Don’t Slap the Princess

How many of us know that we can do something with healthy motivation, and do the same exact thing, with unhealthy motivation!? Being clean or tidy, for example. It can be our natural bend, gift mix or personality – birthed from a healthy desire for our life. Or we can be motivated to clean from our deficiency, fear, or control. One motive gives life, the other takes life. One may manifest from love, the other striving for love.

images-2When we think of today, we may think of hearts, candy, love, flowers, etc. Do you ever associate Valentine’s Day with love for yourself? Daughters young and old, from every culture and religion, learn from others how to love themselves – or hate themselves from a young age. Most of how we understand love comes from the caregiver(s) we had growing up. In turn, most of us project our understanding of love learned from caregiver(s) onto God. We ‘learn‘ about our need for love; acceptance and validation (or our fear of rejection and fear of exposure) early in life. But, our projection on God from what we’ve experienced on earth is typically lightyears apart from His true expression of love for us.

DoingVsBeingGods loves doesn’t change. But we do… we are human after all. What happens when a child does something they aren’t proud of? My daughter will hide behind my leg or tuck her head into my shoulder in anticipation of having to apologize for something she isn’t proud of. Sounds like Adam & Eve. Shame causes us to react. Some shame is there to keep us in the boundaries of healthy living. John Bradshaw would say, “Healthy shame says I did something bad. Unhealthy shame says I am bad.” Wait, some shame is bad? If we didn’t have the feeling of right vs wrong (shame), what would limit us from bad behavior? There are some times we do need to be repentant of bad/shameful behavior. Set that aside, I’m talking about the unhealthy shame motivation. So many of were raised with a gaping hole from the love we needed verses love received. We simply walk around with shame reactions all the time – we think we are bad.

How many times have we felt, or said, if they knew XYZ about me, they would not accept me, or even reject me. How can we be fully loved if we aren’t fully known? If we are the sum of all our parts, which make us a whole person, we can’t be truly loved if we aren’t truly known. Sounds like a recipe for a lifetime of emptiness. But Gods Love is so powerful; He fully knows us, still sent His Son to die for us (while we were sinners), and Loves us without condition.

140216-2What if we could change how we thought about shame, love and acceptance? Maybe we struggle to love ourselves? Struggle to be fully known, so we hide; tuck and run. Do you ever notice yourself trying to explain, justify, clarify, or rationalize your behavior? This is rooted from a unhealthy toxic learned shame (noted from: LifeSkills International). We do this to try to legitimize our need for acceptance and love. So ‘what if’ when the desire to vindicate yourself pops up, instead you stop and say, “I am okay with me! God is okay with me!” What if we took a conscious effort to love our SELF. I’m not talking about being selfish, or even the narcissistic approach that the world has adopted on the topic of self. I’m talking about actually looking at yourself like a small child – lovable and squeezable and innocent – because you are!

Imagine that you are truly the Daughter of the King and KNOWING that He doesn’t condemn or shame you. He openly embraces all your parts, and you can too!

 

38C4C6F500000578-3807402-image-m-2_1474879237125I’ll admit I have a dire desire not to be misunderstood. Its roots look like shame: they say I’m not good enough for me, so I must rationalize, explain, justify, and clarify myself to you (even if /when you haven’t even asked for my epilogue). Have you ever been ashamed of your shame!? I have. It isn’t pretty. I waste so much time and energy grasping for the love and acceptance of others, when I could stop and accept the Love of Christ, and the love for His Daughter (myself!). Ha! I got a picture of me walking up to Princess Kate and slapping her in the face. Holy Cow. How disrespectful! Jesus reminds me, you do this every time you beat yourself up for not being good enough. You are a Daughter of the King. A treasure. R.E.S.P.E.C.T

If we really had bad behavior, we can own it. We can expose ourselves ASAP. And then, instead of going to negative self-talk, “I’m stupid”, “I always do that”, or “I’ll never get it right”, we can change our ways, and agree truth – “I did bad, but I can change my behavior and make this right”, “I am okay with myself because Gods way works for me”, and, “God alone is my vindicator, and He loves me!”.

LOVE!


IMG_2727Bethany 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 (14), and Livvy Lou (3). If you see them, reach out and say hi!

Love. Babies. Lessons.

2017, and all it’s waves of good change, came crashing into a shore full of washed up lessons. I knew I was in a place where I needed to value family more in my heart. I also knew I was in a place where I needed to surrender a specific stronghold of bitterness but I didn’t know how. All the big blessings came and it wasn’t until the end of the year that I would realize how God was going to use them.

15327388_10207641282331963_3824460975027479935_nIn December 2016, my husband Josh and I attended the “Gifts” course at The Father’s House. It was very eye opening! We were coming to the end of the time we’d been planning to wait to have a child together. Frustration was building because we weren’t where we thought we’d be to create the stability we wanted for that baby. At the end of the class someone prophesied over us that she saw some kind of change coming our way. She said “I don’t know if it’s a job, a car, a house, a baby?….” Josh and I both giggled with tears in our eyes thinking, all of those things God – all of those. In January after much crying out to the Lord we decided we would just start trying for a baby even though we were missing all of those things. We prayed over this child before she was here, we believed we were brought together to leave our legacy.

At the end of February, our very small legacy carrier was on the way. In March we decided to get a new vehicle (although, it was justified at the time to be used for Josh to work an extra job). In June, Josh was blessed with the job he’d been working so hard for. In October we moved into a bigger house JUST in time for a SURPRISE baby GIRL born November 5th. Anaiah is her name and it means “God Answered.”

And God answered it all, the need for a refocus and the bitterness. I have been working in the birth profession for nearly 5 years. Developing my knowledge over the years while witnessing how things do NOT happen the way they should in the hospitals had seriously taken its toll. I’d witnessed more coercion, abuse, and manipulation then I could begin to mention. All towards vulnerable parents who deserve to be respected during a time they will never forget. My work was (and still is) such a huge passion, as it was a mission to change things. As a childbirth educator, birth doula, and lactation educator/counselor, I was extremely focused on changing things as much as I could. Because of this imbalance, the anger that was developing – this drive started competing with my role as a mom, wife, and follower of Christ.

23415185_10210272206583425_3959298861373837751_oNot only was the gender of our baby a huge surprise (pretty much everyone guessed it was a boy besides Pastor Dan), but her birth and my postpartum experience was as well. A planned homebirth resulted in a hospital birth. A determination to breastfeed better this time came crashing down. I spent about the first six weeks of Anaiah’s life wrestling with the fact that a decision I’d made 5 years ago had completely ruined my ability to breastfeed.

When I birthed Anaiah in the hospital it was a pretty hilarious experience from an outsider’s perspective. I was SO tense and ready to fight that I was barking orders with thirty seconds to spare between contractions. I finally relaxed and started being more frank with my communication. For example, when we attempted to express our desire for Josh to help deliver the baby, the nurse said “oh, we don’t do that here. Maybe if I ask the doctor, but probably not.” I nodded as she spoke, smiled, and responded “okay, thank you for telling us all of that but just so you know – we’re probably just going to do what we want to do.” Can you imagine her face? Ha! It turned out that we just began to deliver our baby ourselves with no one else in the room to ensure we got what was so important to us. Josh even snapped a picture of her coming out with both our hands on her head.

As weird as that may sound to most readers, that was a miraculous moment we’ll never forget. Our family, all connected in the miracle of life. So together. I realized that the big mean scary monster the hospital had become was actually none of that to each individual family I help. I learned that it’s actually not that difficult to communicate your desires. And you can even have some fun with it! I no longer needed to carry such a biter burden for all these families. Now I can teach them without fear!

26685212_10210684610613268_2840468400181914057_oThe postpartum experience wasn’t as much of a quick lesson. I could never fully describe the level of guilt I carried. Can you imagine learning your baby was sick and starving and you didn’t even know? And literally because you made an ignorant and selfish choice to take away her nutrition? Weeks and weeks of desperation trying to make milk. Weeks and weeks of mourning a loss that was so incredibly important to me. I likened the emotional expense to some of the most traumatic things I’ve experienced in life. I looked back on the birth and said to myself, if I could pick being able to breastfeed and trade it for a traumatic birth experience – I would. My priorities were totally shifting. Bonding with and nourishing my baby for what could’ve been a year or two (or more!) was realized as WAY more important than a one-time experience together. As I moved through these thoughts and cried and cried every step of the way, my husband was right by my side. He held me tight as I broke into pieces. We’ve never been through something so difficult before. He taught me how much we need each other. It might be safe to assume, I’ve taught him the same. His new job has been difficult, to say the least, and I’ve been right by his side as well.

All these changes, all these blessings, all these lessons. I already knew I needed to value family more, but I didn’t know how. I already knew I didn’t need to harbor bitterness, but I didn’t know how to get rid of it. Welcome, little baby Anaiah. Such a small person carrying such great truths which “God has answered.” Bitterness was built up in fear, fear was the driving force of distraction against focusing on love. God already said, “There is no fear in love, perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18 Of course, oxytocin lives on as cortisol diminishes and Love wins again.


26756917_10210720229663722_1296659016472475728_oKaren and Josh Brann have been married 18 months. Karen brought two precious girls to their union, Natanya and Mikayla. Their family recently celebrated the birth of a third daughter, Anaiah. Karen has been a childbirth educator, birth doula, and lactation educator/counselor for the last 5 years, helping women and families experience their best birth. Empowering women is part of her life’s biggest purpose now.  She is relentless in giving moms the information she lacked. Not only with HypnoBirthing, but also in how to have a positive hospital birth and how to be successful in breastfeeding.

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!

SF Running 2016 C

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.


SF The First 5k

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!