Category Archives: making an impact

Don’t Kill the Wonder.

Wonder

I receive these texts every morning with some sort of positive affirmation or healthy advice for the day. Today, the text read, “Unapologetically seek bliss today.” The text link led me to an article called “‘Ikagai’ is Japan’s Secret to Living a Long, Happy Life.” The author writes that ikagai is “the happiness of always being busy, but it doesn’t mean a schedule packed with mindless errands and activities. Rather, the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning, makes you want to work hard, and colors your life with purpose.” She further writes, “When you follow through on things you enjoy and limit the things you don’t, you’re taking steps towards pursuing what’s important to you.” (Anna Meyer)

This came at such a perfect time as my dad and I were discussing yesterday how so many lose their wonder in life. The truth is, we kill it. Or someone else kills it for us. We kill it in our children completely unaware that we are doing it. When we seek after the things that fill us with joy, we inspire that wonder. When we stop, so does the wonder.

We tell our kids things like, “You can’t always get what you want.” We tell them, “Life isn’t always one big party.” I’ve done it. I’m sure you have. I know our hearts behind it aren’t wrong. We think we are teaching them responsibility. And, that lesson is important. We think we are teaching them to be realistic with their wants and goals. Now, THAT lesson isn’t so much. We think if our little ones want too many things, then they aren’t thankful for what they already have. So, we squelch or diminish the importance or value in them wanting something. We kill their wonder.

It’s not that we never use the word “no.” It IS that we become facilitators, teaching them how to create their world. Teaching them that life IS meant to be full of wonder. Teaching them it’s okay to seek happiness. A couple of years ago I read a book by Shefali Tsabary called “Out of Control.” She is also the author of the “The Conscious Parent,” which may be more familiar to you. One chapter was titled, “How to Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No” Effectively.” My conversation with dad prompted me to pull this book back off the shelf. I’m glad I did. I began reading again about how we kill their wonder when we don’t value what they desire. Tsabary writes that we “deliver messages such as, ‘You are being so greedy, you should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t you know that money doesn’t grow on trees? You seem to think we are made of money.’ Shaming our children for their honest desires in this way, we dishonor their feelings. A practical matter has become a personal issue, with the parent feeling frustrated and the child rejected. Our children have every right to want things – this is normal and healthy. It indicates they have a connection to their lives.”

You see our purpose isn’t to run out and buy those things for them. I’m not arguing you can’t. Sometimes, the joy of parenting is saying, “Yes. Let’s go get this.” BUT, the beauty for us as parents is to facilitate their dreams. To teach them to have goals. To help them create ways to work for these things and attain them. To let them know that we are for them and will partner with them. “Our children learn they are active co-creators in their universe, able to actualize their dreams through action. Such children grow up to make good decisions in life.”

I dare say, such children grow up to never lose their wonder for life. Because, we as parents have taught them what it means to truly be created in God’s image – Elohim – creators. Creators are always inspired. And, that inspiration always comes from wonder. So, everyday, they get up and unapologetically seek bliss by actively fulfilling their life’s purpose.

Finally, I would say that this is not selfish. It sounds self-fulfilling. Partially, it is. But, as each one fulfills his or her purpose, the rest of the world benefits. We all gain from each other’s gifts. Am I trying to create a world filled with magic and love and peace and hope and bliss? Am I THAT crazy to think it’s possible? You better believe I am. Now, YOU. Go seek bliss today.

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, Kid Stuff, Life Experiences, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

I Have A Teenager.

JH - young

These eyes have owned me since the first time I saw them.  I’m pretty sure that he knows that by now.

13 years ago today, he made me a mother.  And, what a beautiful journey it has been. There are some who have told me, “Just wait until they are teenagers….”  If you’re a mom, it’s probably been said to you and not so much in a positive way.  I have chosen to enter these years with “the best is yet to come” as the foundation for our home and for my relationship with this beautiful soul that I get to do life with every single day.

John Henry, every year with you gets better and better.  Every season with you teaches me something about love, forgiveness, and always looking for the best in others.  One of the most, if not THE most, amazing qualities about you is that I never hear you say one negative or demeaning word about any person.  You have spoken kindly about every teacher, every friend.  You continually remind me to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  You continually find the good in others.

You have a righteous anger for those who are treated unjustly.  For those who are made to feel less than they should.  Your compassion for people to truly know and believe that they are who God says they are is the banner you wave so fiercely.  And, I could not be more proud of the man you are.

Thank you for valuing human life and for reminding me to always value others.

Thank you for being my protector, the man of the house, when your Daddy Kris is gone.

Thank you for always trying to make life easier for those around you.

Thank you for striving to do your best in everything.

Thank you for understanding technology better than I do.

Thank you for being the household Math tutor.

Thank you for introducing me to cool music.

Thank you for not being embarrassed when I dance.

Thank you for looking out for your sister even when she drives you crazy.

JH - siblings

Thank you for being a gentle, big brother to Jett. And, thank you for letting him play the Playstation with you.

JH - with jett el toro

Thank you for being you.

You are not afraid to endure hard things.

You are not afraid to put yourself out there and try something new.

You are not afraid to admit when you’re wrong.

You are not afraid to love deeply.

You are brave.  You are brilliant.  You are funny.  You are full of compassion and love.  And, I cannot believe you are a teen.  Time certainly flies when you’re having fun.  What a fun 13 years it’s been.  And, as always, the best is yet to come.

Happy Birthday, Teenager.

I love you more and more every day.

Love, Mom

JH - Dusty

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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

 

 

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40 Is A Big Deal.

This guy is 40 today. FORTY. For his 38th birthday, I wrote 38 things I love about him. He thought I should do 40 now. When I suggested just adding 2 more to that old post, well, he thought it was tacky. Here is a brand new 40 reasons. I also enlisted the help the of the big kids.

Ready?

40 Reasons We Love Ivar Takle. I'll go first.

1) You love Bob Marley and John Denver. And, you sing their songs really loud.

2) You are the same person at home as you are everywhere else.

3) You never believe your blessings are just for you.

4) You make me want to be a better wife, because you are always a better husband.

5) I love how you make yourself trip just so I will laugh.

6) You make the best fried rice on the planet.

7) You bring me my coffee every single morning you are home. I feel like I am roughing it when you're gone.

8) You teach our daughter how a husband should treat his wife by setting an astounding example.

9) And, you may or may not spoil both of your girls.

10) You hear my heart and receive from me. You know, when I approach matters of the heart with grace instead of….that other way. 🙂

11) You are so stinking smart and answer all of my questions on what in the Sam Hill is going on in the world.

12) You can do anything a farmer can do. Drive any tractor. Plow any land. And, do that other farmer-type stuff. And, that's really sexy.

13) Flying an airplane is sexy, too.

14) You never, ever complain.

15) You never speak poorly of anyone. Ever. That is so amazing.

16) You are the hardest working man I know.

17) You teach John Henry how to be a man.

18) You play with our children. That's a big deal.

19) You are the epitome of patience.

20) You bring peace to our home.

 

Anna would like to take the next ten. Hit it, sister.

21) He loves me.

22) He is so much fun.

23) Sometimes, he gives me answers on my homework.

24) He is adventurous.

25) He is as crazy as me.

26) I love it that he fixes my breakfast every morning.

27) He is a really hard worker.

28) He's my favorite person to cuddle with.

29) I'm proud that he is my daddy.

30) He is handsome.

 

John Henry would like to add the next ten.

 

31) Because, he loves me.

32) He teaches me new things.

33) He gives me the chances to do things.

34) He provides me with a home and food.

35) Because, he will fly me around.

36) He doesn't freak out over things like mom does.

37) He loves my Daddy Bryan, and they get along.

38) He will tuck me into bed.

39) He will never give up on me.

40) He gives to others even if it's not a holiday.

 

I couldn't agree more with your big kids. And, number 40 might be my absolute favorite. Because, it is just so true. If Jett could add anything, I'm sure it would be, “He can always find my Super-Man cape” or “He lets me stay in my pjs” or “He lets me drive the tractor” or “My dad can fly an airplane. And, that's just cool.”

I have no idea how in the world you manage all that you manage. And, you are rarely a donkey on the edge. You continually amaze me.

You used to tell me you weren't as “spiritual” as me, because, you didn't have the foundation of scriptures that I had. But, I've seen people quote the entire New Testament and not live out what you live out on a daily basis. You are the most “spiritual” man I know because of how you love your family and how you love and give to others. You are always positive. Always. You always speak positively of others. THAT is spiritual. THAT is you.

You are such a great man. A great husband. A great father. A great friend.

You live out Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatever you do, do well.

Happy 40th Birthday. Thank you for doing all things well.

I love you, Kris Takle. And, I thank God you were born.

 

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Filed under life, making an impact, Marriage, parenting

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.

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

Jehovah Elohim (Part One)

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein

I wish this quote meant as much to me when my older two were smaller as it does now. I was a bit of a realist. I didn’t want to “do” Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, because I didn’t want to feel I was lying to my children. I didn’t want to make them believe in something that couldn’t possibly happen. Kris disagreed with me. Even my father, a pastor, disagreed with me. So, every year, Santa comes down a chimney here. And, this year, an Easter Bunny will leave little gifts.

I didn’t tell them an Easter Bunny gave them anything last year. I told them it was from us. John Henry came home from church in tears. “Why didn’t the Easter Bunny come see us? He came to see all of the other kids.”

The realist in me just wanted to tell the truth. And, I certainly didn’t want to take away from the true meaning of Easter.

But, this idea of “realism” can do just that. It can take away the meaning of Who God really is.

Jehovah Elohim.

Creator.

Jehova Elohim formed the world with His words. Since we are created in His image, we are also creators. Likewise, we form our world with our words. We create the chaos. We create the blessings.

With. Our. Words.

So, if God, by nature, is a creator, that means He is creative. Yes?

Creativity is inspired. It’s inspired that believing that ANYTHING is possible. And, when we believe that anything is possible, we aren’t afraid to create. To do. To be.

As a mother, I am making some changes in how I inspire my children. We will read fairy tales. We will read stories in the Bible that, well, seem impossible. We will get excited in a few days when a little bunny delivers surprises.

We are creators. Inspired by believing in the impossible. Inspired by believing we can make a difference in the world. Inspired by the One who thought of us long before He created this incredible world.

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” – G.K. Chesterton

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, Kid Stuff, making an impact, Motherhood

One Shot.

Sometimes in the middle of raising three children, I stop and think how easy my parents had it bringing up just one.  I’m mean, it was always two adults to one child.  How hard could it have been taking me to my weekly gymnastics that I quit as soon as I started?  Just one kid.  And, a sweet, compliant one at that.  It’s my blog, I can lie if I want to.

It’s not the easiest making sure we invest into each of our children in a way we feel is “enough.”  As a matter of fact, we rarely think it’s enough.  We just trust that God has given us everything we need to accomplish everything we need to as parents.  And, we trust His grace to take care of the rest.  ‘Cause you know….I have one shot at this parenting thing.

One shot at making sure this tender heart stays tender, so he can be the face of Christ to those who need Him.

One shot at showing this smart girl how there are no limits to what her determined, fun spirit can do when it is submitted to His Spirit.

One shot at teaching this fearless, wild at heart, (sometimes spoiled) kid three that God wants to use His adventurous heart for His Kingdom. 

One shot.  That’s it. 

I don’t remember all of the extra-curricular stuff my parents made time for.  But, I do remember the life experiences they turned into discipleship opportunities.  I do remember God always being the center of every single decision.  And, I remember looking at my parents so many times and seeing what the love of Christ looks like. 

I hope that’s what my three remember.  I hope they remember Jesus in our house. 

And, maybe when they are thirty-six years old sitting around a lunch table with Kris and I, they will still be amazed at the amount of Jesus pouring from our lives. 

Just like my parents continue to amaze me.  Even if they did only have one kid.

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