Tag Archives: parenting

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.

john world

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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Sixteen Candles

JH 16

You know from day one that this day will arrive. But, you never imagine how quickly it does. And, believe me moms of littles, time goes by as quickly as people tell you it will. It seems like yesterday that John Henry was a little 4 year old boy coming into my room every morning requesting “toast and syrup.” It seems like yesterday he was putting on his Bob the Builder tool belt ready to fix all the things. It seems like yesterday he was fighting Darth Vader down the hallway with his light saber. So many seasons have come and gone, and every single one feels like we were just living in it. And, as fun and wonderful as every season has been, nothing compares to the one we are in now. And, I have tears hitting my keyboard as I type this….because, I am so proud of the man John Henry is and how amazing the now moments are.

Dear John Henry,

There are no adequate words to tell of your kindness. You are the most aware human I know. You are aware of every person in a room, and you never fail to make sure the people around know they are noticed. You serve your school, your church, your friends, and your family. And, while we are all so proud and thankful for all you do, I am most proud and thankful for who you are. I would like to tell you not to focus on “doing” today, but I know that is pretty hard for you. But, like Pastor Will told you this summer, your word is “be.” You are all together enough and amazing simply by being you. You carry the presence of God everywhere you go, and we are always made better by it. And, because you carry it with such awareness, you have become it.

You get sixteen candles today. So, here are sixteen things I love about you:

1. I love how you say “Momma” when you just want to show me love. (And, when you want something.)

2. I love how you love your little sister and brother. I know there were times when they drove you crazy. But, you’ve become not only tolerant of the hard stuff siblings share, you’ve become an active participant in their lives, and you love spending time with them. John, you are the BEST big brother.

3. I love how you trust your Daddy Kris and will go to him first about anything going on in your life. I’ve become okay not knowing everything…..sort of….but, I’m so proud that you are so open to seek wise counsel. Walk with the wise and become wise. You get this.

4. I love how you love music and the energy and time you put into it. Your passion for playing music is so fun for me to watch and enjoy.

5. I love how sensitive you are to people and how carefully you walk in your relationships with them.

6. I love how you aren’t afraid to confront the hard stuff and have the hard conversations face to face. Real face to face conversations are a rarity these days, but you’ve taught yourself how important they are.

7. I love that you don’t feel the need to conform to other people’s expectations and are comfortable in your own lane. Stay in your lane. This is where you will always be happiest.

8. I love how you consider my friends your friends. Believe me, my friends consider you theirs.

9. I love your humor. I also love that you laugh at me. (You know this is very important. Ha.)

10. I love how you immediately step into the role of man of the house when dad is gone. You think to do things usually before even being asked. Sometimes, you over-parent, but that’s okay. Anna will remind you that you’re not her dad. But, seriously, I know your heart is to make sure everything and everyone is okay.

11. I love how you aren’t careless with your words. Because of this, when you speak, people listen.

12. I love how you constantly look for the good in others, and as a result, you always find it. Even when it may be hard for others to see, you know that everyone deserves to be defended. Thank you for teaching me that.

13. I love how you appreciate a good half-zip, pull-over sweater. It’s so fun to shop for you.

14. I love how you still love Marvel, and you don’t care who knows it.

15. I love how sensitive you are to the Spirit and honest you are with yourself and others. You are the most humble, real, honest person I know. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.….” (Psalm 139:23-24) John, THIS is the position you always take, and it blows us away.

16. I love that you are also my friend. My bud. I LOVE hanging out with you.

The best part of my life began September 24, 2002. Every day, every season gets better and better with you. Whoever said raising a teenager was hell doesn’t know John Henry Landreth. You make raising a teenager so much fun….so freaking amazing.

I love you, JH. Thank you for making me a mom. And, thank you for driving SO SAFELY AND CAUTIOUSLY AND FOR STILL LETTING ME DRIVE YOU PLACES SOMETIMES, BECAUSE, I’M GOING TO NEED TO SOMETIMES, AND BECAUSE I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS, YET I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND FOR ME AT THE SAME TIME. And thanks for getting it. And for getting me.

Text me when you arrive safely at every single place, but NOT WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING. K?

Happy 16th Birthday, bud. You make us all so very proud.

Love,
Mom

JH 16 3

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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.

jett jh

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.

IMG_6777

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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Don’t Kill the Wonder.

Wonder

I receive these texts every morning with some sort of positive affirmation or healthy advice for the day. Today, the text read, “Unapologetically seek bliss today.” The text link led me to an article called “‘Ikagai’ is Japan’s Secret to Living a Long, Happy Life.” The author writes that ikagai is “the happiness of always being busy, but it doesn’t mean a schedule packed with mindless errands and activities. Rather, the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning, makes you want to work hard, and colors your life with purpose.” She further writes, “When you follow through on things you enjoy and limit the things you don’t, you’re taking steps towards pursuing what’s important to you.” (Anna Meyer)

This came at such a perfect time as my dad and I were discussing yesterday how so many lose their wonder in life. The truth is, we kill it. Or someone else kills it for us. We kill it in our children completely unaware that we are doing it. When we seek after the things that fill us with joy, we inspire that wonder. When we stop, so does the wonder.

We tell our kids things like, “You can’t always get what you want.” We tell them, “Life isn’t always one big party.” I’ve done it. I’m sure you have. I know our hearts behind it aren’t wrong. We think we are teaching them responsibility. And, that lesson is important. We think we are teaching them to be realistic with their wants and goals. Now, THAT lesson isn’t so much. We think if our little ones want too many things, then they aren’t thankful for what they already have. So, we squelch or diminish the importance or value in them wanting something. We kill their wonder.

It’s not that we never use the word “no.” It IS that we become facilitators, teaching them how to create their world. Teaching them that life IS meant to be full of wonder. Teaching them it’s okay to seek happiness. A couple of years ago I read a book by Shefali Tsabary called “Out of Control.” She is also the author of the “The Conscious Parent,” which may be more familiar to you. One chapter was titled, “How to Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No” Effectively.” My conversation with dad prompted me to pull this book back off the shelf. I’m glad I did. I began reading again about how we kill their wonder when we don’t value what they desire. Tsabary writes that we “deliver messages such as, ‘You are being so greedy, you should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t you know that money doesn’t grow on trees? You seem to think we are made of money.’ Shaming our children for their honest desires in this way, we dishonor their feelings. A practical matter has become a personal issue, with the parent feeling frustrated and the child rejected. Our children have every right to want things – this is normal and healthy. It indicates they have a connection to their lives.”

You see our purpose isn’t to run out and buy those things for them. I’m not arguing you can’t. Sometimes, the joy of parenting is saying, “Yes. Let’s go get this.” BUT, the beauty for us as parents is to facilitate their dreams. To teach them to have goals. To help them create ways to work for these things and attain them. To let them know that we are for them and will partner with them. “Our children learn they are active co-creators in their universe, able to actualize their dreams through action. Such children grow up to make good decisions in life.”

I dare say, such children grow up to never lose their wonder for life. Because, we as parents have taught them what it means to truly be created in God’s image – Elohim – creators. Creators are always inspired. And, that inspiration always comes from wonder. So, everyday, they get up and unapologetically seek bliss by actively fulfilling their life’s purpose.

Finally, I would say that this is not selfish. It sounds self-fulfilling. Partially, it is. But, as each one fulfills his or her purpose, the rest of the world benefits. We all gain from each other’s gifts. Am I trying to create a world filled with magic and love and peace and hope and bliss? Am I THAT crazy to think it’s possible? You better believe I am. Now, YOU. Go seek bliss today.

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A New Journey.

Me Jh

John Henry Landreth. How is it possible to love you more with every passing year? How is it possible you embark on a new journey with this birthday? DRIVING. BECAUSE, YOU’RE 15 YEARS OLD. FIFTEEN. DEAR JESUS, HOW? I promise not to be a control freak in the passenger seat making sounds and freaking out over tires touching a line or anything like that. I lie. You and I both know I will. You will get irritated with me over-stating concerns, and you’ll tell dad. Dad will talk to me about it. I will try to do better. You will forgive me. We will get in the car again, and I will be a good mom filled with the spirit and self-control.

Truth is….you know me better than I know myself sometimes. And, although my belaboring of points can drive you crazy, you always forgive, overlook, and still choose to love me and enjoy time with me. This is one of the most remarkable things about you, John Henry. You have the most amazing tolerance and acceptance of everyone’s quirks. You always choose to find the good in everything and everyone. You are truly one of the most positive people I know, and I get to you call you my son and my friend.

I want you to know that your Daddy Kris and I have frequent conversations about you. I will say things like, “It blows my mind how amazing John Henry is.” Your dad has told me, “I don’t know what I did to deserve the goodness that flows out of John Henry.” When you play guitar and worship, you blow us away. Your talent and skill is incredible. But, it’s your heart of worship that just astounds me. Because, at the very core of your heart of worship is the most grateful, thankful heart I’ve ever known.

JH worship

Being your mom is one my greatest gifts. But, being your friend is music to my soul. It is the richness in the day to day of my life. And, it is FUN. I enjoy your company so freaking much. I love it that I don’t embarrass you. But, if I’m dancing, you start dancing with me. When I sing the wrong lyrics, you shake your head and laugh. And, I love it that you call me mom most of the time….but when you want something, you call me, “Momma.” Hey, it works for you. I can’t blame you.

You are your sister’s protector. I have loved watching the two of you become closer, share the stage in worship together, and work out your issues together. You are also your little brother’s protector and his buddy. Thank you for taking the time out of your days to play with him. He wants to be just like you. Thank you for setting such an amazing for example for him.

JH siblings

I remember not being able to imagine my little blonde haired, blue-eyed boy growing up. What would I do without him being so small and snuggling next to his mom? What would I do without his small, tender arms always willing to love on his little sister?

JH young

Now, I know. I would get to watch you appreciate and enjoy things like Ga-Ga’s and Noodles’ friendship.

JH noodles dad

I would get to watch you partake in the goodness around the table and add beauty to our conversations. I would get to watch you pray over young people in your youth group. I would get to watch you notice a need and go meet it. I would get to watch you become so aware of every person in the room. I would get to watch you love even deeper. I would get to enjoy concerts with you that I would’ve never purposed to enjoy. And, I would get to become your friend. I am so excited for what else I get to watch you do and become. There is so much more ahead of you, John Henry. So much good. But, right now, I’m just happy to be in this moment with you. Enjoying every second of who you are. Because, who you are is a wonderful, kind, and fun young man who loves with intention and purpose. You are ALL of the good.

I love you more than words.

Happy Birthday 15th Birthday, JH.

Love,
Mom.

 

 

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Reset.

calm

“Remember. You show our children how to respond to stressful and difficult moments by how you respond to those moments.”

This was the reminder Kris gave me over the phone last night. You know, sometimes, when our husbands are right, we kind of want to roll our eyes or maybe throw a pie in their face. I jest a little. But, I couldn’t do either last night. I told him I recognized that my response was not good, and that I had allowed myself to get overwhelmed and would work through my stuff. He told me recognizing I was not in a good place did not make that place right. Again, he was right. So, I had to make myself right. And, I needed to do it right away. Not the next morning when all of the mercies are new. But, I needed to adjust then. In THAT moment.

It’s hard. We can work ourselves up faster than Clark Kent can turn into Super-Man. Then, we implode. Because, negativity is designed to do just that…..implode. We have to stop feeding it and giving energy to it. “When we hang up, reset your emotions, and go make it right,” he told me with the most tender of tones.

I didn’t have to wait for a sunrise to make that moment of spiraling emotions right. I just had to push the reset button. I didn’t feel like doing it, because staying in my overwhelmed emotions seemed easier. They validated me. They allowed me to justify my responses to stress. But, they didn’t produce anything good.

They didn’t model mercy or compassion.

They didn’t model the scripture, “be anxious for nothing…”

They didn’t model how to respond when life gets hard.

They didn’t model light.

They didn’t heal anything or anyone.

We can’t always calm the storm around us, but we can ALWAYS calm the storm WITHIN us.

And, that’s exactly what I did. I spoke to the storm within me, and said, “Peace be still.” I called my children together and asked forgiveness and spoke peace to them. In the very moment of my overwhelmed emotions, I reset and made it right.

You, too, always have the option to reset. No matter how powerful those negative emotions become….the God within you is greater. It is simply choosing to acknowledge who you really are and tapping into the peace that is already within you. Because, you have everything you need already inside of you. Everything.

You lack nothing.

Today, I choose to create my calm. I choose to model it. I choose to be the light in the dark and the calm in the storm. I choose to reset.

What do you choose today?

Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like shepherd. – Rumi

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