Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Boot Camp

Well.. I've been doing boot camp. I started last Thursday and tonight was my fourth time. Oooooh my goodness, it's hard. I'm dying tonight... but hey, it'll be worth it, right? RIGHT??!! Oh, I hope so.. I'd love to look great in a swimsuit this summer. :)

It feels pretty good to be able to talk to Jake about the woes of physical training. He wants to die every day running as much as they do up at the academy. He is killer at running, but he doesn't really enjoy it at all. Ha ha.. and I'm right there with him. We did cardio last night at boot camp and I've never ran that much in my life. So I'm feeling pretty sore these days.. but it does feel really good to actually be DOING something. And I'm hoping I can see some great results soon.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in to say hello... now I'm going to go pop some Ibuprofen. Woot!

Friday, February 8, 2013

August? Really?

Hello.. wow, so much has gone down since August! I thought I'd get better at this blog thing, but I guess I'm just progressively getting worse.

Aw well..

So let's see if I can recap a bit:

October: Moved to Las Vegas, Jake starts a new job working for the state, Lauren starts a new job as an Orthodontic Assistant

November: I turned 28.. and I literally just had to stop and count the years to make sure it was actually 28 and not 27. It's late... and I'm still a little terrified of the fact that I'm 28.

December: We bought our first home!!! Big freaking deal right there... it wasn't the easiest process, but we absolutely love it.

January: Jake left for POST academy in Carson City for 4 months. FOUR MONTHS. Just wanted to make sure y'all got that. It's a very long time. He's been gone a couple weeks now, but is currently driving the 8 hours home for the weekend! I can't tell you how excited I am... Ruby too. She's missed him something fierce.

We're also VERY close to getting our adoption profile up on LDSFS's website!!! So this link over here -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
will actually take you to it hopefully very soon!

We have really enjoyed being back in Las Vegas.. surprisingly. Maybe it's just the fact that we now have our own place... and can finally get back into the adoption journey! I really hope everything can just fall into place and that we can find our baby soon.

Here are some photos from the last couple months. Enjoy!

xo Lauren

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

to him that believeth

Well I was called to speak in church today... yep, I was just as freaked out as I expected I would be up there on the stand. After successfully standing up and not tripping whilst walking to the mic, I mumbled something about being nervous.. then some other stupid things.. but after that, I think the talk was pretty successful. 

The topic was the Atonement and keeping the Savior in our lives... having faith through difficult times. All rolled into one. I sat down and wrote out the talk on Wednesday and was actually pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Sometimes I'm able to write well... other times, it gets a bit jumbled. This time, it was sort of a mix of the two. 

Afterwards, I had a few people come up to me and say "good job" and whatnot. One woman in particular said, "great talk... I really appreciated it... I really needed to hear that today.." with tears in her eyes. It was sweet... and I'd never met her before. 

So it ended up being something that I totally needed to dwell on for a minute. And instead of letting it hide away for years in my documents folder that I never go through, I thought that maybe I'd post my talk here so that I could come back and refer to it again in the future. 

You don't need to read it, but maybe if you're struggling with something in life, it may help. 

If only to know that you're not struggling alone. xo

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. My name is Lauren Casto, my husband Jake and I moved into the ward in February of this year. We’ve been living in Austin for about 2 years now and are originally from Las Vegas, NV. We’ve been married for 4.5 years and are very grateful to be in such a great ward.

My talk today will be on recognizing the Savior and the atonement in our lives.  Hopefully I’ll be able to convey this incredibly essential topic without passing out or breaking into a cold sweat… which I’m probably already doing. Many of my words will come from a general conference talk that was given this past April by Elder Neal Anderson entitled “What Thinks Christ of Me?”

Elder Anderson begins by indicating, “Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ? In the final assessment, our personal discipleship will not be judged by friends or foes. Rather, as Paul said, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” At that day the important question for each of us will be, “What thinks Christ of me?”’

We grow up in the church learning that we are all children of our Heavenly Father and that he, along with our eldest brother, love us very much. But Elder Anderson states that “even with His love for all mankind, Jesus reprovingly referred to some around Him as hypocrites, fools, and workers of iniquity. He approvingly called others children of the kingdom and the light of the world. He lamented that some were faithless and of the world, but others He esteemed as chosen, disciples, friends. And so we each ask, “what thinks Christ of me?”’

As society seems to be moving away from tradition and daily spirituality, we can often see the blatant disregard for Christ and His teachings. President Monson has said that the “moral fiber of society is continuing to disintegrate before our very eyes.”

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are able to see the Lord’s hand all around us. We are able to believe in eternal life and have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus’s call “Come, follow me” is an invitation to all. It is a call to daily duty. Elder Anderson says that “we may not be at our very best every day, but if we are trying, Jesus’s bidding is full of encouragement and hope: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”’

He goes on to say “wherever you now find yourself on the road of discipleship, you are on the right road, the road toward eternal life. Together we can lift and strengthen one another in the great and important days ahead. Whatever the difficulties confronting us, the weaknesses confining us, or the impossibilities surrounding us, let us have faith in the Son of God, who declared, “All things are possible to him that believeth.”’

In my own life, there have been struggles and hardship that I never imagined I’d be dealt. As a young teenager, my parents were divorced and the years that followed were very difficult for me. Watching my mom go through the worst years of her life, I tried to enjoy what I could of the last days of my childhood… but to be honest, the situation called for me to face a reality I wasn’t prepared for and I had to grow up very quickly. As I look back on these days, I no longer feel resentment towards my mother, as she is probably the strongest person I know. I see the faith she found through the darkest times that carried her to a place of peace, assurance, and happiness.

As an adult, I’ve hoped that the big trial of my youth would be the worst of it… I hoped that because I dealt with such mature devastation at such a young age, I’d be safe from any real pain in the future.  The thing is, we never know what our trials are going to be… we never know if what we face tomorrow will change our world. I’ve learned that keeping a firm handle on our beliefs and striving to have absolute faith is the best preparation for facing such challenges and I strive to remember that “All things are possible to him that believeth.”

It’s not always easy to keep the righteous and faithful perspective on a daily basis, though. At least not for me, anyway. I’d like to say that I have unwavering believe, that I don’t yearn for certain things because I know that it’s all part of the Lord’s greater plan. I’d love to stick my selfishness and heartache far away and only feel resolute faith at all times. But it takes constant effort to grasp that firm belief sometimes, effort that involves many prayers, scripture study and remembering the sacrifice that was made in our behalf.

Elder Anderson states, “discipleship is believing Him in seasons of peace and believing Him in seasons of difficulty, when our pain and fear are calmed only by the conviction that He loves us and keeps His promises.”’

He goes on to tell an incredible story:

He says, “I recently met a family who is a beautiful example of how we believe Him. Olgan and Soline Saintelus, from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, told me their story.

On January 12, 2010, Olgan was at work and Soline was at the church when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. Their three children-Gancci, age five, Angie, age three, and Gansly, age one- were at home in their apartment with a friend.

Massive devastation was everywhere. As you will remember, tens of thousands lost their lives that January in Haiti. Olgan and Soline ran as fast as they could to their apartment to find the children. The three-story apartment building where the Saintelus family lived had collapsed.

The children had not escaped. No rescue efforts would be devoted to a building that was so completely destroyed. Olgan and Soline Saintelus had both served full-time missions and had been married in the temple. They believed in the Savior and in His promises to them. Yet their hearts were broken. They wept uncontrollably.

Olgan told me that in his darkest hour he began to pray. “Heavenly Father if it be thy will, if there could be just one of my children alive, please, please help us.” Over and over he walked around the building, praying for inspiration. The neighbors tried to comfort him and help him accept the loss of his children. Olgan continued to walk around the ruble of the collapsed building, hoping, praying. Then something quite miraculous happened. Olgan heard the almost inaudible cry of a baby. It was the cry of his baby.

For hours the neighbors frantically dug into the rubble, risking their own lives. In the dark of the night, through the piercing sounds of hammers and chisels, the rescue workers heard another sound. They stopped their pounding and listened. They wouldn’t believe what they were hearing. It was the sound of a little child – and he was singing. Five-year-old Gancci later said that he knew his father would hear him if he sang. Under the weight of crushing concrete that would later result in the amputation of his arm, Gancci was singing his favorite song, “I Am a Child of God.”

As the hours passed amid the darkness, death, and despair of so many other precious sons and daughters of God in Haiti, the Saintelus family had a miracle. Gancci, Angie, and Gansly were discovered alive under the flattened building.

Miracles are not always so immediate. At times we thoughtfully wonder why the miracle we have so earnestly prayed for does not happen here and now. But as we trust in the Savior, promised miracles will occur. Whether in this life or the next, all will be made right. The Savior declares: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”’

As I prepared this talk, I knew that it was exactly the talk that I not only needed to give, but that it was a topic that I absolutely needed to remind myself of as well. 

I’d like to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel, the love of our Savior and His promise to us. I am so grateful for Him and for the support I receive on a daily basis from those who love me. Especially my husband back there... he is my world.

I say these things, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


I've learned A LOT of patience in the last few years... but I guess I'm still an impatient person. But maybe it isn't impatience so much as the fact that I ALWAYS have to wait for EVERYTHING. lol. And how exactly can you call it being impatient or patience if that's just the way your life is?

Have I lost you yet?

Well, on a completely different note (sorta) we are moving back to Las Vegas! I don't think I'm really supposed to shout it from the rooftops yet, but no one really reads this thing. Ha ha.

We're excited... and bummed to leave Austin. Jake was offered a job and it isn't something we can pass up. It's finally a really good thing that'll happen to us and we are running to the opportunity with open arms. There are a few downfalls... leaving behind this awesome city to go back to the ugliness that is Las Vegas is one. But at least our families are there and we'll be able to do things like backpacking through mountains (which don't exist in central Texas) and going to Disneyland. We will no longer be able to see movies at the Alamo Drafthouse which has been our favorite thing about Austin. We will no longer have amazing BBQ... or Torchy's Tacos, or TacoDeli, or Kirby Lane Cafe, or P Terry's Burgers, or Mighty Fine Burgers... um.. we're going to miss the food. A lot. And we'll surely miss the super friendly Texans that are full of state pride and are really just genuinely pleasant people.

Yes, Austin will always be in our hearts. Texas will always be a part of us. How can it not be when we've lived here for two years? I say y'all all the time now! Maybe not a true Texan, but I have loads of respect and admiration for the spirit of this great state.

also from etsy


Sunday, July 22, 2012

morning walks with ruby

every morning ruby and i go out for a stroll about the neighborhood. living in an apartment, she doesn't have a backyard to stretch her legs in. i don't want her to get plump and lazy and have hip issues or other health issues, so even when i'm having lazy mornings and really just want to lay on the couch and get plump and lazy, i force myself out with my brown eyed girl.

the beagle in her will stop every five steps to smell something... and every time a dog, cat, possum, bird, cricket, squirrel or beetle passes by, she about rips my arm off to get to them. She is still learning her leash manners, but she's getting better.

sometimes {most times} when she's too excited over bug and is chewing on her tail, i get upset and frustrated and have to tell her "NO" and stick her in her cage for a "time out". other times, she will want to play with poor bug and will chase her around the apartment. again, she gets her punishment.

honestly, though? she makes me smile. she makes jake smile. and i'm pretty sure that bug is even smiling half the time... she was a little bored before ruby joined the family, i know it. she is a sweet little thing and loves to snuggle up to us while we're on the couch watching a movie. she gets as close as she can... and then a little closer still. she generally ends up on our lap. belly in the air, a big grin on her face.

she has a vicious sounding bark, but she doesn't use it unless something spooks her. which i really love, actually. she makes me feel safe when i'm home alone. she sleeps through the night and is 100% potty trained. she gets so excited when we come home from being gone all day, or especially when we've just returned from a trip. she loves us.

i have days where i feel down... where i don't feel like life is being very fair or i merely just don't want to leave the house. she makes me. if even just for a walk around the block, she forces me to take in some sun and get exercise.

she makes me responsible for something other than myself... and for that, she gets a treat. :)

xo lauren

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

starting fresh and pretty

welcome to the new blog!! isn't it so incredibly cute?! i'm dying over here... erika (the fairy blogmother... and so much more!) is amazing and did such a lovely job. i need to give her a big shout out because she is a "stranger friend" of mine who has been so supportive of my evil infertility over the last year since i reached out to her. there really are some incredible people out there... and to be honest, she's the one that inspired me to actually put my infertility troubles out in the open for the world to see and for that, i am so grateful. it's truly helped me to let go of some of the bottled up angst and emotion i was feeling those first couple years and just be... real. so anyway, that is that. and here i am.

so let's just get it out of the way, because if you read my last post, you're probably wondering... i am not pregnant. my fifth iui was a failure, yet again. so no need to say how completely bummed i was... you've heard it before. this time i was in las vegas visiting family when i found out. i'm not sure if it was better that way, but it did give me some good distraction. to be completely honest, the only thing that did give me comfort this time was when i was standing in the shower, taking ten minutes to myself to cry and carry on after i got the negative pregnancy test, when i suddenly had this thought as clear as day that we are meant to adopt. we are. that's how we're supposed to start our family. i stopped crying then and was able to function the rest of the day... believe it or not.

all in all, it was a great trip and i had a really fun time with family and friends. i was pretty excited to see jake, though, and to walk in the door to a very excited ruby and a perfectly content bug. it feels like home when they're here.

from the fourth of july... jake and i went to spiderman.
from the trip...
     some of the nieces and nephews

    we made a trip up to southern utah to visit my heaven on earth. zions.

   the bestie even came!
   my dad and the california side of the family were in las vegas celebrating my step brothers' (ton and jimmy) birthdays.

  sitting at the airport after getting four hours sleep the night before... i was exhausted, but i really liked how this self portrait turned out! :P

until next time!!

xo lauren