Basic Invite to the Rescue!

A couple of months ago, we changed the location of our destination wedding – right after the invitations went out. It was a hard decision to make because we knew we would incur a financial loss, but we didn’t want anything to hinder the celebration of our union. Now, we are getting married in Montego Bay, Jamaica and are planning the final details. A not-so-good screenshot of our updated … [Read more...]

Spiritual Nuggets from a Brewery 

God is always speaking - even through a brewery. *Disclaimer: I am not a beer drinker. This post is not about alcohol. I am not promoting alcoholism. I have been a volunteer speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for five years. My husband’s death was an indirect result of him being hit by a drunk driver. I promote responsible drinking as a MADD volunteer, and as a minister, I look to … [Read more...]

Back to School: 5 Tips for Anxious Parents

“Thus we may say with confidence, ‘God is my Helper and I will not be afraid; what can mere humans do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6 (The Inclusive Bible) Many of us are getting ready to send our little ones back to school. Some of us have already sent them back, especially those who live in southern states. The recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio do little to ease our minds and … [Read more...]

Video: Preaching at Hillendale Baptist Church

This past Sunday I was blessed to share with Hillendale Baptist Church in Dale City, VA. Pastor Gareth and I have known each other since we were children. His older sister and I are friends and met in elementary school. I used to sleep over their house and Gareth would play video games in their recreation room. Little did we know that God had his hand on our lives and would call us into Christian … [Read more...]

“Brown Skin Girl” & Songs to Build Black Children’s Self-Esteem

My brown skin kids! You'd have to be living under a rock if you haven't heard Beyoncé's "Brown Skin Girl." The song is on "The Gift" album that's part of "The Lion King" movie release. Little girls are singing it all over social media. My daughter loves it. It's her new theme song. I'm very happy that Black girls have another song highlighting their God-given, natural beauty. Here are some … [Read more...]

“The Lion King”: A Trigger Warning for Fatherless Kids

The Lion King - Featuring the voices of James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and JD McCrary as Young Simba © 2019 Disney Enterprises I’ve never been a Disney-movie mom. My kids haven’t seen any of the Disney movies I grew up watching. So when the new “The Lion King” movie came out this week, I wanted to show my kids the original version first. I haven’t heard super great reviews of the new CGI version, … [Read more...]

Contest: Win Money for College

Limitless Learners Contest Win $500 for college plus $1000 for a school or library. When you love learning, there's no limit to what you can achieve! Apply to the Limitless Learners Contest to win money for college, plus a donation for your elementary school or local library.Apply nowPrize Six (6) students will be selected to win the following: $500 to contribute to future education … [Read more...]

Friends & When Seasons Change

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” – Proverbs 17:17 (NIV). Children's Church at Reid Chapel. This is the verse that describes my state of mind this week. This is the week I dread all year. It’s the anniversary of my marriage and the anniversary of my husband’s death. I do a lot of self-reflection around this time – about life, God, relationships and … [Read more...]

The Dominican Republic, Haiti and Wedding Plans

“Lauren, my husband says I’m not going.” My matron-of-honor texted me this week and said her husband didn’t want her going. I don’t blame him. I didn’t want to go anymore. You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the recent deaths of tourists in the Dominican Republic. I think the number is at seven deaths and at least a hundred sickened since May of this year. … [Read more...]

Trump’s Attack on Breastfeeding

Photo courtesy of Yes Magazine Donald Trump serves college athletes McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Chick-Fil-A, what most people call junk or trash food because it has no nutritional value. So why is anyone listening to his or this administration’s advice when it comes to breastfeeding? Last year, the United States tried to strong arm the World Health Assembly into opposing a breastfeeding resolution … [Read more...]

Audio: Interview with The Wise Idea Podcast

My children and I on Memorial Day Christopher Harris, the host of The Wise Idea podcast, reached out to me recently to interview me about my life as a widow, mother and minister. It was a good interview. I hope you can glean some wisdom from it. http://www.thewiseideapodcast.com/episode073lifestorieswithlaurenjones/ … [Read more...]

Ayesha Curry Needing Male Attention

Image from Red Table Talk Ayesha Curry expressed on Red Table Talk that she wished she received more male attention because it would let her know that she’s still desirable…and I get it. As you can imagine, social media is in a frenzy talking about how she doesn't view marriage as sacred because she’s seeking male attention and that she’s focused on the wrong things and blah, blah, blah. … [Read more...]

His Relentless Pursuit: A Short Story

What happens when Jesus Christ steps into the life of a young lady who previously denied Him. “3 AM” I said to myself. “It’s 3 AM again.” This wasn’t the first time I’d awaken at that exact time. This was about the fourth time I was jolted from my sleep. I looked over at Al*. He was still sound asleep. I met Al my freshman year at the University of Maryland. I noticed him right away. It … [Read more...]

He is Risen: Children’s Easter Activity

Happy Easter from my family to yours! We are excited today because it's Resurrection Sunday or Easter. This day is the most important day on the Christian calendar because it reminds us that death and the grave no longer have any power over us. As Jesus rose from the dead, we, too, will rise so we no longer have to fear anything including death. The same resurrection power that raised Jesus is … [Read more...]

So They May Encourage the Young Women: Why We Grieve with Lauren London

Many of us were shocked by the murder of rapper and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle, 33. Based on reports, he took an impromptu trip to one of his retail stores and was shot repeatedly after taking a picture with a child. At the time of his death, he was dating actress Lauren London. They have a son together in addition to Hussle’s daughter from a previous relationship and London’s son from her … [Read more...]

Consistency on the Vine

I have a relatively new retainer. I haven’t had a retainer in over five years because I broke my last one. My teeth look like I haven’t been wearing a retainer at night too. The gap that closed when I had braces in my early twenties reappeared. So in my effort to be strikingly beautiful on my wedding day, I saw an orthodontist to have another retainer made. Since my teeth shifted so much I have to … [Read more...]

Product Review: Basic Invite

These look amazing! Eeeeeek! If gushing about weddings bothers you, now is the time to take a break from my blog because I'm getting married on October 12th in the Dominican Republic, and I'm super excited about the planning process. We just selected the resort, started our premarital counseling, I bought my dress, and the ball is rolling so I'm going to be talking about it a lot! … [Read more...]

Astroworld, the Momo Challenge and Demonic Attacks on Children

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV). I attended Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” tour. I have a connection in the industry and was able to attend the concert for free. I didn’t know anything about Scott’s music. I was first introduced to his music through Sza’s song “Love Galore.” I then saw a deaf … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids

How was your Valentine's Day? My children came home with bags full of candy and cards. We didn't do much with the children yesterday because it was a school night, but this weekend, we are going to do some special love activities with them. My children love to paint and color, and I received some great worksheets for them to do. Check them out and maybe you'll want to use them too! You can find … [Read more...]

To the Mother of the Girl Who Called My Daughter Ugly

Your daughter told my five year old she wasn’t beautiful in their ballet class last weekend. However, it didn’t upset my daughter too much because I’ve been preparing her for this day since she was born. When I found out I was having a girl in 2012, I knew the challenges my daughter would face as a black girl. I faced them myself. During my first two years of high school, I was one of very few … [Read more...]

Widowhood, Ministry and What Now

The day I was ordained. She had no idea what her "Yes" would mean. You don’t recognize the toll grief takes on your mentally, physically and spiritually oftentimes until in hindsight. I didn’t know in 2013 when my husband died that I would fall into depression once the shock wore off a year or two later. No one told me I would put on weight because of it. So not only are you burdened by the … [Read more...]

Getting Specific in Prayers for Your Children

My children on Winter Break. “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you” Genesis 17:7 (NIV). In Genesis chapter 17, God tells Abraham in his old age that God’s going to make him the father of many nations, and that the covenant is not only for … [Read more...]

Advent Season: The Only Sign You Need

It seems to me that this generation is infatuated with seeking signs. I have seen many posts on social media referencing numerology and signs in repetitive numbers. There are a host of television shows centering around mediums who work with people searching for signs – signs that they’re making the right decisions, signs from their deceased loved ones and signs of desired healing. However, in … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving 2018

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things"-Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV). Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I decided to cook this year since I didn't cook last year. My family had our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday, and we went to my fiancé's father's house on Thursday. I … [Read more...]

Teaching Children Inclusion

Last week my son had a horrible time in school. He’s been extremely frustrated because other children don’t include him in basketball and soccer during recess. My son is highly functioning autistic, and for many years he didn’t care if other children wanted to play with him. Most of the time, he wandered around by himself in his own world. Now, he’s reached a point where he wants to be included, … [Read more...]

My Latest Article for Sojourners

Here is my latest for Sojourners: https://sojo.net/articles/my-blackness-not-odds-my-faith-christ.   … [Read more...]

Restaurant Review: Is Urban Plates a Family Restaurant?

Urban Plates, a trendy restaurant that originated in California and prides itself on wholesome meals plated right in front of you, opened up at The Mall at Columbia in Maryland. When I saw the advertising and checked out the menu online, I had to try it with my family. I already had my eyes on the roasted red potatoes and the chicken. Last night, my fiancé and I took the children. When we … [Read more...]

When the Widow Gets Engaged

So, my boyfriend of two years proposed, and I accepted. I’m very excited to begin my life with him as he’s been a very close friend since we met in college, we’re so compatible, and we just genuinely enjoy each other. However, it is an adjustment for some people because for the last five years my testimony as a young widow with children has been a major part of my ministry. I’ve had the … [Read more...]

Book Review: Simone Visits the Museum

So, I stumbled upon this great children's book this weekend. After church on Sunday, I went to one of my favorite local restaurants, Franklin's, and I stopped in their general store after we ate, and I found this gem, Simone Visits the Museum by Dr. Kelsi Bracmort. It grabbed my attention because the characters are African American, and the book has awesome illustrations. I always make it a point … [Read more...]

A Back-to-School Prayer

My little ones start school next week, and I, like many parents, are filled with trepidation. My youngest starts Kindergarten, and I’m praying she can adjust to school and will be emotionally strong enough and wise enough to deal with students and teachers. I do my best to equip them to handle people and certain situations, but I’m always concerned if they’ll be able to stand firm in their beliefs … [Read more...]

Sermon: “Willing to Risk it All”

My pastor, the Rev. Dr. Lee P. Washington, is retiring next year, and I'm so grateful for the years, 15 to be exact, I've spent observing, sitting under and learning from him. I appreciate his spirit and willingness to listen even when I shared my folly with him over the years. His ministry and reputation have made it so that wherever I go, I'm received with open arms because people know I've been … [Read more...]

Product Review for Back to School: Miss Zee African-American Book Bag

I first learned about Miss Zee from Facebook. I saw an advertisement of one of the book bags, and I always wanted to purchase one. Miss Zee sells book bags, decor and stationary with African-American characters on them. Now that my youngest is going to kindergarten in September, I decided to give Miss Zee a try. Well, my daughter's book bag arrived in the mail last week, and I'm in love. I am … [Read more...]

The Father Factor: Lessons from Biking & Blending a Family

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” Ephesians 6:4 (NIV). I spent my formative years with my mother. By the time my father became a steady presence in my life, I had many walls up because of his absence the first 14 years of my life. As a result, I never developed a normal father/daughter relationship. I don’t know … [Read more...]

Homemade Ground Turkey Empanadas

I LOVE Latin food. I love Peruvian, Cuban and Mexican food. Recently, I discovered one of my favorite lunchtime restaurants makes chicken empanadas. I've had them at least twice now, and they're great. However, I wanted to see if I could make them myself. I know grocery stores sell frozen ones, but frozen food has so much salt. I want fresh food. So, here's my attempt at empanadas. Click HERE for … [Read more...]

Product Review: Silk Flowers Direct Provided by CSI Gypsum3D™

One of the privileges blogging provides me is the opportunity to try out great new products. After seven years of blogging and reviewing products, I have yet to be disappointed. CSI Gypsum3D™ sent me products from Silk Flowers Direct, and I am impressed. Usually, I’m an advocate for real flowers and real plants. I used to have many plants in my house, but my move back to Maryland killed … [Read more...]

Emerging from the Ashes

I drive by this house every day. When I first saw it, it did not have a second floor. I don’t know what happened—fire, natural disaster, or general wear and tear—but this house used to be one floor with the top half ripped off. Exposed to the elements, this house was open and vulnerable. It was downright ugly and an eye sore. I’m sure its lack of curb appeal bothered the neighbors. It probably … [Read more...]

MADD Volunteer Work, Noah on Patrol and How God Uses Us to Intercede in the Earth

I volunteer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). I do so because a drunk driver hit my husband when he was a teenager and the traumatic brain injury he sustained as a result caused his premature death. This week MADD asked me to attend a press conference about the launch of a new initiative in Montgomery County, M.D. to deter DUI offenders from repeating their offense. The initiative is … [Read more...]

Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Video Is Also an Indictment of Today’s Church

I'm grateful to contribute this piece to Sojourners. https://sojo.net/articles/childish-gambino-s-america-video-also-indictment-today-s-church   … [Read more...]

Radio Appearance: Married Men Don’t Talk

So, I participated in the "Married Men Don't Talk" radio show. They wanted to hear about my experience as a widow and how that affects my dating life now. My segment began an hour into the show. Like to hear it? Here it goes: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mmdt/2018/05/02/abandonment-ladies-night     … [Read more...]

Home-buying Millennials: Three Buyer’s Remorse Triggers

Millennials sometimes regret buying homes. If you're getting cold feet because you fear getting the same feeling, don't back out. Rather, watch out for the triggers. It’s no secret that millennials aren’t the most eager generation when it comes to home ownership. Not only are they shying away from getting their own property, but they feel regretful when they do secure one. A … [Read more...]