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!

Not Your Average Meal Prepper

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Meal prepping has begun! Who loves meal prepping?!

Not going to lie… I really don’t like it LOL I mean, it’s awesome after all is said and done. But in the moment, I’m kind of annoyed by it… am I the only one?

*I hope I’m not* 😝

While chopping up these delicious veggies, I had an epiphany.

I must admit, I’m terrible at being creative when it comes to cooking meals. But give me a pancake recipe, and I’m whipping it up in no time! 

Why are pancakes so delicious?! 😩

Baking is fun… cooking meals, not so much. Why? I really don’t know, it just feels like a chore to cook, only to have my girls give me a stank face and leave their plates full. Even with the hundreds of pins I’ve found on Pinterest, I can honestly say I’ve successfully made a handful of them (that everyone has eaten and enjoyed).

Are you too a victim of pinning meals in the hopes that your family really will enjoy it?! If so, give me a thumbs up in the comments

Anyway, back to my epiphany. Having just admitted at my lack of creativity for meals, maybe that’s a reason why my children do not enjoy their veggies anymore.

I mean, when they were old enough to start eating solids, I made them almost all the veggies under the sun! Even the ones I don’t and will probably never eat… 😬 

Now, I can’t get them to eat an avocado (they’re gross to me, so can I really blame them?!) Broccoli, cauliflower(even with all the ways that you can “mask” it nowadays), zucchini and squash (I mean they don’t even have a taste, but I still eat them) TOMATOES! well the list can go on and on. 

Also, I might add that I can barely get my husband to eat veggies 🤦🏽‍♀️ so can you really blame me for wanting to cook the simplest meal ever?! It’s hard to have a “colorful” plate with a house full of the pickiest eaters! 

I’m so very guilty of buying veggies that go bad! And I honestly hate that! Like, I don’t feel like chopping veggies if I’m the only one who’ll eat them, making Mac n cheese is easier… ugh I sound terrible.

So, I take the blame, I guess? 🤷🏽‍♀️ 

While meal prepping is in full effect, in the hopes of eating healthier, maintaining my milk supply and losing the excess weight, MAYBE…HOPEFULLY, I can convince my girls to eat their veggies with me! 

I mean it’s not like they eat junk food 24/7, because they do like a few of the yummier ones like carrots and corn. But one cannot live on those alone HA…HA! 

Pray for me y’all! 

I guess that’s my resolution, it doesn’t have to be January to make one. ☺️

If you have any ideas on easing veggies into my girls’ plates, and yummy family friendly dinners, share them with me! 

I’ll add them to my Pinterest Food board 😂 except I really will try to make more than one recipe in a year! 

🧡

-Lorena

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

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.

homemade pizza, pizza, from scratch, cooking with kids, kid friendly recipes, pizza recipe

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

NOT TODAY

26099-worship.1200w.tn

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!”