Chapter 30

Paris, turning 30, 30th birthday, Paris, Europe, Rome, travel, travel blog, faith blog
May 23rd, my actual birthday! do I look 30?! 😝

Turning 30…

Some of us anticipate it with joy and excitement. Some of us cringe and want to hide. Some of us don’t really care because it’s just a number. We get old and life goes on 🤷🏽‍♀️

As I was planning our European getaway for my 30th, I was so excited. I had begun planning it a year out and as the year went on, it still felt so far away. Then the week before came, the day before and at last it was the day of! (I can’t believe it’s already been a month, now)!

I was so nervous, and it all felt so surreal. Was it really happening?! After what felt like the longest travel experience ever (long story, but let’s just say Trump

is literally to blame 😂), we finally arrived in Rome. 

I wish I could say it was all rainbows, birds chirping, and wind blowing in our hair. Instead, I was bawling my eyes out, because they lost our one checked bag that had all of my husband and my clothes and shoes in it. I didn’t even have extra underwear in a carryon because I was too busy worrying and making sure all of the girls’ things were packed in them. 

I was so mad and angry and began thinking that everything was going to go wrong. That it was a mistake going there and I wanted to immediately go back home and crawl into bed! 

We were at the airport making the claim for what felt like forever, and by the time we were finished, our pre planned driver had left. So we stood around waiting for a taxi that would take our family of 5, to our hotel. 

My husband, through it all, remained cool and kept reassuring me that it was ok; It would all work out. 

That night we showered, hopped into bed and I began to reflect for a few minutes before conking out from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. 

The next morning I woke up, put on the same clothes and opened the windows… 

Wow! I realized we were in freakin ROME, ITALY! We had a room with a quaint and beautiful little terrace and from it you could see St Peter’s Basilica and roofs lined with terra cotta tiles. So picturesque and dreamy. 

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My beautiful girls and our beautiful view!

I took a deep breath, and thought about the events that transpired in our travels. I realized that the devil was trying to steal my joy, my peace, and my excitement. In that moment I literally said, “oh no devil, not today!” 

 The night before I thought God was punishing me for something. I thought he didn’t want me to have a smooth, fun and sweet time visiting Rome and Paris and turning 30 with my family.I felt like I was out of his protection because our bag got lost. And as I really thought on that terrace

and as I’m typing now, I realize how completely ridiculous it sounds. 

I know that the God I serve is a loving, compassionate, joyful God who wants nothing but the best for us. And what the devil tries to do is trick us into thinking that we’re being punished and deserve whatever mishap or unfortunate circumstance comes our way. 

What a jerk, right?! 😡

If you’ve followed me long enough, you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety. Anxiety about the future and wanting to control things so that I know what will happen and how it will happen. I’m not God, though. Through this I’ve learned that I need to allow God to be in control of every single situation. Big or small. 

Allowing God to be in complete control sets us up for being completely okay when things don’t go our way. When I realized that the devil was trying to egg my anxiety on, in order for me to lose sight of what was right in front of me, my perspective changed. 

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Same outfit different day, who dis?

Come on, just being in Europe, safe and sound, with actual clothes on my back, dirty or not, was blessing enough! Every material thing is replaceable… and guess what y’all… two days later, our bag showed up and was delivered to our room! 

I mean won’t he do it?! 

So, as I embark on this 30th chapter of life, I just want to encourage you. Shift your perspective to see through the eyes of gratitude, contentment, joy, faith, TRUST that God has your back and release full control over to him.

Whether you have a good day or a bad day, as long as our hope and our trust is in the Lord, nothing can separate us from his love, his goodness, and his promises! 

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:34-35, 37-39 NIV

Paris, turning 30, 30th birthday, Paris, Europe, Rome, travel, travel blog, faith blog
Walking towards the Spanish Steps
Paris, turning 30, 30th birthday, Paris, Europe, Rome, travel, travel blog, faith blog
So blessed with the sweetest husband and sweetest little babes

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

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 doing the wrong thing.

What if God only gave us His full attention when we only did the wrong thing? We wouldn’t want to listen to HIs instruction with joyful expressions and open ears, to listen. We’d grunt, huff and puff and try to interrupt Him ONE HUNDRED TIMES before He could get just ONE sentence out!

That’s what it’s been like for me this week. Instead of taking a step back and giving them my undivided attention; to see them and hear them; to watch what their hearts need in certain moments. In the one moment they do something they aren’t supposed to, that’s when I “listen;” and perhaps, that’s why they did it in the first place.

As I sit here, hearing them laugh and play pretend with their dolls, I am both happy and sad. Sad because, how many of these precious moments have I missed? How much time have I wasted in correcting them over silly things, only because I am frustrated at all the to-do’s that “must” get done before lunch? Frustrated because they didn’t want their pancake cut in half, they wanted it whole. Frustrated because they’re just being a FOUR year old and a TWO year old.

How many times have I acted in the same way toward God? Did he bicker and sneer at me? Fuss and send me to time out? No. He’s always been gentle with his correction, gentle with his words… gracious and merciful.

I could and will pray more consistently for God to make me more like a James 1:19 woman. Even in my marriage, many times I am quick to get angry and not quick to listen or quick to forgive… or apologize for that matter. It just makes everyone frustrated. It’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about working things out peacefully and enjoying the fact that I… YOU are here.

Enjoying the fact God blessed me with motherhood. That He’s blessed me with an amazing husband. That He’s blessed me with our beautiful home…

Waking up every morning with a grateful heart, regardless of our circumstance. 

Enjoying motherhood despite the fact that dishes need to get done, laundry needs folding, toys are covering the living room…

Simply listening to the sounds of laughter coming from those two little humans that God so delicately, lovingly and joyfully created inside of my body. Seriously, what a gift that I take for granted far more than I’d like to admit!

I’m reminded that TODAY IS A GIFT FROM HIM and I must be diligent in my role here on Earth.

To give more grace.

To be more gentle with my words.

To not allow negative circumstances to dictate my day.

To CHOOSE JOY and PUT ON LOVE the way GOD LOVES US, even when we do have our tantrums with Him.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…dishes don’t have eternal weight, but how I go about raising my children does and how I go about being a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted me with, does too. 

XO,

LO

An Introduction

lifestyle blogger, fashion blogger, mom blogger, mompreneur, faith, kids, parenting, parenthood,

lifestyle blogger, fashion blogger, mom blogger, mompreneur, faith, kids, parenting, parenthood,

INTRO TO MY INTRO

I’ve taken a little break from blogging. In fact, I believe I’ve only posted once, so far this year. Lately, I’ve been really thinking and praying about this blog and where to go and what to do from here.  With that being said, I really want to work on branding myself/blog and branching out into the social media world, mainly Instagram and Pinterest.

I actually manage an Instagram and Facebook account that on Insta, has grown to 60k+ followers in less than a year; so I’m confident that I can do the same with my own, maybe just not as quickly but who knows?!

It just makes sense for me to take my blog in that direction, and not really see it as a hobby, but as a job that I want to succeed at. If it doesn’t, I can at least say that I actually put myself out there and TRIED. I know that it requires me to really hone in and focus on my content and actually blogging, since, after all, I’ve been blogging every now and then about how I want it to take off, grow my writing and inspire/encourage others.

………………………………………………………………………………

Without further ado, here’s the start of it all with introducing myself a little more than in my “About Me” section. My blog is called “The Mommy Diaries,” because I am a mom, obviously, to two beautiful girls: ages 4 and 2. At the moment, I am pregnant with my third, due at the end of July. We don’t know what baby is yet, even though I’m practically 21 weeks, but we find out at the end of this month.

This pregnancy has definitely stretched me and tested me in ways I haven’t known before. So, lets just say that if this was my first, I probably would’ve stopped there. 😬

I am happily married to my high school sweetheart. We met in 9th grade, began falling in love (unbeknownst to each other) in 10th grade and began dating our Senior year. I tell him that to me, he’s the best thing that I got out of the high school we went to! In 2010, we tied the knot and have loved every minute, good, bad and ugly, of our marriage.

We both practically grew up in church, Baptist and NonDenominational, and both began leading worship at young ages. Once we became engaged, we began leading worship together on a weekly basis, at our current church. Late last year, we also released our first album EP, which you can find on SoundCloud, Apple Music and iTunes, FYI. And we’re also working on putting a full album out later this year, hopefully.

Anyway, I love to write. I feel I’ve always had a knack for it and it’s also where I can really express what’s going on in my mind and heart. Growing up, I never really got much encouragement, and for so long I felt weighed down by negativity. Now, as an adult, wife, mom, worship leader, etc., I WANT to encourage those around me. I want to speak words of affirmation over those who feel weighed down the same way I did. I want others to feel encouraged and empowered to pursue their goals. I want others to succeed and accomplish things they never thought possible, especially my girls who look up to me so much, already at such young ages.

That’s my hope. That’s my desire for this blog. That’s my goal. I hope that you can come here and read something encouraging, helpful, insightful, fun and as a sigh of relief. Where my heart is not to judge and point any fingers or be jealous of other’s success.

So, here’s to a new start! Hope you can come back and see what happens next! ❤️

xoxo,

Lo

 

Apple Seeds

 

It’s almost 2018! What?! How?! It is crazy how much time just passes us by in the blink of an eye.

What a year this has been! It’s been great for my family and me and I’m excited for what 2018 will bring.

Bearing Fruit, Growth, Flourishing, Motivation, Growing, Blogging,

The other day, I was eating an apple. It was so delicious, that  I ate another one. As I was cutting up my second apple, I noticed the seed; this small little seed. I looked at it, observed it and went about getting the rest of that apple in my belly.

It wasn’t until later, as I was doing things around the house, that I remembered how good that apple was. Then, the seed popped back into my head. I thought, wow, it is crazy how from that tiny little seed, came something so pretty and delicious.

I also thought about how crazy it is, that I’ve birthed two beautiful girls. I am fascinated by the fact that one small little organ inside of my body, can stretch and accommodate and house a tiny human being! God really didn’t leave out any details when He created us and molded us; to be able to do and create amazing things.

As I thought about the seed, I realized how we are very much like that apple seed. Many times in life, we undervalue and underestimate our talents and abilities. We think of our goals and we dream up dreams, but soon squash them because we tell ourselves, “I’ll never make it.” or “I can’t do that.” or “I’m not good enough.” or (insert your own excuse here).

We come up with excuse after excuse and we fail to see ourselves the way God sees us. When He thought us up and began to mold us, we were just tiny little seeds inside of our mother’s womb. However, He didn’t stop there, He knew that that tiny little seed would grow into something bigger, more beautiful, full of life and full of purpose.

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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As we grow up and learn the world and hear the whispers and lies of the enemy, of our “haters,” of the media, of growing up without a mother or father, we lose sight of who we were created to be. We begin to fall victim to the lies and start to conform to the shape of the box instead of thinking and growing outside of the box.

Imagine if someone saw that apple seed and just threw it away? They would have never known that out of something so small, would come a huge tree that bore these beautiful fruits. Someone saw those apple seeds and saw past their size. They had faith when they planted them, that something much better would come out.

They took the time to plant the seeds, and watered them daily. They were persistent and never gave up. It took time and effort, but the fruit…the end result, was worth it.

It takes nine months for us to go from an embryo to a fully developed baby. It takes 13 years for us to go through school. It takes 20+ years for us to become adults. It takes 4+ years to obtain a professional degree and it takes an apple tree 8+ years to grow and bear fruit from a seed.

And so, our own personal seeds (passions, goals, dreams) also need the persistence, the patience, the time and the right tools to grow. Because of the world we live in, it’s so easy for us to give up. It’s so easy for us to think we’ll never make it. It’s easy to quit and move on to what we think will make us happier; or we just settle for mediocrity.

As we grew up, school took effort. Growing up under our parents authority took effort; being obedient to them, their discipline, their advice etc. College took LOTS of effort but when we walked across that stage, it was worth all of those papers, midterms, finals and late nights of studying. We had something to show for ourselves and were proud that we did it, we made it, despite all of the obstacles and aggravations of college life. All of the seasons and ages and things we go through in life, take effort, persistence, tears, sweat, sleepless nights, but the fruits of our labor make it worth all the effort.

Going through 9 hours of labor for both of my kids… that’s what you call a “labor of love.” It wasn’t easy, but man holding them was worth all of, not just the hours of labor, but the months of holding them inside of me.

What I’m trying to get at is, if you have seeds in your hands, plant them. Cultivate them, water them, be persistent and patient and watch them sprout, bloom and grow. Don’t let fear or negative influences, self-doubt or lies stop you from flourishing.

Over time I have planted seeds, dreams and goals of mine, but have failed to water them daily, have failed at being persistent. One goal of Sam and mine that has finally bore fruit, is getting our songs out there. We did it, we’re being obedient to the Lord and have put them out there for the world to hear. It’s very vulnerable and scary, but seeing the fruits of our labor and walking in obedience has given us that extra push that we needed; a sense of accomplishment and the fear of what people might think or say is wearing off, bc those opinions don’t matter… God’s does!

In 2018, my resolution is to pick up that watering can and water my seeds (two of those seeds are my precious daughters), because I know that one day they’re going to bear many fruit. God has called us for so much more, but it’s up to us to put in the effort and water our God-sized dreams and goals.

What desires has God placed on your heart? Chase after them. Pray and seek Him and wait patiently for the fruits.

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“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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And take delight in knowing that there’s beauty and joy in the journey; in growing; in learning, succeeding and failing.