You really can have it all.

I have a hard time understanding why people are okay with using products that contain toxins and harmful chemicals. Actually, it infuriates me. I find it ridiculous that we are even being exposed to these toxins. What is the point?

Yes, I understand that sometimes passion can come off as kind of crazy, but seriously, y’all. This is a big deal. And I’m not quite sure that most people get it.

When you begin to research and look into everything you use,  you realize that nothing is actually safe. The food we eat is contimated. I mean, if you can even call it food. Flouride has been labeled as a neurotoxin. And then the products that we slap and lather all over our skin are filled with carcinogens, cancer causing chemicals, nanoparticles, chemicals that lower sperm count, chemicals that interrupt our hormones, chemicals that make people sick. Not a cold, sick, dying, no chance at life. This isn’t anything to take lightly. And to be honest, I used to say that I wasn’t trying to scare people, but the thing is, you should be scared.

I believe our problem begins because we think our government is here to protect us, well, I don’t buy that anymore. I used to. I still believe we live in the greatest country in the world, but that just means that everywhere else is worse.

Did you know that the European Union bans 1,300 of these harmful chemicals from their products. The United States bans 11. The last time that the personal care/beauty industry had a new law regulating this industry? 1938.

If that doesn’t make you mad, it should. There is no reason for these statistics to be true. Think about how much has changed since 1938. The cost of living, minimum wage, the car, the internet, medical care. Why are we still being regulated by laws that are so outdated?

These companies can get away with anything because there is so few regulations. They can take advantage of us and our mindset and throw words like “natural” or “fresh” or “safe” and really, they are just words. They don’t mean anything. Not to the companies, no, but to us, they mean money because we try so very hard to do better and make better choices. I cannot tell you how many times I have purchased something with the word “natural” on it over something that didn’t have the word thinking I was making a better decision.

Once you start diving head first into this information it can be overwhelming and it can be scary, and it should be. You should be scared. Did you know that our children’s generation is the first generation to live sicker and die younger than the generation before. Parents, this means that your kids may not outlive you. Can you imagine watching your child die? Can you imagine watching your child die knowing that it was because of the environment they have been exposed to?

This isn’t about beauty products and it’s certainly not about money. It’s about me knowing better and telling everyone I can because I don’t just deserve better, my children don’t just deserve better, we all deserve better.

Don’t believe me, look into it. Look into the facts. Learn about fluoride making you dumber. Ask yourself why there are parabens in your shampoo and in breast cancer tumors. Utilize organizations such as the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and let them help you start making better choices.

This is what I can tell you. Of course there has always been illness and death, but I truly believe that most of the sickness that we are exposing ourselves too is environmental. Fact: 1 in 2 Men and 1 in 3 Women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Do you seriously believe that genetics has changed that much over the last 50 years? No way! Once again, it’s what we expose ourselves too. It’s the food we eat and the products we use. Even your shower curtain can make you sick. It’s everywhere.

Why is there a sudden, almost epidemic like, growth of Autism, ADHD, Asthma? Again, do you honestly believe that it just happened one day? I don’t. But we can’t fix what we don’t know. We have to look out for ourselves. We can’t assume that someone else will take care of us because they won’t. They don’t.

I believe that we were created just the way we needed to be. We aren’t born with illness or disease. Even if a child is diagnosed at a young age with something terrible it’s not because they were made that way, we now know that there are over 200 harmful chemicals found in a newborn’s cord blood, You want to know why? My guess is the products that pregnant women slather all over themselves that are marketed to be safe probably aren’t as safe as they claim.

Seriously, start thinking about this. This isn’t a trend. This is your life we are talking about.

We aren’t sitting here making allegations. This real. This is what it looks like to live these days. Help get the word out. Help Beautycounter by supporting me and help us take this all the way to Washington. We deserve better. Not some of us. Not the ones who can afford it, but ALL OF US.

Beautycounter has an amazing team. They know what they are doing. Our team has personally been affected by these environmental caused illnesses and they are putting their foot down and demanding better.

Of course, we at Beautycounter would love it if people only used and purchased Beautycounter, but we realize that’s never going to happen. But what we want is to spark change. We want our children to be able to go into any store whether it’s a high end retailer like Nordstrom’s or the CVS on the corner and we want our children not to have to worry about the products they are buying because every ingredient will be listed and every company will soon adhere to our standards.

We do more than any other company out there. We take a step further. Not only do we ban the 1,300 harmful chemicals that the European Union bans, and not only to we ban the 11 that the US bans, but we have even more ingredients that we have put on our ‘Never List’ and so Beautycounter actually bans over 1,500 of these nasty toxins. We believe we have the strictest ingredient selection process in the industry and our products deliver the results you are looking for. For so long, women have been asked to choose between safety and beauty, not anymore. You really can have it all.

If you would like more information about Beautycounter or if you have any questions, I would love to talk. Feel free to email me at Lefalber@gmail.com. Let me help you make better choices!

Also, be sure to visit my website http://www.laurenfalber.beautycounter.com and let me know what I can get you started with!

Thumb Twiddling

So finally, my life has begun to slow down.

Hallelujah!

Seriously, I don’t think I have been so busy. I would wake up and not sit down for hours. I would rack up the steps on my Fitbit just for walking back and forth. I am so thankful that we are finally moved, unpacked, and settled.

And it feels good here. Don’t tell my friends back home, but Texas is starting to be pretty enjoyable, maybe even feeling a little like home.

I was even able to crochet and knit this week, and there may be a trip to the fabric store, in my future soon.

But as my feet took steps toward the couch, and I was going to sleep at a reasonable time, I began to start thinking more about the wreck.

This past week or so I have seen so many tragic stories via my Facebook page. People are sad, people are giving up, people are losing loved ones, even little babies.

It doesn’t seem fair. And that, my friends, is when the guilt begins to appear.

Yes, the truth is, I do feel better now. The knot on my head is almost gone and while my shoulder and arm still hurt, I am able to use it more, I have been able to face the car, and even the road where the wreck took place. I’m no longer angry at God for, what I thought was, betrayal. In fact, I’m pretty happy that it happened, because it was seriously a huge unanswered prayer, which just goes to show you, that He is always there and He is always listening.

But, when I see other people’s tragedies, I can’t help but feel bad. Why me? Why did you choose to save me and not them? Why my kids, but not theirs?

The last one really gets me because, if I can be honest, I do my best to be a great mother, but I fail most of the time. Of course, they get what they need, and most of what they want, but I feel like I am always telling them to ‘hold on’ or ‘give me a minute’ or ‘not right now’. I’m here, in the house with them, but I’m not always ‘here’. With Beautycounter, She Made It Homemade’s, Lauren Falber, and even the small load that I have been given at church, I am almost always too busy to really pay attention to them.

Don’t get me wrong, we play, and we talk, and I hold, and we eat, and we watch movies together, but part of me feels like I’m not really enjoying it like I should be because I always have something else that I could be doing on my mind. Something else that needs to be done.

And I hate that I am like that. I know how fast this time goes. I know that in the grand scheme of things, this, this right here, is too short. I am watching them grow and learn and become more independent each day, and yet, I can’t slow down because I’m doing this for them.

But is that enough? Or is that just what I tell myself to make it hurt less?

After witnessing myself just how short and precious life can be, I still haven’t changed. I’m still the same ol’ Lauren I was on that morning, except I just have a fear of running off the road and wrecking now.

And then I see these people who have lost someone they love, and they are hurting, and they would do anything for one more day, and here I am, twiddling my thumbs.

What’s my purpose, Lord? Why me? Because now, now, I feel like a let down. I feel like you expected BIG things from me, and I haven’t delivered. Why am I here?

I’m a little nervous to pray on that one. So I’ll just keep twiddling.

 

The Accident

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I remember waking up Thursday just the same as any other day, except I woke up much earlier. I woke up at 5am. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of waking up that early because I knew that having two kids meant that when I eventually got tired that there would be no way I could actually rest, and my days are long and so 5am was a little bit too early.

But I was awake, And so I did what I usually do when I wake up super early and the kids are still sleeping, I spend some quiet time, just me, my bible, and my Father.

Recently, I have decided to take on the Old Testament. To be honest, I’ve never really read the OT. I’ve skimmed over a few stories, but I’ve spent most of my Christian life hanging around the Gospels and the New Testament. But I want to know everything about who I am and where I come from and so I knew that it was time for me to make the step.

And it’s been good so far. It almost reads like a novel because it keeps you guessing and the suspense is gripping and the story line is one of the best I’ve read.

And so that’s what I did Thursday morning. I spent time reading God’s word and praying.

We were going to go to Bible Study that morning and so after a few hours of quiet time, life went back to normal. I woke the kids up, just as I would any other day. Everything about Thursday was very usual.

My friend, Jessica, came to pick up me and the kids to take us to bible study. As we drove along the road we talked about life and what had been going on in our lives because we hadn’t been able to spend that much time together the past few months, so we were playing catch up.

We talked about my hopes to visit my friends and family back home. She asked if I had thought about flying, where I proceeded to tell her that I was actually really scared of flying. I explained to her that I use to fly with no problems at all, but ever since having kids, it just really scared me.

She asked me why. I told her that when I flew, I had no control over anything. And since I have such a hard time with my control issues I had actually been praying and realized that God was in control and that I just needed to learn how to let Him take over because there’s nothing that I can do in any situation really to control it.

She agreed and I think she was proud of me for realizing that God was always in control because she knew just how hard the struggle was for me.

Eventually, we made it to bible study where we reunited with our old friends. (Since adding pastorate to our weekly church schedules we hadn’t been able to get together much, so this was a treat for us.) Jaxsyn and Adelaide were playing and bible study began.

I remember getting upset with Jaxsyn because he was having a hard time listening. He was being sassy and I was getting frustrated. I kept telling him ‘just wait until we get home’ because as you see, everything about Thursday was usual.

Bible study ended and we chatted for a few more minutes. ‘Ooohing and Aaahing’ over Chelsea’s new baby. Talking about getting together the next time. Making plans to see each other in the next week, because everything was usual.

My friend Kathie was going to give me and kids a ride home. This was how it had been done before. It was usual for her to take us home.

We said our ‘see ya laters’ and we headed to my house.

As I had done with Jesscia, I began to talk about life. We talked about how big Houston was, and how often we felt like we could never escape the city because there seemed to be no boundaries. We talked about pastorate. We talked about the weather. We talked about everything.

We were about 10 minutes away from my house. Both of my kids had fallen asleep in the backseat. It had been sprinkling, but it had stopped. I even remember thinking that Kathie should turn off her windshield wipers because the rain was over.

Then, Kathie’s van went off the road just a little. I had done the same thing a thousand times before. They even prepare you for what to do if this happens in drivers ed. Everything was usual.

So when Kathie said ‘oops’ and I giggled, it was not a big deal. We weren’t afraid. Everything was usual.

But what happened next was not usual. What happened next was not expected. There had been no indication that what happened next would in fact happen next.

When Kathie corrected herself by getting back on to the road for a second I thought everything was fine, but in that second I realized that everything wasn’t.

We began to swerve into the left lane. Thankfully, there were no cars heading towards us. I did not have time to look, but I know there were no other cars because there was no one else involved.

Then she corrected herself again and turned the wheel hard to the right so we could go back into our lane. It was at that moment that I knew we were going to crash. I didn’t realize that it would be so severe, but I knew that it was going to happen.

I didn’t scream. I didn’t react. I remember just sitting there, out of control, but I was completely at peace with it. I was calm. I wasn’t afraid. There I was, in these few seconds, learning the biggest lesson of my Christian life. I was finally letting God be in control. I wasn’t fighting it. I wasn’t trying to do better than God. I had finally ‘let go, and let God’.

What happened next, I don’t remember myself because I blacked out for a little bit. When I came too, the van was on it’s side, Kathie and Jaxsyn were on the ground, still in their seats. Adelaide was quiet, and Jaxsyn looked scared, but they were both looking at me and that was all that mattered.

I saw two gentlemen standing outside of the window asking me if I could get out. I was stuck. The seat belt wouldn’t budge and at that moment, I wasn’t even sure how to unbuckle myself.

Eventually, Kathie unbuckled me and I began to make my way out of the vehicle with the help from the two men. When I got out I saw about 6 people standing there. Someone was on the phone calling 911.

I was confused. I didn’t really understand what was happening. They finally got everyone out. My kids were fine. Jaxsyn had a few scrapes on his leg and a small cut on his toe, but he was okay. And Adelaide Blue was just as she was when I put her in the seat. Not even a scratch. Not one hair moved. She was perfect.

And then my friend got out. Everyone was fine. The ambulance was on their way and no one could understand or explain how it was that we were all standing there.

But that’s what we were doing. We were just standing there, on the side of the road, truly unaware of what had just happened.

I called my husband and very calmly let him know that we had been in an accident. I received a text from my mom who asked me to send a video of the kids. (She’s not met my daughter and so since we live so far away we do this on a daily basis.) I told her that I had been in an accident. I still didn’t understand how terrible it actually was, and I didn’t even explain to my husband or my mother just how bad it was.

I mean, of course, I saw what the car looked like. I saw the glass, the dents. I saw the looks on the bystanders who couldn’t believe what happened. But I kept it together. I was a mother first. And so I put on my brave face. And everything was fine.

As time passed, I began to hurt more and more. I was stiff. I am stiff. Bruises and bumps are slowly starting to creep out. But I’m alive. My friend is alive. And my kids are alive. Praise God.

I didn’t actually know what happened and for most of the day I just couldn’t understand, but I talked to a lady who saw it happen. From what I heard, what she described,  I shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t be here.

It was God. It was God teaching me a lesson that I had struggled with for so long. It was Him showing me that He was in charge. Because no matter what I did in that car, if I had actually reacted, there was still nothing that I could have done. Nothing. I was completely helpless.

And this is a true testimony to the fact that we don’t understand God’s plans, and we can’t. Because had anyone presented me with this lesson before it happened, I would have begged for this not to happen this way, but at the same time, I would not have learned the lesson God was trying so hard to teach me.

When the wrecker crew got out there, the lady that had told me what exactly happened said that they asked if anyone was left in the vehicle. They said no. They asked if anyone was hurt. They said no, ‘they all walked away from it’. Then the wrecker crew noticed that our bibles were just sitting in the car. Unharmed. Almost like they didn’t move. It was at that moment that they knew what we had known all along, that it was because of God we were alive.

It still hasn’t really hit me what happened. And I even feel a little guilty because I haven’t been as grateful or as thankful to be alive as I should be. It is not like I am disregarding the fact, but I don’t deal well with asking for help, or taking it easy. I credit this behavior to my issues with control and not wanting to look like a sissy, but I still have my weak moments since the accident.

Even though I wasn’t behind the wheel when the accident occurred, I have no desire to drive. I tried once, yesterday, it lasted for approximately 8 minutes before I asked to switch seats with my husband. I find myself nervous everywhere. Because Thursday was so typical, I feel that it could happen again at any moment. And that’s the thing, it could.

Even as I write this, recalling what happened, I’m nervous and scared. I can’t stop crying. I haven’t really come to terms with what has happened. I put on a brave face and I try not to let anything bother me, but it doesn’t make it better.

Poor Justin has had to deal the most with this. The anger from the pain medication, the emotional wreck that I have become in the car. The other night we were driving on a two lane road just as we usually do, but a Fire Truck was coming in our direction and was in our lane just a little bit, and so Justin veered off the road just a little bit and it felt just like it had that day. I could feel it in my feet, the roughness of the side of the road. It was at that moment that I panicked.

I had never experienced a panic attack before, but there it was in full force. I couldn’t breathe. It was like the breath had been stolen from my lungs. I cried uncontrollably. I shook. I had finally experienced everything that I didn’t experience on Thursday. That’s when I knew, when I finally realized, that this was really bad, and even though we all walked away, essentially just as we were when we got in the car, I knew, that myself, at least, was not the same person, nor would I ever be the same person again.

As things start to get back to ‘normal’ for me, I can’t help but to think that I was glad this happened. A friend of mine was offering words of encouragement to me and said ‘it just sounds like you’ve had the worst week of your life’. I thought about it for a second, and then I realized that she was wrong. This wasn’t the worst week of my life, this was the best.

I think we forget just how precious life is. I know that when I go to bed at night, I don’t pray for another day because I just assume that it’s not my time to go, but that’s not right. It could be our time any time He decides.

This week also reminded me that no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I struggle, He is in control and there is absolutely nothing, NOTHING, I can do to change that.  And while that idea used to scare the hell out of me, it doesn’t anymore because I know that God loves me and He wouldn’t do anything to me that would hurt me.

While my body still reacts to the accident and the trauma, my heart and spirit have been healed because of the accident and the trauma. Not to mention, that story of mine that I hope to share, well, He just keeps adding chapters, doesn’t He?

So friends, even though you weren’t in the car with us, it is my prayer to God that you learn from my story, that no matter how much you prepare, no matter how much you think you are controlling, you’re not. I am thankful that the Lord gave me a wake up call and that it’s not too late for me, and I just hope that through my story, you realize the same thing because life truly is a precious gift.

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A Pool View

Most of you who know me know how unhappy I have been with our house that we are renting. It’s terrible. It’s awful. I have tried to see the good and I know that there are a lot of people who would be happy to live here, and it isn’t so much what it looks like, just how the property is ran. Our landlord is awful. They don’t take care of the property. They don’t respond in a timely manner. And they ‘forget’ eveything I have asked for.

But it’s okay because we are so close to the end of our lease, I can taste it. We decided to start looking for a new place to live now, rather than wait around.

Justin and I have a good attitude about finding the perfect place for us. We don’t want to rush and we often remind ourselves that if it’s meant to be it will be. God has certainly provided for us each time in the past with safe and affordable housing so we know He wouldn’t stop now.

So yesterday we spent the entire day looking at different properties to rent. The thing about Houston is the cost to rent is outrageous. This economy is booming and they know it. So you are lucky if you pay $1 a square foot. Most of the time, it’s more.

For months we have driven around and made calls about houses and apartments for rent. Most of them way too far from our budget. So we prayed. And we’ve been praying. Actually, I think I’ve been praying about this since I moved into this house.

Our search began in an area of Houston much closer to the husband’s work. We knew that we were going to have to increase our rent budget, but we were uncertain by how much. It seemed that we would have to sacrifice a nice neighborhood for price. Something we weren’t thrilled about, but knew that we would have to do whatever we had to do. Perhaps, we would have to settle.

We looked at all kinds of places to live. Brand new complexes, complexes that had been around for 20 years. Carpet, wood floor, garage, pool, drive up mail, everything.

The prices were way over our budget even with the necessary adjustments, but I never felt discouraged.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make it a habit to remind myself “God’s will be done.” He has proven to me that He knows what I need and He knows what He is doing and so if I learn to just let it go and give it to Him, He’ll take care of me and I won’t be so stressed out.

So yesterday, Justin and I were standing in the lobby of a complex looking around. We just had a feeling that this was just a bit too far from our budget. And they didn’t have any 2 bedroom 1 bathroom available, and unfortunately, down here, an extra bathroom means lots more money.

As Justin and I were standing in the lobby looking around, I glanced at the pool. It was nice, there were trees, it was clean and it reminded me of a home. I turned to Justin and said “I wish that one day we could live in an apartment over a pool. The view would be amazing.” He agreed with me and said “maybe one day, but those are expensive.” At that moment, the account manager stepped out from her office. She had gone inside to use her computer to figure out what apartment she had available for us. She came out and said, not hearing our conversation at all,  “I’ve got an apartment available on the second floor overlooking the pool. It’s actually cheaper than the other one I wanted to show you.”

Immediately, I looked at Justin and we both smiled at each other. How did He do that??!! It’s times like this that remind me just how cool God is.

We know we don’t need a pool view. But it’s things like this that show me just how much God is my father. As a parent I provide all that my children need. I make sure they have everything they need, but I also love making them happy, and excited, by giving them what they want.

But the really cool thing, I didn’t pray for a pool view. But He knew. He knew it would make me happy. He knew that I would be okay without it, but He loves me and He wanted to show me.

We still don’t know if we were approved for the apartment. When we left the manager said “I’ll let you know in a couple of days what your deposit is.” So I think that’s good. But even if we don’t get it. I’m okay. Because with that reminder God gave me, I know He’ll do whatever it takes to provide for me and take care of me.

I hope you know that too.

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1. Because you know me personally and then you can tell your friends that you know someone who wrote a book

2. Because you want to support a stay-at-home-mama

3. Because it’s only $3.99

4. Because you know writing is my passion

5. Because you know that passion doesn’t pay the bills

6. Because you want to put Yadkin county/Jonesville NC on the map

7. Because you want me to earn enough money to be able to come home

8. Because you’d eventually like to see it available on a bookshelf

9. Because every girl can relate to Ardsley and has had her fair share of Benton’s in her life

10. Because when I become super famous you can say “I knew her when…”

Now go! http://www.amazon.com for Kindle or http://www.barnesandnoble.com for Nook

The B Word by Lauren Falber