That’s A Wrap, 2016!

AN INTENTIONAL LOOK BACK ON 2016 BY PASTOR TRACY DAUGHERTY


“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”

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As I close out 2016, I want to share a simple yet tried and true tip with The Daughters of TFH. This simple ritual started unintentionally but has become a very intentional habit and discipline I have put into practice for the last 20 years. I pray that it will help you wrap up 2016 with closure and intention.

Nearing the close of every year, customarily in the later parts of November, I start making an inventory of areas that need attention in order to help me finish the year well. Sounds serious, but our household is very organic—non-glamorous and pretty unstructured. This year, the conversation started with a long walk with Pastor Honey the day after Thanksgiving while in Palm Springs. I typically focus on two simple questions (just two so it’s not overwhelming but doable).

Here are the questions I ask:

  1. Do I owe anything but love? This question is taken from the Biblical text found in Romans 13:8.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NIV)

Typically, I ask myself that question in a prayerful posture and the Holy Spirit will quickly reveal areas that need some shoring up. Often my husband and I will compare notes, discuss and process what we are sensing is an “unpaid debt.” Checking in with a loved one helps prevent unnecessary guilt over the should-have-done parts of the year and helps bring clarity as well as accountability to any actual “debt” owed. I encourage you to involve a loved one or a friend to help provide outside perspective and reveal any blind spots.

This year we came into agreement rather quickly, jotting down a short list with a simple plan to take care of each item by the year’s end. If you are like me, it’s helpful to have practical examples. Here are a few from my list this year:

  • An unpaid debt to Hudson’s tutor. I had run out of checks and simply forgot to follow up.
  • An unpaid debt to my son Dawson who has patiently slept on a mattress on the floor for six months waiting for the promise of his new bed frame. Perhaps that debt was easily unpaid because of my son’s easygoing nature. Nevertheless, a plan was made to weather the crowds of the dreaded IKEA store to clear out the debt I owed.
  • A debt to a friend and her daughter on a well-intended invitation of time still not redeemed.
  • Unpaid debts to my immediate family. I find these go easily unpaid because I am secure in my love with them. Consequently, they don’t appear as loud or as pressing. This year, unpaid debts meant small things like finally buying an ink cartridge for my kid’s computer after months and months of excuses. It meant finally choosing to not ignore the picture frames at the top of the stairs waiting to express the tangible love of family through displays of my daughter’s beautiful wedding in May.

img_0209All of these things may seem like small and even insignificant debts, however, left unpaid and brought into a new year would weigh me down in my journey. I think it is prudent to travel light. I love the old Irish saying:

“Don’t look back unless you can smile; don’t look ahead unless you can dream.”

Clearing up clutter and paying debts provide me clarity and opportunity to walk into the New Year ready to dream. The second and most significant question is this:

  1. Am I at peace with everyone?

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18 (NIV)

IF POSSIBLE—that is the challenge. Unfinished relational business is a big deal! I highly encourage you to think and pray through this piece. Is there a conversation that you need to have? A phone call that needs to be made? Encouragement that needs to be given? Someone you need to forgive or something you need to ask forgiveness from?

This year, my list had a few of each of these. It required effort on my part, such as setting up meetings and having uncomfortable conversations that might have been easily misunderstood. Such acts required me to speak the truth, clarify my intentions and share from my heart. In one case, it required an apology for words I had spoken. Ladies, if we are looking for more freedom in this next year, obeying this verse is imperative. However, one thing to note in verse 18 is this: “as far as it depends on you.” This requires an honest assessment with yourself and God. There are times that a conversation or a resolution cannot be had because someone has passed away, moved away or for whatever reason is not accessible or willing. If that is the case, it will require a more creative peacemaking resolution. There have been situations through the years that I have had private ceremonies, activities and even pilgrimages that have helped me release situations or people. In participating in these kinds of endeavors, the unresolved is left in the lap of the One who can and will resolve all things. This release of power can be challenging and faith-stretching. However, it is as equally rewarding when you walk into the New Year free and unchained from burdens and bitterness, which can weigh down the soul. There is a saying that says this:

“Don’t look back you’re not going that way.”

Remember, these simple and humble efforts will keep you moving forward into the bright tomorrows God has for you. My encouragement for you this week is to take the time and ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Do I owe any debt except to love? Pay it, clear it up and wrap it up.
  1. As far as it depends on me, am I at peace with all men? Make the effort, do the awkward, be the humble and make the peace.

I love you fellow daughters and I am committed to walk out my tomorrows alongside each of you so we may all share greater freedom and greater joy in the New Year! Hip-hip hooray for 2017! New start, New day, New beginnings and New mercy for a New year.

That’s a wrap, 2016!

– Pastor Tracy


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

View More: http://photos.pass.us/daughertyfamily

Native to Southern California, Pastor Tracy Daugherty heard the Lord call her to full-time ministry at age 15. She and her husband, Pastor Dan Daugherty, met in 1991 and have partnered in ministry for over 20 years. Together, they have pastored in Olympia, Washington and Fairfield, California. They now shepherd The Father’s House Church which they planted in 2003 in San Marcos, California. Their family includes their daughter Drew and husband Ryan, their son Dawson and their son Hudson.

Dear Wife (Christmas Edition)

A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE HOLIDAY SEASON BY JOSH CLEMENTS


pic-4Dear Wife,

It is Christmas Eve and the carolers just left our doorstep. I write this letter while reclining in front of a crackling fire adorned with my winter robe as my feet are tucked into cozy slippers. My warm cup of Crock-Pot hot chocolate sits next to the list of families who will receive a 2016 Christmas card. A plate of chocolate crackles, toffee triangles, snickerdoodles, triple-fudge brownies and white-chocolate peppermint bark is ready for Santa. The lights on the freshly cut tree twinkle. A perfectly shaped bow sits atop the rectangle wrapped in metallic silver teetering on the mound of presents beneath it…

Ummmmmmm…NOT!!!

It is actually December 6th and we are in the midst of the “holiday season.” I put quotation marks around this phrase because for many like you, the holidays—Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve—are not holidays but merely days that you plan for. You create lists. You run to the store. You make sure that we will have exactly the same time with your family as we will with mine. You bake cookies. You verify that our Facebook friends aren’t using the same Costco background we are for our Christmas cards. You make sure that the candles you bought at Bath and Body Works and Yankee are lit, filling our home with “Vanilla Bean Noel” or “Sparkling Holiday.” One calendar notification after another pops up as we get closer to “the day.” Your head is spinning.

“MAYBE the Christmas cards will go out on time.”

“Where IS that gift receipt? He wanted the RED one!”

“I MIGHT be able to get my nails done before your parents arrive.”

“I COULD go to the store in order to have two different kinds of tortilla chips.”

“I COULD run to Major Market so we will have black AND green olives at a moment’s notice.”

“I COULD get to Toys R Us to take advantage of the buy one get one 40% off sale, but then dinner will be at 8…again! But…but…but…AGHHHHHHH!”pic-1

The aforementioned idyllic vision of a man in front of a fire relaxing at Christmas time has been ingrained in our heads as a metaphoric bar of which to reach. The narration above is closer to the reality of this season.

Take a deep breath. It’s ok. No, yes it is. Look at me: It. Is. Why shouldn’t you feel stressed? I’ll tell you why…

Carolers may or may not arrive at our front door. It doesn’t matter. Your voice whispering “wake up” in the morning warms my heart. Your voice happily humming and singing in the kitchen elevates my soul. Your voice laughing when the mood strikes puts a smile on my face. Your voice exclaiming “Merry Christmas” on December 25th fills me with joy. My wife, your voice gives me peace. It was God’s voice that told me to get down on one knee. Your voice is the one that fills me up.

Hot chocolate, coffee and cookies may or may not be made or baked this year. It doesn’t matter. Comfort to me is cuddling up with you on our couch or holding your hand as we stroll around our neighborhood.

Your hands on my neck for a quick massage say to me, “I’m here.” When you look me in the eyes and say, “I love you,” still makes me feel all giddy inside.

pic-2Presents may or may not get wrapped and placed under the tree in time. It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to pick out the perfect gifts. You don’t need to stress about the size of the shirt you’ve picked out. Your presence is what I desire—you by my side. You feel perfect in my arms. You are sweet, you are generous and you bring a light to my life. That is all. A long time ago God picked you out for me. A gift. For me. I feel blessed daily.

We may or may not send out a Christmas card on time—if at all. We may or may not end up at December Nights, a play, a musical or anything else that might “gear us up” for Christmas. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we plan time to cherish each other. Once the Christmas things become merely tasks to get done: stop. Yes, stop. Find me wherever I am and wrap me in a hug. If I’m at work, shoot me a text saying, “Hey Baby, Merry Christmas.” Then take a deep breath and think about what really matters. Us. Our family. Now.

Baby, this Christmas season, I want you to forget about the “idea of the holidays.” I want you to understand that you are enough: in our home, for our family and in this moment. We have an amazing life together and we will have an incredible Christmas. It will be incredible because you will be in it and we will be together.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

pic-3Josh recently celebrated his second year of marriage to his wife Hannah. Together they help raise Adam (14), Gracie (10) and Aidan (8). They will celebrate the one-year anniversary of rescuing Mary and Pippin (their two 11-pound puppies) in February. Josh has been a professional educator for 12 years and is currently working at San Marcos High School where he teaches 9th grade English and is the yearbook advisor. Josh and Hannah own the “little green house on the corner” in historic Escondido. Come on by!

Meet the Editors: Christmas Movies Edition!

Meet the women behind the Daughters Blog and discover their favorite Christmas films!

 

Heather Rogers

heatherFavorite Christmas movie: Elf

Favorite quote from the movie: “What’s a Christmasgram?! I want one!”

Why: So many great and quotable lines in that movie!

Meet Heather: I just joined the team as a final editor and poster of the blog. I am a wife to Shane, mom to Caleb and Hailey and pet caretaker to Coco (chocolate Lab), Snowball (bunny) and Flash (Tortoise).

 

Sonya Finley

sonya-fFavorite Christmas movie: Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (2010)

Favorite quote: “On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs, as if to say, well done. Well done, everyone. We’re halfway out of the dark.”

Why: I am a diehard sci-fi geek and total Doctor Who fan—have been since I was young and the series appeared on PBS. Every year they do a special Christmas episode. This one was a fantastic new take on an old classic, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens—complete with aliens, weird beasts and crazy characters you can’t help but love.

Meet Sonya: I’m a content editor—one of the minds behind the story ideas and potential writers.

 

Bethany Mavis

bethany-mFavorite Christmas movie: The Santa Clause

Favorite quote: “That’s exactly why you need a high-quality fire extinguisher right in the kitchen.”

Why: I grew up in the “Home Improvement” era and love Tim Allen’s humor. The Santa Clause came out during those years and it always makes me laugh out loud. (Also, my now-husband first said he loved me while we were watching it. Ha!)

Meet Bethany: I’m a mama of two girls, wifey and work full-time as a magazine editor. I’m one of the founding editors of the Daughters Blog and currently act as a copy editor.

 

Pastor Tracy Daugherty 

tracy-dFavorite Christmas movie: Holiday Inn

Favorite quote from the movie: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I use to know, where the tree tops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.”

Why: The set takes place in the countryside of Connecticut at the Holiday Inn and in New York City (Christmas Magic). The singing, dancing and cinematography are a feast for the senses. The old-school singing and dancing with Marjorie Reynolds, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire bring you into the Christmas season. The fashion and costumes are drool-worthy. The fur booties in the last scene Marjorie Reynolds (Linda Mason) wears are amazing and I am still looking high and low to find them! Watch it and enjoy an old classic.

Meet Pastor Tracy: The founder and chief editor of the Daughters Blog. I’m so nuts about the daughters of the House I needed to create a platform for their voices to be heard. I’m a proud mama of The House and love to brag on God’s girls.

 

Bethany Luchetta

bethany-lFavorite Christmas movie: Charlie Brown Christmas

Favorite quote from the movie: “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”

Why: Charlie Brown spends the entire movie searching for the perfect meaning to Christmas. He ends up lost and sad in the whole endeavor until Linus takes the stage to rehearse Scripture, word for word from Luke 2.

Meet Bethany: I am a content editor for the Daughters Blog—I basically help people bring their heart and intention into a cohesive piece of reading material. Looking for a ghostwriter? Here I am!

 

Julie Sagar

julie-sFavorite Christmas movie: White Christmas

Favorite quote from the movie: “Even guys with two left feet come out all right if the girl is sweet.”

Why: I could quote the whole movie, I love it so! White Christmas is full of Old Hollywood charm, singing and dancing. This particular line is a lyric of the song from one of the first big dance sequences by Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen and it sucks you right into wanting more—her dress, his hilarious charm and their moves—a winning combination!

Meet Julie: I’m one of the founding members of the Daughters Blog and have served as a blog poster—formatting and publishing the content we read. I am now passing the torch to Heather Rogers and Lisa Petersen. I work full-time as the director of communications at The Father’s House and I was married earlier this year to my charming husband, Andrew. I’m originally from Texas but having now been in San Diego for seven years, it’s starting to feel like home.

 

Hannah Clements 

hannah-cFavorite Christmas movie: The Grinch

Favorite quote from the movie: “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Why: It’s funny and heart warming. I love Dr. Seuss and it reminds me of good times with my mom, sister and niece.

Meet Hannah: I am a wife, stepmom and administrative assistant to the director of communications at Poway Unified School District. I’m happy to be a copy editor of the Daughters Blog.

 

Other editors: Angie Perry, Lisa Petersen, Jamie Humphrey


 

It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year…

With the kids often yelling and everyone telling you buy something here. It’s the most stressful time of the year. BY JAMIE HUMPHREY


pic-1Here we go again…the stress of the holidays. I feel like I need to close my eyes, brace myself and hold my breath until it’s all over. When did I become such a GRINCH?! Somewhere between becoming an adult, becoming a mom and losing my brother way too soon. I didn’t always feel overwhelmed during the holidays but the past few Christmas seasons have been more about keeping up with the “to-dos” than stopping to commemorate the night divine when Christ was born.

Growing up, my mom made Thanksgiving and Christmas magical. She would decorate, have wonderful crafts for us to make and invite friends over to celebrate with us. I would be giddy just thinking about the holiday season. I have loved Thanksgiving the best because not only it is all about family, friends and thankfulness; it is also the true signal that Christmas is close. I can remember Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving and Christmas after Christmas being filled with happiness and fond memories.

When I became a mom, I felt a shift of responsibility come on my shoulders. I was now the one that needed to create magic for my daughter. I think that is when I realized how much work and planning my mom had done to make things so special for our family. I was unprepared and caught off guard at the enormity of it all.

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Thankfully, Serenity was only eight months old for her first Christmas and my mom (of course) planned for our family to be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the Christmas week. It was a magical week in the snow with my immediate family, my husband and our baby’s first Christmas.

But the following Christmas was tainted with my beloved brother’s death just two months prior. I was three months pregnant with Justice and Serenity was 20 months old. I will never forget what happened. On Christmas Eve I realized the following day was Christmas and we did not have a single present for Serenity. I managed to get Christmas Eve pajamas for Serenity but that was it. How could I let that happen? I was caught in a fog of shock and grief. My brother had died, I found out I was pregnant unexpectedly and we were in escrow on our first home. I was being dragged through time without a chance to catch my breath. I sent Eli out late on Christmas Eve to find SOMETHING to wrap for Serenity. She really would not have noticed or known anything different if there were not any presents on Christmas Day. Oh, but I would know. I felt like a failure as a mom to be expecting another baby and I couldn’t even manage to get my current baby a Christmas present. I did not have the magic in me!

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Eli came home that night with a little cash register he found at CVS. It was the only store open. He also got me a present. He got me a mug and a Starbucks gift card. I was so grateful the next day that I had a present to open. As for Serenity…she LOVED that cash register. It made a dinging noise when you hit the “enter” button. She literally played with it for YEARS. Thank you, CVS for being there for parents in need. For real.

Why do I share this story? This is the point where holidays became traumatic. It became too much for me. The past five Christmas seasons have been tough. I have been sick for every one of them. Very sick. I feel the pressure to cook for Thanksgiving and have a grateful heart but, in reality, I ache missing my brother. It’s just not the same. I go through the motions and wait for the day to be over so normal days can come back with their soothing monotony.

Then the Christmas dash slams into me. Family portraits. They are overwhelming because I have to choose the right outfits, the perfect photographer, the exact location and the best pose. Then I have to order the cards, address the envelopes and send them all out by the right date. It’s exhausting, stressful and expensive! Why don’t I just stop sending them? Well, last year I did. But the guilt has lasted a year. Must. Send. Out. Christmas. Cards.

The parties. The gifts. Blowing our budget out of the water. What to buy for the kids’ teachers?! Do I give a gift to my hairdresser? Does that friend expect a gift? What if they buy me a gift and I don’t have one in return? I guess I should bake cookies. I guess I should let my kids decorate cookies for Santa.

Christmas decorations. Do I really have to decorate my mantle and set up a tree? Then I need to take it down and put everything away. We have Christmas parties to attend. Should I throw a party, too? Elf on the Shelf. New Christmas traditions that require more time, creativity and effort. In reality, all I want to do is sleep the season away.

For some people, getting together with family is stressful—especially within divorced families. It can cause a lot of anxiety and stress to equally split the time to accommodate more than one family. And the presents! So many people to buy for! And of course we all want to make sure we get each person the perfect gift.

pic-4There are some of us that are alone for the holidays. The loneliness feels like a wet blanket. It’s all encompassing and makes the heart sick. On normal days, the loneliness fades into the background and isn’t exaggerated like it is during the Christmas season. Even when watching TV, the shows and movies are all about family and friends finding love and cherishing time with each other. To desire a home filled with people and love when the reality is loneliness and solitude is beyond difficult. Please don’t be too worried about me. I am trying to prove a point that the holidays are not always happy and jolly times for some people. If you count down the days until Christmas with the joy of Will Ferrell in the movie Elf, you may feel like this blog is just one big “BAH HUMBUG” and you think I should stop spoiling the excitement for you. Yet, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season. Let’s all purpose in our hearts to offer extra grace to those who seem like they need it this holiday season. Keep your eyes open for those who need to feel the Father’s love in a new way. Keep your eyes open for the lonely that might need a family to spend the holidays with. I made some decisions that I tend to keep this holiday season.

I will commit to:

  1. Eat right: It’s so easy to binge on food and sugar. It’s okay to enjoy the holiday goodies but to throw a balanced diet out the window isn’t wise. I know I’m sensitive to sugar intake so I need to be intentional to stay healthy. And what a bummer to gain 10 pounds over the holidays. I’ve done that before and it’s a drag.
  1. Exercise: Usually the holiday hustle comes and exercising is the first thing to go by the wayside. I need to keep up with my routine to keep my body and mind strong. It is a great stress release and will help combat feeling blue. I can prioritize working out and the excuses can just be quiet.
  1. Plan ahead: I know that I need to get teacher gifts, send out presents to family in other states and get the kids’ gifts. I can make a list and start NOW! It’s not too late and never too early to start planning ahead. I’ve recently changed shopping for my kids to 5 simple gifts: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read and something to eat (added by my little boy who loves food). Since I already have this matrix I can hop on Amazon and get shopping done in one sitting. Also, my family chooses names for the adults and we buy one present for the person we draw. SO MUCH EASIER and financially savvy.
  1. Set realistic expectations: I’m already stressed just thinking about all I need to do for Christmas. I don’t think it is necessary for me to be super-hostess and plan a Christmas party at my house. I need to be okay that even though the thought is a good one, it’s just not realistic. Maybe I can throw a spring party when things are more manageable for me. Also, I need to be okay saying no to parties or events that would just be too much. I can trade a night of the kid’s taking pictures with Santa for a night at home with my little family watching It’s a Wonderful Life and drinking hot chocolate.
  1. Remember the REAL reason we celebrate: Ah, let’s leave it all at the feet of the TRUE reason for the season: Jesus. Oh but for the precious blood of Jesus. His birth that brought God in the form of a baby through a virgin named Mary. He is the Son of God. Salvation is born. Salvation has come. I want to rest in the awe and wonder of Christ.

If you love this season and thrive at all the holiday requirements, own it! You thrive, girl! I’m happy for you! But for those of you who struggle to keep up with the fast pace of the holiday season, I will leave you with this:

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Jamie Humphrey has been married to Eli for 9 years. Together they parent Serenity (7) and Justice (5). The most important things to Jamie are her faith in God and her family. When asked to describe herself in 3 words she replied: funny, emotional and passionate.