Love & Tragedy

Love & Tragedy | by Bethany Luchetta

My heart starts to race. I am angry. I let it linger, fester, grow into outright rage. We are human; all susceptible to whims of fleeting emotions. But, where is my trust during tragedy? Do I fire-off political unrest, race induced beliefs, religious anger, conspiracy theories, or lobbyist topics? Where do I put my energy? How can I bring my elevated heart rate back down to a trusting place and learn from what I am feeling? How can I learn about myself from my own thought patterns and feelings? After all, they are my own. I stop to consider this, but I come to the conclusion that it’s easier to banter about someone else’s thoughts and feelings and actions and words, than consider my own. So, I fire off a social media post attempting to relieve myself of my own fear on a public platform hoping for validation. I achieve momentary satisfaction from people who agree with me, but am again quickly angered by those who do not agree. The cycle is addicting because it takes me away from the issue; my own heart.

We are only responsible for our own elevated heart rate that could indicate fear, insecurity or anger in the recesses of our heart and mind. Once we feel this elevated emotion ignite, it gives us the ability to locate where we confide our trust. We can change the world one heart at a time if we begin inside our chest.

170907-st-martin-irma-mn-1140_16097ca5c5bf8814cb38d752367c5636.nbcnews-fp-1240-520Grieving people may take offense to this topic being submitted in the twilight of their loss. I am not writing to hurt anyone, but to offer peace. It takes my breath away in deep sorrow for the three people I know who lost someone last week at the hand of evil. There are people grieving today from the loss of their homes from fires, and still others in dire straights from recent disasters. Every person has a different vantage point. People are passion inspired from original stories of their own. It’s helpful to stop and listen; to build relationships while we are here, where you can. You love me and we bond over our similarities, but we can disagree and yet respect our differences. It’s respect of differences that makes us the same.

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We thank God for the ones who were spared
from fire, flood, and gunshot. We thank God when we are spared. And we should be thankful. I struggle with thinking someone was spared only because they had Faith in God. Many who have faith in God are not spared. The Bible speaks loudly to the fact that those who believe are still exposed. So, yes, be thankful for being spared, and for those spared around you. But we already know those who believe will fall along with those who do not believe. Destruction and death leaves us grieving. It hurts, I am not denying that. It seems so cliché to quote the Bible when people are hurting.

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So, we blame God for those who are not spared
. Have you ever been in a relationship where you were forced to love the other person? Sounds toxic and suffocating, doesn’t it? Not much of a relationship if you ask me. Well, if you believe in God, aren’t you glad you aren’t forced to engage, or agree, with Him? From what was etched about the philosophy of God, we are created to act in ‘Free Will’. A ‘Will’ to believe in Him, or not to believe. We have a capacity for good or evil; for thinking. Case-in-point; people choosing to be evil. We are capable of great and wonderful feats of amazement! Just look into the eyes of your child (if you have one), the proof is right in front of you. It may be too much and you decide there is no God. If you don’t believe in God, you may also be glad no one can force you to believe otherwise. At any rate, you may agree that life is precious. We want to point blame when tragedy happens. History is full of sorrowful, sensual, thoughtful and profound acts created by ‘humankind’, and nature alike. The question may forever be asked, ‘why’? This question may never be answered, or then again, the answer may resonate inside of you. The God I know begs you to ask this question, if not to tear down walls and become vulnerable, maybe to find His heart in an answer to your own soul.

vessels-ministry-the-heart-of-god-lightSo, if God is real, then who serves a God who made a human race capable of horrid things? How can nature destroy senselessly? This is a deep conversation; possibly the one that divides faith, religions and belief systems so severely. Who am I to argue with your conviction? I can only tell you what I believe, you may shake your fist indicating, ‘she’s an ignorant believer’. I am a believer. I am a believer in a God who made my Universe; the Divine. I am not a believer in religion, or church, or a denomination. I am a believer in Love. I believe I was made to love. I believe this little light of mine was made to shine. I believe in a God who loves bigger than I can ever express and who granted us faith to trust that His eternal plan is greater than the temporary physical life we sensationalize (literally experiencing with just our 5 senses). I believe that believers die too; sometimes horrid deaths. God is not here to be a magic potion for our human problems. We can’t pray away the Earth’s pangs. We all are subject to physical decay and death, accidents, misuse, abuse, bad choices and so on. I believe when we trust God, we are able to have a solid knowing that life is eternal. We are here to grow with each other, to experience relationship with other humans; to grow our forever spirit. I believe that when evil takes lives, life doesn’t cease to exist. I believe we are far more than physical beings, we are spirits beings. I believe spirits live forever… And in this truth, I hold my hope and trust.

In moments of heighten emotions during tragedies take note of your own heart, breathe and refocus to the most important thing: souls. Take the time to locate your pain, offer compassion to yourself and others. And most importantly, remember that LOVE is still greater.


IMG_2727Bethany Luchetta is a writer of life and love and tragedy. 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!

My Messy Life – I Wrote My Own Eulogy

My Messy Life – I Wrote My Own Eulogy | By Jamie Humphrey

I received an email from one of our close friends:

Jamie, Eli – I wanted to share this with you.  One of the group exercises yesterday for these 9 entrepreneurs (whom we are getting to know each other very well) was to write your own obituary or eulogy. We only had 8 minutes. So off the cuff, from the heart, etc.

 Not one person (all whom are in the grind of business growth and have the appearance of wild success) wrote about their business. Or long days at the office. Or winning that big deal.

 Faith. Legacy. Impact. Others. Perspective! What matters!  A reflection and exercise that has left a strong impression on me; likely to lead to some corrective measures.

 I appreciate you guys! Much love.

 

I thought I would try this exercise. I took about 15 minutes and went to work writing my own eulogy. Here is the result:

Jamie Beth Humphrey. Born on April 17th, 1981 which happened to be Good Friday that year. Her dad told her growing up that her hand entered the world first. She couldn’t wait to wave to everyone. It wasn’t enough for Jamie that her eyes would see everyone. She wanted them to know she saw them. Her childhood was simple and uncomplicated. Quiet, shy and sweet she had no problem playing for hours with baby dolls and her play tea set. She did not require much attention yet her blue eyes didn’t miss much including the emotions and moods of people around her. They say the quiet ones are the most observant. Jamie learned to read people and feel empathy for them. This helped her to connect quickly with anyone she came in contact with.

Quirky, funny and highly emotional Jamie felt every emotion there is to feel…daily. She lived her life in 2 settings: passionate and asleep. If she had a lack of sleep life became overwhelming. Sleep was the respite her soul needed to stop feeling all the emotions of the world around her.

Jamie loved her God with her whole heart. The realness of her relationship with God and his son Jesus was at the center of who she was. Religion was of no interest to Jamie. The rituals and requirements of modern Christianity did nothing for her passion. A communion with a sovereign God who was the creator of all was her desire. Her God defined love.

14370245_10154182734987655_2442852081781507332_nJamie loved one man, Eli. Meeting him was the beginning and the end. All at once her heart was awakened, stolen and completed forever. Her love for Eli was fierce and filled with fiery emotion and passion. If they weren’t loving they were fighting. The intensity of their passion never waned. She loved once. She loved with her mind, body and spirit. Her soul mate was Eli.

Jamie mothered Serenity Grace and Justice Michael. Serenity changed Jamie’s life for good and for certain. Nothing prepared her for motherhood. It was overwhelming and unbearable at times. For someone who felt every emotion and lived life so awake she 10399545_66467843176_5945_nwas caught off guard at the magnitude of what it meant to be a mom. This angel baby in her perfection was handed to a mere human who hadn’t the slightest clue how to even diaper the baby. Eli gave Jamie the most profound mothering advice she ever received. He told her one day as she cried hot floods of post partum tears, “Just smile at her, Jamie. You want her to remember your face with a smile on it…” so she smiled. She failed and she succeeded as a mom but the important thing is she tried. Her kids will never say she was a perfect mom. She had flaws and insecurities but they will say without hesitation that she loved them with her whole heart. Justice came when Jamie needed him most. On the day of Luke’s funeral, who was Jamie’s brother, She learned she was expecting a baby. When Jamie heard it was a boy her tears streamed down her face with equal fear and relief. Justice brought a joy and reassured the entire family’s hearts that it is always better to love even if the love is lost.

Jamie could list the many people that influenced her life. Her friends were loyal. Her friends were plenty. Jamie’s definition of a friend is someone she knew and shared a 14589710_1089051754544281_8155046629113959811_omutual bond of affection with. She didn’t hold any relationships too tight with demands and expectations on people’s time or attention. Life has a way of switching directions and paths cross for a reason. Jamie valued the people in her life and allowed for her time spent to ebb and flow with the seasons. That being said her friends weren’t replaceable. There are sayings like, “whether it is for forever or a season God brings people into your life for a reason…” She treated relationships as part of God’s plan for her life. Relationships were her daily motivation and drive.

Now with Jamie’s life on earth completed there are not lists of accomplishments that will reach Wikipedia. You won’t see her picture or read about her life in history books. But to those who knew her they will remember that they were seen.

17990543_10154551125623177_8776287840360486254_oShe lived, she laughed, she loved and she left.

Now it is your turn. Write your eulogy. It can refocus your attention on what really matters and what you want to be remembered for. A lot of this life is just noise. Let us all look with hope to eternity.


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Jamie Humphrey aka “Messy Bessy” is a recovering perfectionist that is learning to let go of the temporary. Purpose is more important than perfection. And messes are temporary. *Repeat 10 Times*

Homeschool – Back to School

“Back to School” Being a Homeschool Mom | By Christina Lopez

When you hear “back to school” you may associate it with funny pictures of moms posing gleefully in front of their kids who are wearing their new school outfits and tired faces, but “back to school” is different for me. I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. I don’t get the “Yes!” Feeling of relief knowing that my kids will be out of the house Monday – Friday and I get some much needed “me time”. School is everyday for me and “back to school” only means back to a more formatted schedule. (Although, I do admit, we do still partake in the fun of “back to school” shopping.) That feeling of relief that most moms experience at the beginning of every school year only comes at the end of mine, with “Yes!” We made it though another year, and “Yes!” I know that my kids are graduating grade levels. And let’s be honest I am definitely not one of those mom’s that just gives an A+ on every assignment to make life easier. My kids have to earn their grades and I definitely make them live up to their potential, so making it to the end of the year is sometimes a struggle in itself.

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While my kids do have a unique educational structure I certainly can’t take credit for it. They are enrolled in a public charter school called The Classical Academies where teachers format lessons to fit the learning style of each of my kids. My daughter, Rebekah, is an independent learner and takes online high school classes. She only goes to school once every four weeks to meet with her teachers and the rest of the time her progress is being monitored online. It is up to me to make sure she’s understanding the material and completing her assignments on time. This is great for a teenager because she loves being able to work at her own pace and even has the opportunity to get ahead in class so she has more time to spend with family and friends. My son, Nathan, only goes to school two days out of the week as he enjoys being more social and loves group activities and teamwork. The other three days he’s home with me as his teacher to make sure he is learning and comprehending his lessons. Although a little atypical, they  do have the same core classes like any school (math, science, history), and have to meet the same state requirements, but there’s obviously a lot more focus catered to their specific needs. What’s great as well is the electives offered to them are far more extensive than what you’d find at a traditional school. My son, as a sixth grader, loves to take computer programming as an elective and has for three years! Some might say they have a “different” school life, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but it fits for our family and I love being such a big part of their continued growth.

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I chose this path for my kids to be more involved in what is being instilled in their lives as I want it to be God centered, and I truly feel like I’ve found the best of both worlds. The Classical Academies has a strong community across their multiple campuses. The teachers are always there to lend a helping hand and you always have support and encouragement from other parents, especially when faced with struggles of homeschooling because, let’s face it, as much as I love it, it can be very hard! The school does a wonderful job of keeping a balance between public school life and homeschool life and they off an array of extracurricular activities for the kids to participate in. Both of my kids have been involved in school through ASB, Musical Theater, Yearbook, and Karate among others. Some of my favorite memories are our family prayers in the car as I’m taking them to school or dropping them off at school functions. We are a huge family of prayer and always pray on the way to our outings. More often than not our prayers are centered around living in God’s light. I want my kids to know how beautiful God’s love is so that they can spread it to others.

One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is the flexibility! We love to travel and Unknowncantake our lessons with us anywhere. What is normally the kitchen counter spread with laptops and workbooks, or in my daughter’s case, the comfort of her room, turns into airplanes, trains and automobiles. Our world has so much to offer and there are many life lessons and opportunities that our kids get to experience early on.

Rebekah loves to bake and one of our favorite traditions is to stop in at local bakeries wherever we’re traveling to taste their special desserts and pastries. Nathan, on the Unknown-1other hand, loves archaeology and we were able to visit Seattle to see the traveling King Tut Exhibit when it passed through. (I love being able to pour into my children by investing in each of their interests.) Our favorite trip thus far, and I think we’d all agree, was our Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera. My husband, Mike, and I especially enjoyed it because the kids were able to see first-hand the culture of our ancestors. We loved that the kids were able to experience the language and got to enjoy traditional Mexican dishes among locals. Kids aside all of this amazing flexibility also allows Mike and I to grow closer and take vacations without them. It’s wonderful knowing we don’t have to feel guilty about having to pull our kids out of school because we can always leave them with a relative. This allows Mike and I to take time for ourselves. The freedom we have with homeschooling has brought our family closer together and we are able to enjoy life a little bit more.

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I feel so blessed to be able to spend so much quality time with my family because I know not everyone can. My hope is that I was able to shed some light on what “back to school” as a homeschool mom means to me, as well as many other moms in our TFH family. Although my experience is unique to me, I hope to encourage you to find out each of your children’s learning style, and explore places that cater to their interests. Nothing is better than being able to see your child’s light shine in an area that they enjoy. Our beautiful city has so much life to offer and it’s always better when experienced with close friends and family.


FullSizeRenderChristina Lopez and her husband, Mike, have been married for 18 years and have two children together, Rebekah, 15 and Nathan, 11. Christina is a stay-at-home mom and has homeschooled her children though The Classical Academies for eight years. As a family they enjoy traveling to places old and new and love spending time with family and friends. They have been attending The Father’s House for three years and serve in Children’s Ministries, Worship and Life Groups.

 

 

 

Back to School; College Perspective!

Back to School; College Perspective | By Lila Smith

“There is no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.” -Anonymous

As we all know, life is a constant cycle of change. It’s exciting. Overwhelming. Scary. Hard. Emotional. Every time a new school year comes around, I tend to be all too familiar with these emotions, at a higher level than usual.

In just a few days, I will be loading everything up and getting ready to enter into my sophomore year of college at GCU. My experience in college so far has been full of fun experiences, awesome friendships, insightful classes, and a deeper growth with my Savior, everyday. But in the midst of all of these great things, there has also been anxiety, discomfort, heartbreak, and homesickness. As a result, I am learning to daily rely on Jesus alone. To lay my struggles and worries at the cross, instead of trying to deal with or solve them on my own.

Messages Image(1924536944)My freshman year the Lord really planted a desire in my heart. The desire to build relationships with others, and to be someone who is there for listening and understanding them. I felt very called to apply for the position as life leader at my school. From my perspective, this is the dream – to get to share the Gospel with the girls God placed on my floor, and to be a safe place for them to bring their worries, insecurities, and struggles. This opportunity I am about to take is both exciting and exhilarating. But it is also terrifying. I do not feel qualified enough for this job, and I have to constantly remind myself again and again everyday to not compare myself to others and to their talents and abilities.

As nerve-racking as it may seem in my head, I am welcoming in this new season of change with open arms. I am jumping in head first to this position which God has called me. And, I am trusting Him to supply all my needs.

My freshman year alone, I left a changed person. The experiences I had, the people I met, the relationships that deepened, the classes I took; all shaped me in ways I never could have seen or imagined before going to GCU. Here are some of the things the Lord taught me, which I find to be helpful wherever you are in life right now:

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  1. Make time EVERYDAY for YOU and JESUS; Make HIM your BEST friend

Bible studies, chapel, worship nights, and even church just won’t cut it. Relationships grow from one-on-one moments. Make him your number one, all other friends and family can come next. We look like the friends we hang out with, so why wouldn’t we want to hang out with Jesus?

  1. Be INTENTIONAL

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Go out of your way to show people you care about them and want to get to know them and/or spend time with them. Make plans. Stick to the plans.

  1. IRON sharpens IRON (Proverbs 27:17)

The people you spend time with influence you, and vice versa. Make sure your peers are lifting you up, not pushing you down. Healthy relationships make a healthy, happy you.

  1. Get INVOLVED

Whether it’s ministries, church groups, adventures, just get involved! Community is a great thing that God gave us, and we need to use it to our advantage.

 


Lila Smith is a college student at Gr and Canyon University in Phoenix…Lila Smith is a college student at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Sophomore majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Christian Studies. She currently spends her time hanging out with friends, being a life leader on her floor, studying, going on adventures, and doing ministries on her campus. She plans to work in the church and/or be a counselor later on after her college years are over. 

How to Plan an Epic Adventure

Three valuable tips for your next outing, getaway or grand vacation | By Josh Clements

You don’t have to be a superhero to have epic adventures with your loved ones but after following the tips in this blog, you’ll probably be mistaken for one.  

When asked about epic summer adventures in July, in San Diego, I was drawn to a comic book analogy like like Superman is drawn to shouts of “help!”, like Tony Stark is drawn to a mirror and like Stan Lee is drawn to, well draw anything…(things just got a wee bit nerdy, I’m sorry, please hang in there).  BlogPost3However, what I’m really saying here is that when I hear the word “epic” I immediately think of heroes, quests and the exciting things that happen and the memories that are made as a result. 

A wise man once gave Peter Parker some sage advice: “with great power comes great responsibility.”  This is very true.  However, when thinking about “summer time” I thought of a phrase that contains the essence of this advice combined with my own philosophy: “with great amounts of time, comes great opportunity.”  The question you may have is “opportunity for what?” All of us have an opportunity to have an “epic summer adventure,” however, just because it is summer, and it’s a vacation, doesn’t automatically make it “epic.”

It is on an epic quest that our heroes; find their purpose, overcome challenges and finally achieve their goal.

For anyone planning an outing, getaway or grand vacation remember to do these three things that epic heroes have done before us in literature and film:

  1. Define the purpose.
  2. Identify and prepare for challenges.
  3. Achieve something great for our family and friends.

I believe that all of us do a great job of the first two.  

We make a plan: “This summer we are going to Disneyland so we can go on the rides and meet the characters.”  

We prepare for challenges: “We will pack a backpack full of snacks and water so that ‘little Johnny’ doesn’t have a tantrum while waiting for Dumbo.”

However, we can look to our hero for advice on how to shift our summer outings from mere vacations to epic adventures by achieving something great:  

BlogPost6After his third year at Hogwarts, Harry routinely visits the neighboring village of Hogsmeade to partake in warm and tasty drinks at The Three Broomsticks and pick up some candy at Honeyduke’s Candy Shop.  Does he go alone?  BlogPost7No, he travels with his best friends Hermoine and Ron.  While there, they enjoy their time.  However, they also take the time to connect with each other.  They share the experience of partaking in everything that Hogsmeade has to offer, but they also talk about many things, are transparent, and, as a result, become better friends because of these conversations.

Does Harry plan his travel? Yes.  Does he take in the sights and sounds “the foreign land?  Yes.  Does he rush off to “check something off” his itinerary?  No.  

This is essential.  

He spends time with his best friends.  He talks with them about what is on his mind.  He shares the experience with 

them.  They sit.  They bond.  They develop their relationship.  This is what we sometimes miss while on vacation; focusing on using the time we are given to build relationships with the people whom we care about.

It’s easy to think  “oh man, I spend $300 on tickets, $1,000 on airfare, and have only five days to experience it all. Sooooooooo we only have 15 minutes to sit on this beach before we “have to” move on to the next thing.” BlogPost8Another wise bearded man (no, not Dumbledore) said “All you have to do is decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

No matter how much money you spend ($5 or $5,000), it is essential to focus on what is most important; who you involve, the words you speak and the relationships you build.  No matter what, you will take pictures of the sights and of your fellow adventurers.  Later, when you and your travelling companions look at these photos, what will they remember?  Will they remember you pulling them along to look at an exact replica of a Nimbus 2000 or will they remember the conversation you had before you ate a handful of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and the face you made when you tried a lawn clippings flavor?

Different locales are amazing; various beaches, different countries, even hidden parts of our own city are perfect settings for your adventure because they allow us to create shared experiences. What will you share? What will you do to make your time epic?”

The time will go by like The Flash (sorry, I couldn’t resist), how will you make the most of it?

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image1Josh Clements is an excellent planner of fun family outings, day trips and long, eight hour dates with his wife, Hannah. As an Eagle Scout, he knows how to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Together Josh and Hannah help raise Adam (15), Gracie (11) and Aidan (8). 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 from which they often “adventure” to buy donuts from Peterson’s Donut Corner.