Birthdays are just fun.  I spent yesterday morning with my BS’ers, err, Bible Study girls.  They are the bomb diggity and were certain to not let the day pass without a little celebration.

Even if the cookie cake turned out like this:

cookie cake wp

Cindy Beall has many talents.  Decorating cakes is probably not one of them.  Once she wrote “Happy” she quickly realized she’d have no room for “Birthday Dusty;” hence, “Happy Dusty.”  Never mind the fact my friend, Janna, thought it said “Hoppy Dusty.”  Cindy did learn, however, that cookie icing is not the best for writing text.  So, I feel certain she’ll master the art next time. 

Let’s just give her that.  It was a quite tasty after all.

Janna and her youngins treated me to dinner.  She is sweet like that.  But not before Big Mama called me.

“I near ‘bout forgot your birthday ‘til Aunt Faye reminded me.”  Big Mama admitted.

“Um, thanks, Big Mama?”    

Then, I nearly busted a gut laughing when she told me, “I would sing you ‘Happy Birthday’, but there is one note I can never get on that song.”

Oh, how she brings joy to my life. 

Thank you all for your wishes, blessings, and sweet messages.  You all made me feel very special.  For real. 

Love y’all.  Mean it!


Filed under Big Mama, Friendship, gratitude