Category Archives: parenting

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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Sometimes, Parents Need Tweaking.

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I have found myself the past few weeks correcting Jett and how he responds to me. “Remember who I am,” I’ve told him. “You are not allowed to talk to me like that,” I’ve told him. This has not been his normal tone with me. It’s been frustrating. And, then, he had his clipped moved twice the other day for lacking self-control. I mean, that’s easy for Jett, especially if he’s excited. But, moving it twice in one day doesn’t happen very often.

I zoned in on his behavior. I talked to Kris about the most effective way to discipline and correct it.

But, I didn’t zone in on his heart.

Tuesday morning, I was gathering all of the things I gather to load three children and take them to school. Jett was focused on his legos and asked if I would help him find a certain one.

“I’m busy right now. We are getting ready to leave.”

His response should have hit me in the gut then, but it didn’t until later that night:

“Parents never want to help.”

I hardly gave that comment a thought other than my flippant response back, “Jett! That is ugly.”

I went about my day as usual. The noises of the day drowned out a seven year old’s feelings. Until the noises stopped, and I was alone and silent.

OH. MY. HEAVENS.

“Parents never want to help.”

Was this true for me as a parent? The answer really didn’t matter. What mattered was Jett had internalized this as a belief system in his young heart. Sometimes, it’s easy to justify or overcome comments from our children by elevating ourselves thinking we know more. Or we don’t validate the comments, because we “know our intentions.”

I decided to get quiet, and let the Spirit reveal whatever needed to be revealed. Like always, it did. I immediately texted Kris the story of our morning and Jett’s comment. And, then I shared what the Spirit revealed: “There’s an underlying belief system there we have contributed to. I need to create some time with him where I do something HE wants me to do with him. Not just something I orchestrate for us to do together.”

These are not just in the big things like a child wanting to go the movies with you or go get ice-cream. It could be in the little things where they simply want us to help find something. I work hard to create time with Jett. But, I’m usually the orchestrator and the director. Sometimes. he wants to be that, too. It’s his way of saying, “This matters to me. Would you let it matter to you, too?”

The next day, I meditated on these thoughts. I gave energy to Jett’s truth, and I gave energy to addressing me. And, not Jett’s behavior.

Friends, I immediately saw and felt a difference. This is the power of spirit and energy. Last night as he was getting ready for bed, he climbed to his top bunk and said, “This is a mess. I’m going to straighten this up, so I can sleep up here tonight.”

“I will help you, bud.”

As I helped him and engaged in a task HE orchestrated, he says to me, “You’re the best mom ever.”

It was the simplest thing to engage him in. And, he felt heard. He felt valued. Because, that top bunk suddenly mattered to me because it mattered to him. And, God knows I hate trying to make up a top bunk. But, I love making Jett feel valued more than I hate making up a top bunk.

Sometimes, the smallest tweaks in our parenting make the biggest difference.

When your children make comments that sting, don’t allow your own ego to dismiss them. And, don’t see them as a parenting failure. Instead, see them as indicators that something is correcting itself. And, let it do its job and correct itself by getting quiet, listening to Spirit, and flowing in something new and better. Parenting doesn’t have to be hard. It just has to be intentional work. But, it’s the best work.

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Anna Is A Teenager.

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Anna Takle Is A TEENAGER.

Dear friends and family who remember the blogs the first several years of Anna’s life….can you believe this day is here? Can you believe I survived Anna in pre-school and the calls from her teacher telling me she “couldn’t log into her Twitter account?” That I survived her cutting up my comforter with her Fiskar scissors? Survived her bringing her dad’s wedding band to school for Show and Tell? Survived her insistence on wearing the craziest of apparel combinations? Survived ALL of her antics, mischief, hilarity….survived the days where she literally had no filter?

I did it. WE did it. Being able to share her stories and have you all laugh with me have made getting to year 13 such a fun ride. The truth is, it really hasn’t been a game of survival. It’s been a journey of learning, of growing, and of being blown away by the sheer gift God gave me when He gave me Anna Takle.

One of the things most do NOT know about Anna is that she is the most thoughtful person I know. Her gifts she gives you are well thought out. She makes every gift personal. She puts time and energy and enormous love into everything she creates and gives. Because, the people in her life really matter to her. She expresses herself in words in the most beautiful of ways to let people know how much they mean to her. Is she funny? Yes. Is her wit the quickest? Most certainly. But is she one of the most sensitive and caring humans on the planet? You better believe it.

Dear Anna Marie,

I am so proud of the young woman you are. You make me proud in SO many ways. You are bright. You care that you do well in school. But, you care more that you learn and understand and grow from everything you are taught. The lessons themselves matter to you.

I am so proud of how you continue to practice piano. I am even more proud that you serve with that gift. I love your heart for worship and how free you are to express your love to God. 

I am so proud of your heart for social justice. I love how you stand up for what is right. Your heart breaks for anyone you feel is oppressed or simply anyone who doesn’t know how valuable they are. I can remember praying for you when you were little. Because, you always said….out loud….the first things that ever crossed your mind….I prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for Anna’s heart of compassion.” And, man, have you risen to the occasion with such wild compassion. Your heart aches for those who feel like they don’t belong. You see someone in need, and you do all you can to make sure the lack is gone. You choose people. You choose their feelings. You choose their hearts. You are truly a defender of the weak. And, you always remind me: look at the heart, not at the person. I’m so thankful how you always see the good in people. 

I love how you love watching This Is Us with me. I love how you watch Grey’s Anatomy and think you can diagnose everyone in our house. Actually, I don’t love how you diagnose us. Stop it. Stahhppp.

I love your love for the theater and how you’ve taught every one in this house to enjoy it, too.

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I love how you love your brothers. How you look up to John Henry. I love how you give him unsolicited advice ALL THE TIME. I’m not quite sure he loves that….but, be glad he loves YOU. It’s most adorable how you are forever Little Momma to Jett. I love how you think Jett is the funniest human on the planet….after yourself, of course. Duh.

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I love how you are your dad’s great defender. He cannot do ANYTHING wrong. Nothing. “He is totally Jack from ‘This Is Us’ except without the issues,” you say. Okay. OKAY already. We can shout his praises tomorrow on HIS birthday.

I love how you love me. I love how comfortable and at home you are with me. You’re comfortable enough to tell me when I go in for a second lecture, “I am parented out.” I get it. Sometimes, I am mommed out. I love how you reminded me to write your birthday blog. As if I could ever forget. I asked you, “What would you do if you woke up one birthday and didn’t have a birthday blog to read?” You said, “Well, I’d just write my own!” I have no doubt you wouldn’t. You rarely let anything disappoint you. It’s really quite remarkable.

The other day, I told Anna, “Never text a boy first. He should always text you first.” She responded, “Mom. No. I will not follow this protocol. It’s the 21st century. Women can vote now. I can text first.” Normally, I would’ve questioned her quick response and disregard for my request. Instead, I laughed. And, you know what else I did? I accepted it. Because, just like in so many other life situations and lessons, Anna has consistently inspired me to be open. To listen, to receive, to hear something new. Something that may be out of the ordinary. And, every single time it’s been worth it. She has stretched me in more ways than I ever thought possible. And, I’m not talking about stretching my patience. Of course, she has done that. But, she has stretched my imagination to see more than what is just in front me. She continues to encourage me to see more. To dream bigger. To hope with a daring hope. To expand until I see the glory of God in every single person.

What a fun ride this has been. It’s only going to get better, Anna Takle. Some days, I miss this little girl sitting across from me in a restaurant in Oklahoma City holding baby Jenny.

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But every day I am so thankful to sit across from this girl. This beautiful, smart, caring human that has become my very best friend.

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Happy 13th Birthday, Anna. I am SO THANKFUL to be your mom.

I love you like crazy,

Mom.

 

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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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A New Journey.

Me Jh

John Henry Landreth. How is it possible to love you more with every passing year? How is it possible you embark on a new journey with this birthday? DRIVING. BECAUSE, YOU’RE 15 YEARS OLD. FIFTEEN. DEAR JESUS, HOW? I promise not to be a control freak in the passenger seat making sounds and freaking out over tires touching a line or anything like that. I lie. You and I both know I will. You will get irritated with me over-stating concerns, and you’ll tell dad. Dad will talk to me about it. I will try to do better. You will forgive me. We will get in the car again, and I will be a good mom filled with the spirit and self-control.

Truth is….you know me better than I know myself sometimes. And, although my belaboring of points can drive you crazy, you always forgive, overlook, and still choose to love me and enjoy time with me. This is one of the most remarkable things about you, John Henry. You have the most amazing tolerance and acceptance of everyone’s quirks. You always choose to find the good in everything and everyone. You are truly one of the most positive people I know, and I get to you call you my son and my friend.

I want you to know that your Daddy Kris and I have frequent conversations about you. I will say things like, “It blows my mind how amazing John Henry is.” Your dad has told me, “I don’t know what I did to deserve the goodness that flows out of John Henry.” When you play guitar and worship, you blow us away. Your talent and skill is incredible. But, it’s your heart of worship that just astounds me. Because, at the very core of your heart of worship is the most grateful, thankful heart I’ve ever known.

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Being your mom is one my greatest gifts. But, being your friend is music to my soul. It is the richness in the day to day of my life. And, it is FUN. I enjoy your company so freaking much. I love it that I don’t embarrass you. But, if I’m dancing, you start dancing with me. When I sing the wrong lyrics, you shake your head and laugh. And, I love it that you call me mom most of the time….but when you want something, you call me, “Momma.” Hey, it works for you. I can’t blame you.

You are your sister’s protector. I have loved watching the two of you become closer, share the stage in worship together, and work out your issues together. You are also your little brother’s protector and his buddy. Thank you for taking the time out of your days to play with him. He wants to be just like you. Thank you for setting such an amazing for example for him.

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I remember not being able to imagine my little blonde haired, blue-eyed boy growing up. What would I do without him being so small and snuggling next to his mom? What would I do without his small, tender arms always willing to love on his little sister?

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Now, I know. I would get to watch you appreciate and enjoy things like Ga-Ga’s and Noodles’ friendship.

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I would get to watch you partake in the goodness around the table and add beauty to our conversations. I would get to watch you pray over young people in your youth group. I would get to watch you notice a need and go meet it. I would get to watch you become so aware of every person in the room. I would get to watch you love even deeper. I would get to enjoy concerts with you that I would’ve never purposed to enjoy. And, I would get to become your friend. I am so excited for what else I get to watch you do and become. There is so much more ahead of you, John Henry. So much good. But, right now, I’m just happy to be in this moment with you. Enjoying every second of who you are. Because, who you are is a wonderful, kind, and fun young man who loves with intention and purpose. You are ALL of the good.

I love you more than words.

Happy Birthday 15th Birthday, JH.

Love,
Mom.

 

 

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Oh, Jett Man. Can You Slow Time, Please?

Jett

This is the third “I Can’t Believe You’re Seven” birthday blog I’ve written, and my heart can hardly take it. I’ve been mostly okay writing Jett’s previous birthday blogs and mostly okay embracing the fact he’s another year older. Until now. I mean….I’m okay. And, I LOVE exactly where he is, who he is, and every single thing these seven years of learning and growing have given him. But, seven seems not so little anymore. SEVEN SEEMS SO BIG AND GROWN AND SELF-SUFFICIENT. Seven is realizing that these tender, amazing years of raising little ones are quickly becoming these heart-wrenching, amazing years of coaching and guiding three incredible expressions of God in the earth. And, the fact that God has entrusted me to nurturing and guiding three remarkable beings makes me want to shout “THANK YOU, JESUS FOR THIS LIFE WITH THESE PEOPLE!” My heart pours out gratitude. Because, being their mom is my greatest joy.

I have loved every single second with Jett Takle. He is the third, the baby, the one who can convince to me buy the Oreo Blizzard (and eat the Oreo Blizzard.) The one who can leave rocks and Lego minifigures in his pockets and make me smile every time I pull them out of the dryer. The one who can say, “Can I snuggle with you?” and melt my heart in two seconds flat. The one who can almost convince me to do whatever his little heart desires. Almost.

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And, the amazing thing about all of this? The other three people in this house pretty much feel the same way about this youngest spark of light and joy living down the hall.

Jett Takle, you make ALL of our hearts melt.

There are so many things I love about you and your FUN self.

I love how you can break out into a dance at any given moment if you think it will make us laugh.

I love how you say, “Hot tubbbbbb, hot tubbbbbb. Oh, how’s that hot tubbbb lifeee?” We don’t even know where it came from, but you do it every single time it’s hot tub time, and it makes us all smile so big.

I love how you’ve made it your daily goal to make me laugh every single day. Not once. Not twice. But THREE times. It’s just your thing. And, you count every time until you hit three.

I love how you tell me, “Mom, I looovvveeee your laugh.”

I love how even at seven years old, EVERYTHING is still so amazing. Please, don’t ever lose that. Don’t ever stop being in awe of how beautiful everything is. How intricate and unique every detail is in all of the things around you. Keep the wonder. I will help you fan those flames.

I love how you have named Pastor Will and Jenny “Paw-Paw and Nanny.” Who knows where you come up with these things. But, I love that you recognize the village around you and how loved you are.

I love how you LOVE to read. I love that it compliments and fuels your incredible imagination.

I love how you love Legos and can put them together with both determination and commitment.

I love how it takes you a long time to let me throw away your collection of empty boxes, because “they are special.”

I love that you love going to bed as much as I do. Seriously, I do.

I love how you love to be prayed for every night.

I love how you loved Bigmama and hugged her every time you saw her.

I love how you love all of your grandparents and think they are hilarious and perfect.

I love how you especially think everything your Far-Far does is hilarious. And, how you think Cathy knows “every single thing” about animals.

I love how you think nobody bakes better cookies than Farmor.

I love how you love fishing with your Ga-Ga. And, I love how you yell, “NANNNN!!!! And run to her every single time you see her.

I love how you love working with your daddy on the farm.

Jett - tractor

I love how you think John Henry is the coolest guy you’ve ever seen and light up when he wants to shoot hoops with you.

Jett - JH

I love how you love your sister and still call her “Sissy.”

Jett - Anna

I love how you make me appreciate every second of being a mother.

You are a gift to this family, Jett Takle. You are a gift to the world. You have enlightened the way we look at everything these past seven years. I cannot wait to watch the years ahead unfold for you. They will be amazing. Because, YOU are amazing.

Happy 7th Birthday, Jett Man.

I love you so very much.

Love, Mom

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