I want you to think about this post as a memorial service for Al Ross. Let it be a place for us to gather in spirit. Think about the loved ones you would hug upon entering the church doors. Imagine the faces that would be next to you and found across the room. Picture the musical performers at the alter in front of you. Find a quiet time and place where you can be present with us and join me in remembering and celebrating Albert John Ross. Welcome, and thank you for coming.
After my children were in bed last night, I looked around the house and noticed all of the evidence they left behind from a day of curiosity and imagination. As a mother of a one and three year old, there is practically no time to clean and organize. In order to embrace this season of life, I want to stay engaged with my children, not burdened by household chores. Yes, I like a tidy house. Yes, I am a lover of organization. Yes, I see every item out of place and feel every crumb under my feet. Yes, I wish I could spend a whole day deep cleaning my house (knowing it will be marred within minutes of completion). But you know what? I'll spend most of my life in a neat house, one day, designed by Chip and Jo. A girl can dream, right?! Anyone else a Fixer Upper fan?
Once we arrived in Alabama, it was time for another round of doctor appoints. Do they ever end?! This time, Lincoln was due for his 15 month well-check. I don't know why he entered such a terrible state, but from the second we wheeled into the clinic to the second we left, Lincoln was completely inconsolable. He literally cried for an hour and a half straight (minus about 5 minutes of peace after the nurse left, and before the doctor stepped in). I felt like an awful parent because I could not figure out how to help him. He kept trying to get down, and the instant I put him down, he cried to be picked up. The pacifier didn't soothe, the snack didn't satiate, the toys didn't entertain, and the book didn't even work! So, the doctor proceeded and and I attempted to listen while he screamed incessantly. Ugh!
As most of you know, my dad went running into the arms of Jesus a little over a week ago. (A post about my dad is on the way.) I quickly became overwhelmed with the emotions and logistics involved with the loss of a parent. When I was in the heaviest part of grieving and planning, my body felt like it had welcomed another child into the world--sheer exhaustion, endless responsibilities, unfamiliar emotions, and the fog of sleeplessness. I decided I needed some "me time" to break away. In order to regain the necessary energy to continue moving forward with my father's passing, I had to to occupy my mind with something completely unrelated.
For most of us, birthdays have always been a time of celebration with our friends and family. We can count on opening presents, eating cake, and feeling genuinely loved. We've been able to choose how to celebrate each birthday--a party, movie night, picnic at the park, fancy dinner, simple family gathering, or maybe even a vacation. It is a fun and innocent time centered around celebrating our uniqueness. Unfortunately, there's a different population in America who has yet to experience the aforementioned joy of a birthday--foster children. Thankfully, Devon Rentas has set out to change that. Through her organization, Birthday Presence, she is creating an unforgettable birthday celebration for children in the Arizona foster system. We have the AWEsome opportunity to partner alongside her foundation to provide memories that will truly last a lifetime. Move over Disney; make room for Birthday Presence.
Founder of Birthday Presence, Devon Rentas, hosting a party for foster children
Alright, we made it to Alabama. Alive, barely. Have I shared with you how much Lincoln despises the car seat?!?! On top of that, God decided it would be the perfect time to test our patience by allowing Lincoln to cut FIVE teeth while we were on the road, four of which happened to be molars. REALLY?! Like I said, alive...barely. Now with that off my chest, we really did enjoy our trip since we got to see many beloved friends and partake in some really fun moments as a family. Several times while we were driving I wished we had purchased plane tickets instead, but seeing the friends we dearly missed was absolutely worth it.
And it's here. Time for Army move number eight! With just three weeks left in Tucson, we're beginning to close this chapter of our lives and gear up for the next stage, in Alabama--for the third time. This change is certainly bitter-sweet as we have to leave both of our families once again. However, the move is also exciting because it's the last step in Tim's training before he becomes an instructor at the United States Military Academy, a goal he's worked towards since graduating at that same institution.
Addie's new suitcase for the upcoming cross-country move
As I've come to learn, memorizing Scripture is vital--vital to happiness, vital to well-being, vital to acceptance, vital to strength, vital to courage, vital to fighting off the Enemy. There is no better tool we can equip our children with than the Word. When filled with God's wisdom, our children will be able to handle EVERY situation, knowing the Lord's will.
Growing up, Christmas meant Santa--pictures with Santa, letters to Santa, phone calls to Santa, and the anticipation of all the presents he would leave on Christmas morning. As I've grown in my faith, I want our children to first associate Christmas with the birth of Christ, but still enjoy the magical aspects of Santa Clause. With that in mind, we really didn't talk too much about the whole Santa thing during Christmas, but discussed the true meaning of the festivities, gifts, and giving at each opportunity.
And it's here. Our guy is officially one! Since the day Lincoln graced us with his presence, he's been a happy-go-lucky child. And since he could flash that golden smile he's been quite the charmer. He can be rather "spirited" as well, but I'll let him slide since he's mostly easy-going. Lincoln is such a little cuddler and has the most contagious laugh; what a blessing he has been to our family.
Since Adeline was born, I've attempted to be intentional about teaching her to have a giving spirit, especially during the season of Christmas. Christmas has turned into such a gift-centered holiday, especially for children, and I want her to understand that's there's FAR more to celebrate as we prepare for Christmas than the presents she'll receive.
Ornaments Addie painted to give to residents in an elderly care facility
Well, this is the last month before my guy turns one year old! It's hard to fathom that this time last year I was still pregnant and beyond eager to meet our first son. He continues to be giggly and generally easy-going, but he's kicked up the spice factor in the last couple of weeks (hopefully just due to teething!).
Our sweet girl turned three years old on November 13th! She's definitely had a full three years; some of the highlights include birth in an Army hospital (enough said!), one deployment, her baby dedication ceremony, four military moves, a spontaneous trip to California, looooots of G.I. and doctor appointments, and the birth of her brother.
In September, Tim received information about a grant offered to UA students (who are also veterans), to serve as a guardian on an Honor Flight for WWII and Korean veterans. If you're not familiar with this program, Honor Flight send veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials erected in their honor. The flights originated for WWII vets, but are now serving Korean veterans as well. This was an exciting opportunity for Tim to serve a generation that is rapidly passing away.
It's been one year since I officially started volunteering as a client advocate at Hands of Hope, a faith-based crisis pregnancy center. Serving God in this ministry is one of the great honors of my life, and one I hope to continue as the Army moves my family around the country. As a client advocate, God has taught me time and time again to trust His plan for each woman I counsel. Even when I cannot see Him working, I must continue to live as Christ's Body (see poem below), and obey His calling for my life. At Hands of Hope, nine out of ten women choose life for their child after receiving our services. For the one who chooses abortion, my heart aches. However, I have seen the one come to know Jesus as she grieves the loss of her child, and I have seen the one who miscarries turn to the Lord as she mourns. God is working!
Last week we got to celebrate our first Halloween as a family of four. It was cute seeing our kids dressed up together and Addie more into trick-or-treating than ever. Although the holiday can get a little too spooky and dark, I love the harmless costume and candy aspect. As a kid, I always looked forward to picking a costume, getting dressed up, and going door to door to fill up my bucket--what kid doesn't? I have to admit eating the candy was always my favorite part (and still is as I sneak into Addie's candy collection all day!).
On the 19th, Lincoln turned ten months old, and like every other month that passes, I cannot believe it. True to his first days, he continues to be chill, joyful, and easily entertained. He does spice things up for us in short bursts of fire during the day, as he's not a fan of diaper changes, getting buckled in the carseat and when Addie takes a toy away. Other than that, he's as sweet as they come.
As Halloween approaches, Adeline's excitement about the surrounding festivities increases. I try to do one new activity with her each day and I saw this idea of glittery pumpkins online (but I can't remember the site to credit). A quick Google search shows a plethora of glittered pumpkin ideas. For our two year old, we went simple!
Over the last year, God has been convicting me about the lack of pizazz in my prayer life. Every morning when I wake up, I feel a sincere tug telling me to get out of bed and pray, while the house remains still. But as a new mom, I often decide to use those few extra minutes to sleep. Sure, I pray randomly throughout the day, but I am missing the QUIET, one-on-one, dedicated time with God. Cue War Room. If you have not seen this film, stop reading and make a plan to see the movie. Seriously. I mean it. Open a new tab, and find the movie! Once that's complete, continue reading.
Being married is farfrom easy. Being married to a soldier... it isn't even on the spectrum. Thankfully, God has guided me through my marriage, comforted me in my husband's absence, and taught me to look to Him through the inevitable and frequent challenges. In all honesty, this is the last lifestyle (I thought) I wanted--moving around constantly, far from friends and family and enduring deployments. The starry-eyed vision I had for my future included a husband with a predictable job, teaching high school, buying a pretty house, and giving my children a home where they could grow up with lifelong friends.
Another month has passed and our little guy is NINE months old now. He's made a lot of advancements in the last few weeks, keeping us busier than ever. He continues to be the sweetest, most content child. Lincoln makes my job as a mother of two pretty easy (and then there's his sister...).
I don't usually plan projects around here; I just come up with ideas when the time provides itself. Now that Adeline wakes up at 5, there is LOTS of time to fill. Early one morning while the boys slept, I thought it would be fun to create a track for her cars. Addie enjoys driving her cars all over the house so I knew she would like a designated space for them. She's also REALLY into using her scissors right now so this was a perfect project for her. We cut out strips of black construction paper, taped them together, and placed yellow stripes on the road. We also used toilet paper rolls to create bumps in the road and stop lights around the track. This quick and easy project provided lots of fun (and free) entertainment.
As I sit down to write this post, my heart physically aches. Knowing the depths of torture that is occurring as my I tap my keyboard wrenches my gut. I know ISIS is terrorizing people all over the world but after hearing from the front lines, now I know ISIS is terrorizing people all over the world. And the question is, what am I going to DO about it?
ISIS victims comforted by the Lion and Lamb Initiative
When Tim began his master's degree at the University of Arizona, I had an extremely difficult time understanding his thesis project. Check out his thesis title: Airfoil Separation and Wake Control Using Nanosecond Dialectric Barrier Discharge Plasma Actuator.
Plasma, actuators, dielectric barriers...what? Are you as confused as I am??? One night I asked Tim to break down every word of his thesis title so I could gain an elementary idea of what he was creating and studying. Basically, in layman's terms, I understand it this way: he's working to make the wing or blade of an aircraft more efficient.
Recently, a journalist for the university's Engineering Department wrote an article about his project. I had to read it a couple times to process the information, and in all honesty, I still can't fully grasp the details; I might as well be reading another language. In summary, here's what I've learned--my husband is smart, really smart.
Our little man is eights months old! I've been experiencing those bitter-sweet feelings lately as Lincoln isn't quite my "baby" anymore. It's exciting to see him grow and advance, but I miss the tiny babe (not that he was ever really tiny) that used to fit neatly in my arms. I'm already sad that my time nursing him is coming to an end in a few months: I breastfed Adeline until she was a year and plan to do the same with Lincoln. Yet, I can't be down too long with that adorable smile! He's starting to give the "scrunchy face" smile that his sister was famous for and I absolutely LOVE it, especially because it reminds me of her as a baby =).
I'm a military wife and stay-at-home mama earnestly seeking the Christ-like life. My desire is to help you cultivate a loving relationship with Jesus and encourage you to fulfill His purpose for your life.