Tag Archives: Motherhood

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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Welcome To Each Other’s World.

jett world

I love being a mom. It’s honestly my favorite thing I do/am. I think most moms feel this way. My views on parenting are constantly evolving and expanding. And, I LOVE this, too. One of the things that’s been expanding in how I view parenting is the fact that we are all eternal beings.

I’ve said for years that there is no little God in my children and big God in me. Same big God in all of us. This has always helped me in trusting the God in my children to do and work all that needs to be done and worked within each of them. The only difference between Jett and me might be our awareness of God within us at times.

One of the ways I’ve expanded this truth, is that I used to think I was more aware of God in me than one of my children simply because I’ve been practicing awareness longer. Not always true. Sometimes, Jett will be aware of something I have been missing. How is this possible? Because, his spirit is just as old as mine is. We are eternal beings, remember? I allow my own children’s awareness to expand my own.

Another way I’ve expanded the truth that we are all eternal beings is to not dismiss something one of my children feel strongly about. Don’t say things like, “You’re too young to feel that,” “You don’t understand love yet,” or “You are too young to know what you really want to do yet.” We may have been living this earthly experience longer, but our spirits are the same age. Don’t dismiss their feelings. Don’t doubt that their feelings are real. Listen to them. Engage their passions. Hear their cries and respond. They NEED you to do this.

And, probably the greatest revelation I’ve had lately in parenting is that we are in each other’s world. Years ago, I always said when each child was born, “They entered my world. I didn’t enter theirs.” I was so wrong, friends. And, if I told you this, I am so sorry. No, no, no, no. As eternal beings, we are walking this earthly journey TOGETHER. The spirit behind “They entered MY world” wasn’t necessarily wrong. But, in theory, it was very wrong. My thoughts behind it were that he or she will adapt to MY environment. He will adapt to my schedule. She will have to adapt to my life and what I have already set in motion. That’s like me saying, “Kris, brother, you need to adapt to my life, what I want, what I think, k?” Sure. That would go over great. We adapt to each other’s worlds. We embrace each other’s worlds. The same goes for my children.

I started getting this revelation 3 years ago when Anna was in the play, To Kill A Mockingbird, and I was taking her to and from rehearsals every single day. There were no nights out for me. There was no me having time for me. Friends, I was in her world. However, it was her world that I got to be a part of and also benefit from. But, it wasn’t until now that I have been able to flip the switch on what it means: We are in each other’s worlds instead of “you entered my world when you were born.”

Sometimes, my world is all about Anna’s world. Sometimes, it’s all about Jett and sometimes, it’s all about John Henry.

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Sometimes, it’s all about Kris’ world.

And, guess what, sometimes, it’s all about YOURS.

Moms, if you can get the revelation now that you are sharing this earthly journey together, and you are in each other’s worlds, then this will happen:

You will thrive in gratitude that you GET to be in their world. You GET to see the world through their eyes. You GET to take them here and there and everywhere and get a front row seat to their world.

anna world

You will see so much more than you thought possible and expand in so much more than you thought possible because their lives and worlds add to yours. And, your world becomes so enlightened and so much more fun.

You will honor who they are as eternal, spiritual beings and treat them as such.

And, here’s what will NOT happen: resentment. You won’t resent giving up “your world” for “their world.” Because, all of the sudden, your worlds collide. Your world becomes theirs. And, their world becomes yours.

And, that, my mom friends, is magic.

Stay open. Stay aware. Remember who you are, and, don’t ever forget who they are. And, I promise you: being mom will only get better.

Keep expanding. Keep evolving. Welcome to each other’s worlds.

kids world

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My Dreamer is 8.

me jett

Jett: “I see the future sometimes.”

Me: “What do you see?”

Jett: “I see myself on a stage, playing guitar and singing.”

Me: “I see it with you, bud. Hold on to that picture.”

I’m so glad I’ve learned to not downplay these conversations. I’m glad I know to not only allow my children to dream dreams but to dream them myself. I’m thankful I know the power of imagination. And, if anyone has taught me the beauty and power of it, it is Jett.

Today, my sweet, funny, sensitive, creative, smart, imaginative boy is 8. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. But I can tell you that I have soaked in every single second along the way. Because, no one has ever made me pause and be in the moment more than Jett Takle.

I love conversations with him. Some of his stories can take a LONG time to tell. But, many of his conversations, where he seeks truth or shares his own truth, well, those are pretty remarkable. Many times, they are so heartfelt and rich that he blows us all away.

Earlier this week, he and Anna were outside. Anna, my resident philosopher, began sharing with Jett how amazing everything in nature is and how it is connected to everything. “God is in nature. Isn’t everything out here just beautiful and amazing? It is so important we honor the beauty of everything around us.”

Jett responded, “Do you know what the most important thing in the world is? You.”

anna jett

I’m sure later that day he was aggravating her like any little brother can do. But, I can’t tell you how many of those conversations just win us all the time.

Last night he said, “This is my first birthday without Noodles.” (This is our dear friend Mike Thompson who transitioned last September.) He said he’d like to go to his grave and Big Mama’s grave and just hang out there sometime. I reminded him that Noodles and Big Mama aren’t there, and he can talk to them any time. I told him I talk to Big Mama often. “Oh, I get that. I talk to Noodles a lot.”

He is my deep feeler. He is my big dreamer. He is my constant reminder that life is precious and is meant to be FELT. It is meant to be FUN. And, we are meant to take it ALL in.

Jett Takle, I love you so. I love how you say that Saturdays make you “feel lucky.” I love how we can just go to the movies and you will say “this is the best day ever.” I love how you always tell me that you love me. How you always tell all of us that you love us. I love how you love to learn. I love how blown away you get at things in history and science that the rest of us can take for granted. I love how you ask the hard questions, because, you’re not afraid to feel the hard emotions. I love how you love to dress nice. You wouldn’t turn down a good hat or tie ever. I love how you love music. And, how nobody, NOBODY, can hold a candle to Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars. I love how you have legit studied their dance moves and learned the lyrics to every song you can. I love how you look up to your big brother.

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And, I love how you’re not afraid to be you. You are proud to be you and let other people be who they are. You find your lane, and you enjoy it. And, you make us all want to hop in the same lane with you.

You are fun and amazing and make ALL of us imagine more. I’m so glad you were born. The world needed you. 8 is the number of new beginnings. I can’t wait to see all of the new things you do this year. All of the new things that inspire you. That challenge you. That grow you. That amaze you. I can’t wait to see all of the new things you open us up to. It’s going to be your best year ever, bud. I just know it.

Happy Birthday, Jett. Thank you for being my greatest showman.

I love you so very much,

Mom.

“Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.” -P.T. Barnum (The Greatest Showman)

Jett - hat

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Sometimes, Parents Need Tweaking.

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I have found myself the past few weeks correcting Jett and how he responds to me. “Remember who I am,” I’ve told him. “You are not allowed to talk to me like that,” I’ve told him. This has not been his normal tone with me. It’s been frustrating. And, then, he had his clipped moved twice the other day for lacking self-control. I mean, that’s easy for Jett, especially if he’s excited. But, moving it twice in one day doesn’t happen very often.

I zoned in on his behavior. I talked to Kris about the most effective way to discipline and correct it.

But, I didn’t zone in on his heart.

Tuesday morning, I was gathering all of the things I gather to load three children and take them to school. Jett was focused on his legos and asked if I would help him find a certain one.

“I’m busy right now. We are getting ready to leave.”

His response should have hit me in the gut then, but it didn’t until later that night:

“Parents never want to help.”

I hardly gave that comment a thought other than my flippant response back, “Jett! That is ugly.”

I went about my day as usual. The noises of the day drowned out a seven year old’s feelings. Until the noises stopped, and I was alone and silent.

OH. MY. HEAVENS.

“Parents never want to help.”

Was this true for me as a parent? The answer really didn’t matter. What mattered was Jett had internalized this as a belief system in his young heart. Sometimes, it’s easy to justify or overcome comments from our children by elevating ourselves thinking we know more. Or we don’t validate the comments, because we “know our intentions.”

I decided to get quiet, and let the Spirit reveal whatever needed to be revealed. Like always, it did. I immediately texted Kris the story of our morning and Jett’s comment. And, then I shared what the Spirit revealed: “There’s an underlying belief system there we have contributed to. I need to create some time with him where I do something HE wants me to do with him. Not just something I orchestrate for us to do together.”

These are not just in the big things like a child wanting to go the movies with you or go get ice-cream. It could be in the little things where they simply want us to help find something. I work hard to create time with Jett. But, I’m usually the orchestrator and the director. Sometimes. he wants to be that, too. It’s his way of saying, “This matters to me. Would you let it matter to you, too?”

The next day, I meditated on these thoughts. I gave energy to Jett’s truth, and I gave energy to addressing me. And, not Jett’s behavior.

Friends, I immediately saw and felt a difference. This is the power of spirit and energy. Last night as he was getting ready for bed, he climbed to his top bunk and said, “This is a mess. I’m going to straighten this up, so I can sleep up here tonight.”

“I will help you, bud.”

As I helped him and engaged in a task HE orchestrated, he says to me, “You’re the best mom ever.”

It was the simplest thing to engage him in. And, he felt heard. He felt valued. Because, that top bunk suddenly mattered to me because it mattered to him. And, God knows I hate trying to make up a top bunk. But, I love making Jett feel valued more than I hate making up a top bunk.

Sometimes, the smallest tweaks in our parenting make the biggest difference.

When your children make comments that sting, don’t allow your own ego to dismiss them. And, don’t see them as a parenting failure. Instead, see them as indicators that something is correcting itself. And, let it do its job and correct itself by getting quiet, listening to Spirit, and flowing in something new and better. Parenting doesn’t have to be hard. It just has to be intentional work. But, it’s the best work.

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The Gentleman.

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All of those moms and dads who’ve already blazed the trail of raising children warned me. Don’t blink, they said. Time flies. You won’t believe how quickly the years go. The days may seem long, but the years are so short. You know they are right. But, you just don’t imagine your child not looking like this:

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Then, one day, like today, you wake up and your baby boy is 14.

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And, you realize you live with one of the kindest, gentlest, most loving souls on the planet. A young man who loves God and loves people. Who loves music old and new. Who loves playing guitar, enjoys a good game of golf, all things Marvel, and spending time on the deck with friends and family. A guy who calls my adult friends HIS friends. A sweet soul who is a joy and so much fun. 

John Henry,

It’s hard to put into words how amazing this past year has been with you. Every year has been amazing. But, this year, especially, I’ve watched you become so sure of yourself. Confident in you who are and who God is within you. You don’t withhold your words when you want to encourage someone. You don’t withhold your arms when someone needs to be comforted or when you want to let someone know you love them. You don’t withhold your love. You give it. You live out the word gentle in gentleman in how you treat people. You are considerate. You are always aware of what is going on around you. You are aware of people and their needs. And, when you see a need, you are quick to do all you can to meet that need.

And, one of the reasons I’ve loved this past year so much with you is because, you have become one of my dearest friends. I am so thankful I get to call you my son and one of my best friends. You’re a good, good friend, John Henry. You are the salt of the earth….always making the lives of those around you better. I don’t know what lies ahead for you, but I know, without a doubt, that your future is filled with so much goodness. Because, you have been goodness, and you ARE goodness.  Whoever said the teen years are hard or “just wait until they are teenagers,” never met John Henry Landreth.

Thank you for teaching us all how to treat one another. For being the best brother. For playing light sabers with Jett and being so sweet and loving to him. For allowing yourself to laugh at your sister when you know something she says is funny. For dancing with me in the kitchen and surprising me with your sweet hugs. For the honor you give to your daddy Kris. For the way you admire your daddy Bryan. For the way you love Janine and trust her wisdom. 

For epitomizing a true gentleman. For making us feel better about ourselves and the world. For being YOU.
Happy 14th Birthday, John Henry. I love you more than I could ever express!

Love,

Mom

 

 

 

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Create Your Calm.

Jett blankie

Jett loves his little, blue blankie. If you’ve seen Jett, you’ve probably seen his blankie. We are working hard on getting Jett to leave his blankie on his bed every morning. And, by “WE” are working hard, I mean Kris. It makes mornings harder, because, blankie…..you know.

Last night as I was putting Jett to bed and praying over him, I added, “Thank You for a smooth morning. Thank You that Jett is patient and cooperative and full of understanding. Amen.”

This morning Jett woke up happy and cooperative and saying, “yes ma’am” to leaving blankie on his bed. Inside, I was thanking sweet Jesus for such a smooth morning and fist bumping Him in my heart. ‘Cause, we got this.

Then, my sweet, cooperative boy spilled my entire cup of coffee all over the coffee table. All over my phone, my iPad, my favorite books, his Legos, and whatever else was in that line of fire. Jett awaited for scary mom to come out. John Henry left the room to get paper towels and not hear scary mom.

And, I paused. I remembered my prayer of a smooth morning. And, I just said, “It’s okay, bud.”

While, we cannot control every part of our day and avoid trouble, we do get choose our response to the bumps and how they control us. And, instead of it ruining our morning, I was able to be a model of peace and self-control and forgiveness to my children. I do not tout this inner fortitude to do this all of the time. I have failed so many times and went scary mom on my children more times than I care to recall. And, self-appointed Holy Spirit in my life, Anna Takle, is always quick to remind me of how I should’ve responded. Bless her. But, today, I made a decision to create my calm. To CHOOSE a smooth morning.

We can pray for things, and that’s okay. We can thank God for things, and that is necessary. But, in as much as I thanked Him for a smooth morning, it was up to me to create it.

You create your calm. You create your peace. You create your smooth. It’s not the hard moments that wreck us or our day. It’s our response to them.

Instead of coming home from dropping the kids off stressed, I came home noticing a beautiful sunrise. I came home pouring out tears of gratitude for this beautiful day. Creating my calm made thanksgiving so easy.

Make the decision to choose your responses today. Create your calm, and let thanksgiving pour out.

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60 Things I Love About My Mom. 


She was 19 when she became my mother. And, I can’t remember how old she was when she became my best friend. But, she’s been the best of both for as long as I can remember. You have never met a more beautiful human being in all of the world. You have never met a more selfless woman. A woman filled with more grace and kindness and love than my mother. Today, we celebrate 60 years of this world becoming a brighter, kinder, more beautiful place. And, without further ado, I give you 60 Things I Love About My Mom:

1. I love how so very frugal and disciplined you are with your finances. Unless you’re buying for your grandchildren, then all frugality goes out the window.

2. I love that no matter how much my dad can aggravate you with his spontaneity to do the most random of things, you still love him and accept him and tell me, “You know your dad.”

3. I love how you consider riding your Harley Davidson motorcycle “therapy.”

4. I love that you can even ride a motorcycle, because, I would surely not do that so well. (And, all of my friends say, “Amen.”)

5. I love it that you keep a tub full of chocolate candy bars in your refrigerator and add to the tub whatever people request….whether you are family or not. (She thinks you’re family and wants to have all of your favorite things waiting for you.)

6. I love how you introduce ME to new music now. You were shouting Bruno Mars before he was cool.

7. I love that you went to see Prince in concert. I don’t love it that you went without me. But, still, that was awesome.

8. I love that you recognize the dresses you made for me when I was little were not really awesome.

9. I love how you try to get into your chair before Jett comes over, just because Jett expects to find you there and wants to run to you.

10. I love that you always, always remind me to give my children the benefit of the doubt on everything.

11. I love how you give EVERYONE that benefit and always assume the best. In everyone. No matter what.

12. I love how you will give up the best of something, so someone else can have it. Truth is, you always deserve the best of everything.

13. I love how you love to get dad exactly what he wants for Christmas. In as much as his wish list seems so childlike and can make you roll your eyes, you always try to fulfill it.

14. I love how you record every single awards show, because you never know that performance you will want to go back and watch. Over and over and over again.

15. I love how you already know the odds of a horse before he ever gets ready to race.

16. I love how you get emotional at race time.

17. I love that you still talk to Judy everyday after 37 years of friendship.

18. I love it that you taught me you are never too far from a friend to be there for her in the hardest of times and in the best of times.

19. I love it that John Henry can never, EVER do any wrong in your eyes.

20. I love how you will buy Anna most anything she wants, regardless of what I may or may not have thought about it. Surely, forgiveness is better than permission. 🙂


21. I love how you think everything Jett does is funny….and how hard you try not to laugh at the things you shouldn’t. But still do.


22. I love how you’ve joked (or not joked) before, “You keep your dad, and I’ll keep the kids tonight.”

23. I love how you love coming to the farm, and you can truly relax here.

24. I love that you are always willing to keep the kids whenever I need you, no matter what you have planned.

25. I love how I got my love for the beach from you. And, how we could sit in our chairs and not move until sunset….if only dad and my kids would let us.

26. I love that we got to experience NYC together with Anna.

27. I love how you fell in love with Broadway and the theater.

28. I love how you are always falling in love with new things and new adventures.

29. I love it when people tell me I look exactly like you.

30. I love it that we can wear each other’s clothes.

31. I love how you always ask me when Kris is gone, “How can we help you today?”

32. I love how no one can ever say a single negative word about you, because you live life so well.

33. I love how you always speak the most positive words about people.

34. I love how you love EWC and carry the heart of the people.

35. I love your gift of discernment and how I can trust it.

36. I love how you can flow so effortlessly in the Spirit and minister to people.

37. I love how you truly love and appreciate others and their gifts.

38. I love how you love my friends and call them your girls.

39. I love how thankful you are for every little thing and every big thing.

40. I love the face you make when I talk about Anna taking my things….because, you know exactly what it feels like. (Sorry that I still take your things.)

41. I love how open you are to still grow in the things of God.

42. I love looking into your years ahead and already seeing how God is going to use you to minister to people so beautifully.

43. I love that you taught me how to hear His voice and to always trust it.

44. I love that you remind me of His faithfulness ALL of the time.

45. I love that you are content with so little yet do not fear dreaming big.

46. I love how you always taught me to love and accept all people no matter what they look like, what they believe, or how they live their life.

47. I love how you love Kris and appreciate him…..and, how, he too, can never do any wrong in your eyes. 🙂

48. I love how you will play the most random of games on your phone. Even though they are loud and ridiculous.

49. I love that you actually address “Siri” when you talk to her.

50. I love how you are my biggest fan.

51 I love how you have encouraged me every single day of my life.

52. I love that you have set such an amazing example of what motherhood looks like for me to imitate.

53. I love all of my memories with you, and how I can still remember what it felt like for my hand to be little inside of yours.

54. I love it that when I look at my own hands now, I see yours.

55. I love that you have been every person I’ve needed you to be….my mom, my friend, my husband, my sister….You have filled so many roles in my life when I’ve been without.

56. I love how much you loved your mom, and I love how you talk about her with so much affection. I know she is so proud of the woman she raised.

57. I love how much you loved your dad and how we can still laugh at the things he said and did.

58. I love how you light up a room when you walk in it. Not just because you are so beautiful, but because His love is so bright within you.

59. I love how you always bring peace into the most difficult of situations.

60. I love how you always bring gratitude into every single triumph.

Thank you for being the best mom and Nan. Thank you for being a living example of God’s grace, mercy, and love. I am so thankful that of all of the women in the world that could have been my mom, God chose you. I love you so very much.
Happy 60th Birthday, Mom. The best is yet to come.

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