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 🧡

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

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

 

Increasing Faith

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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