Thats me in a pi-tri dish...I was born on May 9, 1990. My brother was born almost exactly a year later on May 1, 1991. The doctors told my mom that I would be born in July but apparently I disagreed. Me and and my brother are both first generation test tube babies, which meant we were conceived by a procedure called in vitro fertilization.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside of the womb, in vitro. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed.
Both of us came out 2 months premature, so we spent those two months in an incubator rather than in the womb. My whole life people have told me that me and and my brother look like twins (which I just don't see why) but one of the reasons we look so much alike is because we came from the same batch of egg and sperm my parents produced in order to follow through with the procedure. (trying not to gross you out too much) When the doctors mixed me up in the petri dish they froze my brother for the next year, along with other possible embryos. Mind you, because In Vitro was still new the procedure cost my parents loads of money (and they weren't even married yet!) When my mom found out she was pregnant with me she finally agreed to marry my dad (kinda messed up huh?).
After me and my brother were both born, my moms doctor took the remaining embryos that had been frozen and escaped to another country so he could sell them. (No, I'm not kidding) In that time there were other doctors doing the same thing, and a few of which got caught. So, if you ever see a girl or boy around my age who looks strikingly similar they just might me my sibling.
Me with my cousin Marc at just a few weeks old.
So, that is how my life began, and since then like most people growing up, my parents and their decisions helped form and shape the way I am. When I was seven they got divorced and we moved to Nevada with my Dad, but flew back and forth every weekend to visit my Mom. Eventually, after my brother and I became airplane pros my Mom moved out here too.
Me and Tony would switch every week from apartment to apartment oblivious to the behind the scene yelling and screaming both my parents took on while they struggled to find a stable living in Vegas.
Then my Dad met Diane. They dated. Then got married. We got a step-mom. She got two 8 and 9 year old kids she certainly didn't plan on. Diane expected that we would be at our Moms a lot and that the new job of being a step parent wouldn't be too hard, but she guessed wrong. Only knowing what step-moms were like in fairy tales, I didn't know what to think of Diane, but I was nine I didn't know anything. As my Dads luck AND hard work increased my moms didn't and we slowly started to visit it her less frequently. Although, the fights between her and my Dad only seemed to get louder. Soon it was just hard to visit my Mom altogether, she would yell and scream so much I thought she might lose her voice, but she never did. It was always a constant, "Look what your father did to me!", "It's just not fair!", "This is all his fault!", one time she even screamed out "If I just didn't have kids maybe things would be better!". And every time I would just sit and listen, sometimes I would cry, but I didn't know what else to do, except fix it.
The problems continued to increase, by then we were all moved in to Diane's house, and Tony and I shared a room. All we ever did was fight, physical and with our voices, after all it was the only way we knew how to solve our problems. There wasn't a day where we wouldn't fight, and as the stress of Dad and Diane increased, it did for my Mom as well. Conversations between my parents slowly ceased and just turned into yelling and fighting, and for a very long time it became their only way to communicate.
Right before 6th grade, Dad and Diane found a house by a brand new middle school and within three months we were out of the old and in the new. For once things kind of stayed stable, me and my brother still went and visited our Mom, but things weren't as hectic as
used to be. One Christmas my parents gave me a chance to go have horse-back riding lessons, and thats where I met Kristine. Now I call her my adopt-a-mom, she unknowingly filled the void I had of a loving mother and to this day comforts me in my day to day life. Horse-back riding became my outlet and at one point I was at the barn almost every day. I loved it and I was good at it. But then came High School.
I had no idea what to expect in High School, but I certainly didn't expect that I would have the experience that I did. It changed everything about me. I was so blessed, because I had such amazing english teachers who were so passionate about what they did, and up until then I had no idea what passion or dedication was, other than that I wanted to be a famous horse-back rider. I started to actually think about my thoughts, and recognize that I too could help change people. More and more movies started to become my escape, my freshman year we literally went to the movies every weekend. I was so engrossed by them, and their ability to simply ignite a tiny fire in your heart. So I went with it. I said, "I am gonna be a film maker!". But for the next two years, it was all talk.
We were mad at each other here.haha
On the other hand, I met my best friend Meagan while trying out for the softball team our freshman year. (She made it, I didn't) She too, helped me recognize that I actually had a back bone and could stand up for myself. Although, our conversations as fourteen year olds usually consisted of either how much we liked our teachers, or how how much we disliked our lives. With both extremely hard back grounds, we dismissed any likelihood of the existence of God, and unfortunately found more comfort in drinking escapades upstairs in her room. We vented our anger, frustrations, happiness, grumpiness, our everything to each other so much so that it became unhealthy for the both of us. And then she went to Young Life Camp.
Sophomore year I was doing my own thing, trying to get super involved with theatre and all the people who came with it, so Meagan and I grew more and more distant. Then she came home from camp, and a little more full of the bible than her and I both realized. At the time I didn't understand why she came at me with all these bible verses and Jesus loves yous, all I knew was that theatre was my comfort zone, I didn't need Meagan anymore, and for all I cared she could just pack up her bible and leave. After the whole thing, I was very upset and angry about the whole situation (as was she) I just didn't understand why I had to lose my best friend, but eventually I tried moving on without her. Theatre became my life, but the more I tried to rely on it to fill me, the more it failed me completely.
Junior year I challenged AP and Honors classes, and took two theatre classes, knowingly trying to stay away from home as much as I could. Both my step-mom and Dad developed a bad drinking problem, so much so that I never brought any one over cutting the possibilities of embarrassment completely. But who have since then completely altered their drinking issues, and are doing a million times better, and I couldn't be prouder of them. Anyways the homework and time after school in theatre was at a constant increase, and I began to think maybe I went a little overboard. Our family in theatre crumbled, and while watching your back, doing AP homework, and trying to still make it through the year became harder and harder, I finally hit a breaking point. After falling asleep on my bedroom floor and realizing I didn't finish the assignment or study for the test my anxiety started to build. Took the test, failed it. Walked into my theatre class realizing I had a performance due which wasn't ready at all, and then I just began to cry, weep really. I look back on it now, and yes I was tired, and stressed, it was junior year after all, but more than that I think I was upset because I knew things weren't right. That some how some where things like this weren't supposed happen. Not just my dumb missed assignment, but the fact that the family that had been created in theatre was destroyed, and that I didn't have my best friend who always knew what to say, I was so full of anger and frustration, and that day I finally let go. I was excused from performing that day, and was told to go sit in the workshop to cool down. As I sat and cried, something came over me, and it was peace. I quickly stopped crying and just fell into a halfway sleep, and something inside of me simply said "okay". "You're gonna be okay"....
The next week Meagan and I sat next to each other for the first time since sophomore year. We were watching an after school extra credit movie, so we slowly started to catch up in between the parts of the video that we had to pay attention to. When the video finished we walked outside and I waited for my Dad to pick me up. Realizing Meagan lived super close to my house, I offered her a ride home. She agreed, and as we said our goodbyes we promised to call each other. The next week she invited me to Young Life Club, but this time I said yes, and so I went.
So on a Tuesday night, Sheena (my soon-to-be YL leader and now roommate) picked me up with Meagan, Shady, and Justine in the car. All of whom are now some of my very best friends. So that is how my Young Life experience started and it has yet to end. I went to weekend winter camp first, where a woman name Tanita spoke about Christ in a way that hadn't thought much about. It was there that I "accepted Christ" but it means so much more than those two words. Two years later after a long road of ups and downs on the road of walking with Christ, Tanita was at camp again but this time she was a head leader for the camp. Unexpectedly I stayed for work crew, and told her about how I heard her speak just two years earlier. We talked a little bit and towards the end of our 4 weeks of work crew I asked her to baptize me in the lake at the camp.
But the story doesn't end there.
My lovely Young Life Leaders.
There are many many more things that I could add like:
-Tanita isn't the only one who led me to Christ, it's actually been a very long process (that I take pride in) where people like Allie, Sheena, Meagan, Justine, and Shady have been there the whole way.
-Senior year was hard too but I had Jesus : )
-To this day I jump from thing to thing trying to let them fill me and yet I Jesus is the only stable thing in my life that can truly fill me.
-I ignorantly fell in love (or lust you could say) which landed me in a spot I never wanted to be in, but have since then learned so much about real love and its over abundant capabilities and chose that it has much better promises.
-Which also means I made mistakes even after I decided to become a Christian, and I still do, but I know that the creator of the universe still loves me as I continue to love Him back.
-I moved out in August 08' and my relationship with my parents has significantly changed, I visit them once a week to have dinner, and occasionally we even talk about Jesus.
-And my Dad is going to church! ... Every week : )
-Me and my mom get along a lot better now.... were working on it.
I miss those jeans haha (say-so)
-I have the best friends in the world, I couldn't ask for better ones.
-I'm not the best writer, and I don't have THE most interesting story but thats what makes us so unique, no two people are the same.
-Also, compared to the rest of the world my life has been dramatically simple, and I am still very very young, but so so thankful, its my story, and its still going, but its story that I intend use to glorify the one who wrote it.