Tag Archives: friends

She Turns 12 Today.


I wish I had started doing birthday blogs before her 4th birthday. Because, let’s face it. There are three years worth of hilarious stories that have gone unwritten. But fortunately, there has been enough recorded to keep us reading and enjoying for years to come.

Every single day Anna Takle makes me laugh. And, who would’ve thought years ago that I would be going to her for fashion advice one day? Seriously. The girl who wore fleece in the summer, tanks in the winter, printed tights with ripped shorts, and dressed like she was trying out for the NBA for a solid year. Even yesterday, she questioned my attire for family pictures.

Anna: “Mom, you wear a cream shirt or sweater EVERY TIME WE TAKE FAMILY PICTURES.”

Me: “Well, dang. I guess I do. Maybe I should change?”

Anna: “Why change it up now? It’s kind of your thing.”

Even though I considered throwing on plaid, because, let’s face it….that’s kind of my thing, too….I just said, “Yeah…it’s kind of my thing.” And, we both smiled and went with it.

She is my girl. My best girl. My best friend. My partner in crime. My tough, stubborn beauty who has evolved into a compassionate, gifted soul, FULL of wisdom and goodness.

And, today, she is 12.

She loves the people in her life fiercely. She is protective, sentimental, and one of the most level-headed people I know. She is also one of the most grateful people I know. She thanks her dad and I ALL THE TIME for EVERYTHING. But, SHE is the real gift.

Anna Marie Takle,

I seriously want to cry thinking about how much I love you. How much I love every single thing about you. You make your dad and I the proudest parents on the face of the earth. Everything you do, you do with passion. You give whatever you commit to 100% of who you are. And, in as much as we are proud of your gifts and of your commitment to your education, we are blown away by WHO you are.

I love the way you love and look after Jett. I remember when you were 6 years old, you said, “Jett is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” You take it upon yourself to care for him, to protect him, to teach him, to love on him. I watch you watch him….and, I see you light up when he does something that makes you proud or when he’s just being his cute little self. And, you smile so big. He is probably the reason why you got the nickname, “Little Momma.” (Clearly, “Big Mama” was already taken.)


But, Jett isn’t the only reason we call you Little Momma. You take it upon yourself to parent ALL of us. And, I mean ALL. Sometimes, it’s really cute. Other times, well….well, just be glad, YOU are really cute. And funny.

I love the way you look out for your big brother. Even though he probably doesn’t know it or want you to necessarily. But, you always want to make sure he is okay. And, when he hangs out with you and talks to you, again, you light up. Because, you love him and care for him so very much.


I love the way you love your dad. I love the way you immediately defend him if you hear me complain about something he forgot to do. Because, not only does he deserve your defense, but you are always so good to right my wrong perspective. And, every time he comes home from a trip and walks through that door, you run to him, wrap your arms around him, and say, “Daddy!” And, again, you light up. Because, you are not afraid to show him your love.


I love the way you love me. Anna, I never doubt how much you love me and look up to me. And, I do not take the love and respect you give me for granted. At least, I hope I don’t. You never fail to come up to me, look me in the eyes, and say, “Mom, thank you so much for……” You never fail to climb into my bed and pour your tender heart out. You never fail to make me feel your love for me. And, you never fail to make ME light up.


I love how important giving sentimental gifts are to you.

I love how you love tiny things.

I love how you love all animals and treat them with care.

I love how you appreciate really good food, good coffee, a good book, and good humor.

I love how you start laughing at your jokes or funny stories before you even begin telling them.

I love how you can laugh at yourself.

I love how you will suggest we eat ice-cream and watch back to back to back episodes of Friends.

I love how you think Phoebe is your spirit-animal.

I love how you want to learn to as many foreign languages as you can and assume it wouldn’t take much planning for us to “hop over to Paris” to try out your progression in French.

I love how when I send you downstairs to do a chore, the chore is always postponed, because you walk past your piano. Yet, you don’t pass it. And, before I know it, I hear magic happening on those keys….and it makes it really hard for me to get upset with you. (Well played, Anna Takle.) Get it? Well played? (That’s one of the corny jokes I know you’ll think is hilarious.)

I love how you ooze out wisdom and always have such perspective on life and relationships. Oh, I listen to you. I listen to you and John Henry both. You both continually make me a better person by how you see people and the world.

Anna, I am so proud of the young lady you are. I can’t imagine what the years ahead look like for you. Because, in this present moment, I am simply in awe.

Thank you, God, for giving me the beautiful gift of Anna Marie. And, let’s just not talk about how she’s going to be a teenager in a year. My heart can’t bear it today.


Thank you, Anna, for being YOU. I love you so very much.




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

At All Times.

“I hope of all the qualities I have inherited from my father that being a good friend is one of them.  He is always a friend to the end.”

That was my last tweet on the Twitter last night.  If I ever want to know what a true friend looks like, I should always look my father. 

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or haven’t done.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve been embraced by thousands or rejected by the world.  Once you are his friend, you are his friend for life.

I sat alone in my living room last night and thought about the qualities that make him such a good friend.  We often tell our friends, “I’m here if you need me.”  But, sometimes, we only translate that to the big stuff – if something bad happens. 

One of my good friends called me last night and asked me if I could watch her children while she went to the doctor today.  “Sure I will,” I told her. 

It would be easy for me to say, “Girlfriend, I am so pregnant.  That’s not gonna work out for me.”  But, that’s not really being a true friend.  It’s easy to give excuses.  It’s easy to become so caught up in our schedule, our life, our families, that when a friend interrupts that routine, we almost become resentful. 

We use the term, “You have to set your boundaries.”  But, I think, often times, we misuse it.  I’ve said it many times.  “Set your boundaries!”  When really, all I need to do is set my priorities.  When my priorities are in order, I don’t’ really have to set boundaries.  I’m sure I’ll create some controversy over that one.  But, that’s how I feel.  Today.

Dad will fly hundreds of miles to be there for a friend.  And, he will drop his schedule to help a friend across the street move.  He’s always there when a friend needs him.

I want to be that kind of friend.

A friend loves at all times….  Proverbs 17:17


Filed under Friendship

I love Jesus and Santa Claus.

The title of this post is courtesy of a comment my dad left on my blog yesterday.  In the spirit of Christmas traditions, Dad simply said his favorites were “Jesus and Santa Claus.”  Way to go, Preacher.  Way to go. 

Unfortunately for Dad, he probably won’t love Santa Claus this year due to some serious financial cut-backs and such.  I reminded Dad of the recession at the North Pole.  He responded with a resounding, “I have everything I could ever want.”  And, the readers say, “Awwwwww.”

Truth be told, many are feeling the effects of our current economic climate.  Howevah, we still live in the most blessed nation on.the.planet.  Perhaps, this is a good holiday season to think beyond big, bright packages with ribbons and bows and enjoy the people God has placed in our lives.  

This year, why don’t we all decide to make some extra indulgences into spending time with those who make our world go ‘round.  Maybe use a little less sarcasm with a family member.  Tell that friend WHY you love her.  Play an extra game of UNO with your son.  These are the moments that last.  All of the tangible gifts will fade away. 

“’Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.’”  – Dr. Seuss ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’.

And, a big Happy Annniversary to Mom and Dad.  My greatest two examples of living out a life rich in things that really matter.

How are you going to enjoy the people in your life this Christmas?


Filed under Friendship, giving, Love, Relationships

I love my friends.

I got the best friends y’all.  Between my Facebookers, Myspacers, Twitterers, Bloggy Readers, E-mailers and Old-Fashioned Cell Phone Callers (since when is that one old-fashioned?), I had the biggest, bestest lovey birthday. 

It certainly wasn’t on account of my youngest.  Remember how I boasted on my favorite gifts yesterday?  Well, Miss Anna made sure I didn’t think the day was ALL ABOUT ME.  From the spanking correction before we left to go the mall to the “We’ve Arrived At The Mall Correction”, I knew it was not gonna be a pleasant “lunch date.” 

Nothing like carrying 33 pounds in a mall listening to background music that went something like this.

“I don’t want a spanking!  I don’t want a spanking!”

And, you know at this point, you have to evaluate the entire discipline situation.  One, the mall restrooms are never right around the corner.  And B, you just think it might be best to say, “If you stop yelling, I won’t spank you!”   I tried B but was forced to find that restroom.

The Lord liveth.

Back to me lovin’ my friends.

For real, y’all.  I am blessed.  Whoever findeth a friend findeth a good thing.  Is that scripture? I think so.  I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. 

Nevertheless, God has placed within each of us a need for each other.  He never intended for us to do life alone.  A big part of His relationship with us is through one another. 

I love that.

I believe that.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

My braided cord is strong.  We can’t do life well without each other. 

I need you.  You are one of my favorite gifts, too. 

Thank you for being a friend. Travel down the road and back again.  Your heart is true.  You’re a pal and a confidant.  (Feel free to use that one.)

Can you imagine life without friendship?


Filed under Friendship


“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
  Galatians 6:2

It’s hard to carry another’s burden when you don’t know what that burden is.  Asking for help is not one of my strong suits.  I’m not sure if it’s pride or just not wanting to bother a friend.  But, I have a really hard time asking someone to give up his or her time. 

When we help one another, we fulfill the law of Christ?  Really? 

Sounds to me like we need to start leaning on each other a little more.

What do you think?
Do you have a hard time asking for help?


Filed under Friendship, life, Relationships

Come Monday, it’ll be all right.

Let me introduce you to Mike Oliver.  No, he doesn’t always wear this hat.  Just for Jimmy Buffet concerts.

Mike has labored in ministry with my dad for twenty-two years.  This Monday, Mike, his wife Shari, and their son, Bo, will say goodbye to friends and begin a new chapter in their lives.  Mike will be starting Coastal Community Church in the Fort Walton beach area.  While I am excited and anticipate good things to come from his ministry on the coast, I am also sad to him leave.  He is my pastor, and he is my dear friend.

Mike has taught me many things.  Here are a few.

          No matter what you are going through in life, Bear Bryant has the best quotes to get you through.


          If he says ALA, I say BAMA.


          Always smile, and laugh hard.


          Repeating the same jokes over and over, when said well, is always funny.  A personal favorite:  “What’s going down?  Your leg?”  Ridiculous.  And, I laugh every time.


          A friend sticks closer than a brother.


          When things aren’t right for a friend, do all you can to help make them right.


          Always faithful.  Always.


          When in despair, turn to Jesus and some Jimmy Buffet tunes.


          When happy, turn to Jesus and some Jimmy Buffet tunes.


          Speak ill of no one.


          Appreciate the small things.  Life is short.


          Never waste a moment.  Live out loud.


          God is good.  His love never fails.


          Whatever you do, do it well.  And, there is no substitute for passion.


There are three men that I hold dearest to my heart – my husband, my father, and Mike Oliver.  I’m not sure what Eagles Way Church is going to look like without him.  And, I’m not sure what everyday life will look like without his insane humor and unrelenting loyalty.  But, if he has taught me one thing, it is this:  Come Monday, it’ll be all right.  I’m holding him to that.  I love that man.


Filed under Relationships

Women who have influenced me. (5 of 5)

Vickie Brauckmann

I met Vickie February of 2003 – the same day Kris Takle came into my life.  My relationship with Vickie has been one of the most defining elements in my life as an adult, as a woman, and as a friend. 

I have been blessed with many close friends.  This verity made moving to Oklahoma bittersweet.  But, I found a friend in Vickie.  She embraced me instantly.  She has also taught me the beauty in not only being a friend, but what it means to truly care for one.  You see, when Vickie is with you, she is with you.  You know those people that you talk to who are usually thinking of the next thing they are going to say instead of listening to you?  That’s not Vickie.  She lives in the moment with her friends.  She listens to them.  She is genuinely interested in what’s going on their lives. 

Her home is her haven, and she welcomes you…..really welcomes you into it.  When she invites you into her home, she makes you feel like you’re the only person that exists – and, she takes care of you to perfection.  And, when she invites you into her life, she invites you in for good. 

She is one of the most caring women I have ever met.   She can be trusted.  She is genuine to the core.  She is blessed but unpretentious.  She makes me proud to be a woman and even prouder to be a friend.

Vickie once gave me a beautiful kitchen towel that reads “Friends are relatives you make for yourself.”  No one emanates this adage better than Vickie. 

Because she and her husband, David, loved Kris so much, they also loved me.  I cannot say enough about their friendship.  They have believed in us and loved us with a love that is extraordinary. 

I moved to Oklahoma for love and found much more in my dear friend, Vickie.

….but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24


Filed under Relationships, Spiritual Journey

Sending out an S.O.S.

As posted yesterday, I’m on my girls’ trip….at the beach.  I looooove the beach.  Oh, don’t get jealous.  I’m sure it’s beautiful where you are, too.  Just not AS beautiful.  And, as much as I miss my family, I’m really enjoying this lounging lifestyle where I am only responsible for Dusty Takle. 

I did not call to check on the family back home once yesterday.  It wasn’t intentional.  I promise.  How could I?  I just could, I guess.  So, Kris calls me last night and says, “When you go on vacation, you go on vacation!  You don’t call, you don’t write, you don’t send smoke signals!”  For real.

Fortunately, I think yesterday’s blog bought me some grace.  I’m sure he was polishing his halo immediately after he finished his call with me.  He certainly wasn’t bathing the children who have been playing on the family farm all day.  After all, that’s not his gig (so, he tells me.)  However, it is my wonderful mother-in-law’s gig.  Thank heavens.

Well, back to beach reading and good friends all sans messy breakfasts and Candy Land. 

By the way, I did get an e-mail from Kris last night updating me on the children’s activities.  Kris refers to the farm as Club Med for the kids.  Here is an excerpt from his update:

“JH (John Henry) and I left the house at 9:00AM for the Hangar where we saddled up the Ford 235HP tractor with the 15ft bat wing bush hog.  We started on the runway area, and JH was loving it.  Of course, the air-conditioned tractor made life nice and I of course had to explain to him that I didn’t have this growing up….He was good for about 2 circles then gently put his head on my left side and fell asleep.  Oh, how it brought back memories of my young life and my farm days with my dad.  It was the best time I have ever had with our son.  He would awaken to tell me how many ant hills we had killed and then about 30 minutes later he would be out.  Just like me.  I guess the hum of the motor and cutter was just too much to overcome.” 

What a good daddy.




Filed under Randomness