Washington DC with kids

Hey y’all! Hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday, it’s Mardi Gras here, and we stay as far away as possible… it’s just not our jam and we usually always try to get away.

So, on Thursday night, we flew out of New Orleans and ventured into DC with all THREE girls in tow.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… we’re crazy. Although that may be a little true (haha), I actually love bringing our kids along for travel. I want them to experience the world with us, even at their young ages, and show them all the different places outside of our little bubble down here in the south. I want them to have these memories of visiting different places and cultures and be adventurous.

Having said that, they’re still only 5, 3 and 7 months, so, were there moments when Sam and I let out deep sighs and questioned our choice of bringing them along?!

YES. Yes we did.

We’ve all been there right? 🤦🏽‍♀️😏

Anyway, I’m sure you’re here to see if it’s actually possible to travel there with children, and it is.

HOWEVER, in hindsight, I think planning the trip for summer time, if you’re not used to really cold temperatures, would be a better time to visit with small children. I literally had layers and layers of clothes on them and they were so annoyed and wanted to undress any chance they could.

That was thoroughly frustrating.

Other than that, DC has so much to offer in terms of things to do. All of the museums are free… yes, free! You have the monuments, which are a great experience. The White House (which you can tour if you schedule in advance). We didn’t tour it because the girls are too little and I’d rather them be older to appreciate a tour of it. The National Zoo (also free), and the Museum of the Bible, which you have to pay for, but honestly totally worth it! Everything about it was great, and there is even a little play area for the kids, with  games relating to Bible stories.

There’s so much more that we didn’t get to do because of the weather, it rained 2 of the 4 days we were there and it seriously was so cold, at least for us. We made the most of our trip, I think, despite the weather. The girls were along for the ride and they just love being with us.

In terms of food, I think the best meal we had was at Founding Farmers Everything is farm to table and was seriously delicious, definitely have a meal there.

My mom is from El Salvador, so one thing I grew up eating a lot of, are pupusas, if you’ve never eaten them, I’m sorry. You’re missing out. We ate in this very tiny, literal hole in the wall, called El Rinconcito and they had some pretty tasty pupusas there. I had read that DC was home to a large population of Salvadoran’s so, finding a restaurant that served them was essential for me to check out.

Lastly, another little place we’d heard about, &Pizza. Honestly, the pizza was great, but I think we’ve had better, though it’s worth a try. It was a tiny place as well, but pizza was made fast and hot and it was, pizza!

I like to think of this trip as a pregame to our trip to Europe in May!😬 ahh!!

We survived with a few hiccups, but if you are like me, and love having your kids experience different places with you, I say go for it! They are smart and are attentive to much more than we give them credit for. Our oldest for sure remembers a lot of our trips and things we do even at home, and talks about them for months after.

In summary, summer is better because no layers of clothes, Free, fun, history, Free. lol

 

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

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DC with kids, Washington monument, Washington DC, travel with kids

Balancing Act

How many times have we been asked, have we asked or have we wondered, how can/do/should we balance it all? 

Marriage, motherhood, work, ministry, friendships, etc.

The older I get, I have begun to realize that it’s actually NOT about balance, it’s about priority. 

You see, balance is holding two things, were the weight is equally distributed and you don’t lean one way or the other, BUT what two things are you holding at equal weight?

We can only balance two things at a time, right?

 Unless we’re some kind of cirque du Soleil act, most of us can’t also use our toes to hold more things and keep our balance with our heels and/or our elbows. Lol

(And if you CAN do that, I wanna see, bc I love cirque du Soleil type things 😆)

If I’m balancing my marriage on one hand and my girls on the other, my relationship with my parents/brother/friends, will suffer. I won’t much have time for ministry, personal development, or other things either.

My marriage and my children are the things I hold closest to my heart, they are the most important persons in my life. However, only focusing on them, pushes Jesus to the side as well. 

What good am I to my husband and my daughters, if my time with Jesus is scarce?

Because He’s the only one who can calm my crazy, fill me with peace and refresh my heart, mind and soul. 

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve gone days without really spending time in God’s presence, it shows, and it shows big time! 

My temper is short, I’m easily agitated, I feel exhausted, I’m stressed, I get a little selfish 🤦🏽‍♀️, my anxiety revs up to level 100, and the list goes on…

Anyway, having said all that, is what has brought me to the conclusion that it really is about priority.

The number one priority, above anyone and anything else in this life, should always be Jesus. 

Number TWO priority, is my husband and our relationship.

Number THREE priority are my girls. 

And then everything else, all other relationships, friendships, ministry, duties, etc., are what follows. 

When I start my day, this is how my focus should be directed. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I do this consistently. 

Truth is, I don’t and I then fall into the, well let me balance it all, trap. 

I say trap because I have this mental note of EVERYTHING that needs to get done, only to find that I accomplished like 2 things. It leaves me feeling like a failure at the end of the day, and like, why do I even bother with anything?! 

Am I the only one? I don’t know, I hope I’m not ha!

We cannot balance it all! It’s not possible, to balance all of our relationships, duties and responsibilities. There is always going to be one, two or three things that suffered today. 

The trick is realizing that it’s OKAY. 

Trust me, if I could make sure that everyone was happy and not have something to whine or complain about in this house, 

AND 

have not one speck on the floor, 

AND 

have spent time in personal development

AND 

have met up with my friend I haven’t seen in a couple weeks

AND

have worn something other than the same workout pants I’ve been wearing for the last 3 days

AND 

Actually work out in said workout pants

AND

At least put some concealer on,

AND 

Have ALL… ALL the laundry done, folded, hung and put away with no more left to wash,

AND 

have dinner made and ready to eat as soon as my husband comes home from work

AND, AND, AND!!!

I would share with you all, my secret!!

I’d probably make millions off the book I’d write about it. 

But I don’t, sadly 😩

My point is, write a list of the priorities in your life. 

Then, write out how much time you are going to set aside for each one on a daily basis. 

Sometimes, they won’t always be the same priorities for that day or week. (Aside from Jesus and family, they are always or at least should always be a priority).

When you get down to things like social media, you realize how much time you’ve actually wasted there and can then set aside time specifically for it when you just want to veg out. Cuz there’s nothing wrong with that!

Right now, one of my biggest priorities, is getting our house in order. Switching out the girl’s clothes, and organizing it all. De-cluttering and making sure everything has its place. 

It’s hard, stressful and so so time consuming, but once that’s out of the way, I can then prioritize other things. 

Ah there’s nothing I want more right now, then to not have to hang or fold one mo thang!! But if doesn’t get done now, and become a priority now, it’ll be a thing lingering around for months!! 

Anyway, this was as much an encouragement for me, as I hope it has been for you!

In summary, don’t try to find the balance, just prioritize, it’s so much simpler that way. It doesn’t feel overwhelming, it’s just “a matter of fact,” in the present. I truly think, we are much happier when we realize that we cannot balance everything. We are human, and were not made to do everything alone or all at once because that would be kind of chaotic, right? 

Anywho.

Lean on the Lord when you do find yourself overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Trust that you are not alone! 

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-12 NLT

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Change

goals, change, dreams, motivation, blog, mom blog, blogging, faith blog, mom devotional

We all have goals. We all have desires. We all want to see that change. 

At the start of every year, we jot all these things down, saying that “this is the year!” The year comes and goes, and we have one “check” here and there, and we’re back to the same habits, same routines, same, same, same… change didn’t really occur past January, at best, past February.

Is it just me?

During my social media fast, I learned a lot and gained lots of insight and a different perspective on how I’ve been functioning. I’ve been doing two different devotionals, with two different friends, we’ve had prayer nights and nights of revival at our church and the messages have been so on point, like daggers to my heart, my mind and my soul.

Monday night, Pastor Alex Seely spoke an incredible message about Breaking Camp (you can skip to minute 41 at the start of her message), I  seriously encourage you all to head to the link to watch it, because, she killed it! She said, we keep expecting change to happen, but we don’t do anything different! How can we expect something different to happen, if we’re in the same spot, unwilling to move, or too lazy to move?

We’re too comfortable, right?

We have to get down on our knees and intercede for those goals, those desires, for that change. 

Wow… intercede. When did I forget about interceding with God? When did I forget that prayer has to go deeper than the surface level?

God can call us all day long to the place we’ve been wanting to be in, but if we just show up and expect the rest to just happen and land in our laps, it won’t. We have to work.

“Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”  James 2:20 ESV

Last night, the message was also amazing, the devotionals I previously mentioned, though different, have all spoken the same message to me.

We are on day 16 of the year and I can tell you that so far, I’ve been in the word every day this year. I want to be in the word every day for the rest of the year too, but I have to make sure that I am working towards that. I can’t allow myself to place instagram, Pinterest, facebook, tv shows, etc before making sure that I did something that day, to work towards accomplishing my goals for the year and working towards that change I want to see happen.

So my friends, I want to ask you: What are you doing different this year, to actually accomplish your goals? If you haven’t done one thing different, it’s never too late to start! Start today, with just one thing!

Let’s keep each other accountable, let’s revisit in March and see if we’re still doing something different to make this year our “best year yet!”

Let’s do it and really work hard and intercede with God for what He’s calling us to and for.

Let’s not let another year go by without actually changing our circumstance, situation or mindset!

Let’s win this year!

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Planning for 2019

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My mind is blown! 

How is 2019 just a couple of weeks away?! 

Where did 2018 go?! I mean, are we really sure we’re going into TWENTY-NINETEEN!!!

We were JUST entering 2009 like yesterday 😭

Anyway, since getting married, my husband and I begin planning out our goals, vacations and events for the following year, between October and December. It gives us structure and expectation, and I wanted to share with you, exactly how we plan out our year.

We separate it into these categories:

Goals:

  • Spiritual: we want to read ONE book/month this year. We want to study the Bible deeper, than we ever have. Also, we want to write ONE song/month! 
  • Physical: we’re both into fitness, when we really get into fitness! I’ve got the rest of this baby weight to lose! And he’s got his own physique goals. 
  • Financial: how much we want to have in savings. How much we aim to spend on birthdays, vacations, holidays 
  • Personal: this includes fitness, but also, I have 2 specific projects that I’ve been working on that I really want to finish in 2019! Also, to be an even better wife and mother! I want to begin establishing more time where I focus on really cultivating my daughter’s talents/dreams and teaching my daughters to walk in truth, love, compassion and kindness. As well as diving deeper into the Word, having more devotional time and time for personal development. 

Vacations:

Here, we kind of brainstorm when and where we want to go. Typically, we separate them into a family vacation which is just us and the girls, an extended family vacation, a girls trip, guys trip, weekend get away (usually for the 4th of July) and a trip for just the two of us.

Next year, our biggest trip and our family trip, will be to Europe! It’s been a dream of mine(my 30th birthday wish). 

We still aren’t sure about the other trips we’re taking, but we still write a budget for them, and really try to stick to it!

Events:

These are, birthdays, holidays, our anniversary, valentine’s day etc. 

We set budgets for how much we will spend for each of our daughter’s birthdays, our birthdays and all other events. For our anniversary, we decide if we’ll make that our trip together or if we’ll just go out for a nice dinner and exchange gifts. 

We also set a budget for how much we will give siblings, nieces, nephews, close friends and parents for their birthday(the amount is the same for all) . Same goes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas presents etc. 

……………………………………….

If you are on the track to financial freedom, advisors will tell you to write out every. single. expense. Down to the penny.

We don’t track every penny, but we’re not that far from doing it. Thankfully the only debt we owe is our house and car. We like to plan and budget, so that we keep the discipline of being responsible and one day having our money go to work for us. 

I mean, who doesn’t want the freedom to travel on the whim without requesting for the time at work?! 🙋🏽‍♀️ Amiright?!

………………………………………

Budget talk in and of itself is a topic all on its own, so anyway…

Planning all of this out, really helps us to see exactly where our money is going and gives us more discipline to stay within the budgets, in order to save what we set out to save. 

It also gives us expectations on what our year will look like. Towards the end of this year, we were a bit more spontaneous than we would’ve liked to have been with our finances, and we fell short on achieving this years financial goal. 

Though we had anticipated that adding our 3rd daughter, would change up what our “normal” looked like, we went a little bit further outside the lines LOL. It’s ok though, because life happens and it’s important to still live your life joyfully!

Smart, but joyful 😊

Can you tell we are planners and detailed people?

It also helps with being disciplined in other areas. Structure is better than chaos and sitting there wondering where your time and money went.

It shows you if you’re growing, because at the end of the year, we check off what we actually accomplished. 

There’s something so satisfying in checking off on a list! 

However, if it didn’t get done, we attach it to the next year and we try again. It’s a sign of success and perseverance to actually DO and not just SAY YOU WILL.

talk the talk AND walk the walk.

I truly hope you found this helpful AND encouraging!

Heres to an even better 2019!

Xo,

 Lorena 🧡

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Lorena J Ford

devotional, inspiration, woman's devotional, scripture, motherhood, marriage, pregnancy, women in the word, daily scripture, daily devotional, motherhood blog, faith blog, christian living,

This morning as I was reading a devotional, I came across this quote I hadn’t heard before. Maybe you have, but it was the first time I’d read it and it really stuck with me.

“Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane

I’ve been feeling convicted this week, as a mother. My responses to the girls, have been short. I’ve been quick to get angry and quick to speak.

My frustration has been evident. Because I am frustrated, the girls become frustrated. They act out even more and begin to see how far they can go until I really “lose it.” I yell, they scream out back. They don’t seem to listen, but the funny thing is, I never listened to them when they weren’t misbehaving.

I only gave them my full attention when they were…

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Maternity Session

maternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, family

For Mother’s Day, my sweet and awesome husband surprised me with a Maternity photo session. I’m so glad he did, because I probably wouldn’t have scheduled a session myself and would have probably dragged us all somewhere with a tripod and self-timer haha!

They came out lovely and glad we got to capture these beautiful pictures. Here are a few from our session.

maternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, familycouples maternitymaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, family, daddy and daughter, father-daughtermaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, familymaternity photomaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, familymaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, familymaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, family, couplesmaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, familymaternity photos, maternity session, maternity photography, family photos, family session, sibling photos, poses, outfits, with siblings, outdoor, ideas, family

Worship Like Jesus

Worship devotional, daily encouragement, devotions for women, devotionals, spiritual growth, what is worship, scripture, positive affirmations, prayer, prayer journal, inspirational

I started reading this book, Adamant by Lisa Bevere and let me tell you, if you haven’t already read it… go get it now. It is so so good!

Today, I want to share with you a part that has stuck out to me.

“We were created in the image of God, and God is spirit. Though it is invisible, the spirit is as real and as near as the very breath we draw. And yet it is something deeper than the passage of air through our lungs. It is the quickening of God dwelling within us. The God of fire and love consumes all that hinders the expression and reception of his love.” Pg.36

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

John 4:24

First, I want to start off by saying, that worship is more… way more than the “pre game” to the sermon at a church service; It is just one avenue of entering into God’s presence and it’s one of my favorites, 😊 but isn’t the only way in which we are called to worship.

We experience true worship in our daily lives, not just once a week. In our devotions, in our marriage/ relationships, in ministry, in our parenting and the way in which we reach out to others… in our prayer.

If we truly have Jesus dwelling, moving, living and breathing in us, then our worship should reflect  just that. Our worship should be unhindered, immovable and undivided, regardless of where we are or who we are around.

We are called to be like Jesus, right?

Through out the New Testament, he tells us that we are to be a light, that we were made in his image, that we are to love one another, that we should share his word and teachings to others, etc. And one thing that amazes me about Jesus, is that he DID NOT CARE where or who he found himself around. He was always going to worship, preach, heal, pray for, raise back to life… regardless of Him being in the midst of  his disciples, pharisees, Jews or gentiles, unbelievers… HE WAS ALWAYS GOING TO WORSHIP!

He was unchanging and because of his devotion, his worship was pure, true and full of the spirit of God.

We aren’t called to be perfect. Our days are not always going to be great. We will go through hardships. We will have “haters” and doubters.  We will be in uncomfortable situations, but  how we respond to each situation is where we truly see if God is really dwelling within us the way we think.

Many times, we like to keep him and his spirit in a box. We don’t want to be labeled the “weird christian.” We don’t want to lift our hands during a worship service. We wake up not really feeling like being nice to people. We don’t feel like spending time in the word or prayer. We don’t feel like volunteering at the church event…

but if we constantly live our lives this way, what will our worship look like?

Empty? Vain? Calloused? Angry? Mediocre?

How can God speak to us? Move through us? How can his presence dwell in us? If we aren’t worshipping him daily in every aspect of our lives, regardless of what we are going through or who’s watching?

Let us not allow our worship to be defined by and dictated by our circumstances. Rather, lets allow our worship to speak volumes despite what our day looks like, who we are around and regardless of those throwing stones.

“Don’t settle for religion void of God’s presence or for turning the pages of the Bible without the wind of his Spirit. His voice speaks life.” pg 37

Let us allow God to “consume all that hinders the expression and reception of his love.” So that our worship (daily life) can reflect his love, joy and peace that surpasses all understanding!

Choose to live a life of worship in a world that wants you to be distracted by the mundane.

Hope this has encouraged you today.

Xo,

Lo