Tag Archives: birthdays

Happy Birthday To My Life Loving Boy!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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My Girl Is 11.

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“I will have this experience with me for the rest of the my life. I will always treasure that I got to play this role. I will miss Scout.” – Anna

These are the kind of deep statements I hear from her. Sandwiched between her witty comments, hilarious sense of humor, and laughter are deeply felt moments of honesty and emotion. There are days that I am sure I am talking to a 30 year old. She poses hard questions. She always has. Questions about poverty. About social injustice. When someone is mistreated, a righteous anger rises up in her, and she needs me to help her direct it.

She reasons well. If she asks for something, and we tell her no, she receives it graciously. She never pushes the envelope with her wish for material things. Ever. She doesn’t jump on bandwagons of negativity. Instead, she will refocus on what is right and good in her world.

At the risk of uncovering myself and one of my very weak moments this year, I would like to share a story of how Anna responded to my self-indulgent rant. We were leaving the house one day. I was very frustrated with Kris. I felt he would fly, come home, and spend all of his time working on the farm. I felt left with a home to care for by myself. I felt so many things went undone, and I was frustrated. Knowing better, I vented. To a 10 year old. More than that, I asked her, “Why don’t you tell your dad we need him to stop working on the farm so much and help out more around the house?”

“No. I won’t. It’s a lot of land. He has to work it hard. Far-Far (Kris’ dad) can’t do it all alone. He needs him. And, you need to allow dad to do what he feels he needs to do. If you are stressed, ask me. If you need more help, ask me. Ask ME. I will help you.”

I will never forget that conversation. I will never forget how she responded to me. She stood up for what she felt was right while still honoring me.

Anna Takle, you absolutely light up my world. You are so incredibly smart. And, your wisdom has astounded me. Your love of music, the piano, and broadway are so much fun. You continually make me proud when I watch you use your gifts.

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You make me laugh harder than anyone.

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You are the sweetest, most loving sister.

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You have a tender appreciation for all life.

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You are a living, breathing beautiful, example of God in the earth.

I love how you love life and the people in your life. I love how you crawl up in bed with me almost every single night, because you want to talk to me. I love how you love Seinfeld and Big Bang Theory. I love how you appreciate good tea. I love how you work tirelessly on the piano until you can finally play a piece perfectly. I love how you love your brothers. I love how you look at me and watch me. I love how you still get so excited and exclaim, “Daddy’s home!”

And, of all the roles you have played, my favorite one you play is simply being Anna Takle. I love who you are. I am forever thankful God chose me to be your mom. What a gift it is to call you my daughter. Thank you for being you and for continuing to allow God to grow inside of you.

Happy 11th Birthday, Anna Takle. I love you so very much.

Mom

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I Have A Teenager.

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These eyes have owned me since the first time I saw them.  I’m pretty sure that he knows that by now.

13 years ago today, he made me a mother.  And, what a beautiful journey it has been. There are some who have told me, “Just wait until they are teenagers….”  If you’re a mom, it’s probably been said to you and not so much in a positive way.  I have chosen to enter these years with “the best is yet to come” as the foundation for our home and for my relationship with this beautiful soul that I get to do life with every single day.

John Henry, every year with you gets better and better.  Every season with you teaches me something about love, forgiveness, and always looking for the best in others.  One of the most, if not THE most, amazing qualities about you is that I never hear you say one negative or demeaning word about any person.  You have spoken kindly about every teacher, every friend.  You continually remind me to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  You continually find the good in others.

You have a righteous anger for those who are treated unjustly.  For those who are made to feel less than they should.  Your compassion for people to truly know and believe that they are who God says they are is the banner you wave so fiercely.  And, I could not be more proud of the man you are.

Thank you for valuing human life and for reminding me to always value others.

Thank you for being my protector, the man of the house, when your Daddy Kris is gone.

Thank you for always trying to make life easier for those around you.

Thank you for striving to do your best in everything.

Thank you for understanding technology better than I do.

Thank you for being the household Math tutor.

Thank you for introducing me to cool music.

Thank you for not being embarrassed when I dance.

Thank you for looking out for your sister even when she drives you crazy.

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Thank you for being a gentle, big brother to Jett. And, thank you for letting him play the Playstation with you.

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Thank you for being you.

You are not afraid to endure hard things.

You are not afraid to put yourself out there and try something new.

You are not afraid to admit when you’re wrong.

You are not afraid to love deeply.

You are brave.  You are brilliant.  You are funny.  You are full of compassion and love.  And, I cannot believe you are a teen.  Time certainly flies when you’re having fun.  What a fun 13 years it’s been.  And, as always, the best is yet to come.

Happy Birthday, Teenager.

I love you more and more every day.

Love, Mom

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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

 

 

 

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My Girl Is Ten.

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Had God asked me what I wanted my daughter to be like, I could have never imagined the wonder of you. I could have never dreamed of a daughter who makes me laugh more than you and enjoy life more than you. I could have never imagined a better daughter. A better friend.

I could have never written this story of my life with you.

Anna Takle, you are just always so much more. More of everything that is good. Everyone always hears and reads the hilarious and witty things you say. Trust me, there are many. But, there are stories they don’t hear. Like you coming home from school broken-hearted over a classmate with whom no one really engages. His self-esteem is low. So, you decide to sit right across from him at lunch one day. You tell him he isn’t who people say he is, but he is who God says he is. You don’t care what other people think about it. You don’t care what other people think about you. Instead, you walk confidently in who God created you to be.

“You could change the course of this kid’s life, because of your encouragement,” I tell you.

Tears fell down your face. They fell down mine. You became aware of what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ.

I love the way you ask questions and then truly listen to the answers. You always seek understanding. You are a lover of wisdom.

I love the way you look up to John Henry. I love how even though there are times you come to me with how he disappointed you, you run to his defense so much more.

I love the way you care for Jett. I love how you worry about him in school. I love how you are so proud of him when he learns something new. Especially, when you feared he might “grow up, get his GED, and stay in his PJs all day.”

I love how you know exactly what you like and what you don’t. And, you’re not afraid to tell me that my shirt is “screaming ‘look at me!'” Or how I “might want to reconsider those pants.”

I love how you strive for excellence in everything you do.

I love listening to you play piano. I love how determined you are to play a piece well….no matter how difficult it is. I love how you appreciate music from Beethoven to Jerry Lee Lewis.

I love how you hop on my bed, because you just want to be with me. I love being with you, too. I love how dad came in the room one night, and said, “Someone needs to get out of my bed,” and you quickly responded, “Mom, you heard the man.”

You make me laugh every single day. You make me proud every single day.

I am so thankful I get to spend my days with you. I am so thankful God gave me such an amazing daughter. I know we talk about you staying with me forever. And, I know it’s hard to believe right now, but a day will come and you’ll be ready to head out and take on the world. I call it the day I’ll spend eating boxes upon upon boxes of Junior Mints in my bed while crying.

I’m seriously thankful that day isn’t today.

And, I am so thankful I didn’t write this story of my life with you. Only God could write something so beautiful and fun.

I love you, Anna Takle. Happy 10th Birthday.

Love,

Mom

 

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So, This Is 40.

Completely lame to title a blog post after a movie. But, I’m in my 40s now. So, I’m comfortable being lame. I always thought turning 40 would bother me. Because, in my mind, I am always, always 18. Aren’t we all? Sure, we don’t feel 18. But, we are always that 18 year old who still feels like they are navigating through this thing called life. I can still remember as vividly how it felt to be embarking on my college career as much as I can remember how I felt walking my third child into school the first day. Feelings are just so powerful. And, they hard to forget. I can remember walking into Mrs. Howard’s third class at Jackson Road. I can remember how she made me feel secure. I can remember almost drowning in the Gulf and my father never letting go of my hand. I can remember holding onto the OUTSIDE of the escalator of Southlake Mall and riding it up until my mom climbed on top of a brick display, grabbing the soles of my shoes, pulling me back down.

I can remember the first time I felt the presence of God and thinking that I never wanted to leave it.

I can remember graduating from college and looking into the mass of onlookers and seeing the gleam in my grandfather’s eye.

I can remember not being able to stop the tears when John Henry was born and holding him in my arms for the very first time. I remember looking at my mom and saying, “My world is right now.”

I can remember being heartbroken. But more than the heartbreak, I can remember my friends taking care of me and being there.

I can remember opening my heart up to love again. I can remember kissing Kris Takle on his brother’s sofa for the first time. I can remember my mom’s tearful face when we loaded up in a King Air and moved to Oklahoma City.

I can remember when Anna Takle was three years old, and I realized that I had to start recording how fun she made my life.

I can remember deciding to have a third child after swearing two was enough. But, then, looking at that future super-hero in the face with gratitude and thanksgiving that he was mine.

I can remember Kris telling me, “I think we can do this,” when he told me we were moving back home to Georgia.

I can remember fully surrendering my life to the ministry and my father ordaining me a pastor.

I can recall exactly how those moments felt. And, I am so thankful for them all. For the good moments. For the bad. The good have taught me gratitude. The bad have taught me forgiveness and love.

I’m no expert in life. I have many more miles to travel and hopefully many more candles to extinguish. But, I have penned 40 things that I have learned so far. Perhaps, next year I will have a different view. A different outlook. A different perception of life. I hope I do. Because, that means I’m evolving. But, today, this is 40:

1. Don’t put too much weight into a present emotion. Because, you never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.

2. You don’t have to talk through every single feeling, emotion, or issue.

3. Friendship in marriage is just as important as love.

4. Having a third kid is a game-changer. Don’t do it unless you’re willing to change the game.

5. I like our new game with three kids….now that I’ve regained my sanity. Somewhat.

6. My blood pressure rises when I read status updates or comments that portray a God who is ready to take out His vengeance on people. Or when people read the Word but don’t get the Spirit behind what’s being said. God is a God of love. Period.

7. I need to not let myself get so worked up over #6.

8. God is not up there, out there somewhere. He is within me.

9. My mom is the person I can tell anything to.

10. I don’t always have to be right. And, my way isn’t the only way. In parenting, in life. We all have the same mission but different methods. We have to work through our own salvation.

11. It’s okay to simply say, “that’s not going to work for me” without giving further explanation.

12. If I don’t schedule my time, someone else will. Create margin with your time.

13. Gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, and praise are the keys to EVERYTHING.

14. Pain doesn’t last.

15. Being skinny is fun. But not as fun as a really good meal.

16. Whatever I focus on will expand – whether positive or negative.

17. Kris and I travel really well together. He is my favorite travel partner.

18. It’s important to jump into your kids’ passions and be amazed with them.

19. Never, ever give up on people.

20. Even when you become frustrated with where someone is in his or her life, don’t stop being their friend. They will get through that rough place. Love them through it instead of pulling back.

21. When you know you’re wrong, own it.

22. Say thank you as often as possible.

23. Chill when life gets interrupted. Accept it. It happens.

24. Dreading makes everything worse. Don’t dread what you know you already have to do.

25. If you see a need, and it’s within your means to meet that need, do it.

26. Give, give, give.

27. Laughter is not only the best medicine, it’s the heartbeat of my life.

28. Not everyone is going to believe the way I do. And, that’s okay. (So, let crazy Facebook comments and otherwise go.)

29. My mom thinks my kids are just has hilarious as I do. I am so thankful I can share my life with her.

30. My dad is the most consistently loyal, forgiving, compassionate, merciful person in the universe. Hands down.

31. I have the best friends in the world. And, the older I get the more I realize how much I need them.

32. I could never leave the ministry.

33. I love being alone with God.

34. I either cry or almost cry every time I worship the One who has made all things so good.

35. Don’t sit alone when you’re down. As hard as it is, call someone. Go be with someone you trust. Just don’t be alone.

36. Whenever you think something good is going to come from telling someone exactly what you think or “finally giving them the what for,” please know, nothing good will EVER come from that. Ever.

37. Don’t close the door to new friendships.

38. It’s none of my business what other people think of me.

39. Try really hard to not yell at your children. They are real souls with real feelings.

40. God is for me. So, all moments have been for me. The good ones and the bad ones. Because, God has been IN all of those moments.

If you’re still reading, thank you for indulging me in such a long post. And, thanks to all of you for being in my world. I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am so thankful to serve a God who is full of love. And, I am so thankful to enter my forties. I think I’m going to like it here.

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Twelve: A Soul Well Tended.

Middle School. First year. That’s where we are now. Everyone tries to tell you to hold on tightly. Because, the years are set to mach speed when you’re raising children. And, how well I now know that you are 12 years old. TWELVE. One minute I’m walking you into your first day of Kindergarten.

Then, the next I’m dropping you off and watching you walk into Middle School. And, two things consistently astonish me: how I blink my eyes and you are almost as tall as me…..

and how you continually make everyone around you feel good about themselves.

Someone recently made the comment how you have the unusual ability to make even “old folks feel important.” It’s one of the traits that makes me most proud. Everyone leaves your presence feeling a little better about themselves. Please, son….don’t ever lose this gift. It’s really what the Kingdom is all about. Love. Acceptance. Mercy. I am amazed watching you make these three things the epitome of who you are.

You love people. You encourage them. You accept them for who they are and embrace who they are. And, your mercy is so long and wide. So much so that you remind me often to be a giver of mercy. I can remember one evening you overheard me saying something negative about someone. I was so embarrassed. I went to you and asked you to forgive me. Your response: “I forgive you. Just remember, he is a good man.”

Those words went straight to my heart. Such holy, good conviction that reminded me to allow to people to fail me. To make allowances for other’s faults. To always look for the good in others.

John Henry, your soul is even more beautiful than your eyes. And, that is saying a lot. You tend to your soul beautifully. At the start of this school year I told you I wanted us to begin studying the scriptures together. You immediately went to retrieve your Bible, and we turned to the Sermon On the Mount and began to read. This part of that sermon defines who you are so well:

7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:7-9)

And, God blesses you, John Henry Landreth. I am so proud of the man that you are. I will always miss my little boy. I will always smile when I think about this little face.

But nothing compares to the tears of joy I cry when I look into this face. Full of mercy. Full of love.

 

Happy 12th Birthday, John Henry. I love you more today than yesterday. And, I will love you even more tomorrow.

 

Love,

Mom

 

 

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