Friday, April 24, 2015

Daycare Guilt or any kind of this.

The guilt a parent feels, though it probably doesn't have an expiration date, it might feel heavier or lighter some days.  Something I struggle with a lot lately is daycare guilt.  It's a thing, trust me.  Sometimes (today) I feel like, I'm in a complete cloud of it and it's fogging up my ability to see things clearly.  All kinds of shit starts racing through my head...the main thought being, am I doing the right thing?  Should I be working full time and providing Landry with a stable future financially, but consequently be away from him 40 hours a week during the most influential times of his life?  Or should I give up my career, live strapped for cash, but be home with him 24/7?

Look, I hate money, hate it.  It means NOTHING to me, but unfortunately you need some to get by in the world.  And apparently, the more you have, the easier it is to do a lot of things that will benefit you in life, like go to is huge to me, especially this day and age.  And I can't tell you how important it is to me that Landry (and future children of mine) get to experience college, if they want to.  It was one of the best experiences of my life, it helped shape and mold me, and I learned so much there, not just from the classes and professors, but true life lessons that are still important in the present time.  So, I don't want to look back and re-read this blog post and think, wow, it really sounds like I have chosen having money over spending time with Landry, because that just ain't it.

I don't work for myself...I work so that we can take Landry on vacations where we can create memories as a family that will last longer than a lifetime.  I work so that Landry's future is as stable as it can be given what we have.  I work for him, not for anything or anyone else.  So I can provide my very best for him.  I bet you reading this is thinking, "I get it, you don't have to explain why you have to work"...but for me, sometimes I need to talk (pray) about things, and/or write about things to make things clear in my vision again.

If I had more stability for his future financially with just one of us working in our home, I'd gladly give up my career to be a stay-at-home-mom.  Not because they have it easier, not because they don't really work, cuz that's bullshit, they do just as much if not more work in a span of 8 hours than I do coming into an office-type setting, but because they don't miss their children on a daily basis.  They don't have to say goodbye every morning.  They don't have to entrust someone else to give their best care to their children.  They don't have to worry about what germy kids will be playing with their kid every, single, day.  It's hard...and don't get me started on missing milestones, whew, I just can't mentally handle that right now.  But do you see where the guilt comes from? 

So, when I'm feeling this way...which is guilty, ashamed, anxious...I turn to the One that can rid me of these terrible feelings.  Whether it's quotes taken from scripture and rewritten on pretty backgrounds, floating around on Pinterest, or it's actually grabbing the bible and hunting down the scripture that I know will help you cope with the feelings I am experiencing.  I do both, except, I have a bible app on my phone that I use instead.  Oh and I cry, sometimes even weep, and I just let myself feel those things because God is close to the broken hearted. 

If you're ever feeling this way, maybe these will help you liked they help comfort me:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Isaiah 44:22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you
Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love, and self-control
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Psalm 94:19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 3:5 I lay down and slept; and woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

That last one I hold dear to my heart for sure, because anytime I lie awake letting guilt, anxiety, fear, or worry overcome me, I remember that the Lord always wakes me feeling lighter.  He takes it all away and I can start the day completely free of the burdened I carried the day before.  So just stop wasting time, confess your sins, and cast your cares to God, there is nothing bigger than Him.  I am just so thankful for His unconditional, unfailing love.  

Influenster Bella VoxBox | ecotools 1219 Mattifying Brush

Influenster sent me a gem...a complete gem.  I LOVE this brush.  It's the 1219 Mattifying Finish face brush by ecotools.  The brush is so beautiful for real, look at how cute this thing is.

It's so soft and it applied my pressed powder beautifully.  I love so many things about this brush. One is that it's made with soft, cruelty-free bristles, recycled aluminum ferrules (the part that holds the bristles to the brush handle), and bamboo handles.  I just can't get over the colorful and patterned ferrule, love!  It's packaging is also reusable and made with natural materials. 

The shape of the brush unique, it is not a dense robust brush, it's a flat brush and it works to contour or highlight as well as brushing loose or pressed powder all over your face.  I like that it's versatile in that manner and that you can decide what you want to use it for, it's nice to have options. 

So the thing that is a deal breaker for me with brushes is shedding.  If I'm applying make up, it's at mach speed, before running out of the house, and I don't have time to stop and pick make up bristles off my face.  This brush does not shed.  Even after washing (though be careful to wash your brushes correctly or you could compromise the life of the brush), it didn't shed.  LOVE THAT.  I can definitely see myself reaching for this brush, and in fact, I'm going to stalk the stores to see what other brushes they offer. 

If I were to rate this brush on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best brush ever in the history of everdom, I'm going to give it a 9...I would give it a 10 but I'm so loyal to my Sigma E25 blending brush and I think it will always be my favey.  But, with that being said, this brush is amazeballs and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Influenster Bella VoxBox | Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

Influenster has also graciously let me try what I consider to me my new FAVORITE product.  I am so excited to tell you guys about this one.  But before I do, I have to let you in on a little secret.  I hate sounding so insecure about my body, because truth be told, I have a great body!  It also housed a HUGE healthy baby...for real guys, I had almost 9lb baby!!!  Anyway, I'm a little thinner than I would hope to be, but my body is healthy and strong and I am proud of that.  However, I'm insecure about my legs.  For one, they are toothpicks.  But who really cares, I can deal with that. What I can't stand is that they are glow-in-the-dark white.  My legs (because of my career) never see the light of day.  I'm always wearing work pants, and on the rare occasion that I wear a skirt or dress I am very self conscious of how pale my skin is, and how you can see the pores on my legs, especially right after I shave.  In attempt to cover the pores, I use self-tanner.  You know what happens after you use self-tanner after you shave?  You fill your little pores with self-tanner and it looks even worse because now there are dark little spots all over your legs.  Ugh, how annoying.  Well, I think that I just found my summer must-have product and I see a lot more dresses/skirts in my future.

Influenster sent me Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs "Leg Make Up" in the shade "Medium" to test out, and seriously I'm SO glad they did.  As soon as I saw it was like, "Whoa, wait, I though this only came in an aerosol can."  I've seen it at my local drugstore in the aerosol, but I have not seen it liquid form before.  The directions state to squeeze a quarter size of the product into your hand and smooth on evenly to your legs and feet, to rub it in completely and use sparingly around knees and ankles.  Allow to set before dressing.  And it washes of easily with soap, water, and a wash cloth. 

I was a bit nervous that it was in the shade "Medium", as I stated previously, I have white legs, whiter than white.  I thought medium might be too dark, but to be honest, I think it's perfect.  It gave my legs some color.  It also pretty much covered up those unsightly pores.  They are still visable, but because of the even tone it created, they are definitely less noticeable. I  seriously don't think I have anything negative to say about this product, except for one, and I'm not 100% sure about this.  And I'll get to that one after I'm done raving about it first. 

Like I said, it added a bit of color to my legs, and they don't look orange or streaky.  Huge plus.  It also washes off at the end of the day (which can be a good or bad thing depending on where you are going).  You obviously wouldn't be able to wear this swimming and expect it to stay on, even though it does claim it's water resistant.  I believe that it would wear off after swimming though I haven't tried it because it's 37F the end of April.  <---Not kidding, wtf Mother Nature.  It also rubbed in easily so there were no streaks.  It has a pleasant scent, it's not perfumey at all, or have a nasty tanner smell, just a fresh scent.  There are no sparkles or anything, so if I can compare it to anything, it's like foundation for your legs.  Which is a pretty neat concept.  We use foundation on our faces to hide flaws, redness, etc, why not use it on your legs to hide the same? 

Okay so the only thing I have an issue with is that I find contradicting information on the internet as to weather Sally Hansen products, this product in particular is tested on animals.  I've found sites that say they absolutely do not, and the next site I find says that they do.  It does not say anything on the packaging that they do not test animals, which a lot of the times, means that they do.  I do not support products that are tested on animals, so if this one is, I will be so highly disappointed as I do happen to really love this product.    So if anyone reading this has factual information whether or not this product is tested on animals, please let me know.

If I were to rate this product on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best leg make up ever in the history of everdom, I would rate it a 10.  I'm really excited to continue to use this product for summer for flawless looking legs.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Influenster Bella VoxBox | Rimmel London Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss

     I'm just going to get this out in the open and admit it.  I, Kyle Lara, am a mascara hoarder.  I have over 10 (I didn't count but I know it's over 10) mascaras in my make up drawer and 2 in my purse.  I just have yet to find the perfect, holy grail, mascara that I have been yearning for.  So anytime I get a chance to sample a new mascara, I'm beyond grateful because it means I'm one step closer to finding my holy grail mascara or that I'm able to decide that this one is as stupid as the others I've tried and can be given away or tossed.

     Influenester sent me Kate Moss's new mascara called, "Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss" by Rimmel London in the shade 004 Eye Rock Jet Black.  Off the bat, the packaging is nice.  It's gun metal gray with red print that gives it a sharp look, again, I'm loving Kate's signature with the heart...cute/girly touch.  Another thing that I noticed right of the bat was how light in weight the product felt in my hands.  Now, not that a tube of mascara should ever feel heavy, but this just felt extremely light in comparison to the other 3 million mascaras I have.

     The most unique feature of this mascara is the brush.  It's called a "Broken Heart Brush" and it's shaped like 1/2 a heart, and as it tapers to the end, the brush gets smaller in width.  I have never used a brush like this before and was intrigued by it's shape.  It's also quite a large brush, so if you like tiny brushes, this is not the mascara for you.  If you like big brushes, you might want to give this one a try.

     The formula of the mascara is pretty perfect in terms of dryness/wetness.  I can't stand putting on a mascara that is so wet that it gets everywhere or so that dry that it feels like I'm pulling at my lashes just to get a coat on them.  I went on nicely, however, I can't say much for it adding length to my lashes.  I feel that at most, it added the darkness I had hoped for (I have pretty light lashes) and some fullness.  I wasn't blown away with the mascara, like "HOLY MOLY LOOK AT THESE BAD BOYS", but it did emphasize the fact that I do have some lashes. 

     What I do really like about the mascara, and this is a huge thing for me, is that it doesn't transfer or flake.  That's the biggest deal breaker for me when it comes to mascaras.  I can not deal with mascaras that leave me with black freckles all over my cheeks or raccoon eyes.  What I also don't like about some mascaras is that they leave my lashes feeling stiff.  This mascara left my lashes feeling flexible and soft.  It also doesn't clump, which I can't stand either.  I don't want to walk around with black balls of goop on the ends of my lashes, ya heard?

  Below, you will see photos of my before and after.  Over all, I'm impressed with the formula.  I don't think I will repurchase the mascara in the future since I'm still searching for the mascara that I can't live without.  Though, I will be reaching for this mascara as it's still worth using because of the fact that I won't have to worry about smudges or flakes. 

  If I were to rate this mascara from 1 to 10, 10 being the best mascara ever in history of everdom, I'm going to give it a solid 7 out of 10.  If it added more length, I think the number would be a bit higher.  With that being said, I still like it, a lot. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Influenester Bella VoxBox | Dove Chocolate Covered Whole Blueberries

     I bet your wondering why I didn't grab this product to try first...cuz, duh, CHOCOLATE!  But hey, it was 6:00 AM when I opened my Bella VoxBox and I just didn't think it was a good choice for a breakfast food.  With that being said, I may have opened this bag of deliciousness before nine o'clock in the morning.  I'll never tell.

     Thank you Influenster for including this treat in April's Bella VoxBox.  What can I say, it's chocolate covered blueberries...what's there not to like?  I can honestly say that I did enjoy these.  However, I do want to compare them to the Brookside brand that has a similar product. 

      FYI - My most favorite brand of chocolate is Dove, hands down.  If ever I want a sweet treat, and I happen to meander down the candy aisle at the market, I will grab a bag of the silky smooth Dove Milk Chocolate and Caramel Promises.   I was really excited to try these chocolate covered blueberries by Dove because of how much I do enjoy their chocolate. However, if I'm being honest, the Brookside Açai with Blueberry dark chocolates are better.  There are two reasons I think that they are better.  One reason is the texture. With the Dove, you are getting exactly what it says, a chocolate covered blueberry.  And it's yummy!  There is no doubt about that. But with the Brookside you are getting more of a Açai/blueberry flavored gel ball covered in chocolate.  I don't know if that makes any sense, but you just have to see for yourself what I mean. And I actually prefer the texture of the gel-like berry flavored thingy in the Brookside chocolate over the texture of Dove's chocolate covered blueberry.  But before you write me off as a total weirdo, I have one other qualm with the Dove chocolate covered blueberries.  The blueberry flavor in the Dove chocolate was a bit muffled, it's VERY chocolaty and I have a hard time even tasting the blueberry unless I suck off all the chocolate and then chew the actual blueberry separately.  With the Brookside brand, I feel the fruit flavor is very detectable and makes the chocolate taste even better.

     Either way, it's chocolate covered fruit and I'm thankful for getting the opportunity to try these.  They were good, but I've had better. 

     On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best chocolate treat ever in the history of everdom, I give Dove's Chocolate Covered Blueberries a 5 out 10. 

Influenster Bella VoxBox | Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick

Hey guys!  Influenster was so kind to send me their April Bella VoxBox to review and I'm honored to get the opportunity to test out the products that they sent.  First off, can I just say that I'm a product junkie and more often than not I'm suckered into buying something because I heard someone (usually on YouTube) talking about it, then I bought it and it totally wasn't what I thought it was going to be.  So I PROMISE...I pinky swear, that I will give you my complete honest opinion of everything that I test out. 

     The first product that I grabbed from the box was the Rimmel London lipstick by Kate Moss.  The shade is number 33.  The plastic black packaging is sleek and  I love the little detail of Kate's signature on the cap (*weird fact* I feel connected with anyone that signs with a heart in their signature because I do the same).  My favorite part about the packaging (minus the cute heart) is that the cap clicks closed.  I know this isn't a big a deal to some people, but for me, I personally carry lipstick in my purse for the most part.  I have tried a few lipsticks that didn't have a tight closure and I ended up getting lipstick everywhere and that does not tickle my fancy.

     This is my very first Rimmel lipstick ever.  I was interested in seeing what the color pay off would be like, how it wore through out the day, and what the formulation would be like.  We will start with the color.  In my opinion it's a bright bubble-gum pink. It's not completely matte, it's less than what I would consider a satin finish, though it has a soft and subtle sheen.  It's definitely a color I would use more in the spring and summer due to it's brightness and cheery tone.  It's not opaque on it's first swipe, I did go over my lips 3x to get the color pay off that I thought looked best.  I think the color pay off with this lipstick is very good.

The first picture is swatched without a flash, the second is with a flash. 

     When I first applied the lipstick I noticed a lovely scent.  It has a subtle strawberry scent to it.  For some reason, it conjures up my memories of when I was very young and had a dolly who had a similar scent.  I can't lie, I loved that.  I can't lie about this either, I wasn't really expecting to like the formulation of the lipstick.  I associated Rimmel products to be lower-end drugstore product and have never heard anything extraordinary about them.  I am honestly very pleasantly surprised with the formulation of this lipstick.  I thought it would be chalky or drying. The lipstick feels great on my lips.  It doesn't feel sticky on my lips, and it doesn't go on thick and goopy.  I am not having to grab a napkin to blot the excess off.  It's a no-fuss product and I love that.  I did have to go over my lips more than once to get the color pay off I thought looked best, but I think that if I were going for a very natural look, that one swipe would give you just enough tint to brighten you up.

    I should mention to y'all that I have the driest lips EVER.  Ugh, it's a real issue when applying lipsticks that the lipstick doesn't accentuate the dry skin flakes on my lips.  I'm happy to say that this lipstick did not stick to my flakey disgusting dry patches (I'm painting such a pretty picture of myself aren't I?).  It glided right over them, and in fact, kinda camouflaged them so that they weren't that noticeable. Major PLUS.

     I applied the lipstick at 6:30AM.  Since then I have drank coffee, water, ate breakfast, and drank more water.  I didn't have to reapply the lipstick until after I ate lunch when I noticed that most of it has worn off.  I would say that I got good five hours out of that first application, which to me, is also pretty impressive.   

     On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best lipstick I ever used in the history of everdom, I'm giving this Rimmel London Lipstick a 7 out of 10.  I'm very impressed with it over all and I already see myself checking out the other shades next time I hit up the drugstore. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anxiety and how I deal...

     Anxiety is something I've dealt with most of my adult life.  Sometimes I wonder if I experienced it as a child and just didn't recognize it until I was older.  The way I explain my anxiety is that I feel it creep over me like a dark cloud.  It feels like happiness and calmness is no longer a natural feeling, I feel like they slip away from my grasp.  And I can feel the anxiety building up slowly, stronger and stronger until I either cry (which usually happens first) or I have a full blown panic attack.  I haven't had an attack in a very long time (4 or 5 years ago). 
     Back ground of my anxiety and where it really stems from:
      When I was in college I had come home for the weekend because my dog passed away.  I was so sad, he was a family member, but we are the type of family that NEEDS a dog in the home, it doesn't feel like a home without a 4-Legged Family Member.  So I wanted to be there when my family said good bye to our beloved Sparkey and be there when we welcomed a new dog into the family.  While I was home, my best friend that grew up with me had a horrible, tragic freak accident and died.  The fact that I was home when this happened was a blessing.  I can't imagine what it would have been like to get news like that being away at college and having to make a 2 1/2 hour drive home.  My world was rocked, and twelve years later, hear I am, and I have not been the same since.  Fast forward two years after the death of my friend, I met someone.  I fell in love.  HARD.  I was definitely head over heels for this guy and though were not together very long, I was hoping he was the one that I'd spend the rest of my life with.  We dated for 8 or 9 months when our relationship came to a very abrupt end (on his part).  It was just one day, over.  He stopped returning my calls/texts.  Retrospect, it's because I found out that he was with another girl practically the entire time that we were together.  And in fact, his new girlfriend picked up his phone once and told me to stop calling, that her boyfriend thought of me as a joke and that I was a lost little puppy.  Even typing  those words out still hurt my feelings...girls can be awful and mean creatures.  Okay, so can you imagine my state of mind?  I was devastated.  Beyond devastated.  I would wake up in the morning and cry while I showered, cried while I tried to apply make up, cried while I tried to chew some cheerios.  I'd cry on my way into work and then I'd reapply my make up and put on a fake smile for eight excruciating hours.  The minute I'd get in my car to go home I'd break, and start crying again, harder, hot tears burning my cheeks.  When I'd get home, I would run past my parents or siblings so I wouldn't have to face them and go into my bedroom, close the door, and cry until I fell asleep.  I felt broken and I didn't think the pieces of my heart would ever find their way back together again.  Mom's know when something is wrong. Mom's know okay? So she busted in my room and sat down on my bed and begged me to tell her what I was going through.  And when I told her she said she wanted me to see a counselor/psycholgist.  I was apprehensive, I thought that made me seem "crazy", but at this point, I knew I wasn't okay. 
     I met with a psychiatrist, and within an hour of us talking about my past he suggested that I might be dealing with separation anxiety from my best friends death and that the feelings I experienced with his death were reoccurring with the break up I had just gone through.  I was put on a low dose of Lexapro.  I felt "better" within a few weeks and my life started to not feel so empty anymore.  I started to feel more like myself.  I found myself reaching out to friends again and going out with them.  I was more social at work and didn't find it exhausting to strike up conversations with people.   Overall, being happy didn't feel so far away, I was smiling, genuinely smiling again.  I was eventually able to wean off of any medication and I've been medication free for the past four years.
     A couple of months had gone by and I met Cris, my husband.  Cris and I met at my place of employment, by the fax machine actually.  I still laugh over how we met.  It wasn't romantic or anything, it was just God's timing and I love that.  Cris's outlook on life, energy, sense of humor, and personality was magnetic.  He just pulled me in and we fell in love.  Almost three years later, we were married and spent everyday since then supporting each other, even through the hardest of times.
     Okay so back to today, present time.  Cris was laid off from his job at the end of January this year and has spent the last few weeks with Landry at home.  "Daddy day-care" if you will.  And it's been amazing.  I would come home from lunch, and there, both my boys would greet me with smiles, hugs, and kisses.  Cris was recently just hired at a new company, a great company, with a very good salary.  We have been blessed and our prayers have been answered.  But this meant that Landry was going to go back to daycare.   I was sad, sad for Landry, sad for Cris that he didn't get to spend his days with Landry anymore, and sad for me, because I loved seeing Landry on my lunch break and he's been healthy the entire time he's been home.  I woke up yesterday morning feeling "the cloud" creep in.  This was our last full day with Landry before Cris started his job today.  Well, I woke up not wanting to go to church, in fact, I just wanted to stay home and cry, and as loser-ish as that sounds, that is what I felt like doing.  I was called by God to go to church to hear the message and so I did, and it was meant for me to hear. 
     The message was all about letting go of fears and anxieties and giving them to God.  The pastor was preaching to me.  I was engulfed by God's love for me and I left church feeling so free, so comforted by His peace, and over all, confident in the Lord that my problems, worries, fears, and anxieties are not bigger than Him, and that God is in control of it all.  I'm so thankful for His love for me and so thankful for the peace He lays upon our hearts when we need it most. 
     If this blog post is anything, please let it me a reminder that no matter what we are facing today, tomorrow, or in the future, that God is with us, right there with us going through it and that He will never leave our side.  He will provide whatever it is that we need to make it through. 

To deal with my anxiety on a real level, in the moment this is what I do step by step.

1.  Recognize what I'm feeling and voice it out loud to either yourself or a "safe" person that will listen and not judge.  Example) I'm feeling scared and sad that Landry going back to daycare might make him sad or scared because he is away from Mommy and Daddy.

2.  Rationalize what is the absolute WORST case scenario:  Example) Will Landry die if he's scared or sad?  Absolutely not. 

3.  Think about what good will come out of the situation:  Example) Landry will actively be learning through out the day, making friends, becoming more social and independent.

4.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.  I do not think that there is anything more calming then when I am in prayer.  I am actively giving my worries and anxieties over to God and trusting in Him that he will carry us through.  Example) God, I thank you for always being with Landry every second of his life.  I pray that you keep him healthy, safe, and in good and trusted hands of the daycare staff.  I pray that your provide Cris and I with peace that only You can. 

I hope you found this helpful.  This is just what I do to cope in a healthy way.  Everyone of us is different I hope that you have a healthy coping mechanism for when anxiety creeps in. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Easter!

I seriously think Easter is probably one of my favorite holidays.  I think my list goes, Easter, Fourth of July, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day?  Yeah that sounds good.  I LOVE Easter and everything it stands for.  I love that it "usually" is warmer out, and you can breathe in fresh spring air.  I love that almost everywhere you look there are fresh flowers (tulips) displayed.  I love that people post cute/funny pictures of their families with the Easter Bunny.  I love getting a small basket full of goodies together for Landry.  And I love love love going to church on Easter Sunday.

Easter wasn't always this special to me.  Don't get me wrong, as a kid, I LOVED it.  I loved dying and finding Easter eggs hidden throughout the yard, and getting a basket full of goodies, and I loved the food we all ate for Easter dinner (usually ham, YUM!).  But as of recently, two years ago actually, is when I accepted God into my life and became a "reborn Christian" and this time of year will always be incredibly special for me.  I'm about to get real in this blog post, about myself, and who I was before this phenomenal day.  And being honest with you, I don't really like to talk about who I was before I knew Christ because I didn't really like myself then.  However, to fully understand the goodness of God and how He works miracles, it's good to start from the beginning. 

Two years ago, I was in a bad place (mentally and emotionally).  I was in year three of trying to have a baby.  My first IVF had JUST failed, like just a few weeks prior to this moment.  I was fragile, discouraged, heartbroken, depressed, scared, anxious, and incredibly jealous of other couples that could conceive so easily.  So when my sister-in-law who was married just six months earlier told her family on Easter that she was pregnant, I was selfishly devastated.  I came home from spending all day with my family, plopped down on the couch, where my husband proceeded to tell me that his sister let the family know that she's pregnant.  She knew I was struggling with conceiving so thought it would be better not to "surprise" me with the news and let Cris tell me privately.  Which in retrospect, was so kind and thoughtful of her.  However, in the moment of finding out, I only thought of myself and my situation.  Simultaneously, on the television, and basketball player broke his leg so severely that his bone popped out of his flesh.  It made my stomach turn (*side note, I broke my arm very severely in the 10th grade and my bone came through the skin as well and ever since then I can NOT watch anything like that).  So I ran up to my bedroom and threw myself on my bed and sobbed.  I wept.  Uncontrollably. 

In that moment I never felt so abandoned by God before.  I couldn't understand how he could bless everyone around me with a child and not me.  I felt unworthy, unloved.  It was then I truly thought about what would make me happy if I wasn't going to have kids, what would it take for me to be to okay with life.  So I prayed through my tears, "God, if you won't bless me with a child, then please allow to me to be genuinely happy when other people tell me they are pregnant.  I can't fake it anymore and live with this hate in my heart."  After that prayer, I felt the tears starting to slow down and I felt like I could breathe easier, that the elephant sitting on my chest disappeared.  But overall, I felt drained and so I went to bed that night not knowing what the future held and trying to be okay with that.

The next morning, on my way into work, I was driving near the airport and the sun spilled into my window so intensely that it instantly warmed my bones.  In that moment, on that road, is when I felt God.  My heart didn't feel like it weighed 500lbs anymore.  I felt lighter, less depressed, less scared about my future.  I felt that I had to text my SIL and congratulate her, genuinely.  And so my hand moved across my phone keyboard without me even thinking about what I was going to say.  I just typed out, "Congratulations, I'm happy for you and I'm really excited about becoming an aunt again." Little did I know how close her and I would become in the following months. 

Four months later, I was pregnant.

I can tell you, that it is not an easy journey becoming a reborn Christian.  Once I felt God that day, I became almost obsessive about learning more about His word, and what it's truly like to follow after Jesus.  I submerged myself in daily devotionals and reading the bible.  I prayed prayers of thanks, for things I never once said thank you for before.  I found myself praying for EVERYONE (I'm not kidding, I would drive pass someone on the street and pray for them as I drove by).  It's like once I became aware of how close God is to us, I felt like I needed to pray every minute of everyday because obviously prayer works.  Since then I've become a little more well-versed in the relationship I have with God and I think we have an understanding that as long as I have a thankful heart and I can see my blessings, help others in my community, and share His love with others, that I'm on the right path.  I don't need to drown myself in the bible to the point that it's overwhelming.   Learning more about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit is supposed to be enlightening, enjoyable, and fun, not overwhelming.  So I take things one day at a time.  I attend church every Sunday, not because it's the right thing to do, but because I want to.  Because church makes me feel closer to the unconditional love that is God, and it's probably the most amazing feeling there is, to feel close to Him.  I feel fulfilled by His love. 

I literally thank God every day for my life now, for blessing me with my family, my friends, my home, my pets, my job/boss/coworkers, food, etc.  And I see things so clearly now.  A friend once told me, "If anything tragic ever happened to my husband and kids I would question my faith in God." It broke my heart but my response was, "If anything tragic ever happened to my husband and son, I would CLING to God."  And my response surprised her and she said that my outlook is so positive.  And yes, I do think I have a positive attitude, but I have a positive attitude because I have faith in God. 

Each person you know, everyone around you, everyone on your facebook feed, EVERYONE has a history, a story of where they are came from and what their journey is.  Each person has a choice to either believe or not believe.  I pray that everyone I know and love chooses to believe.  We are given free will so that our choice is our responsibility and that we can take pride in choosing to be believers. We can take responsibility in our lifestyles with our choices.  We can have hope in the midst of tragedy. We can attribute that everything in our life is for a divine reason and that one day we will be with our Lord and Savior...because He Is Risen.  Thanks be to God.

Happy Easter everyone.  Thank you for taking the time out to read about my personal testimony.  I love you all so much, you all are a part of my life, no matter how big or small a part you play.  I appreciate your kindness and support. 

Landry is ONE!

We celebrated Landry's birthday on his actual birthday March 28th.  I can't believe he is one year old.  I know every parent says that about their child on every single birthday they have, but it's true.  I think it's a bit sad how fast a year a goes, but at the same time, completely amazing!  To see an infant that is completely helpless go from a sleeping/pooping/eating machine to an independent explorer is incredible.  Watching a baby turn into a little person that has so much personality is such a gift.  It's truly indescribable how much joy Landry has brought into our lives.  I walk into my house after work to see Landry in his highchair finishing up dinner and the smile that appears on his face when he sees his mommy is the highlight of my life.  We just love each other so much it sometimes feels like my heart could explode. 

Landry had a "camping" themed birthday this year.  Complete with a tent, a fishing game, and a "Make your own Trail Mix" take home bar.  I really think everyone enjoyed themselves.  It was just family, very small, quaint, laid-back type of party.  And until Landry has "friends" of his own from school and what not, I think that his parties will continue to be this way.  He was able to spend quality time with family that he doesn't see very often because we are all so spread out. 

Here are a few pictures from the very special day that we are so blessed to celebrate.