A Story of Overcoming

Putting One Foot In Front of the Other A Story of Overcoming | By Sonya Finley

So there I was again, all decked out in my walker’s finest gear. Braids up in a pony, sun visor on to protect my face, moisture wicking jacket and top, cute little running capris with cut outs on the sides (you couldn’t really see them because of the compression socks I had to wear to keep my shins from splinting into a thousand bits of pain), and the cool Nike running shoes my youngest so graciously purchased for his momma. Oh and do not forget the waist pouch that dutifully carried my bottle of water (complete with a hydration tablet) and the, oh so yummy, energy giving snacks. Yup, there I was again, at the base of a “hill” (Double Peak, San Marcos, Ca. 2.1 miles straight up) about to embark upon yet another physically challenging endeavor, all because someone told me I could do it. Really?!

SF Running 2018In the past two years I have begun a physical fitness journey that, I promise you, I could not have foreseen myself doing. I am not and have never considered myself an athlete and in fact, I have adamantly denied any athletic tendency whatsoever. So the idea that I would be participating in 5K’s, 10K’s, Half Marathon Relays, Half Marathons and even a brief 17 day “run a mile a day” streak, is in a word, SHOCKING . . . but apparently only to me.

When I started; I was just looking for a way to get healthy. Having been blessed with a lovely (not really) hypo-thyroid condition losing weight is extremely difficult so that was not really the goal. Finding myself of a certain age, I realized the need to “move it or lose it” and so I began walking. Of course, my big sis, the quintessential greatness coach and a person who can make you believe you can do almost anything (try her), would not, could not, leave me there. She decided I needed a “goal” to keep me consistent.  First goal, prepare for and complete a 5K (3 miles).  I rose to the challenge and did my first 5K (it was not pretty), but I did it and oddly enough, I did not stop there.  Fast forward to about 2 years later and I find myself training for my second half marathon scheduled in June!

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I will not tell you that I love it or that I even like it. In fact, there are times during these races where I “hate” my sister with a passion for talking me into whatever event I have the “misfortune” of participating in. You see, I am a walker, not a runner, and an extremely slow walker at that. When I do these things, old people pass me by. Kids pass me by. People with crutches and walking sticks pass me by.  And it does not matter where in the wave I start, I always end up near the last when I finish. My pride takes a beating. My ego becomes non-existent. I feel so awkward. It would be so easy to quit. And really, who would blame me? Would you?

Temecula Run 2016But something happens on those 3, 6, and 13.1 mile stretches when everyone has passed me by and it is just me, walking, slowly but surely putting one foot in front of the other. I remind myself of who I am. How strong I am. How I can, in fact, do this. I remind myself that there have been times in my life that were much harder than just trying to make it to the finish line of a grueling course. I remember the times in my life when I truly felt I had been left behind and was making the journey alone.  I remind myself of how I overcame those struggles simply by putting one foot in front of the other–taking it step by step, day by day, head down, pressing forward, trusting God until miraculously I reached the end.

On the occasions that I looked up, I check out the folks running past me. I then remind myself that everyone running the race has their own challenges to overcome. Oftentimes the struggles are intensely personal and have nothing to do with competing with the person running next to them. The goal is to simply make it to the end–to be victorious, to overcome. To walk (or hobble) away with the pride that comes from completing the race on your feet. Understanding this keeps me from making senseless comparisons and helps me stay focused on my goal to keep moving forward, never quitting, no matter how my body protests the abuse. LOL!

Hot choco 2016To date, I have never quit. I have finished every race I have challenged myself with. And believe me, every race is a challenge to finish.  And while I never come first (or even close to it), in the end, it does not matter where in the line I finish, just as long as I finish. Every finisher receives the same medal whether they crossed the line first or came in long after the event sponsors have packed up and left.

SonyaSo yes, there I was again, at the foot of the mountain, not really understanding why I was there, geared up, but not quite ready to go, and yet…slowly but surely, putting one foot in front of the other, I made it up that mountain. Dead last, but I celebrated the win right along with everyone else.


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Sonya A. Finley has been living the single life for 24 years. In that time she has raised four awesome young men (James – 26, Kevin – 23, Joshua and Johnathan – 18), graduated from college with a BFA, and began a huge step in her professional career. She is on the verge of a new season in her single life that now focuses on a journey not centered around child-rearing. She has made many mis-steps, learned quite a few bits of wisdom along the way and is happy to share with women who find themselves in the same place.

On Your Mark! Set! Go! — Getting Ready for the New Year

On Your Mark! Set! Go! — Getting Ready for the New Year| By: Gwen Thibeaux

On the eve of a new year, people all over the world start reflecting on the year gone by, reflecting on all the things they wanted to accomplish or do. With great conviction, people proclaim:

New Year, New Beginnings!

New Year, New Me!

This is MY year!

Starting January, I’m going to… [fill in the blank]

We’ve all heard these sayings. We may have said a few of them ourselves. They sound great. People mean it when they say it, but what happens next?

The beginning of a new year always brings a certain euphoria and expectation. People who have felt they had a good year look forward to making even more strides in the new year, taking things up another level. While people who have felt the year was incredibly disappointing, look forward to another opportunity to achieve the goals they set for the previous year.  For the latter group, there is the potential to repeat this cycle, year after year.

Why? Because many people will defeat themselves before they even get started pursuing their goals. They will use excuses for not acting. Excuses are nothing more than invented reasons to defend a behavior pattern—inaction.

“Don’t give in to excuses that can keep you from really living the best life God has for you.”
– Joyce Meyer

Excuses are the biggest, most crippling element that prevents people from reaching their full potential, recognizing skills, talents and opportunities. When we give in to excuses, we set ourselves up for failure.

At the core of every excuse lies:

  • A perceived lack of confidence or resources
  • Lack of inspiration to take the time needed
  • Fear of failure, success or change
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Fear of embarrassment

Notice what is dominating? Yes, fear! Fear is the main culprit that keeps people from moving forward.

But as Christians, we know that God has not given us the spirit of fear. He has given us power. Power to do what? Power to overcome our excuses. Power to overcome our lack of follow through. Power to achieve our aspirations. When fear presents itself, we have the power to move past the fear, to take action despite being afraid. Don’t allow fear to dictate the direction of your future.

How do we break the cycle of inactivity? How do we move forward to a better new year, to achieving our goals?

Goal setting and achievement must be methodical, strategic even. Things do not happen by chance. We must very intentional. We must be committed to the work required.  And we must be determined to keep moving forward despite circumstances or challenges.

Sounds easy, right? For some, maybe. For others, this may take a little more forethought.

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I believe there are five key principles that people need to create a process for success, a process for achieving meaningful goals:

  • Mindset – You must have a made-up mind. You must be clear and specific about what you want. Every waking moment, you must have your head in the game. Start each day in a manner that sets the tone for a productive day.
  • Intention – This is the purpose or goal for the day. What will your focus be? What do you need or want to do today? What actions will you take?
  • Accountability – Do not underestimate the power of accountability. When you have someone in your corner, serving as the voice of greatness, reminding and encouraging you to stay on your course, you gain more momentum than if you go the distance alone. You can have the support of a trusted friend that will be your cheering squad yet hold you to task when you feel like giving up. Decide how you will implement accountability into your days.
  • Consistency – Without consistency, you will not see progress. How much time will you spend on your intentions? What is the frequency of your inspired actions? It may be helpful to even allocate how much time you spend on each intention.
  • Balance – Part of the overwhelm and frustration that people get trapped in comes from the lack of a healthy balance. Finding balance can be as simple as choosing to achieve something and enjoy something each day. Balance is also about knowing what

Using these principles–on a day to day basis makes the goal-achieving process more manageable. You can achieve all that you desire when you create and maintain momentum that will keep you moving forward without fail.

Make this the year that you set your mark. When I think about setting my mark, I think about how a track star is at the starting line. The runner hasn’t gotten into the starting block yet. He or she is stretching and warming up. The runner knows what is required. Training and preparation have been completed. All the runner must do is start the race.

Setting your mark by conditioning your mind, body and spirit for the journey ahead; develop your own rhythm and pace so that you can build endurance; visualize your end results with expectation; and position yourself for inspired action.

Well, are you ready for the New Year?
On your mark! Get set! Go!


Bio Phoot

Daughters Blog is proud to hear from our new guest writer, Gwen Thibeaux. Gwen, M.A., is a Life Empowerment Strategist and Trainer, and author of the book, “Embracing the Greatness Within: A Journey of Purpose and Passion.”Affectionately called “the Greatness Accountability Coach,” Gwen inspires people who want to do more, be more and live more in their space of greatness; to move from idea to action with greater momentum. Gwen is a two-time marathoner and a serial half marathoner. Gwen resides in Southern California with her husband and two teenagers.

Keep Out: Skeletons in my Closet

Keep Out: Skeletons in my Closet| By Bethany Luchetta

For some reason, I decided to check the details of my cell phone bill online when the monthly statement hit my inbox. I don’t know why… I must have been bored. I sat at my desk, and opened the pages of endless phone calls and text messages. It was July of 2012 and my husband and I just had our beloved wedding vow renewal at our Carlsbad house on the beach. And although it was a time filled with love, family and friends, it was tough because my ex-husband had just passed away 4 weeks prior. I admit now, I was in a deep dark place. As I skimmed the bill, I noticed a certain number over and over and over… what is this? Dates, hours, minutes, messages sent and received. My heart dropped into my stomach, my stomach turned, and then I started to lose my vision. I was headed into a panic-attack of a life-time. I grabbed my cell phone and excused myself from work and headed out the back door, sat on a curb and called a friend as I hyper-ventilated. I couldn’t get all the words out. She had flown in just days prior to stand by me for my vow renewal. She rambled off questions as I tried to get words out; should I send help? Where are you? Are you okay? I don’t honestly know what I was saying, but I can tell you exactly where I was, and exactly what I was feeling.

Hours, and days later it would unravel that my husband was having an emotional affair with a girl on the road. Not just any girl, but the backup singer for Kid Rock. That sounds weird, right?! Not so weird. Vince worked as a monitor Engineer for Kid Rock. In fact, he had just worked up to this illustrious position over the last four years of hard work. Vince happened to be visiting his parents while he was ‘on the road’ when I called him. So, it became evident to his family there was an issue, and to Vince’s credit, he confessed his sins to his mom and dad immediately when the news hit the fan. Along with the revelation of the relationship also came news of his dependence on alcohol. My head was spinning. I just lost my ex-husband, and now I was losing my current one. I was too broken to wall up, so instead I fell apart.

For those of you who know me, and don’t know this story, it may answer some questions as to why I started my journey into soul healing and growth. I didn’t walk, I ran to my pastors. Tracy was so heartfelt in not rescuing me from my pain. I recount sitting on the couch at California Coffee house, her handing me ear buds and the song, “Come to Me” by Jenn Johnson. I sat with my eyes shut and crocodile tears ran down my face. I still hold to the lyrics, “You are my anchor in the wind and the waves.” I had to make a decision. Was I going to jump ship, or find out the cause of my symptoms. What was under my sickness? I knew I had to get real with Vince. What were his intentions? Did he want to grow? Or leave? Were we over? NO matter the answers, I knew I had to find healing for myself.

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Vince vowed to get help, get healthy, quit touring, allow me to join a conference call with the back-up singer when he, ‘called it all off’, and surround himself with several men who wanted to walk the journey with him. He agreed to meet with Pastor Dan and also agreed to start counseling. He agreed that our journeys were separate. He needed to heal from the demise of his divorce and the pain he was stuffing, and I needed to do the same with my divorce and subsequent death of someone I loved deeply. I had to let him go, he had to let me go, and we had to hold onto the goal of health individually, for health corporately.

There are tons of more stories about this journey and its undertaking. The costs; financially, emotionally, mentally; dying to pride and fear. The choice to keep community and God close. The choice not to worry about changing ‘the other person’ but owning ‘our own stuff’. There are sacrifices to be made. There are things you have to give up. There are relationships that have to die, and others that need to be made. There are new rules for engagement. I have been telling a lot of my friends lately this fact: Vince and I hit a huge heartbreaking hurdle over five years ago, but our marriage didn’t get better with one year of counseling. It didn’t get better with hanging out together more. It didn’t get better trying to ‘do’ better, or trying to ‘stop’ doing bad. It didn’t even get better with all these things. It got better with intention, lot and lots of time (years), accountability to be vulnerable and dive into our pain for answers. It got better with staying in tune with our community and allowing safe people to see our flaws in order to help us grow. It got better with Faith. It got better with choosing to take the information provided and apply it to our own heart and soul. To let go takes Love.

IMG_2727I want to express how much our journey was ‘worth it’. We are still in our journey and are just now starting to experience healthy dialog in our relationship. We are just now starting to understand what it means to love – not for how we make each other feel or what we do for each other, but for who we are. We are just now embarking on a journey to learn intimacy and go to a new level within our love that we have never experienced before. Just now. If you’re reading this, don’t lose heart. Your soul is worth it, your family is worth it. You are worth it.

 

*Small word of clarity. If you are in a physical, sexually, or emotionally abusive relationship, please seek professional guidance for repairing your relationship. Everyone deserves to be respected and honored, you are valuable!


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Bethany Luchetta is a writer of life and reality. In hopes to connect with the humanity around her, she writes from her heart. Bethany just celebrated 7 years of marriage with her love, Vince Luchetta. They are both on their second marriage. Life has not been without challenge in their personal lives and career lives, yet they strive for growth in love and tragedy. They share three beautiful daughters, Makayla (17), Paige (13), and Livvy Lou (3). If you see them, reach out and say hi!

2018 – A Word from Pastor Tracy

Goodbye 2017 | by Pastor Tracy Daughtery

Hello New Year, New Chapter, New Possibilities, New Direction, New Season! 

A New Season is a merciful gift to humanity from the heart of our creator. God is outside time and space and doesn’t need seasons, yet He has graciously set up these markers to help us turn the page, provide us with a blank canvas, giving us an opportunity for a fresh start!

Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Genesis 1:14

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Remember Maria Robinson said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Because of this, I am grateful for the close out the year!

As I reflect of 2017 I wanted to share a picture God gave me to help end strong and start new. I hope it will encourage you.

The Picture –  I was carrying a backpack (you know I love to hike). In my pack were many rocks I had collected from my year’s journey –varying sizes, and values. Some of the rocks were beautifully polished rocks representing amazing victories and memories I had collected. Other rocks were heavy, dirty and represented difficulty and disappointments from the year. Most of the weight in my pack came from many small pebbles I had unintentionally swooped up, a little at a time, throughout the year attempting to be helpful and responsible. As I came to the close of the year and started planning to collect new provisions for my next journey, I became concerned because my backpack was already very heavy. I reflected on how I could move forward with my shoulders weighted and my bag full. This quote came to mind, “the beautiful journey of today can only begin wen we learn to let go of yesterday.”

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The Practical – In response to the visual, symbolic picture I wanted to get practical. My husband and I made a decision to build a rock memorial to offload the “weight” in a year-end exchange with God. My life had become filled with the miraculous and fabulous, exciting and victorious, daunting and treacherous, trivial and small. It was time to both celebrate, commemorate and cast all of the years happening on the Lord.

On an ordinary day just a few weeks ago we gathered rocks and built our memorial.

So, Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a memorial.  Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound.” Genesis 31:45-46 

IMG_4407I choose a location that I frequented at least 3 times a week as I walk my dog. Spending a good hour, we placed the stones in a pile praying over each one representing the good bad and ugly of 2017. At the conclusion of this exercise I felt light and free ready to fill my life with new direction and provision for 2018.  Each time I walk past the memorial I remember the goodness of God and choose to forget what I need to leave behind from 2017 – ALL!

I’m so glad Dear Fellow Daughter of the King that we’re all beginning this new season together.  Let’s travel light and go to where we have never been before!

 

Moving Forward, Pastor Tracy

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