Category Archives: Relationships

Is It My Perspective Or Is It Just Unhealthy?

boundaries.jpg

After I wrote and posted I Signed Up For This, I received a lot of positive responses. I think so many of you related to marrying a person and not a “plan.” But, I did have one response that made me want to follow up with another post about when do you walk away? My friend who talked to me about this wasn’t negative about my original post. He was just trying to digest and break down what it means and if there is ever a time to say, I did NOT sign up for this.

I love the questions he is asking himself about the relationship he is in. He said, “I don’t know if I’m creating the toxicity by the way I’m thinking about the situation or is the situation itself causing me to be or feel like I’m in a toxic relationship.” What a deeply mature and significant question to ask!

Our discussion has led me to want to clarify some things with my readers. If you are in a toxic or unhealthy relationship, and there are no means by which it’s going to get better, I would never tell someone to stay in it. When I say, “I signed up for this,” I’m saying I signed up to be flexible, to embrace change, to evolve, to be a team player. I did NOT sign up for a situation that is unsafe, that is abusive, that is unhealthy, or that is toxic. No ma’am. No sir.

The same goes for all relationships. I’ve recently had discussions with some close friends about boundaries and friendships. Honestly, the word “boundaries” bothers me more than it doesn’t. I know I should love that word. It’s a good word, after all. I just think we have abused it and set boundaries in relationships we should be fighting for. BUT, there are times where boundaries in relationships are vital to protect your heart, soul, and mind. I’ve always loved the truth that Jesus made EVERYONE feel special, and he loved and encouraged everyone. But, he didn’t let everyone close to him. He protected the energy and the space in which he lived his life. We have to protect our energy and our space and our hearts as well.

There have been times I’ve set boundaries in relationships, and it was necessary and needed. I have also set boundaries in relationships that I should have been fighting for instead. There are relationships worth fighting for, friends! This bears the question of my wise friend: Am I creating the toxicity by the way I’m thinking about the situation or is the situation itself causing me to be or feel like I’m in a toxic relationship? Only you can answer that question.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you a new adventure I begin next week! Also, it feels good (and like home) to be writing again. Thank you for reading, for sharing, for commenting, for asking, for questioning….for even disagreeing. It’s how we grow and how we connect. Have a great Thursday, friends.

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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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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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Choose Hard.

Choose hard

The easy way out. We all want it sometimes. The easiest way, however, isn’t always the best way. Usually the easy way means there was no growth, there was little or nothing gained, and there was no positive change. I think I’ve been looking for the easy way out lately. And, since I write and post a lot about our triumphs, I think I should also write about the revelations of when I also realize I’ve been falling short.

I’ve been choosing the easy way out in my health. What’s the quickest and easiest way to satisfy my hunger? What’s the easiest excuse to justify not being physically active and taking care of my body?

I’ve been choosing the easy way out in my attitude. Being positive is hard and takes daily discipline. Being careless with my words and sliding into being negative about a few situations have been really easy. That ease leads to habit. That habit leads to automatic negative responses to the most ridiculous things. Embarrassing things.

And, the real kicker: I’ve been choosing the easy way out in my relationships. In some relationships, I’ve just taken a step back and justified it with our busy summer. In some relationships, I’ve put up a wall and justified it by calling it a healthy boundary. In some relationships, I’ve created in my mind who I think they are and what I think their intentions are, because it’s easier than being a seeker of the heart.

I’ve been happy. I’ve been content. I’ve had an amazing summer with my family. But, I have also sacrificed the more. The more in my health, the more in my attitude, and the more in my relationships. I haven’t been intentional in how I walk in these things lately. And, when we aren’t intentionally living life in every area, something will go lacking. Something will be sacrificed. The first step is to quit making excuses for them. The second step is to remember that the easy way out isn’t always the best way.

Hard means work. But, hard means growth. Hard means you’re choosing discipline, because your health matters. Hard means you’re allowing those around you to hold you accountable for every careless word and taking those words captive and replacing them with truth. A truth that is grounded in love. Hard means that you invest in your relationships even, at times, when you are tired, because you will always be strengthened by their presence. Hard means if you want a relationship with someone, you fight for it…..even if it’s been a struggle. Hard means you rise to your higher self and see people the way you’re meant to see them. You eliminate judgment, and you see the light in every person.

Hard means you’re living an intentional life. And intentional life means you are living the life you’re meant to live. It’s the more in life. It’s the cherry on top in life. It’s the “I came that you may life and have it to the full” in life.

Easy won’t get you where you’re supposed to be. Where you’re meant to be. Hard will.

Today, I choose hard.

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Honor the Space

It’s Friday night, and I’m home with my family, save John, drinking a glass of red wine (RED….I don’t even know myself anymore) and contemplating this past week. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions the past few days. Good, necessary, thought shift, life shift kind of emotions. A week ago, one of Kris’ friends and long time clients transitioned unexpectedly. For 16 years, Paul has been in Kris’ life. Kris has managed and flown Paul’s airplanes for as long as we’ve been married. Kris and I spent a couple of days in Oklahoma this week tending to business, and we spent one night together out just the two of us. We sat across from each other reminiscing stories of time with Paul that neither of us have thought about in a very long time. We tend to forget the moments with someone until we are in a position where we really want to remember them.

I came home Wednesday to be back home with the kids, and Kris stayed on to attend Paul’s memorial service. I went to service at EWC that night and allowed my own spirit to receive whatever it needed. My dear friend, Lauren, led worship and knew the very words the room needed. What I needed. I sat down and tears just streamed down my face. Because, all I kept hearing in my spirit was this: honor the space.

Honor the space.

I thought about all of the stories Kris and I exchanged about our times with Paul. How he showed up to our wedding, kid birthday parties, dinner, anything we invited him to. How he wanted us to always join him and his wife for dinner when Kris flew him, and I tagged along. How he laughed at the stories Kris and I told him. How he really wanted to hear our stories.

How he simply showed up.

How he engaged you.

How he honored that moment.

How he honored the space.

I wasn’t close to Paul. I enjoyed our times together, but I, by no means, was close to him. But I don’t think I honored the space with him like he did with me. I’m sure I didn’t. So, that thought led me to thinking about the times I am with my friends now. With my family. When I’m with you. Am I honoring that space? Am I showing up as much as I can and being present with you? Is there someone I’m not investing in and showing up for that needs me? And, perhaps, I need?

Thursday morning, I texted my mom something that will sound strange to most of you, but she knows me and loves me and can practically decipher and translate every single weirdo text I send her. “Mom, is it just me, or do you feel like things are aligning the way they are supposed to? Alignment is the best word I can think to describe what I feel in my spirit.”

She responded, “Getting into alignment is sometimes painful. It can hurt. But once you are aligned, it makes the journey so much smoother. It can make us go farther than we’ve ever anticipated.”

See what I’m saying? She can interpret ANYTHING.

The greatest alignment I began to feel was with Kris. Because, one of the spaces I learned I needed to honor was with him.

Don’t get me wrong. I freaking love that man. I love being with him. I love date nights with him, traveling with him, family nights, the times we share with friends….I love it all. But, it hit me: I do not fully honor the space, honor the time when I’m with him. Enjoy it? Yes. Honor it?

Honor is such a huge word. It means to regard with great respect. To revere. To treat with honor. While I always honor and respect him…..do I always honor the space with him? The moments with him? In both the ordinary and the remarkable? Perhaps, sometimes. But, I want to honor the space in them all.

I want to honor the space with you. I want to show up. I want to be present.

Kris came home last night, and I told him…. “You know how we always say, okay, I always say, I want time to slow down with our kids, so I can soak in these moments more?” He nodded.

“Well, I want time to slow down, so I can soak these times in with you. I want to linger a little longer. I want to hold the moments a little tighter. I want time to slow down with you.”

And, it will. Time will slow down. Because, that’s what happens when we choose to honor the space. That’s what happens when we are aligned.

That’s what happens when we show up. When we engage. That’s what happens when we become aware that the space with each other is divine. It’s holy.

I want to honor the space with every person. Every friend. With my children. With Kris. With you.

Honor it. Show up for it. And, stay there a while. So, to that I say, align away.

Fly west, friend.

Hawker

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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.

JH worship

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.

JH siblings

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?

JH young

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

JH noodles dad

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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