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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Christmas Traditions & Photos

Christmas Traditions & Photos | A Collaboration from Daughters Blog Readers

 

Dezirae Hesse: Every Christmas Eve before bed my parents would gift my sisters and me a new set of pajamas to wear, and my dad would read “The Night Before Christmas” to us. Then we’d wake up Christmas Day, all of us in our new pajamas (and we’d stay that way until dinner), and open presents! My sisters and I know every word to that book now, and it’s something I can’t wait to carry on into my family.
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Hannah Clements: Snapped a quick pick of kitty in front of the tree. But we don’t own a cat… Poor kitty was meowing outside our door. I opened the door and she came strolling in to check out our Christmas tree. She saw it was already decorated so she said “Meowy Christmas” and left. Now that I think of it, maybe she was just Christmas caroling.

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Kendle Figueroa: We have annual dinner and ‘pick out the annual ornament’ at the Hotel Del. Some people don’t know, but the Hotel Del does a different ornament every year. Picture attached of some of ours.

Girls always getting matching jammies and open. Christmas Eve.

For several years running we did Ding Dong Ditch with the Henson’s. Several families would buy gifts for other needy families. We’d wrap the gifts caravan over to the house. Place the gifts on the door and one kid would ring the bell and they’d all run. It was always an honor to be the kid to ring the bell.

My encouragement; if you don’t have traditions start them (it’s not too late). I have been sick for 4 weeks now and I have gone a little simple of all things Christmas. It’s been interesting to listen to my kids comment and ask if we are still going to do certain things, not complaining but just wanting to do their Christmas traditions. They both asked, “Is Hotel Del happening this year?” Both thanked me for putting up the hot chocolate bar. I created an area where the kids can make their own home drinks hot chocolate, with candy cane sugar, marshmallows, hot cider, Christmas teas and whatnot. There are tons of ideas out there and it made me think I wish I had more traditions in place.

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Miranda Sprague: Christmas was a big deal in our family. Our parents… I mean Santa… put a lot of love into it. From going to see Santa at the fire station where my dad worked, to making our famous Christmas candy, to wearing Christmas jammies, to my parents having to tie my door shut so I wouldn’t sneak out in the middle of the night to see all my amazing thoughtful gifts. Thankful for family and traditions!

Shannon Mulvanny: We open gifts oldest to youngest one at a time until they are all opened, I love seeing someone’s face when they open a gift I picked for them almost more than getting gifts myself.

My mom used to leave a trail of chocolate covered raisins as the reindeer droppings.

We all bring out our favorite appetizer on Christmas Eve and have a pig out fest!

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Traditional Black Friday shopping (photo Ryan Walsh).

Matching Jammies at Nanny & Poppy’s

Buzz as Santa with Barb and their girls, Tracy (Daugherty) & Stacy (Brown)

Andrea Pinner: Joe, the girls and I have a baking day in December every year where we listen to Christmas music and bake mostly cookies all day. We follow this with driving around to different friends’ houses where we sing carols for them and give them a bag of our baked goodies. I LOVE IT, and look forward to it with great anticipation every year.

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Merry Christmas from the Daughters Blog Team!

Ask yours – kids say the darn’dest things

Ask Yours – Kids Say the Darn’dest Things | Posted by Bethany Luchetta

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So, this is meant to be fun, a little holiday jest! We all love hearing what those precious humans have to say about hard to grasp topics. So, go ahead, ask your kids a question about Christmas, or tell us something they randomly said about the holidays.  Post it on the fB feed below the blog post.

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Livvy Lou Luchetta

I will give some examples of things that have come out of my lil Livvy Lou about the holidays.

We went to a tree lighting and Livvy saw a man dressed like Santa come up on stage. She got really excited and exclaimed, “Mom! God brought Santa back from the dead!” Pure excitement. It reminded me of that scene from the Elf when Buddy heard Santa was going to visit Gimbals, hands clapping and all!

We were talking about Christmas and she declared, “I have Noah in my heart.” Babhaha. Close honey, but the wrong bible character.

In talking about how we celebrate the birth of Jesus, she explained to me, “God had to bring Jesus back from the dead so that I wouldn’t miss him.” I can’t really argue with that methodology.

Livvy asked to sing away in the manger, we have a book that goes along with the song. At the end of the song “…Asleep on the hay” –  she looks at the picture of Jesus and says, “No, he’s not! He’s awake! Mom, let’s change the words to the song.” She proceeds to sing, “Awake on the hay!” in true form.

Okay… Now it’s your turn. Light it up!

Merry Christmas

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A Candid View of the Holidays (Through the Heart of a Single Mother)

A Candid View of the Holidays (Through the Heart of a Single Mother) | Collaboration by Sally Smith & Sonya Finley

Sonya Finley: My memories of being a single mother at Christmastime takes me back to when my own mother was doing it, single with five children. Back then, I am not sure if I understood how she struggled just to survive daily life. But, add to that the pressure of trying to provide us with joy at Christmas, well, now you know who Wonder Woman was modeled after.  There was never “a lot”, yet somehow she managed to make Christmas special and memorable.

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I remember the little 3 foot artificial tree that was the center piece for most of our Christmases. It sat atop a small round end table and was decorated with all the handmade ornaments each of us created at school. At some point it was so covered with our creations you could barely see the tree. Oftentimes presents did not appear under that little tree until Christmas Eve. It turns out a lot of the time that was just when she was able to pull something together, whether from her pocket or various last minute charitable donations.

My mother was the master of innovation. Her creativity during times of struggle created some of our favorite holiday traditions we follow today. For instance, because she could not afford to give us all money to buy presents for all five of us, she instituted the “draw names” tradition. Each child would pull a name and that would be the person they Fotolia_125617063_Subscription_Monthly_M.jpgwould buy a gift for. Our budget, $5. It wasn’t much, but boy would we make it stretch! More often than not, we would have change left over and so would combine it to buy a
special gift for our mother.  Believe it or not, we still do this today! And we have passed it down to our own children. Finding stocking stuffers for five kids was another budget buster, but my mom, true to form, came up with a creative solution for that. Bubble gum machine toys!! Yup! My mom and sometimes my older sister would stand out by the gum machines of whatever store we were shopping at, putting in nickels, quarters, and dimes and pulling out fantastic treats we would later open with childish glee on Christmas Eve. And yes, stockings are still a must have in every household! My oldest sister even sent hers from Georgia one year to be “stuffed”.

I grew up and I too found myself single with children at Christmas. And while loneliness can be an issue—especially when everyone else in your family is married—oddly enough it was not my most pressing concern.  My struggle arose from simply not having enough
to do what I wanted to do for my children. I was barely getting the bills paid and then had to find “extra” to bring a little joy to my sons. Of course, having watched my mom navigate through those rough times with love, laughter, and creativity I was found the strength to do the same. I did what I had to do, I accepted charity (in many different forms)—no matter how humiliated I felt in the process—and believe me, sometimes the processes for receiving charity were humiliating indeed. I vividly remember one year I signed up to be adopted. I sat and went through the long process, hoping to be selected; then only to be given a small bag of four, dollar-tree toys—one for each son. When I questioned it, I was told that since I had nothing, I should be grateful for whatever was given to me. I was so broken. I was so disappointed. I so wanted to do more for my sons. Believe me, it is a most horrible feeling to want to do for your children but then not being able. I do not remember how things worked out that year. I think family pitched in, but I am certain that somehow my sons had gifts they were pleased with. If you ask them, they never had complaints about their Christmases.

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These days I am still single with children but they are all grown and able to do for themselves. Having gained an understanding and appreciation of past struggles, they have grown into young men who are loving and generous in spirit. Our Christmases are not just about the gifts that mom can give (they buy me gifts now!), but about family and keeping alive the traditions passed on to us by a woman who, in spite of circumstances, created the best Christmases EVER!!

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Sally Smith: Ah, the life of the ‘Single Parent’. Many of us ‘Single Parents’ did not start out single and going it alone. We may have had similar beginnings as lots of the intact families that you know and love… I did anyhow. I had the wedding, the baby showers, the family get-togethers and birthday parties. Year after married year, I had that unit, and fell into the rhythm that comes with two parents and… however many kids.

7cfad5efd14a6cf0e567173a5b5f01c4--christmas-card-photos-ideas-for-christmasRegardless of the state of my family, there was a predictable quality that encompassed the preparations and observances during the holidays. I did not know it prior to my leap to singularity, but holidays were designed around the model of that type of unit. During the first few years of being alone and raising kids, the holiday motions were like learning to walk after losing a leg. This dramatic visual is to say that it was painful, confusing, and imbalanced, but necessary in order for me, and for my kids, to move forward.
I am in no way throwing a pity party; I was the one that set the separation into motion, that needed to create the change that split our family apart. Like I mentioned, I did not realize how different our holidays would be, and I would not have done things differently, but I will fully admit that I had to get on board with the big changes that came my way.

You+Will+Survive+This+Christmas+As+A+Single+MomWithout going into sad and embarrassing detail, I will say that several things are drastically different: finances, traditions, and people that you celebrate with are among the biggies. We Single Parents (maybe not all, but some) have to find ways to maximize financial resources during the holidays in order to create as small of a wake as possible. For me, it is not so much to be an extravagant gift giver, but more so that my kids would not have to experience a jarring difference or lack that might elicit concern over my financial state. I have attempted to stretch and make it feel like holidays of old, but always worry that I might not be doing enough.

Obviously, traditions have to change, too. The schedule of the holidays and the family members that are present change. Knowing that my kids would have to adjust to new scenarios, minus me, was worrisome. I felt sad that they might have to incur awkward times, and have difficult conversations. The new normal takes a while to settle in. I am on year-4, and the holidays are finally starting to take on a new, hopeful shape.

Yes, there is hope! Prayers have been answered, hard work has been rewarded, new relationships have been formed, and children are resilient. Love conquers all! I have held fast to my convictions and stayed committed to my Single Parenthood, and through it all, I have been richly blessed. I am constantly reminded that “It is well, it is well with my Soul”.


Sally Smith is a 40-something Mother of two daughters, both whom are loving, talented, and independent. Lila, 19, just started her 2nd year at GCU, and Rubi, 13, just began attending the Orange County School of the Arts. When Sally is not busy driving to the train station, to dance, or selling two way radios (no, really, that is her job!), she can be found shakin’ it at Zumba, or cooking/surfing/chilling with her main squeeze. Life is Beautiful…

20170113_074913-1-1Sonya 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.