Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jesus, Take the Wheel.

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No, seriously. Take it. Help us, Jesus. Anna is 15 today. This ain’t my first rodeo with a student driver. Y’all didn’t tell me how close those mailboxes are, but I sure know now. I asked Kris if it was possible for him to take a year leave from work to do nothing but teach Anna how to drive. He was like “bills, food, Amazon.” So, that’s actually not possible. But, we will get through it. We will not yell at the driver. We will not stress out. We will remain calm under all circumstances. Amen and Selah.

Except I probably will yell at the driver.

And, she knows it. Because, she knows me.

Probably no one knows me better than Anna Takle except maybe my momma. And, she still loves me. Lord knows I love her.

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I love her tenacity. I love how she knows what she wants and how she always finds a way to get it. Once when she was in the 2nd grade, she kept asking for money to buy supplies from the supply cart at Crescent Elementary. That girl loved a new pencil and eraser more than anyone I’ve ever known. Kris and I felt like it was getting out of control. “You have plenty of supplies, Anna!” So, we quit giving her money for the supply cart. Until one day she asked, “Can I have money for ice-cream?” “Of course, you can!” She would ask for ice-cream money every single day. Eventually, we learned she was using the money to buy supplies instead. Kris and I felt lied to. We were deceived. We also began questioning our own parenting….like….YES YOU CAN HAVE ICE-CREAM. NO, YOU CANNOT BUY A NEW ERASER. What? Nevertheless, Anna has always found a way to get what she wanted. New pair of shoes? She’ll find a way. Always. It’s pretty remarkable.

And, don’t challenge her. Don’t. When she wanted to be able to enter the youth group two months early, Pastor Will told her that if she typed up the entire New Testament she could go ahead and join the youth. She did. This didn’t look good for Pastor Will. How could he send Anna up without the rest of the soon to be 6th graders? Will said, “How could I know she would actually do this?” We just looked at him. “You don’t know this child.”

She’s not afraid of any challenge. She’s not afraid to share her heart. She’s not afraid to love people, no matter how different they may seem. And, she’s never afraid to speak up for what’s right.

Anna Takle, you are constantly raising the moral conscience in this house. You are constantly making us aware of people who are marginalized and left out. You are constantly using your voice to champion equality. You are constantly using your life to champion love.

You are fun. You are hilarious. You are so incredibly bright. You think deeply. You feel strongly. You are passionate. You are COMPASSIONATE. (I prayed hard for that one, by the way.) You love to be with your family and friends, but you are also very comfortable alone. You prefer small groups like your Far-Far. You are determined like your Farmor. You care deeply for all living things like Cathy. You are quick witted like your Ga-Ga. You are affectionate like your Nan. (I’m glad you didn’t get the side-hug from your Ga-Ga and me.) You are motivated and generous like your dad. You love deep conversations like your momma. And, you love people like Jesus.

You are John Henry’s greatest advocate.

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You are Jett’s greatest teacher.

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You are your dad’s spontaneous travel partner.

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You are my best friend.

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And, I am so proud of who you are. Keep being a voice for those who have no voice. Keep reminding me to calm down. And, I’ll keep reminding you to calm down, too. Stay brave, and be bold. This world is already brighter with you in it. I can’t wait to see how you continue to light it up.

I love you, Anna Takle. There’s not a girl on earth that I love more.

Happy 15th Birthday.

Love,

Mom

 

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

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

But, I woke up and just felt different.

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

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

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

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

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

But, I didn’t know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized

What Are Your Children Hearing?

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It can be easy out of frustration to say things to our children that tear them down. “You never listen” or “you are so lazy” or any negative words that directly tell them who they are or who they aren’t. Sometimes, parents can also use negative words thinking they are manipulating their child’s behavior to change. We can say things like, “You don’t care about your room,” or “You don’t care about me and what you are putting on me.” We think we can manipulate or guilt them into changing a behavior. These kinds of speech and motives are never beneficial. And, while guilt may work for a while, it’s not sustainable and affects their self-esteem and how they feel about themselves.

It’s not that you ignore behavior or pretend it’s not there. But when we address it, address the actual behavior. Not the person. Don’t say “you are selfish” or “you are being” this or that. Start your conversations with “let’s talk about what happened” or “can you share with me what’s going on or how you’re feeling.” This creates trust that you as their parent really care about them as a person and not their performance. It’s what builds your relationship with them.

Recently, one of of Jett’s teachers told me he was struggling to pay attention and focus in class. I asked her if he was talking to his friends beside him, and she said “Some, but it’s really just kind of like…..” I finished her sentence, “he’s in his own little world?” She responded with a resounding YES.

One of the things I know about Jett is that he is always thinking and imagining and coming up with ideas in his head. It’s one thing I don’t want to squelch. But, I do need to help him channel and navigate it. So, when I talked to him I asked him, “Are you having a hard time listening and staying focused on what your teacher is saying?” He told me yes. I didn’t say, “If you don’t start paying attention, there are going to be serious repercussions for you.” Instead, we talked about our imagination and how God gave it to us to create and how important it is. But, we also talked about how important it is to focus on our tasks at hand. Since I was driving, I asked him if he thought it would be okay if I stopped paying attention to the other cars around me and just started imagining sitting on a beach somewhere. He said, “No, mom!” I told him sometimes, I have to pause my imagination and focus, too. Then, we talked about ways that might help him stay focused. He bought into the discussion. As a matter of fact, when we were going through TSA security at the airport a few weeks ago, I wasn’t paying attention to the agent ask us to remove anything larger than a cell phone from our bag. Jett said, “Mom, take out my iPad. It’s larger than a cell phone. See how I’m paying attention and staying focused?”

Had I just told Jett “You don’t pay attention in class” or “You are going to get in trouble if you don’t get your act together” then all I would have addressed is who I think he is. And, that’s all he would have heard. And, I guarantee you the conversation would not have been effective, at least long term, nor would I have been building a relationship with him where we can continue to talk about it and navigate through it like we did at the airport.

Whenever I am asked for my most crucial parenting advice, I always encourage parents to build a relationship with your children. Relationship is everything. EVERYTHING. In a relationship, you allow the person to be who they are. You allow them to have differences of opinion or beliefs. You don’t force who YOU are onto them. Instead, you ARE the very things you want to see in that relationship. And, you speak them. Whether it’s with your spouse, your friend, or your child. These are the keys to any successful relationship.

And when you do tell them who they are, make sure it’s always positive. Tell them the wonderful things you see in them. And, for those things you don’t see but want to see, don’t tell them they don’t have that trait or it’s not in them. It is, because the Creator of the universe is in them. Instead, talk about the behaviors in a way that’s not threatening or demeaning. And, when you pray for them, thank God for that thing in them that you want to see manifesting outside of them. When my children were little and I would put them to bed, I would always say the same prayer. But, then I would pray thanking God for all of the things I saw in them (who they are), and I would also thank God for all of the things I wanted to see. Anna heard me thank God for her sensitivity and compassion for a long time before I started seeing it manifested. But she heard me say who she already was….not who I wanted her to be. And, she became it. And, now, you won’t find a more compassionate, accepting human being than Anna.

Your children will become who you tell them they are. Make sure you are telling them good things. And, when in doubt, ask yourself, “Is this conversation building our relationship or is it hurting it?” Teen years are coming if you’re not already there. And, I can assure you that relationship is going to mean everything.

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Filed under gratitude, imagination, Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, prayer, Relationships, Uncategorized

Why Does 17 Seem So Much Older?

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Today, my firstborn is SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD, AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE THAT I AM THE MOTHER OF A SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD. LIKE HOW DID THIS HAPPEN SO FAST? But, here I sit typing his birthday blog the night before his birthday ever so grateful for every single day of these past 17 years. I can remember when he was little and the sweetest, kindest little boy you have ever seen.

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People, while well-meaning (I guess), would say, “Just wait until he’s a teenager!” I decided then to never buy into that gloom and doom prediction of the teenage years being hellacious. Buying into that would have been a terrible investment and waste of dread. Because, this teenager has become one of my greatest supporters, encouragers, do anything for me (and you) sons, and it just always blows my mind and makes me so proud.

John Henry, you are one of my very best friends. I love laughing with you. And, you know I love it when I make YOU laugh. I love talking to you, and I promise I try to really understand everything you say about cars. I do not, however, try to understand everything you say about math and weird things like that. But, it’s cool you like it.  Spending time with you is one of my greatest life treasures. And, I LOVE that you love spending time with us. I love that you always want to know what we are doing, because you want to be doing it with us. It’s okay that you have FOMO. It alway makes me laugh. I love that my friends are your friends. And, that you can hang out with and enjoy anyone of any age.

I love what kind of friend you are to people. Good grief, you are a good one and someone your friends can always depend on.

John, you can pursue anything in life you set your mind to. You can achieve anything you desire to achieve. I believe in you, and I am so proud of your commitment to success. BUT, your greatest success is your commitment to be a good human. A good friend. Just a good, good man. I don’t care what you set out to DO in life. My greatest joy is just watching you BE. I love who you are and what you add to every space and every life.

You add peace to our home.

You add calm to situations that should be stressful.

You add dignity to every room you enter.

You add love to conversations that tear others down.

You add forgiveness to unmet expectations.

You add humor to unexpected moments.

You add the best music to every dance party….whether in our kitchen or on the deck.

You always add everything good to every situation, every room, and every person simply by being there. Your presence carries a weight that is so beautiful and so honest and real. And, because of that, you will find favor all of your days. I really believe that.

Thank you for always looking out for your sister. Even when she has no clue that’s what you are doing.

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Thank you for taking time with your little brother. One day, he will be your best friend.

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Thank you for honoring us the way you do.

Keep being you. Keep doing you. Because, this world needs you. It needs your calm. It needs your humor. It needs your honesty. It needs your love. I pray you get back so much more than you give out. Because, you deserve it, bud.

May today be filled with all of your favorite things: good food, good conversation, and a little Sinatra. And, may you see all of the coolest cars on the road today.

I love you, John Henry Landreth. I couldn’t ask for a better son or a better friend.

Love,

Mom

JH - me 17

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Filed under Kid Stuff, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

I’m Going Back To School!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is It My Perspective Or Is It Just Unhealthy?

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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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I Signed Up For This.

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Kris and I recently celebrated 16 years of marriage. So much has changed over these past 16 years. But, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to “We signed up for this.” I’ve probably written a similar post before, because, it’s been something I want to tell married couples often. Every once in a while, I hear a spouse say, “I didn’t sign up for this” when something changes in their marriage. I always want to say, “YES, YOU DID.” When Kris and I first married, we were living in Oklahoma. He’s a pilot, so his schedule was never the same. There were seasons where he was gone every weekend flying to an OU game or flying clients to Turks and Caicos. (Bless his heart.) Then, there was a time where he flew charter, and he would be gone 7 days and then home 7. He later went to work for the airlines and would be gone A LOT. Never did I say as life changed or his schedule changed, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Even when it was hard.

The reality is, life changes. Constantly. Kris isn’t the same man I married. I’m not the same woman he married. I’m glad. He’s glad. Because, we signed up to grow together, to change together, to move together.

We signed up to parent children together. To sometimes have different views on how to handle discipline or whether to say yes or no. We signed up to grow and evolve together as parents.

We signed up to change careers together. To not allow what becomes comfortable and familiar to be what we cling to.

We signed up to move together. Whether we are in Oklahoma, Georgia, or the next place, home is with each other.

We signed up for wrenches being thrown into our plans.

We signed up for leaning into our difficult seasons and allowing Spirit to refine us through them.

We signed up for the easy and good seasons and allowing our souls to be refreshed through them.

We signed up for each other. Not a certain job. Not a certain schedule. Not a certain place. Not a certain season. Not a certain plan.

And, the real kicker: not a certain person.

Because, Kris isn’t the same person he used to be. And, neither am I.

I signed up for him. The ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-evolving, Kris Takle.

He signed up for me.

We’re both pretty glad we did.

Don’t get so hell-bent on things staying the same. Be flexible. Don’t allow a certain thing to become master of your life. Don’t cling to things that can fade away so easily: a space, a place, a plan. Cling to love. Knowing love changes and grows….but it’s still love. Love is what you signed up for. And, it’s always expanding. So, let love do what love does. Adjust when you need to adjust. And, try your best to enjoy the ride along the way by leaning into it and embracing it. You’ll be glad you did, too.

marriage blog

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