Category Archives: Virtue

These Are Things Money Can’t Buy.

If you’re tired of reading about how sweet my seven year old is, feel free to click the “x” in the top right-hand corner.  But, I just had to record this day with him.

I was completely exhausted yesterday due to one little Jett Takle preparing for the 2028 Winter Olympics inside my belly the night before.  But, I wasn’t going to dare miss out on watching John Henry receive his Servant Leadership Award yesterday afternoon at school.

When I told him he was going to be receiving this award, he responded, “Wow!  That’s the award for putting others first!” 

By the way, Anna’s expression in the background of the pic just makes me laugh.  Sweet Anna Takle, you would definitely get the award for “Most Artistic in Fashion” or “Most Social” or “Most Likely To Make Her Mother Laugh.” 

Proud, but still so stinkin’ tired when we got home, John Henry gave me a letter. 

Dear Mom I hope you are ok.  You are the best mom ever.  I can not beleve your my mom.  I am going to let you chose what you want to eat if we go out to a restront.  If Dad is flying I will pertect (protect) you.  I am glad you are my mom.  You chose the right man.  You chose Chris.  From John Henry

*Disclaimer:  He is referring to Kris….not some other Chris.  Thought I should clarify before this blog lost its family rating.

What is in a seven year old to acknowledge that I chose Kris?  To say, “You chose the right man?” 

At the beginning of the school year, John Henry needed some answers about why he has two dads.  I explained the best I could so he would understand.  In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered if he would one day struggle with the fact that he has two dads and his siblings have one. 

But, in letters like this, I see a young man who is thankful that Kris is in his life.  I see two dads who love him so sweetly.  And, I see a Heavenly Father who has never let him down.

And, that is redemption.

16 Comments

Filed under divorce, Kid Stuff, parenting, Virtue

Careful What You Say. What You Write. What You Type.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written on this topic before.  After talking to a friend about a text message her daughter received, I felt compelled to write about it again. 

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I sat down and wrote a letter to a girl who was a few years older than me.  It was an ugly letter.  I was upset with her for seemingly taking away my best friend.  I said things like, “You think you’re it.  You’re not.” 

The letter never reached her hands.  My parents found it first.  Thankfully.  Let’s say they were less than happy.  A lot less. 

They sat me down and read the letter to me.  I can remember my dad using the word “arrogant” to describe my character in writing that.  They addressed my spiritual life.  They addressed my character.  They addressed it all. 

You see, my parents cared about how I treated other people – regardless, of how they treated me.  And, revenge is another post I plan on sharing soon.

Fast forward to 2010.  My friend shares with me how her daughter received a very demeaning text message.  She was asked to forward that text to others.  She didn’t.  Her mother saw it first.  But so many parents today turn a blind eye to, or even worse, join in with the cruel words their children and teenagers communicate to others. 

They write ugly messages on someone else’s Myspace page or Facebook wall.  They send nasty text messages.  They leave behind them a path of destruction for that victim to walk through. 

And, it’s grossly wrong. 

We as parents must be more concerned with our children’s character and spiritual growth than we are with their talents in school or sports.  We must be aware of the words coming out of their mouths and being typed by their fingers. 

We simply must.

The girl I wrote that letter to would commit suicide a few years later. 

So thankful I didn’t leave her in my path of destruction.  And, thankful I had parents who cared about my character.

10 Comments

Filed under parenting, Virtue

Commitments.

After not getting his badge at a Camporee (that I didn’t sign us up to attend because of previous obligations), John Henry said, “I quit Cub Scouts.”

A lengthy conversation followed about commitment.  I explained to him the importance of fulfilling commitments.  He had committed his first grade year to Cub Scouts.  He needed to finish it.

I can remember when I was in the fifth grade I wanted to play an instrument in band.  That instrument?  The saxophone.  Yes, little ‘ol me on the sax.  My parents paid a pretty penny for that instrument.  In return, I had to commit to play through ninth grade.  It was a breeze to maintain my commitment until ninth grade.

When it suddenly lost every bit of the cool factor.

But Barbara Goss wasn’t going to cave and bail me out.  My momma wasn’t about to let me back out of my promise. 

(Although, it probably would have made her life much easier as a parent.)

So, with great gnashing of teeth, I finished playing that durn thing through ninth grade. 

And, while I was upset with my mother for making me finish at the time, I’m grateful for the value in her lesson. 

Finish what you start.

As for John Henry, he did earn that badge.  And, he couldn’t be prouder.

Are you instilling this virtue in your children?

5 Comments

Filed under parenting, Virtue

Heart Surgery.

Pride.

That’s my ugly issue.

Pride can come in different forms.  But, at the end of the day, it’s all self-centeredness. 

My stuff reveals itself when I stress over finding the perfect outfit to wear for an event.  Or, when I stress over the idea that people expect me to perform at a certain level.  Or, when I want to make sure I give the perfect gift.  Or, when I want more stuff than I already have – which is, I’m certain, more than I need.

It’s all pride. 

And, there is nothing holy about it.

I wish my issue was a bit more noble.  Of course, I suppose any unholy stuff we got goin’ on isn’t exactly noble.

But still.

This is my stuff.

And, I’ve let God open up my heart and operate.

Because, more than anything else on this earth, I want to be more like Him. 

I want to live beyond myself.

Beyond my pride.

Beyond me.

Less of me.  More of Him.

Is there anything more important than that?

3 Comments

Filed under God Stuff, Spiritual Journey, Virtue

Heart Check: I Want That, Too!

I am a blessed girl.  I don’t struggle with envy.  I don’t covet my neighbors’ material goods.  Because, I really have this understanding of God’s goodness in my own life.

Or do I?

Pastor Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv shared this past weekend on how to be dissatisfied.  I am pretty satisfied most days.  But when he suggested that comparing what I have to people who have more is a step that leads to living a dissatisfied life? 

I had a heart check.

To be honest.  I mean really honest.

I have a nice home.  But, I can go to an even nicer home and think, “Wow!  I want one of these!”  Then, I go back to my “shack” and fail to recognize my blessings. 

Granted, I don’t live in a shack.  But, that’s the attitude that can penetrate my heart. 

I never resent God’s goodness and blessings in others’ lives.  At least, I’ve got that goin’ for me.  But when I want more, I ignore God’s goodness in my own life.  And, what is holy about that?

We left that Saturday service and I confessed my conviction to Kris.  An issue I didn’t even realize was there.  I then told him, “Babe, my love doesn’t cost a thing.”

“Really?” He said with a little sheepish grin. 

I laughed.  He lightened my mood.  However, the reality of my heart check remained. 

Conviction.

I am so much farther from “considering everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ…..”  I am so far from “considering them rubbish….” (Philippians 3:7-8)  So, I’m letting God deal with it. 

Do you ever compare what you have to people who have more?

2 Comments

Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, Virtue

I Was Wrong.

There are times I have to ask one of my children to forgive me.  It’s one of the most important things I can do as their mother.  Like the other day when Anna cut open a bag of dish candy.  In the middle of the bag.  Where there is no hope for closing it without candy spilling out everywhere.  I was upset.  My response was unnecessarily harsh.  And, my usually tough little girl ran to her room in tears.

I was wrong.

I entered her bedroom and held her.  I asked her to forgive me and told her she was the best daughter in the whole wide world.

Then, I told her I was wrong to respond the way I did.

She needed to hear me acknowledge my behavior was wrong as much as she needed to hear me say I’m sorry.

Honestly, I don’t find it difficult admitting my weakness to my children.  I don’t want them to struggle doing the same.   I want them to find it easy to go their heavenly Father and lay down their weaknesses at His feet, so He can show Himself strong in their lives.

Motherhood is not foolproof.  Neither is life.  When we mess up, it’s essential to acknowledge it and make a mends with the person we hurt.  Even if it is your four year old little girl.

It’s not the first time I’ve had to say I was wrong.  And, it’s certain it won’t be my last. 

I’m a believer in telling our children we are wrong when we are, indeed, wrong.  As a matter of fact, I think it’s essential in raising children with a healthy understanding of humility and forgiveness.

Do you struggle saying “I was wrong” to your children?

8 Comments

Filed under Motherhood, parenting, Relationships, Virtue

A Broken And A Contrite Heart.

I keep getting these e-mails about potential boarding schools.  I’ve yet to classify them as spam, you know, just in case.  Oh, I would never.  I could never. 

Could I?

No.  I love this insanely unpredictable saga I live with a husband, two kids, and a dog.  And, of course, baby number three forming as I type. 

Yesterday, I told you about our latest parenting issue with little Miss Takle.  But yesterday afternoon, I encountered a discipline issue with John Henry.  And, his response broke me.

He had mistreated his sister.  It was small stuff by most people’s terms.  But, we see treating each other the way Christ wants us to treat each other as big stuff. 

I sent him to his room.  I entered knowing that he would have to be disciplined.  After it was over, he fell in my arms, and wailed, “The things I did to my sister were wrong!”  His heartfelt repentance broke him.

It broke me.

I felt tears touching my shoulders, and I’m sure he felt tears touching his.  There are times when my children tell one another they are sorry, because we force it on them.  Then, there are moments like these where they are truly broken.  They experience true repentance. 

Later that evening, John Henry asked me to tell Kris what happened. 

“You want me to tell Dad?”  I asked him.

“Yes.  I want him to know,” he responded.

He doesn’t even understand the scripture of confessing your sins to one another, but he is already practicing it.  I couldn’t help but think.  When is the last time I felt that kind of repentance in my own heart?  Where I was really broken?  Am I that broken when I talk about someone behind their back?  When I mishandle someone?  When I sin against my Father? 

Lord, create in me a new heart.  Renew a right spirit within me.

Let me come before your throne with a heart of David.  And, understand, once again, the JOY of your salvation.   

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.  Psalm 51:17

7 Comments

Filed under God Stuff, parenting, Virtue