Category Archives: life

Unforced Rhythms of Grace.

“Ask yourself: Is there joy, ease and lightness in what I’m doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment and life is perceived as a burden or struggle.” – Eckhart Tolle

My dear friend, Penny Doss, shared this quote last night and it cut deep into my soul exactly where it needed to. I’m a planner. I’m a constant thinker. I’m always planning for the next thing and thinking about how to make that thing happen. These things are good things. They are fun things and exciting things! I LOVE doing something new, planning for a new place to travel to, reading something new, thinking about new things (and subsequently adding to my list of things to do.)

This is all good. It really is. Until it becomes too much. You know the saying “Too much of a good thing is too much?” Maybe we should rephrase that to “Too much of a good thing all at once is too much” Amen. Because when we welcome it all once, it’s no longer a joy or a good thing. It becomes a burden or a struggle.

This seems to be happening to a lot of people close to me. One of my best friends had her first panic/anxiety attack yesterday, because work is busy and really good….and subsequently, her body told her to slow down. I talked to another good friend this morning who talked about how he and his wife are busier than ever, and while so much good is happening, it’s become hard to enjoy the present moment and just be still together. I told my friend who had the panic attack that sometimes it’s hard to be intentional about slowing down both physically AND mentally when you’re happy. But, unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), it will rear its head on us physically and mentally if we don’t pace ourselves.

My mom, who is probably the most prophetic voice in my life, told me a month ago that I was on her mind, and that I needed to just slow down and be more present. It resonated within me, and we both kind of laughed at how so many of my phone calls to her, “Mom! I have an idea. What do you think about this?” And, bless her. She just cheers me and my ideas on, but I know on the other side of that phone call is her sometimes putting her hand on her head and whispering, “Jesus, be near.” Then, she with absolutely NO chill at all, tagged me in a post that said, “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Bob Marley.

So, here’s my lesson for today. And for tomorrow. But mostly today, because, I’m learning to be present, right? Good things are good. But don’t let so many good things at once rob you of the better (the now.) Slow down. Stop trying to put the round peg in the square hole. It’s all going to get done. It’s all going to happen. We just have to know when to push something and when to flow in something. Both are necessary from time to time. For me? I need to push some things (like exercising and finishing school.) And, I need to flow in some other things.

Because, it’s in the push that we achieve what we need to achieve. And, it’s in the flow that we enjoy what we’ve ALREADY achieved. What’s already in front of us.

Let’s not just get wet today. Let’s feel the rain. Let’s push the things we need to push and not the force the things we shouldn’t force. Let’s learn the unforced rhythms of grace again and enjoy today.

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Filed under Spiritual Journey, life, Chasing Dreams, Life Experiences

My Covid Excuses.

Do you have Covid excuses?

“I need to lose weight and eat better, but quarantine really through me off.”

“I need to finish that project or that commitment, but I just haven’t been inspired since Covid.”

“I don’t really have a set schedule. It’s a crazy year, you know! Covid!”

“It’s whatever goes here right now with these children. We are in survival mode, because, you know…..Covid.”

“Sure, I haven’t achieved what I hope to this year, but, Dear Jesus. What a year this has been! COVID!”

I have Covid excuses. PLENTY of them. I’ve made them with my routine (or lack of one.) I’ve made them for my last semester of Life Coaching school (that I’ve had plenty of time to complete.) I’ve made them for not writing as much, because I tell myself I’m just not as inspired. (Even though God has shown me more this year than any year…..but, here I sit not pouring it ALL out the way I should.) And, I’ve made excuses with my weight and eating habits. Let’s talk about that part.

I was already on a road to not so healthy habits last November when I began having back issues. If you’ve had debilitating pain, you know exercise is difficult. Sometimes, that’s beyond our control. But how I nourish my body? That’s on me. Now, I’ve eaten a gluten-free diet for almost 4 years now. But you know what can also be gluten free? Lays Stax Potato Chips (if you know, you know), crackers, bread, and even JUNIOR MINTS. All gluten free. But none of them are good choices. By April, I had fallen into giving myself permission to eat what I want to eat, because these are “unprecedented times.” And, then by June? I was all, “I’m just going to love myself as I am, because, this is SELF-CARE.”

Self-Care. What a term that has become an excuse for not doing the things we SHOULD do. I don’t knock real, healthy self-care. We need that. But, we have to determine true, authentic self-care by answering the questions: What SHOULD I do? What is better in THIS moment? And, then we choose the better. When making choices of what to do in any given moment, we have to sometimes say no to something that may good, so we can yes to something better.

Well, about a week ago, I became tired of my Covid excuses. And, I was reminded of this scripture in 1 John 4:4. “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” In this context, John was writing to a group of people telling them they are going to hear all kinds of things from all kinds of people that may not align with who God really is. John calls them “false prophets.” He reminds the people he’s addressing to not be weighed down by all of that. Because, the Spirit within them is greater, and they can rise above the noise.

Sidebar. I like how after this passage, John goes right into “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (4:7-8) In other words, not only can you rise above what’s going on in the world, but you’re response to it has to always be LOVE. This includes differences of opinions on masks, political candidates, and other issues permeating our society.

But back to my point. Last week, I said to myself: “The Spirit that lives in me is greater than Covid.” And, I’ve said that very thing to myself every single day since. Every time I go for that processed food. Every time I go for that oneeeee piece of chocolate. I said it to myself this morning before I wrote this, so I wouldn’t use the excuse, “It’s Covid. I don’t have to write.”

We definitely all needed to take a mental pause and break in the beginning of this. But, too much of it is just too much. Our bodies and health are at stake. Our dreams are at stake. What we are called to do is at stake.

Don’t make excuses anymore. The Spirit that lives INSIDE OF YOU is GREATER than that thing that is hovering over you. Write that down. Post it everywhere you can see it. Take back control, and remember who you are. There are certainly things beyond our control, but SO MUCH is within it. I’ve got this. YOU’VE got this. Let’s do it.

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, health, life, making an impact, Uncategorized, Writing

Jett Man Is Double Digits!

jett hat

He has been waiting for this day for so long. He starts thinking about his birthday, his cake, his gift ideas, his festivities months in advance. When I told him we couldn’t celebrate his birthday in the way we had planned this year, I watched his eyes well up with tears, and this momma heart could hardly stand it. He didn’t let a single tear fall. He lifted his head and said, “It’s okay, Mom.” And, followed it with, “I still get a gift, right?” You better believe he does.

What a crazy time for him to turn ten. I can find myself getting overwhelmed by it all, but then I look at him and I see him creating. I see him building. I see him lighting up when he discovers something new. I don’t know anyone who loves learning more than he does.

And, I honestly do not know a kinder, more thoughtful soul. I really don’t.

Earlier last week, he looks at me and says, “Mom, what if we take the money you and dad were spending for my party and give it to someone who needs it right now?” I said, “Jett, that is a great idea and so thoughtful of you.” Then, in true Jett Takle “let’s think bigger” fashion, he says, “Mom. I want to start a fundraiser and call it ‘Jett’s Cure.’ We can raise a lot of money to help people!”

“Why do you want to call it Jett’s Cure?”

“Because, we don’t have a cure for the Coronavirus. But we can cure some things.”

So, today, we are launching “Jett’s Cure.” If you would like to help us help others in our community during this time, you can give to Eagles Way Church online at Eagles Way Church. Select “offering” or “event” and type “Jett’s Cure” in the memo. Every single penny will go to help someone in need during this very hard season. If you wish to send a check, you can do so by mailing it to Eagles Way Church, 100 Hudson Road, Griffin, GA 30224. Just write “Jett’s Cure” in the memo. This is what he wants most for his birthday.

And, it’s this kind of hope and love the world really needs.

Jett Takle emanates exactly the kind of hope I need right now.

Jett Man, I think it would be impossible for me to love you more. Your heart is just gold. You never hesitate to let people know that you love them. You take time with people and listen to them. You are gentle. You are so very smart and curious. You are creative and always dreaming so very big. You believe you will do big things, and I know you will.

I love how you love to fish with your Ga-GA.

I love how you love to listen to music and throw the baseball with your brother.

jett - john

I love how you indulge your sister in making videos with her.

Jett Anna

I love how you run straight to Nan the moment you see her. I love how you just love hanging on the farm with your dad. I love how you love your family and want to know every single thing about your family history. I love how you love Far-Far and Cathy and enjoy your explorations with them. I love how you hold your Farmor so close to your heart. I love how you always say, “I love you, Mom.”

I love how you love and care for your friends. I really loved watching you light up when you were finally able to see them online the other day.

I know you must think this time in history is strange. And, I don’t know how long it will be strange. But I do know this…..He that began this good, good work in you will be faithful to complete it. We will get through this together. We will keep exploring. We will keep creating. We will keep learning. Keep loving. Keep dreaming. And, keep fishing. We will keep telling each other how much we love them. And, we will look towards the future with immense hope and joy.

Happy 10th Birthday, Jett Takle. Thank you for keeping hope alive.

I love you more than you will ever know,

Mom

Jett OU

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Filed under giving, Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

You Never Know How You’re Going To Feel Tomorrow.

I haven’t been looking forward to November getting here, because it means all of the holidays are upon us. Sounds pretty bah humbug, right? I even said to myself that I don’t feel like I’m going to be in the Christmas spirit this year. I just wasn’t feeling like I was going to feel the things I needed to feel, you know? Granted, it’s early to even be thinking in such terms, but let’s face it…..time travels so quickly these days. I found myself thinking about how expensive the season gets, how busy and full our days seem to get blah, blah, blah. You’re like, Dusty, I don’t even know you anymore. I know, right? But I woke up November 1st actually kind of feeling it. I felt that holiday energy I didn’t think I would feel. Maybe, it’s the cold weather outside. Maybe it’s just a new day. Or, maybe it was just I didn’t give myself time.

But, I woke up and just felt different.

I found myself asking Jett what he wanted for Christmas. He said, “I want that poster of Albert Einstein with his tongue sticking out, and I want to put it on the outside of my door!” I laughed, because, who asks for something like this? Jett Takle, of course.

And, I felt what I needed to feel when it was time to feel it.

The point of my story isn’t that suddenly I’m ready for the holidays and in the spirit. The point of my story is something my dad told me 17 years ago around this very time when I was going through a divorce.

“You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.”

I remember feeling depressed, heart-broken, wondering if I would ever feel happiness again. I was getting ready to sign divorce papers. I WAS A MESS. One day I was all up in my feelings, and my dad tells me, “You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.” I wipe my face and look at him and say, “YES, I DO. EXACTLY HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW.”

But, I didn’t know.

I remember as clearly as this moment is right now, walking into sign those papers and leaving there feeling like a weight had been lifted.

I woke up the next morning, and I felt different. I felt hopeful. And, I felt happy.

I really didn’t know how I was going to feel tomorrow.

Whatever you are feeling today won’t last. Perhaps you’ve been in a season of feeling a certain way that you don’t like. Maybe you’re grieving something or someone. Maybe, you are feeling like you’re not passionate about something you feel like you should be passionate about. Maybe you feel like you’ll always feel this way. Maybe you’ve been dreading something that is being made worse by simply dreading it. Whatever it is, hold this truth close to your heart when you grow weary of that feeling:

You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.

So chin up, friends. His mercies are always new. And, you never know what tomorrow may bring.

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I’m Going Back To School!

I mean, I’m not going to be driving to a campus. But, I have enrolled in an online school to become a certified life coach! The initial certification will be finished before the year’s end. But, I will take additional classes next year that are more specific to the kind of topics and issues in coaching I want to zoom in on. When I initially shared this with my dad, he responded, “I don’t think you need to go to school for this. You are already doing this, and your life speaks loudly enough to validate being a life coach.” SUPER sweet thing for dad to say. But, there is SO much I don’t know as it pertains to ethics in coaching, and there is ALWAYS room for growth and learning. And, it’s something I wanted to my children to watch me do.

When I told my kids I was going back to school, their response was the freaking best. They have been so excited for me and SO supportive. John Henry immediately began thinking of a name for my life coaching endeavor. I’ll share that name at another time. When I told Anna, she responded, “Mom. YES! So much yes! And, I feel like this is going to put you in a position to write more, to minister more….to write your book!” Y’all…..their love and support and belief in me have meant everything. EVERYTHING.

Jett, however, was all like, “WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF? HOW OLD ARE YOU?” God love that boy.

Everyone I have shared this with has been so encouraging. Most have said, “You already do this….” And, while that’s true on one level, there is always more. My dad has always said, “The more you do, the more you CAN do.” It’s so true in life. Kind of like when you lay around all day and are SO tired from doing nothing that you don’t want to do anything? But when you have one million things on your list of things to do, adding one more seems like no big deal. Life is funny that way. But, I feel like I’m adding something important to my to do list. I feel like this is the right thing to do and pursue. Actually, I know it is.

A couple of months ago, I was driving to church and heard in my spirit, “Do the little things. Stop trying to do one HUGE thing.” There are a lot of little things we do and can do that can impact not only our lives, but the lives of the people around us. While this new journey is a big thing, it will be the little things that come out of it that will be what really makes a difference. And I’m pretty excited about it.

Virgin Gorda.JPG

This pic is me doing something I didn’t initially want to do, because the journey there was going to be long and bumpy…..and, I’m not exactly an outdoorsy kind of girl. But I did it and LOVED it, and I have so many ridiculous selfies to prove it. So, here’s to a journey that might be long and get bumpy, but I know will be so worth it!

Also, wondering if this means I get to go back to school shopping?

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, life, Life Experiences, making an impact, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.

main thing 2.JPG

We’ve been in a series called “Battles” at church. It has really had me thinking about battles I have fought that should have never been a battle at all. And, fighting those battles have led to some of my biggest hurts (usually me hurting someone) which ended up being something I regretted. As a matter of fact, the majority of my regrets in life are making a bigger deal out of something than I should have….turning a minor issue into a major one. Making the insignificant significant.

We should always know better. Most, if not all, of us have experienced really hard things that were significant. Something that puts life into perspective where we see what truly matters in life. Back in April when both of my oldest ended up in the hospital with concussions, life dramatically slowed down. Nothing else mattered during that season but making sure my children were okay. Perspective was clear and right. Yet, it’s so easy to forget once that season passes. And, suddenly we are back to letting little things become big things.

That little thing your child failed to do or did becomes a big thing. And, their little souls suffer from our lack of perspective.

That little inconvenience a friend caused becomes a big inconvenience. And, her heart is hurt from our lack of perspective.

That little oversight from your spouse becomes a big oversight. And, he is stripped down and goes to sleep feeling like he let you down from our lack of perspective.

Every time we make that little thing big, someone gets hurt. A relationship suffers. And, it’s never, ever worth it.

Ever.

You’ll read this today and maybe think to yourself, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” And, perhaps, you will today. Maybe even tomorrow. But time will pass, and you’ll forget. I’ll forget. Some little thing will happen and we will lose perspective and blow it out of proportion. Someone will get hurt, and we will regret it. We will struggle to take back those words. But, maybe if we can all start being accountable to one another by reminding each other to keep the main thing the main thing, we will stop fighting battles that should never be.

Souls will stay on fire with life.

Hearts will stay mended.

Relationships will stay in tact.

Because, we won’t make insignificant things significant. And, we won’t let significant things become insignificant. Because, what’s significant…..what really matters…..are the people in your life.

They are the main thing.

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Filed under Friendship, life, Marriage, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

Welcome To Each Other’s World.

jett world

I love being a mom. It’s honestly my favorite thing I do/am. I think most moms feel this way. My views on parenting are constantly evolving and expanding. And, I LOVE this, too. One of the things that’s been expanding in how I view parenting is the fact that we are all eternal beings.

I’ve said for years that there is no little God in my children and big God in me. Same big God in all of us. This has always helped me in trusting the God in my children to do and work all that needs to be done and worked within each of them. The only difference between Jett and me might be our awareness of God within us at times.

One of the ways I’ve expanded this truth, is that I used to think I was more aware of God in me than one of my children simply because I’ve been practicing awareness longer. Not always true. Sometimes, Jett will be aware of something I have been missing. How is this possible? Because, his spirit is just as old as mine is. We are eternal beings, remember? I allow my own children’s awareness to expand my own.

Another way I’ve expanded the truth that we are all eternal beings is to not dismiss something one of my children feel strongly about. Don’t say things like, “You’re too young to feel that,” “You don’t understand love yet,” or “You are too young to know what you really want to do yet.” We may have been living this earthly experience longer, but our spirits are the same age. Don’t dismiss their feelings. Don’t doubt that their feelings are real. Listen to them. Engage their passions. Hear their cries and respond. They NEED you to do this.

And, probably the greatest revelation I’ve had lately in parenting is that we are in each other’s world. Years ago, I always said when each child was born, “They entered my world. I didn’t enter theirs.” I was so wrong, friends. And, if I told you this, I am so sorry. No, no, no, no. As eternal beings, we are walking this earthly journey TOGETHER. The spirit behind “They entered MY world” wasn’t necessarily wrong. But, in theory, it was very wrong. My thoughts behind it were that he or she will adapt to MY environment. He will adapt to my schedule. She will have to adapt to my life and what I have already set in motion. That’s like me saying, “Kris, brother, you need to adapt to my life, what I want, what I think, k?” Sure. That would go over great. We adapt to each other’s worlds. We embrace each other’s worlds. The same goes for my children.

I started getting this revelation 3 years ago when Anna was in the play, To Kill A Mockingbird, and I was taking her to and from rehearsals every single day. There were no nights out for me. There was no me having time for me. Friends, I was in her world. However, it was her world that I got to be a part of and also benefit from. But, it wasn’t until now that I have been able to flip the switch on what it means: We are in each other’s worlds instead of “you entered my world when you were born.”

Sometimes, my world is all about Anna’s world. Sometimes, it’s all about Jett and sometimes, it’s all about John Henry.

john world

Sometimes, it’s all about Kris’ world.

And, guess what, sometimes, it’s all about YOURS.

Moms, if you can get the revelation now that you are sharing this earthly journey together, and you are in each other’s worlds, then this will happen:

You will thrive in gratitude that you GET to be in their world. You GET to see the world through their eyes. You GET to take them here and there and everywhere and get a front row seat to their world.

anna world

You will see so much more than you thought possible and expand in so much more than you thought possible because their lives and worlds add to yours. And, your world becomes so enlightened and so much more fun.

You will honor who they are as eternal, spiritual beings and treat them as such.

And, here’s what will NOT happen: resentment. You won’t resent giving up “your world” for “their world.” Because, all of the sudden, your worlds collide. Your world becomes theirs. And, their world becomes yours.

And, that, my mom friends, is magic.

Stay open. Stay aware. Remember who you are, and, don’t ever forget who they are. And, I promise you: being mom will only get better.

Keep expanding. Keep evolving. Welcome to each other’s worlds.

kids world

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Filed under Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

I Can’t Wait To Hear Your Music.

It’s been a long minute since I blogged. I woke up this morning wanting to document my thoughts on 2018. And, what I am feeling in this very moment.

Some years seem like challenging years because of loss. Loss of a loved one, loss of a marriage, loss of job, etc. Some years seem challenging because of struggles in health or finances. One thing I’m kind over, though, is defining a year as one thing. “It was a hard year.” “It was a disappointing year.” “It was a challenging year.” It’s not that those words can’t necessarily define a season or experience, but I’ve grown tired of it defining a year. The truth is, life can sometimes be hard. It can be disappointing. It can be challenging. And, life will always be that way. But in the space in between, it can also be amazing. It can be filled with tender moments. It can be filled with moments you laugh so hard until you cry. It can be filled with tiny victories and big victories. And, this is life. Not a year. Life.

I do love the feeling, however, a new year brings. A new chance to be better. A new opportunity to accept things I once struggled with or a new opportunity to embrace the in between moments with more awareness of how precious they are. And, I lean into that feeling with excitement and readiness. And, I lean into it bringing every lesson that 2018 brought me.

2018 has been filled with all of the moments and seasons described above. It’s been challenging at times, disappointing at times, hard at times. It’s been filled with the tenderest moments and some really great victories. It’s been a year of crazy growth. And, I am thankful for every single moment and season.

The disappointing moments taught me to wipe the tears from my face, look up, and look ahead. My year began with a knee injury in January and a back injury in February. And, then in March, I would preach a message that would inspire some and bother others. I got it. I understood both kinds of responses. It kind of shook my internal world for a bit. But, what I learned from it all is that 1) Time does heal the body. Be patient. And, 2) “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” – Alan Watts

I stirred way more than necessary, and then I had to wait on the water to clear again. Next time, I’ll be more gentle, but I’ll also accept that not everyone is going to see things the same way as I do, and that’s ok. Accept it, be tolerant, continue to be you, and move on. When you stir things and create muddy water, you are no longer able to see clearly and truth becomes blurred. But if you remain still, and leave whatever that thing/person is that’s causing you turmoil alone, it will all clear. And, what Spirit has been revealing to you will remain in tact. And, it won’t take you near as long to recover from it.

The challenging moments taught me to trust the process, and don’t try to fit the round peg into a square hole. We kept trying to do this with adding on to our house. We ran into road blocks every time we engaged the idea. Kris never had real peace about it, but I wanted what I wanted. Don’t we always? Kris went along for the ride, trusting that I would hear what he heard and saw what he saw. Here, I learned: 1) Don’t force what you see and hear onto someone else. Trust the same Spirit that reveals things to you will reveal things to them. And, sure enough, I finally listened. And, 2) You’ll be so glad you didn’t force that thing that kept working against you. You’ll be glad you flowed with life. We now have a getaway that has already created the best family memories for us instead of an addition that gave me what? More to clean? What I thought was working against me was actually working for me. There are only two ways to view challenging moments: Working for you or working against you. They are always, ALWAYS working for you.

The inspiring moments have taught me that there is always more. Moments of victory, moments around the table, moments where you stir gratitude until you are overwhelmed by it…..hold tightly to them, because the longer you hold onto them, the greater it gets, and only more follows. But the more comes by not just holding onto the good, but digging your heels in and going after it. Getting dirty and rolling back your sleeves in every possible beautiful way and making happen what you want to make happen. We either let life happen to us or we make it happen for us. And, this is how I am rolling into 2019.

Back in October, I knew I needed a shift. As a matter of fact, I focused so much on the word “shift” that I remembered a movie my mom has begged me to watch for the past two years. TWO YEARS. It’s called “The Shift” with Wayne Dyer. I have yet to escape this quote from that movie: “Don’t die with your music still inside you.” My music isn’t just for me. Your music isn’t just for you. It’s for every person in your life and those who are yet to be in your life. It’s for the people you may or may never meet. You have something to give to this world. We just have to shift our thinking from “What can I get” to “What can I give.” And, then give it.

I’ve seen and read this quote all over the internet: “Your greatest calling may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” I’m with this in theory, and raising my children IS my greatest calling….but I think it eliminates any thought that YOU bring something powerful into this world all by yourself. I cannot expect my children to believe they can achieve greatness and fill the earth with something amazing and impactful if I can’t believe that for myself. My children will become what they see. In every area of their lives. I owe it to them to show up, pay attention, and let my music happen.

So, that’s how I’m entering into 2019. There is a lot of music inside of me. There is a lot of music inside of you. I need your music, and you need mine. We can either let life happen, or we can MAKE music happen. Christmas Eve night, Kris and I went to bed, and he looked at me and said, “Take ownership. Do it. Stop waiting for something to happen, and go after it.” It was the most random, out of the blue affirmation. And, it was just the thing I needed to seal it on my heart.

I hope this seals something in your heart. Take ownership. Do it. Stop waiting for something to happen, and go after it. 2019 has a lot in store for you. Hard moments, disappointing ones, challenging ones, growing ones, fun ones, amazing ones, victorious ones. They are all happening for you. And, I can’t wait to hear your music.

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, gratitude, health, imagination, life, Life Experiences, making an impact, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized

The Future Is Female.

Anna me little

It feels like Anna has been my friend her entire life. I’m pretty sure conversations with her at age four were very similar to conversations I would have with my adult friends….with the exception of our conversations over wardrobe. However, those conversations have only evolved from “No, those ripped tights look terrible under those shorts” to “This is MY shirt, not yours.” She assumes what’s mine is hers and what’s hers is hers. I told my own mother the other day, “I am so sorry for everything I said and did when I was 13 and 14.” Mom simply responded, “Thank you.” I understand it’s the circle of life. And, I also understand that it is very hard to tell Anna she can’t wear something of mine. She usually pleads a very convincing case. She’s a smart one. She always has been. And, she’s, for sure, a strong one. And, while I journey through the victories and lessons of raising a teenage daughter, I also marvel at her intuitive strength and her eyes that always see beyond what’s in front of her. She is a force with the most gentle soul. Her evolution has been both remarkable and surprising. And, I can’t imagine my life without her. Today, she is 14. I don’t know what year 14 looks like for her or me, but I know we are both ready.

Anna me older

Anna, nothing has grown me more than being your mother. Nothing has stretched my love past the lines I didn’t know I had drawn like you have. And, I mean that in the most grateful way. Thank you for always teaching me to see more than the obvious. Thank you for taking me deeper. Thank for being you. I could list hundreds of things I love about you (and, I know you’re reading this and saying “Well, get to listing, sister!” But, I have a lot more years ahead of writing birthday blogs. So, here are 14 things I love about you, “sister”:

1) I love that you call me “sister” and everyone else “sister” when you’re excited, when you’re emphatic, when you believe strongly in something, when you are surprised, when you disagree with someone. I also love how “sister” is gender neutral as far as you’re concerned. Everyone is sister.

2) I love how you actually laugh at me now and think I’m hilarious (even though I still can’t be that way, act that way, or do that thing around your friends. Whatever.)

3) I love how easy you are to shop for. It is rare I walk into a store and don’t see something that reminds me of you. And, I love how you appreciate the oddest things, the tiniest things, and the most adorable of things. I can hear the excitement in your voice right now over the smallest, cutest succulent I placed in your room. I LOVE that excitement in your voice. You make all of life come alive.

4) I love how you balance your motivation to achieve with your need and love for cuddling up on the sofa with your hot tea, laptop, and a Netflix marathon of The Office, Queer Eye, or Grey’s Anatomy. No one can get comfier faster than you with the exception of your father.

5) I love how you understand and enjoy artists from Kristen Chenoweth to Cardi B. You don’t elevate one person over another and always appreciate the art different people bring to the table.

6) I love how you communicate so well with people of all ages. You can have conversations with 4 years olds and 74 year olds alike.

7) I love your passion for trying to understand the world and your search to find how you can contribute to it best. I promise just your presence adds to this world, because you carry HIS presence everywhere you go. You don’t have to stress over what tomorrow looks like. Just keep being present in this moment. You contribute goodness NOW.

8) I love how thankful you are for everything in your life. And, I love how when you know someone wants something, even if you love it for yourself, you always choose them over that thing. You will always draw more to you by being open to give. I know you already know this.

9) I love how you love your brothers. I especially love the relationship you have with John Henry. You have both grown and grown together. And, I love how you look back on pictures of Jett when he was little and just want to cry. You’re the proudest little momma I know.

10) I love listening to you play the piano. I sit up in the living room sometimes, and I hear you working out hard pieces. I hear the most beautiful sounds, and it makes me so proud. Sometimes, I hear your frustration, but I also always hear and feel your determination to master it. I’m so proud of you for persevering through the hard. You are mastering much more than a piece of music, Anna. You are learning to master life.

11) I love your heart for worship and how real and meaningful it is for you.

12) I love how you are a voice for the marginalized. I love how you believe and live out of the truth that every single person matters. “A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everybody else.”

13) I love how brave you are and never back down from a challenge. It doesn’t mean you’re never afraid. But, you never let fear keep you from moving forward. DON’T EVER LOSE THAT, SISTER.

14) I love your honesty. Your truth is always so raw, so real, so vulnerable, and so beautiful.

Anna 8th grade pic

Anna Takle, you are a most amazing human. You are a most amazing friend. A birthday blog or two ago I remembering writing that I could have never written a better story than the one I experience with you: as my daughter, as my teacher, as my friend. I know we are both head strong women. I know we have quite the road to travel down these next few years together. And, I know that we will do it hand in hand and with an undying determination to travel it well. I will keep teaching you, and you will keep teaching me. I love every day with you.

I love YOU.

Happy Birthday, Anna Takle. The world is a brighter (and fun) place with you in it.

Love,
Mom

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Sixteen Candles

JH 16

You know from day one that this day will arrive. But, you never imagine how quickly it does. And, believe me moms of littles, time goes by as quickly as people tell you it will. It seems like yesterday that John Henry was a little 4 year old boy coming into my room every morning requesting “toast and syrup.” It seems like yesterday he was putting on his Bob the Builder tool belt ready to fix all the things. It seems like yesterday he was fighting Darth Vader down the hallway with his light saber. So many seasons have come and gone, and every single one feels like we were just living in it. And, as fun and wonderful as every season has been, nothing compares to the one we are in now. And, I have tears hitting my keyboard as I type this….because, I am so proud of the man John Henry is and how amazing the now moments are.

Dear John Henry,

There are no adequate words to tell of your kindness. You are the most aware human I know. You are aware of every person in a room, and you never fail to make sure the people around know they are noticed. You serve your school, your church, your friends, and your family. And, while we are all so proud and thankful for all you do, I am most proud and thankful for who you are. I would like to tell you not to focus on “doing” today, but I know that is pretty hard for you. But, like Pastor Will told you this summer, your word is “be.” You are all together enough and amazing simply by being you. You carry the presence of God everywhere you go, and we are always made better by it. And, because you carry it with such awareness, you have become it.

You get sixteen candles today. So, here are sixteen things I love about you:

1. I love how you say “Momma” when you just want to show me love. (And, when you want something.)

2. I love how you love your little sister and brother. I know there were times when they drove you crazy. But, you’ve become not only tolerant of the hard stuff siblings share, you’ve become an active participant in their lives, and you love spending time with them. John, you are the BEST big brother.

3. I love how you trust your Daddy Kris and will go to him first about anything going on in your life. I’ve become okay not knowing everything…..sort of….but, I’m so proud that you are so open to seek wise counsel. Walk with the wise and become wise. You get this.

4. I love how you love music and the energy and time you put into it. Your passion for playing music is so fun for me to watch and enjoy.

5. I love how sensitive you are to people and how carefully you walk in your relationships with them.

6. I love how you aren’t afraid to confront the hard stuff and have the hard conversations face to face. Real face to face conversations are a rarity these days, but you’ve taught yourself how important they are.

7. I love that you don’t feel the need to conform to other people’s expectations and are comfortable in your own lane. Stay in your lane. This is where you will always be happiest.

8. I love how you consider my friends your friends. Believe me, my friends consider you theirs.

9. I love your humor. I also love that you laugh at me. (You know this is very important. Ha.)

10. I love how you immediately step into the role of man of the house when dad is gone. You think to do things usually before even being asked. Sometimes, you over-parent, but that’s okay. Anna will remind you that you’re not her dad. But, seriously, I know your heart is to make sure everything and everyone is okay.

11. I love how you aren’t careless with your words. Because of this, when you speak, people listen.

12. I love how you constantly look for the good in others, and as a result, you always find it. Even when it may be hard for others to see, you know that everyone deserves to be defended. Thank you for teaching me that.

13. I love how you appreciate a good half-zip, pull-over sweater. It’s so fun to shop for you.

14. I love how you still love Marvel, and you don’t care who knows it.

15. I love how sensitive you are to the Spirit and honest you are with yourself and others. You are the most humble, real, honest person I know. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.….” (Psalm 139:23-24) John, THIS is the position you always take, and it blows us away.

16. I love that you are also my friend. My bud. I LOVE hanging out with you.

The best part of my life began September 24, 2002. Every day, every season gets better and better with you. Whoever said raising a teenager was hell doesn’t know John Henry Landreth. You make raising a teenager so much fun….so freaking amazing.

I love you, JH. Thank you for making me a mom. And, thank you for driving SO SAFELY AND CAUTIOUSLY AND FOR STILL LETTING ME DRIVE YOU PLACES SOMETIMES, BECAUSE, I’M GOING TO NEED TO SOMETIMES, AND BECAUSE I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS, YET I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND FOR ME AT THE SAME TIME. And thanks for getting it. And for getting me.

Text me when you arrive safely at every single place, but NOT WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING. K?

Happy 16th Birthday, bud. You make us all so very proud.

Love,
Mom

JH 16 3

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