Walk in it

 

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This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”

(‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6‬:‭16‬ NIV)

We have a choice to make every day. It’s not a one and done. It’s not something to take lightly and frankly, it’s something I know I take for granted.
In this verse, God says to STAND and LOOK.
When we wake up, we must stand up and look around us before we go about our day. I’m so guilty of waking up mindlessly some days and just starting my day without acknowledging that he has blessed me with life!
He then says ASK for the ancient paths and where the GOOD WAY is. Wisdom doesn’t come without experience, or seeking good counsel. A person becomes wise when they don’t think they have the answers to everything and walk in the ways in which they think is the best. They seek advice from those who’ve gone before them and can see what we can’t see in that season or stage of life.
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬
W A L K  I N  I T
Walk into the good path. The path of righteousness, love, truth, freedom, joy, patience…
No matter what is going on around us. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes we must give things up, that to us don’t seem like they’re a hinderance, but are the very things keeping us tied down and not allowing us to to take these actions of walking out our faith. Things like: certain friendships, relationships, habits, bad language, anger, jealousy, etc.
“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”
‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Walking in the right and good path is for sure hard, but the reward is so much better than the present. So much better than what the world can ever offer.
Lastly, he says that then we will find rest for our souls. Over the last few weeks at church, the messages have been about finding and entering true rest. This applies to me as much as the next person.
Because I’m a stay at home mom of 3, I forget that I too need to have a soul rest. A sabbath. Just because I don’t clock in and out, doesn’t mean I need to burn out on life and motherhood. I do no one good when my soul is heavy and weary and burdened with making sure the house and everyone in it is ok.
Taking these steps is so essential and crucial to every aspect of my life. I can’t be the wife my husband needs and the mom my girl’s need, if I don’t first, stand, look and ask the Lord to direct my steps for the day.
There are so many ways my feet can wander off to…
and I’d rather them wander off in the path that Jesus walks with me each and every day.
He will not go where we don’t ask him to go.
My day is so much better when I’ve asked the Lord to direct my steps and be with me, than when I think I’ve got it and do it alone.
The soul rest really does happen and I feel free because I know that God’s got my back. We just have to choose to walk in that freedom. So today, I encourage you to:
S T A N D
L O O K
A S K
&
W A L K  I N  I T
Because then you will find rest 🧡

Chicago

travel tips, chicago, the bean, millennium park, things to do in chicago,

I cannot believe it’s already been almost TWO weeks since we took our trip to Chicago. Time seriously needs to slow down a bit, because that means my girls are growing fast too!

Sam and I went on our baby moon to the wonderful Windy City. The first time I went to Chicago, I was just entering my teenage years and it was for my brother’s boot camp graduation. It’s crazy how different things look to you as a kid versus an adult. I just knew, despite the harsh cold, that Chicago was a pretty cool city, and obviously memorable. I’m glad that I finally got to go back as an adult and with my most favorite person in the world!

Every year since our oldest was born, Sam and I have made it a point to get away together without the girls.

(Also, let me add that my anxiety goes through the roof, having to leave my babies! I don’t like leaving them, but I know that Sam and I really need the time alone).

Day in and day out, we have the same routine of responsibilities we need to take care of. After a while, Sam and I get worn out and stressed and barely spend time together because we’re so tired. Date nights aren’t enough to catch up and take a breath.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re absolutely needed and important, but after a while, you need some alone time with your spouse that lasts more than a couple of hours every few weeks. SO, that’s why we made it a point to get out of town without the kids every year.

Last year on our anniversary, however, we did a little 3 day “staycation” in the city, where we’d spend all day exploring, adventuring and relaxing with couples massages, and came back home at the end of the night to the girls; and that was lots of fun and gave us the alone time we needed just as well.

We feel and believe that as parents, and even if you don’t have kids, it’s good to disconnect from everyone else except each other. We get to focus on just each other and really catch up and talk…actually have conversations without distractions and screaming kids asking us for something every .02 seconds! lol

Anyway, Chicago has so much to offer! We ABSOLUTELY loved and enjoyed it. We went for 4 days and despite battling the cold weather, we got a lot done! Here’s some of the highlights of our trip and if you’re thinking of visiting, hopefully serves as some inspo!

DAY ONE

We caught a super early flight and as soon as we got to the hotel to check in and leave our bags, we headed out in search of BREAKFAST! HA We were hungry, y’all!

Luckily, there was a restaurant called Yolk right across the street from our hotel. Which by the way, we stayed at The Langham and it was absolutely amazing! It’s a beautiful hotel with exceptional service and an A M A Z I N G spa!

After breakfast, we explored Magnificent Mile, before heading back to our hotel for our couples massage 💆🏽‍♀️💆🏻‍♂️ it was much needed and very relaxing.

Chicago, chicago travel, baby moon, hotel, things to do in chicago
The only picture we got of our hotel was the hallway 😂
Baby moon
Feeling relaxed after our massages and ready to eat up some steak!
Chicago eats, chicago food, rpm steak, baby moon, travel, chicago travel, things to do in chicago
I didn’t get a picture of our steaks and our “millionaire potatoes,” which O M G… but here’s our yummy dessert! The cotton candy was complimentary.
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To finish off our first night, we did some bowling, which was also located across the street from our hotel.

I LOVE that everything was literally within walking distance from our hotel. We were right on the river and a short walk from Mag Mile and TONS of different restaurants.

DAY TWO

Ya’ll… day two was CUBS GAME DAY! It was literally a check off of my bucket list! A dream come true for me, as I’ve been a cubbies fan since I was a kid.

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I bought that hat when I visited Chicago the first time! I told myself that one day I’d be back and wear it to my first Cubs game!! It’s a 14 year old baseball cap y’all!!

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The Cubs lost, but that’s ok! The experience was still AMAZING and Wrigley Field is AWESOME!

Thanks babe, for making this girl’s day!

After the game, we headed back to our hotel and for dinner we decided to check out the famous Chicago deep dish at Giordano’s, and lets just say, it did NOT disappoint!

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chicago deep dish pizza, chicago pizza, chicago eats, travel, things to do in Chicago
I meeeaaan!! drool…

 

DAY THREE

Started the day with a yummy breakfast with a view at NoMi located in the Park Hyatt.

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View of the water tower

 

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Delicious cornbread toast with pear

Chicago eats, chicago, chicago restaurants, things to do, travel, park Hyatt chicago, water tower

After breakfast, I of course had to get the girls a gift… so we hit up the American Girl store and got one each for them. Sam was over it after two minutes of searching for their perfect doll lol

Then it was off to Millennium Park to get in that tourist pic, of course!

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Lastly, we couldn’t leave without catching Hamilton! We were able to see it on Broadway and loved it! We listen to the soundtrack all the time!  So, we had to catch it while in Chicago and it was just as amazing.

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DAY FOUR

Was our check out day, we ate breakfast at Yolk again, and just had some good old fashioned date fun. We went to FTW which is like Dave n busters and just had fun feeling like little kids. Afterwards, as our last stop, we went to a little hole in the wall, suggested by a friend, called “Da Lobsta.” It was actually really yummy, we don’t typically eat lobster, I prefer shrimp and crawfish, but this was Maine lobster, the way New Englander’s eat it in a roll and it was yum!

So, that’s it! That was our trip to Chicago! Lots of fun spent with my favorite person, best friend, and baby daddy! We were supposed to check out the Navy Pier but had put it off till Saturday, to kill time, but it was rainy that day… so to that we say, we’ll check it out next time because we’ll definitely go back to Chicago!

xoxo,

Lo

 

 

S E V E N

Marriage, Love, challenges, relationship, friendship, Jesus, prayer

There’s no “7 Year Itch” here! On the 13th of August, Sam and I celebrated S E V E N years of marriage! It’s so crazy…I feel like just yesterday, I was walking down the aisle, anxiously and joyously waiting to hear, “Sam, you may now kiss your BRIDE!” How I LOVE being his bride!

Man, how time flies! (I guess that’s my theme as of late, ha). While, I won’t sit here and pretend that our marriage has been that of fairy tales, it has been a fun, crazy, exciting, scary, learning and growing kind of roller coaster ride. We laugh together, we cry together, we argue, bicker, get angry, get loud, frustrated, aggravated, etc., BUT at the end of the day, we resolve our issues and continue enjoying each other and pushing each other to be better and do better.

The last few years, Sam and I have gone on little weekend trips for our anniversary, and they have been so needed, especially after having kids. They have helped us regroup and refresh our friendship and relationship. This year, we had a “staycation” and it was seriously some of the most fun we’ve had together this year! On one of our dates, I asked him what he feels he’s learned in these last seven years and vice-versa. Here’s the biggest things I’ve learned:

Don’t let your guard down

So often now, we hear of pastors, worship leaders and in general, people in ministry, separating and getting divorced. Some cases are because of moral failures, others are because they just couldn’t get along or “had nothing more in common,” they could no longer work through their issues. That really, truly breaks my heart! I sit here and read story after story about these broken marriages and wonder: HOW? WHY? WHEN AND WHERE DID IT GO WRONG? WHAT COULD’VE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY?

I’m not judging their decision to end their marriage, rather, I pray for my own. I pray for God to always strengthen me as a person and as a wife. I pray that God would give me wisdom and show me how to love Sam in every season.

As individuals, we must always be willing to learn, grow and change. We cannot stay the same, because we then become complacent. Complacency can lead to lowering your guard! It’s dangerous to lower our guard as Christians AND in our marriage.

” Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch… What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:33-34;36

Ya’ll the devil be creepin’! He’s waiting for our guard to be down, so he can attack! And if we’re asleep, we won’t even see it coming! He sneak attacks us like a coward and throws a party when we’re defeated. Then, he keeps throwing punches, until we either: give up OR fight back!

I think the brokenness happens when we no longer have the strength to fight back. We throw in the towel and can no longer see a way out because we’re blinded by the devil’s veil of deceit, defeat and discouragement.

But God intended marriage to be a mirror of Him and us. He’s the bridegroom, we are the bride and he wants our marriages to be successful, full of love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, joy, grace… The same is to be said even if you aren’t married.

We CANNOT for one second think that we’ve got it covered, because the second we do, that’s when the devil strikes. In my marriage to Sam, I CANNOT sit here twiddling my thumbs, arms folded, bask in my own glory and think that I’m the most awesome wife in the world! (sometimes I am though) haha just kidding… But seriously, we must always be willing to LEARN AND GROW TOGETHER. Make time for each other and always talk about any issues we may have with one another. <–(this I’ve learned the hard way)

Talk to each other

This seems like a no brainer! However, early on in our marriage, my biggest issue was communication! Any time Sam would say something that would hurt my feelings, aggravate me or just didn’t sit right with me, I’d hold it in. Not immediately letting him know that something bothered me, allowed time for those things to simmer and get blown way out of proportion.

My thoughts would feed into the littlest things he’d do or say and eventually, on a random day when all was going well, I’d explode in anger at him. It’d leave him standing there bewildered and wondering if it was something he just said. It wouldn’t go over very well, and we’d be in hour long (or longer) arguments. That’s no fun!

For  a while, in the beginning of our marriage, I kept on in that cycle and eventually it made him take the same approach. He started bottling up his anger towards me, because he thought if he told me any little thing, I couldn’t handle it. He would rather try to brush it off and ignore his feelings, than have to deal with my irrational responses.

This issue really was one of the bigger issues that if we still dealt with to this day, may have made for a different kind of blog post! Thankfully, we have learned how to communicate better! I’m not saying that I still don’t keep things in sometimes, but 95% of the time, I immediately let him know that something he did/said/didn’t say bothered me. We work through the issue and ask each other how we can be/get better with whatever it was.

Communication is a serious thing! If we’re not in constant communication, and not even just on what’s bothering us, but even on what’s going well with us, how can our marriage thrive? We are ALWAYS in the know about the happenings of our lives outside of each other. We trust each other, lean on each other and feed off of each other’s thoughts. Our spouses should be the person we trust the most and tell everything to! I DO NOT believe in keeping secrets from each other, nothing good comes from that, in my opinion.  Otherwise that leaves room for entrusting things in others, leading to…well nothing good.

I could seriously go on and on about things I’ve learned in these short 7 years. We are still young and still have so many more years to learn and grow! Make time for each other, be each other’s best friend, enjoy every moment together in every season, push each other (lovingly of course) to be better and do better! Don’t be afraid to seek wise counsel if you are going through rough times. Don’t give up! Push through, because your marriage is intended to be something beautiful, even through the trials!

NOT TODAY

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Life is an oxymoron. It’s rough, tough, crazy, wild, sad, lonely, discouraging. At the same time, it’s easy, fun, chill, happy, full of love, family, friends and laughter, encouraging and hopeful.

However, lately I have been feeling discouraged.  I hate discouragement!

I know that success doesn’t happen over night. It takes time, it takes hard work and it takes perseverance. The perseverance is the part that gets me.

I wrote a post not too long ago entitled “Don’t Be Cheap,” and while the particular example I spoke on was about fitness, it also applies to other areas of my life as well. Over the last few years, I’ve started out on a couple of ventures, only to give up half-way through, out of discouragement and feeling like I wasn’t any good at it; so why keep going?

Regardless of what it is, Sam was and always is in my corner. He told me recently that I keep starting things but never get anywhere with them. He didn’t say it in a mean or discouraging way, rather he wanted to encourage me to really stick to one and go after it. I gave a million excuses as to why I dropped it and moved on to another subject.  That was maybe two or three months ago, yet it has been replaying in my head.

For much of my life, I’ve struggled with insecurity.  Over the years, the insecurities have morphed and changed from one thing to another, and lately I’m insecure in my talents and abilities. One of them is, I fear that I’m not good enough in my writing and that’s why I hardly get any readers, and the book that I’m working on, won’t get picked up because it’ll suck…with thoughts and feelings like that, it’s easy to feel discouraged, right?

Oh, but then, I remember that there is a liar and he goes by the name of devil. The father of lies, and he’s been whispering in my ear telling me all these things. You’ll never be a good writer. Your blog sucks. Your book will suck. No one will read it, etc., etc. But no, not today Satan! NOT TODAY!

When we don’t give our worries/fears/anxieties to the Lord, it leaves room for the devil to stick his nose in our life and release feelings of insecurity, fear and doubt. He loves discouraging us and stopping us from reaching our full potential in whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish.

BUT, God wants us to be successful! He wants to see us flourish and go after our goals. He wants us to use our talents, our voices, our abilities to go out and do whatever it is we have set out to do. Sometimes we will fail, but we get back up and try again. Fail and try again. Fail and try again. Fail and try something new. Fail and change our approach. Fail and then finally succeed. Sometimes we succeed after the first try. The point is no matter how many times we fail or how long the journey takes, we will succeed.

I cannot allow the devil to have any wiggle room, and Jesus tells us that DAILY we must give Him ALL of our worries. I don’t do it daily and that’s when I feel the most discouraged, on the days when my hope and my trust hasn’t been put in the Lord.

So, I guess, what I’m trying to get at is that life truly is like a rollercoaster. BUT when we set our focus on allowing God to take full control, putting our faith and trust that He wants and knows what’s best for us, we will be more encouraged than discouraged to persevere. Honestly, there are always going to be people that are better at what we do than us, but we can’t let that stop us. I can’t let that stop me, because there is always room and time to grow and get better.

My friend, or anyone who is reading this, be encouraged. Persevere and trust that God’s got your back! He’ll always see us through as we keep pressing on, but if we give up we’ll never get anywhere and we’ll always have a cloud of discouragement over our heads.

“Tell the devil NO, NOT TODAY!”