Las Vegas…with a toddler?

The hubby and I went to Las Vegas for our honeymoon a few years ago, so when his company said they would fly us out there for a weekend, and pay for our hotel room, we jumped at the opportunity. But what about our Cookie Girl? Well, she doesn’t turn 2 until July, so her flight would be free, so we decided to take her along.

I researched a ton about where we should take her and what we should do, before our trip, trying to be as budget conscious as I could–we budgeted $600 for food and activities, if you were curious. (After all, I’m in my second trimester, and we’re saving for our second child.) I also researched a lot about traveling by plane with a toddler, since this would be our first experience flying.

So, what worked for us on the plane? Honestly, I think because our flight was so early, it worked in our favor, and Cookie Girl slept on the plane. We loaded the iPad with shows and movies, but she wasn’t really interested in them since there was so much to see on the plane. The only thing that did interest her was a drawing app my hubby had on there. We also brought lots of snacks. And when she started getting fussy we’d sing with her, but overall, she did really well on the plane.

As far as Vegas went, Cookie Girl stayed on east coast time, which was fine, since it was such a short trip. But that meant we were getting up before most places opened (and in our hotel room before the craziness began on the strip). Thankfully, our first day we’d grabbed some snacks for our hotel room–string cheese, yogurt, peanuts, beef jerky, etc.–and I’d filled my suitcase up with stuff like popcorn, cheerios, yogies, and fruit snacks, so we had some things to snack on before breakfast and in between meals.

Let’s be honest, to a 20 month-old everything is new, exciting, and entertaining. Even the flashing lights in the Vegas airport had Cookie Girl saying “wow.” But there were a few places we wanted to make sure we took her during our visit:

  1. The Flamingo Habitat (free) at the Flamingo Hotel. It’s not huge, but it entertained her. She loved seeing the “mingos,” koi fish, ducks, and turtles.20190329_113058
  2. The Bellagio Conservatory (free). They had a Japanese Cherry Blossom theme this spring and the flowers were beautiful.
  3. The Bellagio Fountain (free). As we left the Bellagio we stopped to watch the fountain show. The funny thing was, Cookie Girl was more excited about a rainbow that shone through the glistening water. She kept yelling, “rainbow, rainbow!”
  4. The Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The other times we’d taken Cookie Girl to the aquarium she was too young to appreciate it, but this time she loved it. She kept saying “hi” to the fish and the shark.20190330_155850

We wanted to take Cookie Girl on the High Roller (Ferris Wheel), and let her see the fountain show (free) at the Cesar’s Palace but we just didn’t get a chance. All-in-all it was a great weekend; long, but we enjoyed the time spent with each other.

If you’ve traveled to Vegas with a toddler, what’s been your experience? What places did you enjoy taking your little one?

Advertisements

Lifter of my Head

My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad. ~ Psalm 34:2

Day 2 of my Cookie Girl being sick with what appears to be the flu (update, she has strep)…I read some scripture, and then began to peruse through my bible study notebook, and came across something I wrote a while back but hadn’t shared. It seems pretty fitting for the moment.

I’ve been reading through the book of Psalm for a while now. The verse above had me asking, “what does this mean?” It means that my life–everything that I do, everything that I have–declares His glory. Even those of us who feel like we have, and/or are, very little, have much to boast about in the Lord.

Here are some examples of things we may have been blessed with: life, health, love, a home, peace, family, hope, grace, food, redemption, salvation, life-everlasting, a job, clothing, freedom…

Ther Word goes on to state that when we need and seek the Lord He hears us and delivers us from our fears (Psalm 34:4). I’d like to note, however, that is not always the situation that He delivers us from, but our fear and anxiety.

I know it’s easy to boast in the Lord when all is well, and all our needs are met, but what about when we’re in need? The humble and afflicted need to see that even when things don’t go as we wish, when we’re struggling– physically, emotionally, financially–we still have so much to boast in.

He walks beside us. He never leaves us. He strengthens us when we are weak. He’s the lifter of our head; our strong tower of refuge. He envelopes us with peace and love during the most trying of circumstances, but only when we call upon His name, and allow Him to take those burdens from us.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30

What will you give up to Him today? I know one thing I’m constantly asking Him to take away is fear regarding my children’s health. It’s practically a daily struggle; but they are His and I have to trust Him.

2019 – New Year Update

Happy New Year all! I know I’m late, but the last few months have been a little challenging. We found out December 26th, 2018 that we’re expecting, again; and once the morning sickness and exhaustion kicked in (around week 6), I really wasn’t in the mood to do anything. The hubby is currently traveling for work, and I have my 12-week appointment on Wednesday. Hopefully, our little Cookie Girl will be on her best behavior during the appointment, and God-willing, we’ll hear this sweet little jellybean’s heartbeat for the first time. I’m so excited!

In other news, the hubbs and I have been leading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at church, for the first time, this quarter. In all honesty, because I hadn’t been feeling well all this time, he’s done most of the leading, but the next 2 weeks lie solely on me, and I’m nervous. I know I shouldn’t be, because the course outline is so easy to follow; but I think it has more to do with being pregnant and alone, with a toddler, more than anything…you know, “mom brain.” ( I.e. When you can’t think of anything but the kiddos.) As far as Dave’s baby steps go, we’re still on #3 (saving our 3-6 emergency fund) which we’re sure to have complete before this baby arrives in August.

Lastly, I’m finally starting to feel a little better. I had (iced) coffee this morning for the first time in months, it was delicious, and didn’t make me sick, so things appear to be looking up (lol). And I’m looking forward to the weather changing in a few weeks so I can take Cookie Girl to the park, walk around the community center track, and plan for things to come–like a weekend trip to Vegas in March–and plenty of local outings (since we’re trying to save).

So, what’s new with y’all? How have y’all been “winning” with your finances? Are there any life or career changes on the horizon?

Love,

Angelica

WedWorship – How Can We Not (Give Praise)

Today’s song is LIFE Worship’s “How Can We Not (Give Praise).” This song has been a favorite of mine for months now. It sings of God as Creator of the universe and how He created everything, including man, to worship Him. My favorite line is taken straight from the Word: Made to worship/If we don’t sing the rocks will soon cry out!

As I sang this song again this morning, I just knew it was the song for today. As we begin this new year, let’s remember that we were created to glorify God, therefore, everything we are, do, and say should worship and honor Him.

Lastly, God is so perfectly good, how can we not give Him praise for all that He is, all that He’s done, and all that He’s promised to do?!

From the start
Before You made the earth and seas and stars
In Your heart
We were set apart

Made to worship
If we don’t sing the rocks will soon cry out
By Your spirit
We are set apart

Chorus: God of the ages, King of the heavens
Matchless in power and strength
Made for Your glory, here to adore You
How can we not give praise

Look to Jesus
Through the battle unto victory
By Your power
We will overcome

Bridge: You are the one
There’s no one above You
Who can compare to You
You are the one
There’s no one beside You
Who else deserves our praise

Let Your Church rise
Spirit, let Your fire now run wild
By Your Spirit
We have overcome
Let Your Church rise
Spirit, let Your fire now run wild
By Your Spirit
We have overcome!
We have overcome!!

WedWorship – The Comforter Has Come

Today’s song is “The Comforter Has Come” by SEU (Southeastern University) Worship. The first time I heard this song, I thought about Christmas, which was weird because obviously, the song is talking about the Holy Spirit, as Jesus described in John 14-16. However, when you look back at Scripture, Jesus was described as a Comforter, as well. In Lamentations 1:16, after the author describes the depraved and lowly state of Israel he states, “I weep for these things; my eyes overflow with tears, because a comforter, one who could restore my soul, is far away from me.” We know that the only one who can restore our soul is Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Actually, even God the Father is described as Comforter in Isaiah 51:12-13 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. This makes sense, since we serve One God–in three persons–who all share the same qualities and characteristics.

Anyways, I love this song right now, because He’s our Comforter in this season, and every season. Check out the lyrics below and let me know what ya’ll think.

I need a fire/So won’t You burn in me again/I need new life/So will You breathe on me again

Pre-chorus – Spirit of God/The hope of glory here/You’re my desire/So won’t You draw me near

Chorus – Into Your heart/Into the deepest parts/The Comforter has come/The Comforter has come/In Your heart/I’m found in the deepest parts/The Comforter has come/The Comforter has come

I’m weak and poor/But You are strong in me/This is resurrection life/Living inside of me

Bridge – Holy Spirit come/Like a rushing flood/We are open come and fill us with Your power/All-sufficient One/Who was and is to come/We are open come and fill us with Your power

 

WedWorship – Let it Be Known

Today’s song, “Let it Be Known” by Lakewood Church, has the sound of a 90’s Hillsong praise song, and I love it! When the chorus comes up I just want to shout out “MY GOD STILL SITS ON THE THRONE.” We serve an eternal and sovereign God. He holds the universe together with a Word; and even when we feel like everything around us is madness and falling apart…He has it all under control. And He is worthy to be praised!

I’ve seen His kingdom/Oh, I know His name/Bought me my freedom and covered my shame/Jesus a wealth for my soul/Greater than gold/Now I know the truth/All of creation here stands as the proof/Jesus, the hope of the world/Our cornerstone

Chorus: Let it be known/My God still sits on the throne/And only He has all the control/Jesus alone/Watch it unfold/As we collide with His love/Our former heartaches all come undone/In Jesus alone

I’ve seen His power/The work of His hands/Heaven and earth move on His command/Jesus, the author of life/A sight to behold

Bridge: His story is our story/His triumph is our own/Seated in all His glory/Forever on the throne/And if all hell should rise up/We’ll face it without fear/For our God is truly stronger/Greater than anything

Living Beyond the Ordinary

I just finished up a post on being a servant and having the heart of a servant, and instead of sleeping I’m thinking about how God designed us for the extraordinary and supernatural, but we settle for the ordinary and mundane. There’s an old Switchfoot song that says, “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?” And I can’t help but think we have.

Filled with Power from on High

The Prophet Ezekiel talked about the Holy Spirit in chapters 11 & 36 when he shared a vision that God gave him; in which, God spoke, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). Luke tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection, Christ told His disciples to wait for this “power from on high” before continuing His ministry (Luke 24:49). In John, Jesus described the Holy Spirit as an advocate, helper, and Spirit of Truth (John 14:15-17). And throughout the book of Acts–and the remainder of the New Testament–we see the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit, as a group of frightened disciples is filled with the power of the Spirit and transformed into a fearless group of messengers bringing the Good News of Christ to everyone they encountered! 

The Holy Spirit is the power of God alive and at work on the earth; and every believer is filled with this same power from the moment we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. His Spirit is what enabled the disciples to face persecution head-on, with joy! His Spirit is what gave them the ability to cast out demons and heal the sick. His Spirit gave them boldness and authority to preach the Word to the nations. It’s the same Spirit that’s at work in us today! Yet, we’re content with just getting from one day to the next. Even unbelievers can do that!

Gifts of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit empowers us to do things far above and beyond that which we could ever do in, and of, ourselves. He helps us all to live lives full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This means that regardless of our ethnicity or background, the Holy Spirit gives us the supernatural ability to treat others with love, gentleness, and respect; even when the world tells us we have the “right” to be angry and/or react offensively. It’s inexcusable for believers to site their ethnicity or background as an excuse to behave poorly or unkind. If we’re a believer, it’s Christ’s blood that runs through our veins, and that’s the only thing that matters.

The Spirit also empowers us with other gifts and abilities; although, different for each believer, they’re all equally important. These gifts include gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-11); as well as teaching, helping, and administrating (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).

Lastly, let’s recall my last post in which we discussed how we were created for the purposes of God. Each of us were created with intimate precision and care (Psalm 139:13-16), and God provides each of us with giftings and talents that we’re to use to bring Him honor and glory.  Reinvesting the gifts and talents that God has given us into establishing His kingdom is what He designed us for (Matthew 25:14-30)! But the talents that He gives us will never be used to their full potential until we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to. Only once we abandon all selfish ambition, will God be able to take us above and beyond all we could possibly imagine or conceive, yet not for our own sake, but for His (Ephesians 3:20-21)! Because God’s Spirit makes the impossible possible! He brings the dead to life. He brings healing to the broken and sick. Provision to the needy. Hope to the hopeless. Joy to the hurting. Freedom to the oppressed. He does what we could never do in our own strength and abilities.