Category Archives: parenting

We’re A Little Bit Of Everything.

Anna - school

This year, we made the decision to transition our kids to private school. Let me first say, our kids have thrived in public school, and they have been under the instruction of some amazing public school teachers. Our decision to make the change came out of discussions between Kris and I and then with our children. One of the greatest benefits we’ve seen so far (besides only having ONE carpool line a day…..can I hear a shout?) is that all three of our children have opportunities to catch a glimpse of each other throughout the day. Jett will fist bump John Henry every time he sees him. And, we LOVE that. Seriously. Cutest ever.

Having been in a public school environment most of their lives, they are having new experiences they haven’t been exposed to before (and, we LOVE that, too.) Yesterday, Anna gets in the car and first shares that she thinks she might be Pentecostal. But, she doesn’t know for sure…

Anna: “So, today in Bible we checked what denomination we belong to. You know how our church isn’t ‘normal’ and I didn’t know what to check. I remembered hearing Big Mama was Pentecostal a long time ago, so I just checked that.”

John Henry: “We don’t belong to any denomination, Anna. I checked that.”

Anna: “Mom has never told us WHAT we are.”

We actually consider ourselves inter-faith, embracing all denominations. You know….we love grace like the Baptists and missions like the Methodists. Kris prefers the “sprinkling” of the Presbyterians (you will not find him submerged), and now we love the Eucharist like the Episcopalians. The list could go on. Bottom line, we believe every denomination highlights a different and beautiful aspect of the Christian faith. We have never really labeled ourselves, other than “inter-faith” because of this. I’ve sort of taken my dad’s position to always put a comma by your thoughts, because we are forever growing and expanding. We tend to parent our children the same way allowing for freedom of thought and growth. The only thoughts we govern are the ones that surround this scripture:

37Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Love God, love others, and love yourself.

THEN, Anna proceeds to tell us about her communion experience. We have taken communion. I mean, come on. We are no stranger to the sacrament. We eat our styrofoam wafer and drink our white grape juice, so as not to stain the carpets. We’ve even taken communion as a family together at home, drinking wine from the same glass and breaking bread. Apparently, Anna approached the Episcopalian communion the same way.

“I went up and tried to grab the cup from them. They said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, trying to drink the wine.”

“We don’t drink. We dip,” they told me.

“So, with my bread in one hand, I dipped my opposite hand, my FINGER into the wine, and then I LICKED MY FINGER. They looked at me like I was crazy. By the time I got back to my seat I noticed I still had my bread in my hand. So, I ate it.”

Needless to say, yesterday’s carpool pick-up was THE BEST. I laughed, and I laughed. Then, I would think about it again and laugh. This is seriously going to be a fun year.

6 Comments

Filed under God Stuff, Kid Stuff, parenting, Spiritual Journey

Don’t Set People Up To Fail You.

Originally published in The Grip

A while back, our 13 year old, John Henry, got upset with his dad and responded to him poorly. Kris decided to take his phone and keep it until he apologized. While I knew Kris just wanted John Henry to recognize his poor response and how his words hurt, I wasn’t on board with his strategy, and Kris was open to hear my heart on it. At times, Kris and I disagree with how the other is handling a parenting issue, and one of us checks the other. I felt, in this situation, Kris was setting John Henry up to fail.

“He should know to go to his dad and ask for forgiveness and make this right.” Perhaps. But, sometimes, we know to make something right but have a hard time doing it, for whatever the reason may be. Placing expectations on someone to respond in a certain way only sets that person up to fail you. I’ve seen countless relationships that function this way. Especially in marriage. One sets the other up to see if he or she will respond in a certain way, and if that person “fails the test,” anger and resentment abound. “If she doesn’t come to me and apologize.” “If he doesn’t notice what I did and say ‘thank you.’” The list of examples could on and on. Instead of testing someone who doesn’t even know he or she is being tested, go to him or her. Share your heart and what you are needing from that person. Make sure you don’t come in on the offensive with words and phrases like, “you always” or “you never.” Instead, put it back on you. “It makes me feel unappreciated when you do this,” or “I am needing this from you right now.” Pay attention to your sound and tone. Go into the conversation not only ready to share your heart, but prepare yourself to listen to the other person’s heart as well.”

Kris made the decision to go to John Henry and ask him why he responded the way he did. Kris explained how his words hurt him. Both were able to share their heart, and there were no unfair expectations placed on John Henry without him knowing those expectations. Kris was able to coach John Henry in how to respond in situations when he gets angry and upset. It became a coachable moment instead of a set-up and test. See the difference? The same applies in all of our relationships. Don’t set people up to fail you. It’s simply not fair. And, more times than not, that person will, indeed, fail you. You have two options when you are wanting something from another person: 1) Go to them, and share your heart with the tenderest of tones, or 2) Decide it’s something you can let go and manage without. Both options are necessary at different times in our lives. Both options place you in a position where you are choosing the relationship. Both options are redemptive. And, neither is unfair.

Let’s not place expectations on people. And, if we do, and they fail us, let’s choose forgiveness instead of resentment. Let’s play fair, extend mercy, and handle each other with the greatest of care.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Colossians 3:13

1 Comment

Filed under Marriage, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday To My Life Loving Boy!

Jett opener

Oh, Jett Takle. He steals my heart every single day. Really, he does. I don’t know another soul who loves life more….except maybe my dad. It amazes us all how much those two are alike.

jett dad.jpg

They dance alike. They give the exact same silly faces. They believe every moment is a moment to celebrate.

Jett dance.jpg

He just LOVES life and celebrates every little thing. Anna asked him a couple of days ago, “Jett, what’s your favorite holiday?” He responded, “I LOVE ALL OF THEM!” It’s true. We’ve been marking off the holidays leading to his birthday and will continue to acknowledge the ones that follow. ALL OF THEM.

Kindergarten has been quite the year. His creativity got the best of him when he was given a red and blue crayon and asked to write the consonants in red and vowels in blue. His teacher peered onto his paper to see he had drawn Spider-Man instead. And, when he learned the author of his book was named Dr. Seuss, he exclaimed, “Whoa! He’s a doctor AND he writes books? Wow!” Mercy, I love him. He’s gotten the hang of it all now, and his teachers shout, “Amen.” A lot of his success this year is due to his pure excitement and joy over how amazing everything is. Oh, for us all to be wowed by all the things.  To never lose our wonder for creation.

Jett santa.jpg

Jett Takle, you make everyone stop and celebrate life. When life gets busy and chaotic, and I’m rushing here and there and everywhere, you are my pause. You take my face and turn it towards yours, and you tell me something you think is so cool. You make me pull over on the side of the road, so you can pick daffodils. I will be sitting and thinking of a to-do list, and you will bring me the shiniest rock, and say, “Mom, is this rock special?” And, I will touch the earth, and pause.

The thought of you growing up nearly rips my heart out. I have loved every single second of your first five years. I know I will fall in love with you even more in the years to come. But, I will never forget your first five and how you have made me remember how amazing everything on this earth is. How amazing it is to celebrate every little thing. How amazing it is to stare at stars. How amazing it is….

to dance.

to turn an ordinary evening into a hilarious night.

to make up songs with a guitar by the lake on a Sunday night.

Jett guitar.jpg

to get closer to the people you love and say, “I love you.”

Jett Anna.jpg

Jett Jh.jpg

to see beauty in a weed and call it a flower.

to run as fast you can through a field, because, you can.

Jett running.jpg

to tell someone “you did a great job.”

to eat chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice-cream.

Thank you for teaching me that life is worth the pause. Thank you for teaching me to be an observer of life. Thank you for teaching me to celebrate every little thing.

Because, every little thing is worth celebrating.

YOU are worth celebrating.

Jett life.jpg

You are forever my sunshine, forever my favorite super-hero, and forever my JOY.

Happy 6th Birthday, Jett Takle.

The best is yet to come. But, I’m pretty sure you already know that.

Love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

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

His Goodness Pursues You.

You know those times you look at your house and know you need to organize so many things in it but don’t really know where to begin? That’s how I have felt about writing to you all. So many things, so many thoughts, so many messages of heartache, brokenness, and disappointment. But, so many messages of His goodness, hope, and His faithfulness. All of these themes shuffling around in my head and not really knowing where to begin. And, just like that house that needs us to get up and do something, I need to begin writing…something.

So, today, I begin with His goodness.

The past few months have been a whirlwind for our family. Without sharing intimate details, we have experienced things we never imagined we would go through. Emotions of disappointment and anger. Feelings of injustice. Moments of falling to my knees with hurt and knowing in my heart that forgiveness can be hard but necessary. But, through disappointment, He is still good. He is faithful. And, nothing, NOTHING goes to waste. No hurt goes to waste. No difficult season goes to waste. Nothing.

And, disappointment and hurt do not pursue me.

His goodness and unfailing love do. They chase after me wherever I go. They make themselves known in the darkest of times and the brightest of times. They lift up my chin and remind me that He is working all things for my good. ALL things. Not some. Not a few. ALL things. They give rest to my weary head. They comfort me. They say, “Hey, kid. We’ve never stopped following you. And, you know what? The same God that has proved Himself time and time again won’t fail you now.” They remind me that it’s not the storms that get us, but it’s our response to the storms.

It’s opening our eyes in the middle of the chaos and seeing His goodness all around you. What was meant for harm has been for our good.

I’ve seen John Henry handle himself with the greatest of dignity, the greatest of strength, and become a man who truly knows he is who GOD says he is.

I’ve watched Anna thrive in the midst of a hard season and learn to articulate her feelings in such a way, I swear I’m talking to 40 year old woman. While she feels deeply, she also feels His spirit within her so much, and it AMAZES me.

I’ve watched Jett consistently remind me to breathe. To laugh, to pause, and soak in the eternal things.

I’ve watched Kris care for our family in such a way that I have fallen in love with him all over again. I’ve watched him parent our children with the tenderest care, with the strongest protection, and with the greatest wisdom. I told him, “I’m not saying I couldn’t parent without you. But, I sure wouldn’t want to.”

Today, I stand on the other side of our hard season with a renewed sense of His goodness. With a renewed passion that He is faithful to turn messes into messages. He is faithful to make good come out of the hard. Because, He pursues me, I do not live in a house of unrest, a house of chaos, a house of disappointment. I live in His house. And, He dwells within me.

He is faithful. Remember that. Remember that hard times are not pursuing you. His goodness and love are. And, nothing can stop them from chasing you. He is good. He is good. He is good. And, His love will not fail you.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

6 Comments

Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life, Life Experiences, parenting, Writing

I Could Write For Days.

I could write for days about how he lavishes mercy on people. How he rarely has to forgive, because it’s unusual for him to take offense to something said or done. Because, he is the master at making allowances for other’s faults. I could spend all day telling you how he pours out wisdom over and over and over again. How he has saved me from so many blunders. How he has kept me so many times from letting my words fall at the wrong time at the wrong place. I could tell you how much he loves God’s Word. How much he loves His Maker. How much he loves doing what he does. How good he is at doing what he does. How much he just loves. Doesn’t judge. I could tell you so many things.

How he is the most fun person on earth to sing Garth Brooks songs with.

How he can make you laugh harder than any other person.

How he can laugh at himself.

How adorable it was that his favorite part of Ireland was riding on this site seeing bus.

I could spend all day sharing all of the hilarious things, all of the inspirational things, all of the love-filled things about him.

But, it would take an eternity to tell you what it’s like to call him Dad.

It would take forever to share the stories of what kind of father he was to me when I was growing up. How he practiced patience. Made me laugh. Spent huge amounts of time with me. Didn’t buy into the “quality time is better than quantity.” He knew quantity mattered. So, he spent as much time as he possibly could with me. And, he still does.

Every single day that Kris is gone, he will call and ask me, “What do you need me to do today?” I thank him over and over again for helping me. He replies, “It’s a joy.” I called him the other day to say thank you for picking up the kids from school. He responds, “I love spending time with my grandchildren. I’m glad I get to do what I do for them.”

He does everything without complaining.

He does everything with immense joy. With immense grace. With immense love.

Dad, I could not imagine a more wonderful father than you. I could not dream of a more amazing, a more present grandfather to John Henry, Anna, and Jett. I am so thankful that I get to call you my pastor, my mentor, my friend. But, nothing compares to being able to call you Dad. Nothing. You are the best. Period.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Thank you for making life filled with so much grace, so much love, and sooooo much fun.

I love you,

Dusty

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, parenting, Relationships, Writing

You Gotta Believe Jett Takle Is Five.

IMG_0515

It is impossible to spend time with Jett and look away from him without him demanding my attention back. I’m sure you’ve experienced this with little ones grabbing your face and turning it to face theirs. Jett, like most kids, has always done this. But, now that he’s older, he doesn’t grab my face. He simply shouts, “Mom! You gotta believe this!” It’s his twist on “You’re not going to believe this!” I like his version better. Because, more than the things we don’t need to believe, there are so many more things we actually “gotta” believe. And, he reminds me everyday to believe in the good.

To believe that it’s important to be an observer of life and notice every inch of it.

To believe that life’s wonder and beauty are found in what most of us consider the mundane – the everyday life – the ordinary. To know that we don’t always have to seek an adventure, a destination, or some exotic place or people….but we can find God in every aspect of our daily journey. And, there is nothing mundane at all about that.

And, there is nothing mundane about being with Jett.

IMG_0517

Jett, you replenish my soul. You fill my life with so much joy that I cannot contain it all. It pours out of me in the forms of smiles, laughs, stories, and tears. The good kind of tears. The kind where I sit alone and think about your very existence and I am flooded with emotions wrapped in gratitude and thankfulness. I am so thankful for you, and I love every single thing about you.

I love the way you look at me and tell me you love me.

I love the way you insist on riding your daddy’s back to bed.

I love the way you dream of becoming a pilot and flying “to outer space.”

I love the way you love your big brother and sister and light up when they play with you.

I love the way you get so excited when you tell a story.

I love the way you get so excited about EVERYTHING.

I love the way you love exploring nature on the farm. You make me love the farm even more, too.

I love the way you know when you are entertaining us with your hilarious dance moves, so you don’t stop dancing.

I love the way you get those dance moves from your Ga-Ga.

I love how creative your imagination is. And, how you believe you can do and accomplish anything.

You gotta believe this, Jett Takle. You make our lives sweeter. I recently read, “time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.” You make time stand still for me. And, I will forever be grateful to you for making me soak in so many beautiful moments.

Happy 5th Birthday, Jett. We love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mom.

IMG_0411

1 Comment

Filed under Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood, parenting

Same Big God

He cried all the way to school saying he missed his daddy. Part of me cried with him, because I miss him, too. But, the greater part of me knows that He gives me strength for every single moment. I wept for him, because he doesn’t understand that strength within him. And, then, it hit me. I had shared this scripture on social media this morning:

But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength. 2 Timothy 4:17

I only saw this scripture applying to my life and to yours, although, knowing it is for everyone.

Everyone.

Even for an almost five year old.

And, while Jett may not comprehend the strength within him, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it is there. How many things of God are within me that I have yet to comprehend? That I have yet to grasp fully? Yet, they are still there, and I can activate them within my life at any given moment.

This morning I was reminded that there is no big God in me and little God in Jett. That same power is inside of him. That same God who says you have everything you need to do all He has called you to do, to endure any season, to face any challenge, resides within Jett Takle. That same God has given Jett all he needs to do all He has called Him to do. Even at the young age of four.

And, so my prayer became this:

God, thank You for the gifts that are within Jett. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient within him. Thank You for your strength within him. Thank You that at his weakest, You are strongest. And, right at this moment, he feels Your strength.

In as much as I love my children. I know God loves them even more than I do. And, that same God who has delivered you from your darkest moments, your greatest fears, and your hardest days is the same God who will comfort your little ones, cause them to feel His presence, and give them strength they didn’t know they had.

Rest today in knowing that the same God within you is the same God within them.

….how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11

 

3 Comments

Filed under life, Motherhood, parenting, prayer