August Cara Box {Reveal}

cara (car-rah) noun : beloved friend
Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals hosts the Cara Box Exchange every month. Well, she used to. The rules are changing a bit, so go check it out! Basically, you get paired with two women to get to know for the month. You send a box to one of them, and the other one sends a box to you! I've met some amazing women through this exchange, and I look forward to continuing my participation in this amazing exchange! This is only my second time to participate, and it was awesome, just as before! Go here to see my June Cara Box experience.
I was paired with Raewyn over at Warrior Queen and Jessica at A Different Kind of Plan. This month, Kaitlyn did a phenomenal job and paired everyone with someone in their age range and marital/child status. Both of these girls have amazing men by their side, just like I do! Head over to Raewyn's blog to meet this amazing girl and check out what I sent her. She's currently in wedding planning mode and is getting married on April 19th of next year! Girl, that's just 8 short months away! Good luck! :) But this girl seriously got me through some rough times this month. I look forward to keeping in touch with her!

I received a box from Jessica, and boy did she go all out! Seriously, she really outdid herself! She sent numerous items for a romantic spa date night in: sleep mask, bath soap, face masks, loufa, candles... wow! I can't wait to use this stuff! Maybe this weekend...we shall see!

She also wrote the sweetest note - sorry the picture is a little blurry - that really melted my heart. Thanks so much, Jessica! This girl really picked up on the big, true things in my life. Although, I've also been told I'm pretty transparent...oops! Oh well - that's what a blog is all about, right?! :)  

This girl also sent me some amazing lists and post-its! As an avid list-maker - I'm in love! These will most definitely come in handy, and I've really been needing some new ones, so it's perfect!

She also included these Chihuahua tissues - because this month has been terrible to me, and, as she put it, it's okay to cry. Well, why not cry into these amazing tissues?! So super sweet and absolutely precious! And I had a good laugh - thanks Jessica! Perfect timing.

I also received two big bars of chocolate that may or may not have been devoured immediately. A girl after my own heart, I must say! They were delicous ;).  Also included was some under eye cream - I'm super busy in my life and there are many, many nights where I don't get enough sleep which equals tired eyes and dark circles. If I fall in love with it, it better not be too expensive, or my husband may not allow it, and we can't let that happen! Fingers crossed :). 

I had a great experience this time around and I just love meeting new people! But, I must admit, I'm very excited that Kaitlyn has decided to change up the way she runs this exchange. Instead of it occurring monthly, it will be a span of three months. Let's face it, two weeks to get to know someone and then send a box of goodies to them is just not enough time! Especially when life happens. I admit I had to send my box to Raewyn a few days late due to my dental emergency, but thankfully she still received it in time! I look forward to coninuing with this wonderful exchange. I'm so blessed to know two more amazing women around the U.S. and to have found Kaitlyn's blog that allows me to meet amazing women! If you haven't participated yet, I strongly urge you to! September's pairings will be based on location, so I'm excited to maybe get to know some Texas women! And, if you're not a blogger, you can still participate! That's right - she will pair you with another non-blogger and y'all can still have the same experience. Seriously, what are you waiting for?! :)
 photo signature_zps02c8012c.jpg

Monthly Marriage Goals {August Results}

Linking up for the Marriage and Relationship Goals link-up with Amberly and Kalyn.  This link-up happens weekly, but I am going to commit to it monthly instead.  It's more reasonable with the amount of time I have to devote to journaling my goals and updating them.  So, here we go!
To see my August challenge, go here.

 Marriage & Relationship Goals
This month I was determined to focus on my husband's love language. For my husband, he feels most loved through acts of service. For him, actions speak louder than words. And it's time for me to admit that I did not accomplish this goal as much as I had anticipated. However, I also didn't fail. It's a work in progress, I suppose. Let me explain. 

This month was hard! Ugh. Just thinking about it truly makes my head hurt! My dear, sweet grandfather passed away earlier this month. Also, I've been dealing with my dental emergency, which physically, emotionally, and spiritually took a toll on me. I'm still dealing with it, but with much less pain. With that being said, the focus in our marriage has truly been that of support this month. I honestly and truly have not been allowed [physically] to truly show my husband just how much I love him by hammering down on his love language. BUT, I did my best, and that's what counts! 

My husband really does notice when I take care of even the smallest chore. He was at work while I took the opportunity to do the dishes and cook dinner. Boy was he super happy when he came home! It really did show me just how much actions speak louder than words for him. Several more days this month, I was able to perform small tasks [i.e. laundry, cleaning up, dishes, etc.] instead of my husband having to tend to it, and each time, he was truly thankful and repeated that 'I didn't have to'. Yes, sweet husband, I did! It also makes doing the chores every now and then more meaningful and motivates me to do them, even when I'm totally and utterly exhausted from working both jobs. I believe it's also because a lot of the housework falls on his shoulders week to week due to our current job situation, so having one less thing for him to take care of at home really means a lot to him. Note taken! :)

 photo signature_zps02c8012c.jpg

Dental {Emergency}

I've definitely been MIA lately - and that might even be an understatement! Regardless, life has definitely not been fun these past few weeks. Seriously. This past week, I've been struggling with a dental emergency. At least, that's what I've been calling it because it's totally uprooted my life. 

So, a week ago yesterday, I woke up in complete agonizing pain in my mouth; I chalked it up to a toothache - no biggie. It happens.  Well, several Advil, tears, and many hours later, the pain was worse than ever. Seriously - I was willing to do just about anything for it to stop. Why is mouth pain so unbearable?! I was paralyzed by the pain. And it's a pain like no other. It's deep, throbbing, and electrifying - not in a good way. I've tried putting it into words and have failed miserably for a week now. I spent that evening searching my dental insurance for dentists in network to try contacting the next day. FYI - if you're going to have a dental emergency, don't do it on the weekend! {like you can control it...I know} My husband was at work and I was all alone, scaring the dog through the bouts of pain that was tearing through my face. Luckily, I am completely blessed with amazing parents who stayed on the phone with me for over an hour attempting to calm me down until Colten got home. Thank goodness! There's something about just not being alone during a time in need that is somewhat comforting. I had tried everything - what do I do?! Luckily for my sanity, Advil PM did the trick long enough for me to get 'some' sleep that night. 

Monday morning rolled around and I called in to work; I then called the dentist's office. Well, it was a struggle with my new insurance. It's an HMO so I had to assign a provider prior to being seen. As it was, I did not have a prior dentist in Austin yet, so anyone would do, really. After about ten attempts and ten different offices, I finally found a provider that would be able to see me that day. And assigning them as my primary care dental provider was easy! Thank goodness for small favors! But, the appointment availability was not until 2:30 that afternoon, so I was left in pain until then. Somehow, I managed, and Colten got off work at 1pm that day and was able to go with me. And off we went. Now is the time that I admit I had not seen a dentist in 6 years. *shudders* It's true. And I'm not proud of it! But, it is what it is, and it was time to figure out exactly what was going on. By this time, the pain was even more unbearable [if that was even possible] and the left side of my face was starting to really swell up. Something was wrong. 

Being a new patient, they had to do a complete oral exam, which was mostly fine. Except, the hygienist had to measure my gums and basically poke inside and out of every.single.tooth. NOT OKAY when you're seriously in pain! Tears were shed, it's true. I should also mention that I have a zero tolerance for pain; yup, I'm a wuss! At least the dental assistant was nice about it and seemed to care. It helped, and it reminded me that yet again, a little compassion goes a long way in this world! But anyway, xrays were taken and the dentist came in; I walked out of there with a co-pay and a referral to see an endodontist. Eeeek! I knew it was bad if I had to see a specialist. :( But by the time I got home, it was after 5pm and I had to wait to call for an appointment until the next day. Luckily, though, the dentist did prescribe an antibiotic for the infection. 

Super swollen! Uck!

The endodontist recommended that I go in around 10am and she would try to fit me in since the pain was only increasing. The tech here was not as nice :(. Neither was the receptionist. Ugh! After sitting in the waiting room in excruciating pain for over an hour and a half, they took me back. After a few more deeper xrays [ouch!], the results were in: the root canal that I had done about 6 1/2 years ago was infected. And from the looks of the xrays, it was a large infection! Boo. But, due to the extreme swelling and high pain level, there was nothing that could be done immediately. So, home I went, after a hefty co-pay this time, and a prescription for pain meds! Thank God! I was not leaving that place without it! I was scheduled for retreatment of my root canal the following Thursday, over a week away. 

Basically, the original root canal [for one reason or another] was not successful; cue picture on the left. That's exactly what is going on in my mouth right now. To fix it, redo the root canal. Or, oral surgery to go in through my gums, or extract the tooth. Umm, option one please!  And just an FYI for anyone going through tooth pain or something to remember if you ever do, DO NOT look up pictures or information online...just don't do it! Save yourself! Seriously. 
Tuesday night was the worst! The antibiotic needed to be in my system for 48 hours before I noticed the effects of it, and I was just shy of that deadline. I knew I was in trouble after taking Vicodin and experiencing NO relief! My husband ultimately called his mom, who called the hospital - I was able to take Advil with the Vicodin and finally had relief! But I was also scared. I just wanted to start feeling normal again instead of upset, angry, and scared. Would things ever get back to normal? Logically, I knew they would, as both the dentist and endodontist said they would, and I trusted them both. But, my irrational brain was telling me different. No surprise there! I also scared myself during those moments of severe, paralyzing pain. It made me angry and I didn't recognize myself at all. Seriously, I didn't like it one bit. I recall willing to do just about anything, and I mean ANYTHING to make the pain subside. Thank goodness for the invention of medication! It's been a lifesaver this past week! And for my amazing husband and parents. Without them, only God knows what would've happened.

And the lack of ability to eat - oh my goodness! My face was so swollen that eating anything solid was impossible. I was forced on a liquid diet for those first three days! Smoothies were my go-to, for sure! But on Saturday, I was able to gum down some cheese pizza and oh my yum was it amazing! Talking has been difficult as well.
Now, I'm back at work, but only for a few days, as my procedure is scheduled for Thursday this week. I'm requesting prayers, please! The first root canal was bad enough, but I've heard the retreatment is more intense, as it's more complicated going back in. I struggle with fear of the unknown, and not knowing exactly what is going to happen during this procedure or just how much pain I'll be in during and after has me terrified! Also, the pain has significantly subsided, as has the swelling, and I do not look forward to being back in pain and in the beginning phase of recovery once again. It's driving me insane, and I'm unable to look forward to really anything [weekends, days off, fun stuff, etc.] until this is over. Seriously, I'm a wuss! But it's a fear I continue to try to conquer every day. Again, prayers are very much appreciated! 
I know that this is just another trial in my life to get through, and I know that it's not the end of the world. But it's been a very tough week and has tried my patience, my marriage, and my faith to the core. But I hope and pray that I come out of this stronger than ever! 

 photo signature_zps02c8012c.jpg

2 Timothy 3:16 {GROW in His Word}

GrowLinkUpLinking up for an amazing Scripture study group with Vanessa, Kelsey, Faith, and Melissa: GROW in His Word.  It's a weekly Scripture study in which we use the acronym G-R-O-W.

G - Greet - Welcome God's presence into your study with prayer
R - Read - Read the verse a few times, both silently and aloud
O - Observe - Ask yourself what stood out to you while you read the verse
W - Write - Write out the verse, note your observations, and share a prayer for this verse

This past week's verse was 2 Timothy 3:16.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

All Scripture...
This is the part the really stood out to me the most. Although it's only two words, they are so very powerful! Think about it - ALL Scripture; not just some of it. Don't pick and choose which verses to live by. It is telling us that we must grow in His Word - ALL of His Word, not leaving out any Scripture. Wow!

is breathed out by God...
God is telling us what to do. He is showing us the way to live out His will and to succumb to His glory - to really reach out and change our way of life to follow His teachings. We are blessed to learn from our Creator, our God. How amazing is that!  

and profitable for teaching...
No matter what stage of life you're currently in, all Scripture can be used to teach - to teach others the way that you've found, to teach yourself how to be more Christ-like, centered, and focused.  I learn from Scripture And regardless of what verse it is, it speaks volumes to me and I am blessed to truly learn from God and to deepen my relationship with Him. No one else can do it for you - YOU have got to learn from His teachings. 

for reproof...
I am very self-centered in my faith and strive to work at it every day. So with this comes the idea of repentance. God graciously forgives us for our sins and welcomes us into His heart with open arms. So should we, too, do this unto others. Do not cast blame and doubt upon fellow sinners. Instead, welcome them back to God with open arms, just as God has done and will continue to do for you.

for correction...
I love how each of these sections of this verse go hand in hand. Correction continues from where I left off with reproof. But I want to take it a step further and really look at myself with this one. In my current state of my faith and relationship with Him, I am called to use Scripture for correction in my own life - in my own mind. When I think I'm right...WRONG! I turn to Scripture to focus my life to be Christ centered and to correct my ill-thinkings and actions.

and for training in righteousness.
Learn to do His will, not yours. Righteousness - the state of moral perfection required by God to enter Heaven. The ultimate goal. The reason to learn all Scripture. Using Scripture, we are able to train throughout our lifetime to live by God's Word and to sculpt our image in His eyes. We are able to truly become Christ-like and enter into His kingdom upon His calling.  This is truly glorious!

What a perfect verse to begin this link-up! It truly starts you at the perfect place - to obtain the perfect mindset to continue this journey of deepening our faith and relationship with our Creator! I admit, I am guilty of picking and choosing which Scripture to study.  But God calls to use all Scripture in shaping my life as a Christian. This definitely opens my eyes that my study needs to be all inclusive. My study needs to get much deeper and centered on where God is leading me. This can and will happen.

This also leads to where my heart has been turning towards: the Bible. Let me explain. My heart has been yearning to truly read through the bible and actually learn what it is saying. I want to have a better understanding of what God is asking me to do. Yes, I attend church and listen to God's Word weekly, but I truly want to understand better. I see an extensive bible study in my future, really learning each book of the bible and knowing who is speaking and to whom he or she is speaking, as well as the time each book was set. I want this. I need this. And it'll happen. Overtime ends this month, so come September, I know what will be utilizing my time. Not only will I have my home back (70 hour work weeks do not allow for much time to devote to maintaining a household), but I will become organized and will begin the next chapter of my journey of faith.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for allowing my eyes to open further and to be set upon Your Word. Please allow me to fully utilize Scripture to deepen my relationship with You and to GROW closer to You. Thank you for the blessings that are the women who have created this opportunity for others to grow in your Word together. Without them, this experience would not be the same. Thank you for such an amazing community of Your followers that have come together through this link-up where studying Your will is a priority. I pray that you continue teaching me to dive into Your teachings and to develop my understanding even further than what's on the surface. Please continue to speak to my heart and teach me to follow the path to righteousness so that I will enter Your kingdom when You come calling my name.
In Your name, I pray.

 photo signature_zps02c8012c.jpg

Monthly Marriage Goals {August Challenge}

I've decided to join in the Marriage and Relationship Goals link-up with Amberly and Kalyn.  This link-up happens weekly, but I am going to commit to it monthly instead.  It's more reasonable with the amount of time I have to devote to journaling my goals and updating them.  So, here we go!

 Marriage & Relationship Goals

I've said so many times before just how blessed I am to be the wife to my dear husband.  I'd link up several examples, but it's pretty much every post.  Okay, okay, here are just a few in which he's the center topic: My Husband, My Hero; Lover, Lover; Happy Birthday, Colten.

I try my best to be optimistic - every day.  I've had my rough days, believe me!  But I'm much happier and better off when I stay optimistic, when I'm not festering in my unhappiness.  Marriage is part of that, too.  Marriage is hard work!  No relationship is perfect, and I'm definitely no exception to that.  I love this idea of monthly marriage goals.  It makes me more intentional in my marriage.  It opens my eyes to truly appreciate my husband and strive to become a better wife for him.  With that said, this month I am going to really focus on my husband's love language.  With everything that's beeng going on in my life with working so much and family things, he's 100% supportive.  He doesn't argue with me; when I lose my patience and take out my anger on him, he doesn't get mad at me; he tells me that he's there for me and loves me.  He goes out of his way to make sure that I'm taken care of as best he can right now.  I don't want to fail him.  I need to make more of an effort to really show him that I love him - to really go out of my way and succumb to the needs and wants that his love language calls for.  I'm going to intentionally love my husband

Acts of Service
My husband feels most loved when I perform acts of service.  Now, let's be honest here...I haven't had much time or energy (to be frank) to keep up with this.  But this month, I'm going to be intentional and really focus on showing my husband just how much he means to me.  How? By his love language of course! Doing the dishes, laundry, picking up around the house, taking out the trash, paying the bills, taking the dog out - these are all examples of what makes my husband feel loved.  Why? Well, because it shows that I love him enough to take care of these things so that he does not have to worry about it.  Cooking dinner or baking for him is another great example, since my hubby likes to EAT! ;)
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts. -
My goal this month is to really hammer down on my husband's love language and ascertain exactly which acts that I perform around the house and for him really mean the most to him. He does so much for me, it's only fitting that my first goal for this linkup be to really show my husband that I am attentative to his needs and really put forth the effort to not only reaffirm my love for him with words but to show him that my love for him runs ever so deeply.  Emotionally, I tend to be a tad bit super complicated and needy.  There, I said it! But my husband is so amazing and always knows when something is wrong and when I need something from him - even if it's just for him to listen to how I'm feeling.  I truly want to focus on my husband this month, not the other way around.  Although I will still love the love my husband will continue to show for me, I'm going to intentionally focus more of my time and energy on him.  It's well overdue and much deserved! And I can't wait! I'm excited to show my love for my husband and to really make him feel my love for him. I hope he's ready!

Stay tuned to find out whether or not I accomplished this goal at the end of the month! ♥
 photo signature_zps02c8012c.jpg


Dear Friday, thank you for blessing us with your presence today, and not a moment too soon! I really thought I was losing my mind this week - it's been a long one!
Dear Husband, thank you for continuing your awesomeness this week! I know I've been a pain lately and I'm really sorry.  Thank you for supporting me and for making sure that I know your love for me grows each and every day. I'm eternally blessed to be your wife.
Dear new weight loss attempt, this time, I will conquer you! I'm doing it right this time with ACCOUNTABILITY.  That's right, I'm not in this alone! And you are happening with the aid of this little beauty of an app right here: 

Dear breakfast balls, I will make you this weekend!! At some point.  Nicole over at Grub 'n Marriage keeps talking of y'all like you're magic...well, I believe her! You will happen for next week...
Dear prayer warriors, thank you to that pray for my family. This journey has been unlike any other that I've experienced in my short life (of which I'm so grateful!) and it's been a rollercoaster of a ride with emotional twists and flips at every turn. It's hard, but it brings out the best of my family in that the support only grows. Family and friends, thank you. Only God knows when it'll end, but until then, I'm just trying to hold on for dear life. It's hard.

Dear weekend, please be nice to me. :) I'm looking forward to spending time with my husband, of which we haven't gotten much of lately. It's been much needed after a long few in, like 11. We deserve it!
 photo signature_zps02c8012c.jpg
Pin It button on image hover