Tag Archives: giving

Make Space For the Season.

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The other day, I sat in mom and dad’s living room and began recalling my childhood Christmases. The subject came up when I told Anna about the time each of my parents thought the other was buying my presents. We call it “the Christmas my parents forgot me.” Their only child. Just one. Me. It’s actually one of my dad’s favorite Christmas stories to tell. Well, besides the one when dad asked me when I was a little girl to tell him if the lights on the tree were working. “Now they are. Now they aren’t. Now they are. Now they aren’t.” I didn’t realize they were blinking lights. My mom, however, hates the story of forgetting me. She was a flight attendant then, and her schedule was crazy. But, dad and I have laughed about that Christmas so many times. I was older, and I got it. I wasn’t hurt or disappointed. But, I laughed. (And, I caught my dad later that day writing a check to stick inside my stocking.) I wasn’t disappointed, because everything I ever could have needed or wanted from my parents I received. I’m not talking about the things. I’m talking about the relationships. The love. The real stuff that doesn’t get old or break or fade.

After I told Anna that story, I began remembering all of my Christmases when I was a little girl. I remembered the Christmas morning I got Dolly Pops. I had wanted those for a solid year. I remember the Christmas where Ken and Barbie were sitting on their Barbie horses, and another Barbie was taking a dip in her pool that mom filled with water. I remembered the Christmas I opened up a my burgundy velvet blazer and navy blue tie. I guess I was channelling my inner Diane Keaton that year. I began to tell my parents and my own children that while I knew my Christmases weren’t “big” by most standards, they always felt big. Dad was pastoring a small church on a very modest income. They couldn’t do the big. But, I told them, “It always felt big. They were the best Christmases.”

I watched tears stream down my mom’s face. Did she not know that they always felt big and were so perfect to me? Did she not know that I never felt slighted growing up but, instead, only loved every part of what the season brought our family? The peace, the smiles, the joys, the laughs, the hugs, the thank-yous, the blinking lights?

Last night, I sat in my own living room with my two oldest children who are hardly children anymore. John Henry looks at me and says, “Mom, can you give my big presents to another kid this year or is that not an option?” Later Anna says, “Mom, last Christmas was great. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone loves presents. But, I don’t want so many gifts taking up our time together.” Then, in her hilarious Donald Trump voice she said, “I’m going to build a wall around the tree and gifts.” (Seriously, her Trump impression rivals only that of Alec Baldwin.)

“I want to make space between the gifts and this,” she said, stretching her arms toward John Henry and me. “There is nothing I need. I just want this.”

Did I not know that my kids simply loved every part of what the season brought our family? The peace, the joys, the laughs, the hugs, the thank-yous, the lights that do not blink? Not the things that get old or break or fade. The relationships. The love. The real stuff.

In all of your hectic shopping, your worry over if you have bought enough, done enough, given enough….Pause, stop, breathe. Your kids will have more than they need or want because of YOU. Because, you laugh in the kitchen together while making Chex-mix. Because, you put away your phones and look them in the eyes and listen to them. Because, you take a break from homework and laundry and cry together watching This Is Us. (Have mercy, that show is everything right now.) Because, they watch you say something encouraging to their dad. Because, they watch their dad bring their mom coffee. Because, they see stockings for John Henry’s dad and step-mom hung at my parents’ house. Because, they see what love looks like. How it walks, how it talks, how it moves, how it pauses, how it gives.

Make space between the gifts and this. Fill that space with everything you are. Fill that space absorbing everything your children are. That’s what a big Christmas looks like. Make space for the season. Make space for the real stuff that doesn’t break. But for the stuff that gets you through your hardest seasons. The stuff that assures you that God is always for you and will not fail you. The stuff that reminds you to always make space for forgiveness, for gratitude, and for loving well. The stuff that reminds you that YOU ARE ENOUGH and you are amazing and you are INSANELY loved. Make space for that stuff. Nothing else matters. It’s all about your relationships. I can assure you of that.

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Filed under gratitude, Kid Stuff, Life Experiences, Love, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

40 Is A Big Deal.

This guy is 40 today. FORTY. For his 38th birthday, I wrote 38 things I love about him. He thought I should do 40 now. When I suggested just adding 2 more to that old post, well, he thought it was tacky. Here is a brand new 40 reasons. I also enlisted the help the of the big kids.

Ready?

40 Reasons We Love Ivar Takle. I'll go first.

1) You love Bob Marley and John Denver. And, you sing their songs really loud.

2) You are the same person at home as you are everywhere else.

3) You never believe your blessings are just for you.

4) You make me want to be a better wife, because you are always a better husband.

5) I love how you make yourself trip just so I will laugh.

6) You make the best fried rice on the planet.

7) You bring me my coffee every single morning you are home. I feel like I am roughing it when you're gone.

8) You teach our daughter how a husband should treat his wife by setting an astounding example.

9) And, you may or may not spoil both of your girls.

10) You hear my heart and receive from me. You know, when I approach matters of the heart with grace instead of….that other way. 🙂

11) You are so stinking smart and answer all of my questions on what in the Sam Hill is going on in the world.

12) You can do anything a farmer can do. Drive any tractor. Plow any land. And, do that other farmer-type stuff. And, that's really sexy.

13) Flying an airplane is sexy, too.

14) You never, ever complain.

15) You never speak poorly of anyone. Ever. That is so amazing.

16) You are the hardest working man I know.

17) You teach John Henry how to be a man.

18) You play with our children. That's a big deal.

19) You are the epitome of patience.

20) You bring peace to our home.

 

Anna would like to take the next ten. Hit it, sister.

21) He loves me.

22) He is so much fun.

23) Sometimes, he gives me answers on my homework.

24) He is adventurous.

25) He is as crazy as me.

26) I love it that he fixes my breakfast every morning.

27) He is a really hard worker.

28) He's my favorite person to cuddle with.

29) I'm proud that he is my daddy.

30) He is handsome.

 

John Henry would like to add the next ten.

 

31) Because, he loves me.

32) He teaches me new things.

33) He gives me the chances to do things.

34) He provides me with a home and food.

35) Because, he will fly me around.

36) He doesn't freak out over things like mom does.

37) He loves my Daddy Bryan, and they get along.

38) He will tuck me into bed.

39) He will never give up on me.

40) He gives to others even if it's not a holiday.

 

I couldn't agree more with your big kids. And, number 40 might be my absolute favorite. Because, it is just so true. If Jett could add anything, I'm sure it would be, “He can always find my Super-Man cape” or “He lets me stay in my pjs” or “He lets me drive the tractor” or “My dad can fly an airplane. And, that's just cool.”

I have no idea how in the world you manage all that you manage. And, you are rarely a donkey on the edge. You continually amaze me.

You used to tell me you weren't as “spiritual” as me, because, you didn't have the foundation of scriptures that I had. But, I've seen people quote the entire New Testament and not live out what you live out on a daily basis. You are the most “spiritual” man I know because of how you love your family and how you love and give to others. You are always positive. Always. You always speak positively of others. THAT is spiritual. THAT is you.

You are such a great man. A great husband. A great father. A great friend.

You live out Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatever you do, do well.

Happy 40th Birthday. Thank you for doing all things well.

I love you, Kris Takle. And, I thank God you were born.

 

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Filed under life, making an impact, Marriage, parenting

Life Is Not Good For Me.

And, that is what prompted my Google searches on “how to start a non-profit organization.”  If you read yesterday’s post, you are aware that my son was unhappy that I have an iPad, and he doesn’t.  He was also unhappy that his sister slept with me, and he didn’t.  At the close of the evening on Tuesday night, he grumbled a little more.  I simply told him, “Life is good for you, John Henry.”

“Life is not good for me,” I heard him say as he traipsed up the stairs. 

No. He. Just. Didn’t. 

Yes. He. Did.

It was as if I had been practicing the parenting speech that would follow for years.

“Come here, son.  Let me take you to a third world country and show you children with no toys.  Let me take to you a poverty-stricken village where children sleep with no roof over their heads.  Let me take you to a place where children are hungry and wondering if they will eat that day.  Wondering if this is the day they STARVE TO DEATH.”

Notice how I emphasized the “starve to death” part for dramatic impact?

I continued to tell him how blessed he is.  Not remind him.  But, tell him.  Because, somehow, he had been completely unaware some children go without food.  But, beyond telling him about his blessings, I told him that things are just things.  I told him I could drop my fancy iPad tomorrow, and it could shatter into tiny pieces.  And, what would I have left?  Well, not a cool iPad, and probably an upset husband.  But, anyway….

I would still be a child of a King who completes me.  That, in Him, I can be content no matter where I am or what I have.  Because of HIM.

He went onto bed, and I followed up shortly after.  I noticed tears streaming down his cheeks.  Being the good parent that I am, I assumed he was crying over how “life isn’t good” for him.  Good one, Mom. 

“That’s not why I’m crying,” he responded.

“Then, why?”

“Because there are hungry children. “

I comforted him and nodded.

Then, he asked, “What can we do?”

Wow.  I wasn’t prepared for that one.  So, I gave the “we give more, and we need others to give more to help feed them” answer.

“Can I start collecting money for them?”  He asked me.

“I think so.  Let’s talk about this tomorrow.”

So, we prayed, and we talked again the next day. 

Last night, he reminded me about our conversation.  I asked him to pray.  I asked him to seek God and ask Him to show him ways to raise money for those less fortunate.  Then, I told him, that when he feels like God gives him an idea, to let me know.

In the meantime, I’m researching on my end.  And, while I realize there are plenty of good solid organizations to give to, I know this is something he needs to do.  He wants to do.  And, really?  I guess we all need to want to do it.  Who knows where this will go.  Or, perhaps, what organization it might connect us to.  But, I do know John Henry desires to put hands and feet to his new awareness that hungry children exist.  And, I want to do the same.

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.”  Proverbs 19:17

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Filed under giving, gratitude, making an impact, parenting

Don’t Close Up Shop.

I can let life swallow me up.  I can.  I can allow the activities and antics of three children cause me to close up shop on sharing my gifts with others.  Serving others.  Because, it seems like too much at that moment.

But, it’s not always too much.  It’s not usually as stressful as we make it out to be.  It’s just our response to those busy moments that mess with our head.  Okay, maybe it’s just my head.  Maybe, it’s just me? 

I almost let one of those moments make me close up shop yesterday afternoon.  My sweet husband had a dinner meeting with airplane-ish type folk.  I had household obligations, two children with obligations, and an infant who, well, was only obligated to let me know when he was hungry.  And, he was.  Of course, he was.   Have you seen him?  Only the cutest chunk of love in the history of chunks of love. 

You see?  I do not lie, friends.

It would have been easier to let these things – life things – consume me.  Stay home.  Pretend there was nothing or no one else besides myself and my three little people.  It really would have.  But, one thing I’ve learned (and my parents have taught me) in my thirty-five plus years on planet earth is this:

My life will be more blessed when I live beyond myself. 

Beyond me.  Beyond my kids’ homework and schedules.  Beyond the constant needs of an infant.  Beyond making sure I’ve emptied the dishwasher.  Beyond getting my hair ministered to – which by the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to fit that in.  Can I get an amen on coverin’ them roots? 

I was responsible for teaching the youth last night.  And, for some dadgum reason, I can’t say “youth” without thinking of My Cousin Vinny.  You know the line.  “Your honor, two utes.”  I seriously can’t.  I drive myself crazy sayin’ it.  ANY. HOW.

By choosing to overcome any stress that parenting, sans my awesome husband, brings, I used one of my gifts.  More than that, I just served.  And, instead of staying home, putting my children to bed, and contemplating how hectic my day was….

I put my children to bed, and then I went to bed fulfilled.  Content.  Happy.  Blessed.

I think that’s what Paul meant in Acts 20 when he said, “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” 

But, don’t get me wrong.  If any of y’all wanna come keep three little people and send me to the spa, I will not make you withhold those good gifts.  You know.  Since that would bless y’all and all.

Ahem.

I mean, Amen.

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Filed under giving, life, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting

The Tapestry Project

I gotta tell you.  It just feels good to do something that’s not all about me or my family.  Something that even gets me out of my comfort zone.

This was just my experience last week at The Tapestry Project.  The Tapestry’s website explains it “is an organization that is revitalizing a deteriorating neighborhood through renovation, restoration, and connecting people in need to the resources that will equip them to thrive as a community. The vision is to create model for urban development and community transformation for women, children and families in crisis all across Oklahoma City.”

It’s simply AMAZING what Amy Newberry and her husband, Joshua, have birthed in this project.  They are both incredible examples of what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

I served Tapestry with a few of my bible study peeps.  You can see a few pictures from our day by visiting Tapestry’s blog.  I really hate that the photo Cindy Beall took of me with a broom in my hand didn’t make the post.  But, I did make sure she sent it to my husband.  You know….for the shock factor and all.

Praying over a few of the young ladies living in apartments provided by Tapestry was overwhelming but so dang fulfilling.  We prayed over specific needs they had.  I wanted to just bring one pregnant, 17 year old girl named Sarah home with me.  But, I became increasingly aware that Sarah needs my friendship and impartation of Christ more than anything.  Amy Newberry commented, “I know their needs seem overwhelming.  But they really need me to just sit on their porch steps, drink their coffee, and be a little heaven on earth to them.” 

I think, at times, we let ourselves get so overwhelmed at such large needs, that we fail to give the GREATEST gift we can give:  Christ.

I’ll never forget Amy’s words.

And, I’m very excited about serving there again. 

With my family – including my two children. 

Who will learn from a very young age that there is a world of hurting people.  And, oh what joy comes from being the hands and feet of Christ.

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Filed under giving, making an impact

Marriage And Growing A Person.

This weekend, I used Kris’ Marriott points that he accumulates when he flies to luxurious vacation spots by working so hard for the family.  After I arranged for the kids to spend the weekend with Falon and Janet (our friends and most awesome babysitters), I surprised him with a night downtown the big OKC.  We woke up to the glorious phenomenon known as room service, and then, I sent Kris to an already scheduled massage at the spa.

Sorry, men.  I’m taken. 

I need not gloat that much in my wifely awesomeness.  I realized it had been entirely too long since I did something special for Kris.  I recognized I was becoming disgruntled with me not being the center of his attention.  With me not being catered to or lavished with some fun surprise.  I was focusing on me.  After all, I AM growing a person, right? 

In my discontentedness, I began to evaluate myself as a spouse.  Have I thought beyond myself lately to do anything out of the ordinary for Kris? 

I knew the answer. 

So, I made a choice to step outside myself, my wants, my stuff and do something all about him.  Because, I love him.  I love being married to him.  HE matters.

In serving my husband this way, my discontentment seemed to fade.  Because, I served him.  This is true in most every area of our life.  When we step outside of our stuff and serve something or somebody else, we take our eyes off of that stuff. 

And, we become content – fulfilled – again.

It’s how Jesus Christ lived His life.  He so loved us that HE gave.

It was a great time together.  He makes me laugh.  Really laugh.  When I asked him Saturday night to carry me to bed, he responded this way, despite the look of fear in his eyes:

“Uh, okay.  Just let me stretch a little first.”

Oh, I love that man.

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Filed under giving, gratitude, Love, Marriage, pregnancy

She Gave All She Had.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t always work in us the way we think He might.  When I decided to surrender this pride thing, I was surprised how God chose to deal with it.  One very large way He has operated, if you will, is by breaking my heart for others in need.  Giving in the past has always been easy.  Even a no-brainer.  It was easy to write a check and make things better for someone in need.  And, it wasn’t that I was without compassion.  I just didn’t truly have an understanding of what it means to be broken for people less fortunate. 

I was reminded of the story where Jesus is teaching at the temple in Jerusalem where He witnessed the rich men’s donations.  But, it was one widow who gave two mites that caught His attention.

The others gave out of their abundance.  This widow gave everything she had.

And, not just financially.  She surrendered her whole self and everything she possessed. 

This especially went to straight to the heart of Christ.  Because, in a few short days, He would give everything He had on a cross.

I don’t want to just give out of my abundance.  I want to give out of my want.  Out of my hurt.  I want to give no matter what place I’m in.

That’s what Christ modeled for us.

I’m still learning to live a life fully surrendered. 

Are you?

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Filed under God Stuff, Spiritual Journey