Fall favorites!

I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it! I recently had a baby and am in blissful exhausted land. Sometimes my home can feel like a dark hole, and it helps my mental health immensely to try to get ready in the mornings, with makeup even. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I feel good! Since I haven’t posted in a while, I wanted to share some of my favorite fall beauty products. 

For my birthday, my mother gave me a beautiful black gift card to Sephora. I was so stocked up on makeup that I held onto it for a while, and waited for the Sephora to release their holiday goodies. I’m glad I was patient. I picked up the Kat Von D mini lipstick set.  


Wow! These are the most pigmented lipsticks in the world, I think. They go on beautifully and stay forever. The color you see in those tubes? Yes, that is the color that will go on your lips. No sheerness at all. My favorite way to wear them is to put a buxom lip gloss over it for some shine. It changes the color, too. I have worn all of the colors, even the purples, but here’s the secret. I have worn the purples as eyeliners. Use them on a bare lid with an angle brush, and they work just like a liquid liner. They stay forever too! So fun, and a good challenge for lipstick-shy me.

My other purchase is amazing. It is a Becca mini highlighter set in opal. It came with a powder and liquid highlighter. I cannot use it enough. Highlight gives my exhausted face life. I use the liquid on the inside corner of my eyes and brow bone. I use the powder on my cheekbones after putting on blush. So. Amazing. 


Finally. Finally though. Is the palette of palettes. I got this for myself a couple months ago for half off with some gift cards I had. It’s the Anastasia Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette. I was nervous for the warm shades, but the reviews promised it flattered everyone, and the shadow consistency is amazing. 

Well, kids, they weren’t lying.


I don’t know how long the shadows will stay this awesome, but they are soft, buttery and easy to blend. Even though most are matte, the colors are so pretty that you wouldn’t know. Plus, matte shadows are more flattering on my tired eyes.

So here I am, with all of my favorites on, looking perfectly exhausted, rocking a non-professional application, and I feel amazing! It’s so fun to have pretty makeup! 


Hope you’re having a lovely fall. 

Love, a basic white girl. 😘

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Las Vegas?

I was asked to do a post for the misses blog, and I need to write anyway! I’m at week 37 of a miracle pregnancy, and currently hobble around like a pirate.. I’m a little sore. I stay down, and I’ve had a lot of time to think. 

Anxiety can be a prevalent go-to emotion for me. I could write on any number of my concerns: massive, worldwide contention, ambivalent feelings toward back-to-school season, money management, keeping house, future career pathways, newborn babies? But instead, I want to escape all that and share some trip tips. 

Namely, Las Vegas. My husband and I used to frequent there once a year. We last went two years ago. Once, someone asked what a person who doesn’t gamble could possibly find appealing about that sinful city. Frankly, it all comes down to the fact that Las Vegas intrigues me. It’s one of the most well-known cities in the world, and it’s about a 6-7 hour drive away.  That really isn’t bad for a long weekend getaway. At first, I wanted to find out if it was really worth exploring. What’s so great about that city if you don’t drink and don’t gamble? Won’t it spontaneously erupt into flames one day? Would a good parent really expose their kid to it? 

I love it. Usually. And here’s why you might, too.

The Hotels 

There are so many hotels in Vegas competing for attention. They want gamblers to stay, so the prices are much lower in comparison to other cities. Sure, a night at the Bellagio can start at a steep $229, but this is a high class, specialty, Oceans Eleven hotel. In most any other city, you’re looking at a nice chain hotel for that cost. I liked the New York hotel because it was less expensive, clean, and still mostly central on the strip, so we could walk to the other attractions. 

Look. At. This. Pool. We had it all to ourselves. 



The Food

People. There are so many high class restaurants here. Literally, anything famous you’ve heard of is probably in Vegas. We splurged once and went to a swanky restaurant where we had two waiters. One stood in a corner and watched us, and any time we looked like we needed something, he would magically appear. The other made sure all the food was perfect. We usually choose a buffet, and they are amazing. They have to be, because of competition and gamblers. We just smile and enjoy the benefits!

Free and Inexpensive Attractions

All you need to do is consult Google, and you will be presented with 100 free things to do and see in Las Vegas. My personal favorite is always going to the gardens at the Bellagio. We window shop as well, and just enjoy the pretty malls without making expensive purchases. It totally entertains us. 
There are hundreds of shows to go see in Las Vegas. The most popular are the cirque de soilei shows. It took us years to finally justify the cost of their cheapest show, Mystere, and we loved it. It was incredibly impressive! One year we got nosebleed seats at Alicia Keys, and loved that, too. There are many comedy and variety shows that are appropriate for all audiences, and I think it’s worth it to book one special thing like that. But not necessary! 


In essence, most of our memories in Las Vegas are of wandering around, people watching, eating good food, and just being together in warm weather! 

Cons of Las Vegas

Of course, some people hate the city, and you deserve to know why if you haven’t been there! It’s so good to be prepared for the headaches that you will almost always encounter before planning a trip. 

1. The sidewalks. If you look up, you will be amazed at the lavishly decorated hotels and casinos. If you look forward, you will find plenty of interesting people to chat about later. But sometimes, we must look down to avoid tripping on a curb. They are littered with inappropriate ads. It’s against the law for the distributors of ads to talk as they hand them out, but they are allowed to make clicking noises. They follow mostly men a couple feet, trying to hand them the ad for their “entertainment.” These solicitors go mostly ignored, but it’s annoying, degrading, and horrible. Kids walking the strip is questionable for this reason, and because there are so many people, they could get lost. 

2. The drivers. The combination of tourists, local, irritated drivers, and taxi drivers is downright terrifying. We usually park at Caesar’s palace because it is free parking and pretty close off the freeway. Once you’re in town, get parked and out of your car as soon as you can. Crossing intersections is usually pretty safe, because hoardes of people cross at once, providing a nice buffer. 🙂 

3. The smoke. It is allowed in the casinos, and you usually have to cut through them to get to your hotel, show, or restaurant. So book it and hold your breath. 

4. The crowds and partiers. Of course, many people go to Vegas to be wild. You will be exposed to weird or intoxicated people. Most people quietly mind their own business, even when drunk. I’m just saying, once you get around dinner time, watch out. You will know when “it’s happening”. Suddenly, people go from fanny packs and visors to 5 inch heels, 3 inch skirts, and all out glam. The party guys usually stay in their same outfits. Sometimes these people are obnoxious, and sometimes I feel uneasy, like something bad might happen. So, if I’m feeling nervous, we stick close to our hotel, have dinner, and keep to ourselves. Like old people. 

Is Vegas okay for kids?

I have only brought my daughter with us there when she was a baby, during the day, in a Moby wrap. Which was awesome. Everyone went crazy over her, because who brings a baby to Vegas? We did also take her to Serendipity for lunch when we were staying in St. George, and one other time for a quick daytrip to the Bellagio Gardens. If you want to have a family vacation there, I would recommend choosing a hotel that has a kid friendly pool, lots of restaurants, and kid friendly attractions. Mandalay Bay tends to be a favorite for that. It is on the south end of the strip. I wouldn’t go wandering up and down the strip with kids. Choose a pretty set schedule with shows, go visit circus circus, and take taxis between casinos as it is not too costly. 

Overall, I think there is a lot to be said for Vegas, and it can be an awesome choice, especially for the couple who needs a quick getaway. There’s plenty to do for even the most conservative of visitors. I cherish all the memories we have there, and look forward to going again! 


What do you like to do in Vegas?

Strength

For those who don’t know, my husband and I finally achieved success in our 5 plus year battle against infertility. I won’t go over the journey we took, because I’ve done that already on this blog. 

That’s right! I’m pregnant!! I am so blessed that it worked. It worked. It was our last chance, and it worked. 

Since I gave my body over to infertility procedures, and my heart to the emotional agony, I expected, and maybe I can say, I deserved, a joyful, magazine-worthy pregnancy. With my other child, I had scares, but it was pretty easy. 

It was also 7 years ago. 

The blessed pregnancy began in disbelief, and it took me a while to accept that I could relax – we had done it! I began to be hard on myself for not being happier. I was anxious and had severe, nightly, panic attacks. Whenever I could, I caressed my baby belly and cried with joy.

Soon, the physical toll kicked in. By only 6 weeks, I was so out of breath and exhausted that I would get dizzy spells at work. I could barely manage stairs and basic tasks. It felt like all the treatments up until then had decided to show their side effects in full swing. I was so lucky I could quit, but I don’t know had I been compelled to work, if I could. 

The day after I quit, during dinner out with friends, I suffered a massive, and I mean massive, hemorrhage. I was 9 weeks, and we knew it was over. We ran to the ER, and when we finally got the ultrasound, I told Mike, “I don’t know what else to say or do. I give up. But it’ll be okay. It has to be. But I really don’t know how I’ll move on.” Suddenly, we saw the gummy bear baby, oblivious to the trauma, alive!!! We cried in joy. I went home under bed rest and extreme care. 

I continued to bleed for weeks. I didn’t do much. I wasn’t a fun parent. I couldn’t even cook. My husband picked up a lot of slack. 

Yet, this little fighter stayed. 

I am 28 weeks, 5 days pregnant. This baby is staying. The panic attacks have subsided a bit, but still come severe, and to the point where I wonder if we should go to the hospital so I can breathe. 

I can barely go up my stairs still, I am incredibly weak, breathless, and dizzy. I feel very ill daily where I can’t but lay down until it passes. I have severe varicose veins that will require 2 surgeries once the baby is here. I will bleed sometimes, and have lots of contractions. Nights of chest pain and numb shoulders. There is heartburn, headaches and all that usual stuff. Mostly, what gets me, is how weak I feel. I get sad that I can’t do normal pregnant mommy things. I can’t usually cook, clean, do laundry, or go places. I see other pregnant moms do normal things and I compare myself to them. I barely see friends because it’s hard to do much. I can’t do more than an hour of church before I get very sick. My brain is convinced I’m not a good pregnant person. That I’m weak. And that I’m somehow a failure for not having a more joyful pregnancy! Some days (during panic attacks), I have actually been convinced that I might die. It’s ridiculous. 

But then I videotape my belly moving. I talk to my baby and feel him kicking the crap out of me and  honestly LOVE IT. I have my child touch my belly and we laugh and talk about how life will change once baby is here. I touch my beautiful belly constantly. I sometimes stop, stunned, and realize I’m pregnant! I rejoice! 

I can’t do much for some reason. For some reason, this has been a very difficult pregnancy. But I am housing this baby. This fighter has found a home in my body. My body is (gratefully) doing all the pregnant things it’s supposed to do. It didn’t expel the baby like I thought it would. This is just what has happened. I couldn’t have willed it one way or another. But I am SO grateful for my body regardless. I am proud of my body. I take the moments I can and try to see them in full color: WONDERFUL. And the bad moments, I can’t deny, they are hard – BUT – I would much rather be here than still lost in the why of infertility. I can do this, easily. I just need to be nothing but positive toward myself. 

I just realized, my body has been through a lot, and I should be patient with it. And maybe that’s why it’s been a tricky few months. 

I love this baby so much. Thank you for staying. 

Motherhood Monologues – Growing up 

I thought I would have a handle on it by now. 

Before marriage: I had been living on my own for 3 1/2 years off hot pockets, random date nights, and working 4 jobs simultaneously. I could sort of bake cookies and make salads. But sometimes I would chop up the wooden spoon in the electric mixer. Or almost chop my finger clean off while cutting tomatoes. I didn’t clean often. I wasn’t a homemaker yet. I was sort of a mess. But I worked and schooled. 

For the longest time in early marriage, I thought that being a grown up meant cooking nightly, doing dishes, doing laundry, paying bills and staying on top of the budget. I thought I had to automatically transition to 60’s housewife.

I hated myself, because as newlyweds we ate out almost nightly, we had days where the dishes were so piled up we would shove them in the oven when company came over. Sometimes we forgot we did this and turned on the oven.🙈 Laundry? Ugh. Bills did get paid, and some savings happened. But I’m pretty sure we ate much of our budget at Applebee’s and Little Caesars. Barf. So then I would feel guilty about the eating out, go to the grocery store and overbuy groceries that would spoil. 

Looking back, I can’t believe how hard I was on myself. I had achieved so much, but I was trying to transition immediately from one person to another. 

I worked full time until I became a mommy. When that happened, I was so lucky to stay at home! We were poor, and it was a simple time of life. I didn’t go anywhere much because I didn’t want to spend money, and I didn’t want our baby to get germs! I started cooking and cleaning more. I started bookmarking craft projects (never had been a crafter) and made cookies. 

We couldn’t stay in the 700 square feet forever, though, and moved. Our very own, new-to-us home and mortgage necessitated me working a few hours a week. My paycheck paid half the house payment. Our girl had a parent at home 100% of the time. I should’ve been proud. 

But instead, I worried about money, I wanted to do fun things occasionally. Our house was sort of a money pit. We had medical bills to pay. I had soul crushing fatigue from depression and insomnia many days, so it was hard to clean and cook. I thought I would never figure it out because I just wasn’t a grown up yet, in my definition. 

Some days I would feverishly clean and cook and move until I was sore. And I would overdo it so much that I never wanted to be domestic again. 

So now, I can look back and look at now. Yes, I have piles of laundry. Yes, I have cleaning I want to do. Yes, I feel overwhelmed with money sometimes. Of course I can be a better mom and wife. But I can’t hate myself for not being it all at once. 

Early in our marriage, I was a scholar and working. I needed things simple. When we had two full time paychecks, we relaxed more because we could. We went to concerts all the time. I never slept, so it was nice to eat out and have lots of date nights, and not have to clean up but be able to come home and do whatever we felt like. 


Whatever we felt like. 😳

As a new mom, my roles naturally changed. Did we still eat out sometimes? Absolutely! Did I still get stinky laundry from forgetting it in the wash? Of course! Did I start fires occasionally in the kitchen while cooking? Maybe?! But I was able to be more domestic, and teach myself new grown-up tricks, and that was fun! 

However I’m still hard on myself. I almost bully myself!! Today, as I wrote this, I stopped in my tracks. I never felt grown up because I was using someone else’s definition of being a grown up woman as my own. I was comparing myself to women I am not. I am not a clean freak though I would love to be. I’m not a master decorator. I am a terrible sleeper! I am not a demure wife who usually stays quiet when I want to be vocal (that would be helpful sometimes but I’m not)! So why am I holding up that as a standard? What is my definition? What is a grown up really? 

If it’s moving out and putting yourself through college, I was a grown up starting at 17. 


If it’s working full time and paying bills, well, check, I’ve done that too. 

If it’s raising a child by, you know, parenting them, I think I’m doing that. 

If it’s taking the things you struggle being amazing at, and slowly chiseling away at them, and giving yourself balance, or at least trying, then I think that is being a grown up. 

I think I might actually be there. 

Motherhood Monologues: Gifts

I am using a prompt from missesmiscellany to free-write for their blog. It asks, “what is the best gift you have ever received?”

Obviously, when we think of “the best gifts,” they are not typically tangible. My first thoughts are of when my daughter was handed to me after they cleaned her off on her birth day, and I just sobbed and said, “Hi!!” I think of the gift of marriage as my husband just looked so solemnly, innocently, and sweetly at me in the holy LDS temple, and how he took me (and all my baggage) on, cheerfully. I think about my mother, and how she took my heavy 14-year old heart to a tea party when I was let down by someone. There are so many other gifts from others that I cherish, that are probably why I’m who I am today, and not lost somewhere dark and scary.

But immediately, I saw this post, and I knew what gift was currently most precious to me. I decided to focus on a tangible gift, since the other type of gifts are so many and varied. 

When we first did IVF, it was December, 2013. Because of the medication, my ovaries produced 20 eggs that were surgically removed from my body. 9 of those eggs became beautiful embryos that we could hope would result in a live birth. We took 2 of those 9 embryos, and put them back into my body. The remaining 7 were frozen. We anticipated the positive test that would tell us our infertility journey was coming to an end, for now, at least. We received the opposite news. I was miscarrying. I had positive but decreasing HCG numbers. I had started my period and knew it was over, but had taken my daughter to accompany me for one necessary last blood draw. I was physically and emotionally deflated. I grabbed that tiny little four year old hand and held on for dear life. I bought a Diet Coke, thought for a second, and said, “Eva, let’s go to a movie!”

She squealed with delight. What movie would one see in the theaters, in December, 2013, with a little girl?

Frozen, of course. 


As Elsa sang with her frozen powers and finally “let it go,” tears streamed down my cheeks as I was literally letting go of two precious babies that just weren’t meant to be. I squared my jaw as Elsa lifted her face, powerful, unafraid, and joyous. I watched her beautiful snowflakes and crystallized castle and thought of my 7 remaining embryos, my snowflakes, waiting so safely for me. I held my daughter during the movie and rejoiced in what I had. I smiled at what I could possibly have. And I grieved at what I had lost. 

Fast forward through the next two transfers – we put 2 of the 7 back, and it was another early miscarriage. So a year later, we put 2 of the 5 back, and it didn’t work at all. 

We had 3 left, one poor quality, so we were okayed to put all 3 of our snowflakes back for one last try. It was December 2015, and our hopes were high, but so close to being lost. 

After the transfer, Mike took me to the mall. His wife had been given Valium during the appointment to relax her body (a typical IVF occurrence). I wanted to go to Tiffany’s. He consented. This is one crazy decision for a husband with a medicated wife. However, their ten year anniversary was coming up. 


That blue bag alone had me swooning. He got me a silver link bracelet. 

On the actual date of our anniversary, he took me to dinner, and I had expected him to give me that bracelet in the setting. But there was a new box carefully wrapped by the employee at Tiffany’s, with a white satin ribbon. 

Inside, was a charm. 


I looked up at him and into his eyes. I saw the pain, tears, and heartache we suffered from the infertility journey. I saw the toll it had taken on our marriage. And I saw the love that remained, bruised but strong. Tattered, but together still.  

At the moment, I pictured inside my body that little snowflake who, out of the 9, was the only one that survived, and burrowed, and divided. I pictured all the others who I loved just as much, and wish would have grown too. But that one little snowflake ended up being my champion. It went forward, powerful, unafraid, and joyous. I looked at my husband, and back at the snowflake. I thought of my doctors, and I thought of all the people who helped us. I thought of our daughter. I just wanted to hug everyone and everything and break down and cry joyfully. But then, I remembered I should keep our anniversary fun and happy, and so, instead, we smiled, kissed, and stuffed our faces with butter. 


Best gift ever? I think so. 

Floral Shop Realities

  

About that floral shop dream that I have… I’ve been working on it! I think I have this urge to try everything because I don’t want to miss out. Oh. When I say everything, I don’t mean skydiving, running a marathon, or cleaning on a schedule. I have my limits, and I know what I can’t (or don’t want to) do. I must think if I might be able to do something pleasant that’d also be beneficial, I should try it.
Backing up a little (okay, a LOT), I knew the second I turned 16 I wanted to work, because my sisters did. They had money and could drive places and buy stuff. So I wanted to do that too. Walmart was job number 1. I worked there for Black Friday on the registers, and they also made me a door greeter. Yep, looking back, I don’t know that it is wise to have a 16-year-old smile encouragingly at every person to walk into Walmart. It was alright, but I quit not long after Christmas. 

Soon I applied to the floral shop. The owner looked me up and down and decided I would be an okay fit. She kept dance pictures from students under a glass table cover by the register. One of the few things to do in our small town was to pore over the photos while pretending not to loiter. She was and is still a brilliant business owner. Her shop put the two other floral shops in town out of business. She was precise, pragmatic, and completely stressed out. We got minimum wage, but we felt privileged to work there since she was highly selective of her staff. It was also a plus to go home or on dates smelling of flowers and not of the local pizza shop like some of our friends. She had the whole town for their floral needs, and she was BUSY.

For some reason, I remember a lot of the business insights she would share. The largest of the money drivers were funerals. Casket sprays and paper mache container arrangements were huge, and costly. There were boutonnières to be made, and occasionally pin on corsages. Aside from all that, there were dozens of sympathy arrangements that were ordered through the floral shop. Weddings, of course, brought a happier feel. Only the owner and her top two assistants were allowed to do the bouquets for the bride and bridesmaid. A select few others could do corsages, and the lowest could do or help with boutonnières, centerpieces, and cake flowers. Holidays were also a consistent fuel for business. Mother’s Day was number one, followed by Valentine’s Day, then Christmas. Mother’s Day was maneagable because many customers ordered throughout the week, because the shop was closed on Sundays. Valentine’s was a different story. Most husbands, boyfriends, and other significant others knew very well that the bouquet of two dozen roses should be received on Valentine’s Day. No other day would do.

On the day before and of Valentine’s Day, I worked 23 hours.

Of course, there were dances. This was my most favorite occasion. The orders would come in throughout the week, and on Friday we knew that we would stay late and put everything together. There was basically an assembly line of people at long tables. The owner would invite a few of her friends to come help on those nights. Some of us would wire flowers, others would tie ribbon, some would put together the boutonnieres, and the owner and her assistants would do the corsages. It would be really exciting to see which girl’s corsage they were working on. It was such a small town, so we all were familiar with almost each and every order. When they were for dances I was attending, they wouldn’t show me the corsage until after it was done, and then I would gasp with delight at the finished product.

We also did small arrangements for the cooler at the grocery store (I got to do those), “basket gardens” made from floral foam and shorter flowers, new baby arrangements, get well soon flowers, sympathy arrangements, and ready-made cooler arrangements for customers in a hurry. We were also taught to do cellophane wrap arrangements, which were really fun, because you didn’t have the pressure of making them stand up perfectly in the vase. There were presentation flowers for events like Junior Miss or other events. Of course, there was always a strong clientele of meek-looking men, with what I assumed were angry-looking wives at home. 

It was a hard job. We were never quite doing things right for a while, the assistant manager yelled at us a lot, we had plenty of grunt work, and we had to keep things perfect. The stress level in the floral shop was usually to a tangible level, and it was difficult to stay cheerful if there was a negative vibe. However, the flowers tended to fight the negativity with an almost magical power. All I needed for the assistant manager to get off my case was for her to find a challenging floral arranging task as a distraction.

It was worth the discomforts, at least for a while. My fingers always smelled like springtime, I got to see or even create arrangements that were going to friends at school, and it was a great place for lightweight gossip. There was a lot of laughing and chatter. The owner was a good teacher, and kept at it patiently. Every arrangement seemed to take me forever, but once the boss gave me an okay, I felt so much pride. Friends and even adult neighbors would express jealousy over my “dream job.” Although I would shake my head at the inaccurate cliché that working a floral shop is easy, I look back and see how much that job taught me about hard work. It helped solidify the awesome background I had from growing up.

Eventually, graduation came. I had to leave Idaho, partly to escape a bad relationship, and partly to embark upon new adventures. I quit and excitedly sped off to college where I earned a degree in teaching and psychology. And now it seems that I have come full circle. I am so lucky that I can currently be a stay at home mom. However, I’m always thinking of ways I can contribute even a little to the home income.

The first time I had my very own floral order, I spent way more than I earned. I had to get tools, floral tape, wire, embellishments, ribbon, and fresh flowers. The second time was the same, and the third time I came out about even. This time I had 7 orders and made some money! When I finally finished, I sat there, exhausted and sore. There was glitter on my face, glue on my fingertips, cracks in my hands, a piece of rice on my shirt, and my eye was twitching. The floor had headless rose stems, dozens of leaves, trimmed off ribbon and wire. As I looked back at the planning, running around, and time actually creating, I realized I probably came out with less than I did as a 16 year old in the flower shop.

This is no surprise to me. I am not undercharging – my clients are quite generous to even try me out given my rusty skills and insecurities. Being a floral designer is expensive. It can turn a profit, but it is like other small businesses. It takes a lot of money initially, a good, consistent, clientele, talent, and so much patience. It won’t make someone extremely rich, unless they take a risky, different spin on it.  A lot of Saturdays were spent working, and it was difficult for the owner of the floral shop to get away. It was her home away from home. 

I’m glad I started this off gently so it could become a small representation of what life would hold for me were I to really open a floral shop one day. It’s easy to picture as a cute, quaint existence, but there would be blood and tears. Probably sweat, too, but the floral smell world cover that up. The question is all about amount of passion. Now is not the time to open a storefront. However, I may one day feel the excitement to own a shop despite all the challenges it’ll bring. For now, it is a cool thing to do at home for fun.

I have only just begun!
  

  

  

  

Jesus💜 and a free printable 

Growing up, I was told I would be blessed to know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I was a teenager, receiving what is called a patriarchal blessing in my church, and even at that time, I knew that was huge. I wanted that knowledge.

It came simply for me, I read a few scriptures daily, and I was lucky to develop a habit of it. That was pretty much all I needed for that confirmation, along with daily prayer. A gospel teacher read a quote saying its a good idea to read daily from one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), or 3rd Nephi. It’s because those are words directly from Jesus himself, and it didn’t take long before I felt this peculiar, strengthening presence in my daily life. It was like I had a loving big brother always hanging out with me. 

A few years later, in college, trying to keep up habits, making mistakes, going through ups and downs, you know, typical stuff, I was sitting in a boring class when suddenly a wave of joy rushed over me. “How amazing, that Jesus lives!!” was my thought. It was excitement – bigger than Christmas morning, better than being asked out by a cute guy.. It startled me. I knew at that moment my promise had come true. It felt, well, AMAZING. I felt protected, and knew no matter what, things would end up so, so great!!!

I screw up all the time. There are days I just hate myself. There are days I wallow in self pity and self doubt, and think of me, me, me! But I am grateful, beyond any of that, that I know Jesus is a real person. He really is ALIVE. The things He did on this Earth changed my entire existence forever. His power opens up so many doors for me, my children, my husband, family, and you. I can slowly but surely change things I hate about myself because of Him. It’s incredible, especially once it becomes less abstract and a reality. It’s unbelievable, yet so believable. Every word I’ve read about Him feels familiar and right. 

With that, I am so excited to celebrate Easter. My talented sister Linsey made you a free printable for this holiday. I know you’ll love it. Be sure to follow her on Instagram – @linseysdesigns, Facebook – Linsey’s Designs, or etsy

HAPPY EASTER!!! We love you, Jesus!