Give Thanks

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It’s easy to be thankful when everything is going right; When everyone is doing well and everyone is happy.

The last few weeks, God has been showing me that I need to be thankful even when life isn’t going how I want it to. To be thankful, when we’re sick, stressed and overwhelmed with to do’s that didn’t get done.

I’ve always been quick to feel blessed when all is right, everyone is happy, we’re in the groove and life is “good,” but complain and whine about life when things don’t seem to be right.

The last few weeks, our household has had some rough times. It has seemed as though the situations we were going through weren’t coming to an end. It was thing after thing after thing… do you know what I’m talking about?

You ever feel like you can’t catch a break?

Then, it hit me. In the midst of it all, I stopped and gave thanks. I praised God, even in the midst of turmoil. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the enemy defeat me and make me feel like life sucked, in the moment.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:

”Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

He wants us to be thankful in any and every situation life hands us. Why?

Because He is sovereign.

He is good.

He is righteous.

He is faithful.

His promises are true.

Because He is Lord over all of our circumstances and sees us through, when we feel like the world around us has fallen apart.

No matter what we’re going through, let’s not forget to see the good and to give thanks.

As soon as I began thanking God for everything, even through sickness and unfortunate circumstances, things really started looking up. My attitude changed and I began to see that He really does “make all things work for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)

Don’t let the enemy steal your joy and steal your thanks! He wants you walking around thinking that your situation has defeated you. Don’t let him have the pleasure!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

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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

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.

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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

 

Homemade Pizza

One of my resolutions for this year, was to cook more at home and to involve the girls in making dinner… ideally, more homemade, from scratch type foods. Well, if you follow along with me, you know that I’m pregnant and the first few months of this pregnancy were very difficult!

My morning  all day sickness, was awful and well, I didn’t get the chance to cook much, until more recently. Though I’ve been making dinner a few nights a week again, I hadn’t done much to involve the girls.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the “nesting” phase now, but lately, I’ve been in the mood to bake/make things from scratch.

The other day, I made crepes and flour tortilla’s from scratch and I just wanna say, THANK YOU PINTEREST!

I’ve probably pinned hundreds of recipes, but they’ve just been sitting there in my “FOOD” board and haven’t gotten love from me till now.

ANYWAY… that was just a preface to why you’re really here… the part I mentioned about PIZZA! My girls are somewhat picky eaters, so part of my wanting to involve them in cooking with me, is to get them excited about eating the food they helped make!

I figured that starting with pizza, was a no brainer. So, the only truly from “scratch” part is the dough. I found this truly AWESOME recipe on Pinterest, here. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, I’ll post the recipe at the bottom of the page!

The girls were so excited to be helping out… from watching the yeast proof, to helping pour in the ingredients to form the dough.

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No Fancy pants productions over here and not in any way sponsored by Gold Medal flour HAHA Just us… as raw as it gets!
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The girls just being their normal selves… silly billy goats! They did “help” me roll out the dough after posing for the camera.

I wish the pictures I took of them putting the pizza toppings on, came out well. They were all blurry 😒 So, just pretend that it’s here.

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I don’t have a pizza pan, so I put it in a regular baking pan. I do suggest you cut the excess dough off a little more than I did, because it was a lot of crust. Although, we LOVE crust, so it didn’t bother us.

For the toppings, I used Whole Foods 365 brand Marinara sauce, 365 Mozzarella, 365 Italian mix and their pepperoni sliced from the deli.

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Yes, as amazing as it looks, is as amazing as it tasted! Let me just say, that deli pepperoni was life!

After following the baking time instructions, in order to get that slight burn, I broiled it for about 5 minutes… it depends on how your oven’s broiler works, so make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t char and burn down your kitchen!!

The dough yields a lot! This was only half of the dough, so there’s plenty to go around if you’re a bigger family, especially if you make a smaller crust!

Overall, the girls and I really enjoyed making this deliciousness! They always want to help me out in the kitchen and were excited when they were finally able to actually get their hands on this! I can’t wait to keep finding more recipes where I can include them and create beautiful memories with my girls in the kitchen!

*Here’s the dough recipe:

PREP TIME 
COOK TIME 18 MINS
TOTAL TIME 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups flour, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil (2 Tablespoons per pan)
Instructions
  1. Mix warm water and yeast and let sit 5 minutes until yeast proofs.
  2. Add 2 ½ cups flour with proofed yeast and mix well in Kitchen Aid or with a dough hook.
  3. Add additional 2 ½ cups flour and salt, knead until smooth. Cover bowl with saran wrap. Let dough rest in a ball for 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto baking sheet or pizza pan and evenly coat bottom of baking sheet or pizza pan.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and add more flour as needed (a little at a time) to alleviate the stickiness of the dough if needed. I add a few Tablespoons usually.
  6. Split dough in half and roll each ball of dough very thin and place on greased pan.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 F
  8. Now comes the fun part! Top your pizza dough however you would like. If you have a favorite pizza recipe or breadstick recipe, have at it! Be sure and leave a ¾-inch space on the edge for crust.
  9. Bake each pizza separately at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes for pizza and 15 minutes for bread sticks or cinnamon sticks.

 

*Again, this is not my own recipe, I linked it at the top from it’s original source.

ENJOY!

XO,

LO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increasing Faith

devotional, scriptures, biblical teaching, encouragement, hope, book of Matthew

This morning, part of the devotional I was reading, included a verse from Matthew 9. It really made me want to read the entire chapter, so that I could fully understand the context of it all, and well, it is a pretty awesome chapter that makes you really think and want to (re) evaluate yourself. (I guess almost the whole Bible does that, right)?

The one verse that really stuck out to me the most, was in the beginning of the chapter. It seriously made me take a step back, and reflect on how I think on a daily basis.

“Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4

Umm… can I just say wow?! In context, the verses before are about when Jesus healed the paralyzed man. He told him to pick up his mat and go home. The pharisees, seeing this, thought that Jesus was absurd for saying “such a thing.” They were religious, but faithless men, who didn’t believe Jesus had that kind of authority…that he was “fake.”

But then I began to wonder if I, myself, am like a pharisee sometimes. Throughout the chapter (I encourage you to read it),  we learn about the many people Jesus healed, spoke with and raised from the dead.

It’s crazy to me how much I in fact, can be like a pharisee. How it’s easier to think about all the things that can go wrong; of how things will never work; how there’s no way to get out of a difficult situation. (as if God can’t or won’t do it).

It’s easier for us to believe the lies of the enemy because we’re surrounded and trapped in a world where so many people around us, have forgotten just who JESUS was AND still is! 

All of the people Jesus came across in this chapter had FAITH. Something I personally lack most days.

Jesus performed miracles back then and He still does them now. However, it’s easier for us to doubt that a miracle, big or small, can actually happen in our lives. We doubt that God can do it. And if we don’t believe He can, then he probably won’t… or maybe He will and will show us the power of His love for us, even when we don’t deserve it (this is me currently thinking out loud).

Anyway,

Miracles look different, because our world is different, but He still works in and through us… when we allow our faith in HIM to increase and allow Him to move in our lives.

“…’If  I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you’…” Matthew 9:22

If we only, If I could only have the tiniest bit of faith when things get rocky, tough, complicated, scary, rough… it will/has already been done.

We forget the BIGGEST promise He’s already made to us. We lose sight of His sacrifice. We become consumed and blinded by the temporary; our focus shifts and we’re too focused on the Earthly things.

Which, yes, what we do here on Earth matters, but not the silly things.

The ETERNAL things like:

Our relationship with Jesus, our spouse, children and others.

How we’re showing His love in spite of our good or bad situation.

Here are some questions I asked myself and will seek to resolve if I’m not doing it right. I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions how they apply to you.

  • What am I sowing and reaping into my marriage? 
  • into my daughters?
  • my relationships with others?
  • into ministry?
  • at work/school?
  • Am I being like the pharisees that only saw the negative and constantly doubted and questioned the work of Jesus?

if so,

  • How can I be more like the faith filled people Jesus healed?

 

xoxo,

Lo

 

 

God First

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We live in a social media driven world. It’s so easy to get distracted by Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the News app etc. We fall victim to their rabbit holes and before we know it, we’ve been scrolling through our phones for an hour!

I’m talking to myself here too. This verse says, “Seek FIRST…” not second, not when you have time, not when it’s convenient for you, but FIRST.

Lately, I find myself first thing, as soon as I open my eyes, reaching for my phone and opening Instagram or whatever app to see what I missed while I was asleep.

It became second nature, an addiction of sorts.

Man oh man did conviction hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt God asking me where He stood in line in my life. Talk about a wake up call!

The funny thing about it all, is that most of what we miss while we’re asleep, is nothing but vain, negative Nancy, look at my flashy this or that news. It’s nothing that really fills your life with positivity, joy or encouragement.

Most of today’s news is depressing, aggravating, and honestly makes me mad that we live in such a world as this.

When we have access to Jesus news right at our fingertips; that talks about hope, joy, love, freedom, and all we have to do is go to HIM FIRST. How much better would our day go if we spend time with Jesus as soon as we open our eyes?

The answer is A LOT!  “…and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Not that our days will be perfect by any means, but when we rely on Jesus as our main source of energy and fuel, we’ll be able to deal with our day a lot better than we do when we’re handling it on our own; when we first fuel our spirits with what social media has to say.

When God is first in every area of my life, I can be a better wife, mom, sister, friend… a better me. I can wage a better war against the enemy and his lies. I can better see the traps he tries to get me to fall to.

Even better… my relationship with Jesus is better, stronger and alive! Our faith is stronger, our anxiety is gone and peace can take over!

Let’s put God First every day and wake up with Jesus!

XoXo,

Lo