Clan Ross Newsletter 2011

  Merry Christmas!  I hope this holiday season finds you and your family well.  We are doing very well.  We have been very blessed this year.  This has been a year full of waiting that sometimes felt like a merry-go-round that was never going to stop, but we have finally reached the end of a long ordeal that resulted in Lenard landing a full time job at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard base!  This is a huge answer to prayer.  We were hoping to stay in this area so that we would not have to leave our family or our church family, but we were willing to do whatever God asked us to do.  We are very excited about 2012 and what will happen now that we have a little bit of stability in our lives.  Something we have not really had for the 11 years we have been married!

  Lenard – As I said the big thing this year was Lenard getting a full time position.  Since he joined the military in June of 2009 he has just been working on military orders which are never guaranteed to be cut again when the end date comes.  This position is something that we thought was a sure thing in June, but didn’t happen until October 11th, thus the merry-go-round.  Lenard’s orders ended on September 30th and he found out that he got the position on his last day.  We were sweating it a little bit!  We know that God is in control and we trusted Him to take care of us, but it is still a little unnerving when you don’t know if or where the next paycheck will come from.  Well, Lenard absolutely loves his job!  This is a long way away from being a veterinarian which was our original plan but obviously not God’s!  Lenard has been so blessed and favored in his job.  He has had great favor with his superiors and has gotten to do a lot of cool stuff this year!  He has travelled a LOT this year!  One of his coolest trips was sailing on a Navy ship from San Diego to Seattle.  He also was selected as the only officer from his unit to go to a leadership conference in Washington DC where he got to rub elbows with the top people in the National Guard!  His latest trip was to Colorado for three weeks in space school.  Sarah and I got to go visit him for a weekend while he was there too!  In case you couldn’t tell, I’m awfully proud of Lenard and all his achievements, and I’m very excited to see where God will take him in his military career!

  Cindy – Let’s see.  What’s new with me?  Well, while Lenard has been out “playing”, just kidding he really has been working hard, I’ve been attempting to hold down the fort.  Sometimes I do ok, other times, not so much.  I’m getting better with practice.  The hardest part for me is just the loneliness especially when it is time for me to crawl in bed alone.  I love Lenard so much and miss him a lot when he is gone.  I just want to say that I truly feel like I am one of the most blessed women on earth.  I have a fabulous husband who is my best friend and the greatest kiddos ever!  I sometimes complain about how cramped  we are and that there is no room for stuff, then I think about my wonderful family and have to remind myself that all that stuff really isn’t that important.  I am still staying at home and still loving it!  Our new thing this year is homeschooling!  We decided that homeschooling was what we were supposed to do, so teacher is now added to my many hats!  It has gone very well so far and I am so thankful that we have the privilege of teaching our children our values.  I turned 30 this year too.  I guess that’s kind of big.  I think 29 was weirder for me that 30.  We (Nathanael and I share the same birthday) had a great birthday party at my parent’s cabin surrounded by lots of family and wonderful friends.  It was a great day.  I have to admit though that I’m kind of glad to see this year end and looking forward to a new beginning in 2012.  Oh and in case anyone is wondering, there are no new “announcements” to make!

  Gabriel – Gabriel is 6 now and as I mentioned before is in kindergarten.  He is sosmart.  He has grown up so much and is such a big help.  I’m not sure how I managed babies before I had his help!  He is doing well in school.  He is a whiz in Math and is getting better in his writing.  He knows how to read a little but gets lazy about it sometimes and doesn’t want to try.  We will work on that.  He’s got plenty of time.  He is a great helper around the house and with Sarah.  He loves going to church and is now in Royal Rangers (like Boy Scouts).  They go camping and hiking and learn about lots of different things as well as learn about God and memorize Scripture.  I’m so excited about Gabriel and his potential.  He is a special boy.  I know that God has big plans for this kid!

  Hannah – Hannah is three and is such a beautiful little girl!  She loves paint on her toes and loves to be pretty.  I don’t know what to do with a prissy girl!  She can talk so well and loves to cuddle.  She loves to wear dresses and dance and twirl.  The most important thing though is earlier this month she asked Jesus to come into her heart.  I am so proud of this little girl!  She sometimes asks to do school work too and I give her some pre-school work.  She knows her colors, numbers, letters and is good at matching and sorting.  She is so sweet, but can be rough and tumble with her brothers too.  She can shoot a bad guy as good as any of them!  Hannah is a very special little girl and I’m proud to be her momma.

  Nathanael –   Nathanael is two now.  This boy!  I gotta say I love this kid to pieces!  He can be the rottenest stinker ever and later be the smiliest most affectionate kid you ever saw!  This little guy keeps me on my toes.  He loves to help.  He helps with the laundry, the dishes, cleaning, cooking (he loves to cook), but if I ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do I get a firm “No” and he usually won’t budge.  We’ve had to duke it out a few times.  He is very strong willed, but for the most part very compliant too.  He is very independent as well.  If he needs something he doesn’t wait around for someone else to get it, he just gets it himself (which when it involves him spilling juice all over the floor or cutting up the vegetables with a knife on his own is not the greatest thing!)  He is a very physical child too and hits a lot which is hard too.  He still doesn’t talk much and I think as he gets better able to communicate for himself things will be a little easier for the both of us.  I know he gets frustrated.  He is very good though most of the time at pointing and grunting his wishes to let me know what he needs.  While this independence is challenging now, it will be a great asset to him when he is older and I am so excited to see where this little guy is going to go too!

  Sarah – Sarah is one!  As most of you know we were moving from TX to TN when I was 38 weeks pregnant with Sarah last year.  We made it back to TN on Dec. 19th.  Our furniture arrived the 22nd and Sarah was born on the 23rd!  We got to bring her home on Christmas day.  She is so cute and so petite and loves to chatter and run and play and climb and pull books off shelves and things out of cabinets and drawers and, well, you get the picture.  She keeps me on my toes too!  She has been on the go from the beginning, rolling over at 2 months, crawling at 5 months, walking at 10 months and now running at 12 months.  She is even saying a few words!  I am beginning to think that she will talk before Nathanael!  Did I mention that she is cute as a button?!  We are so glad to have her as part of our family!  She is such a little blessing.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2012! God bless!!!

Love,

The Ross Clan

Lenard, Cindy, Gabriel, Hannah, Nathanael and Sarah

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year.  One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to bake cookies.  Today, by popular demand, I wanted to share a cookie recipe with you.

Danish Wedding Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter

1 cup crushed pecans

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2  1/2 cups sifted self rising flour

Powdered sugar (for outside after baking)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together all ingredients.  Roll in to 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9-10 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes then shake in a bag of powdered sugar to cover.  Enjoy!

Yes to Blessing Part 2

I wanted to re-visit my first post and further explain a few things.  I don’t want you to think that I am condemning anyone who doesn’t want to take the same path as we do!  Like I said this is the path that WE felt like the Lord led US down.  I believe that every persons walk with the Lord is a personal one and that they should let Him direct their lives and should not try to copy what anyone else is doing.  We did not come to this decision flippantly.  We prayed and studied the Bible before deciding this was the path God was leading us.

There are several Scripture verses that further confirmed to Lenard and I that this is what we were supposed to do.  All throughout the Bible children are a sign of blessing and wealth and are welcomed by Jesus.  We couldn’t find anywhere in the Word where it said blessed is the man with 2 children!  The very first chapter in the Bible we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).  I know many would argue that was a different time and that the world is overpopulated and we are destroying the world with our “carbon footprints”, but my Bible says Jesus (The Word – John 1:14) is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).

Do you remember the story of Jacob and Rachel and how Laban tricked him into marrying Leah first?  Since Leah was the unloved wife do you know how God showed favor on her?  By giving her children!  God blessed her with 5 children when Rachel was not able to have any at that time!  (Genesis 29:31)  Rachel was so desperate for children that she gave her servant to Jacob so that she could give him a child.  That’s how Jacob ended up with 12 sons because Leah and Rachel were competing to try to give their husband the most children!

That is unfortunately not how children are viewed often in this day and age.  They are noisy, expensive, you have to make sacrifices and give up ‘things’ to provide for them.  What people don’t realize is the joy that they bring to your lives that make those ‘things’ undesirable anyway!  My Bible says that children are a heritage, a reward even, and a happy man’s quiver will be full of children! (Psalm 127:3-5)  I could give so many more example throughout the Bible where children are considered blessings from the Lord and to be barren a curse.

I love the story in the New Testament where several mothers brought their children to see Jesus.  The disciples told them to leave and to not waste Jesus’ time with them but Jesus rebuked them and told them to let the children come! (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16)  I like to picture Jesus laughing and playing with them.  Maybe tickling them and listening to their silly stories and to them asking Him to heal their boo-boo’s.  The fact that this story is in 3 of the 4 Gospels says to me that it was pretty important to God!

The point that I want to make with all of this is to encourage you to not be conformed to the pressures and ideas of this world, but look to God’s Word and pray about what He would have you to do with your life and family.  If you feel God urging you to trust Him with the size of your family be bold and take a leap of faith.  You will probably get a few people telling you that you are crazy, but if you are doing what God asked you to do, I guarantee that you will never regret it.

Fun with Construction Paper

Friday we had an arts and crafts day and made stuff with construction paper and scissors.  We made a construction paper chain, snowflakes and the little gingerbread men holding hands.  Tonight we hung them up as Christmas decorations.  I forgot how much fun making paper snowflakes could be!  If you want an easy fun project to do with your kids I highly recommend this one!  Every kid loves to get to play with scissors.  My three-year old did great making the snowflakes.

Sometimes you just gotta forget about the mess around you and take the time to make memories with your kids.  Glad that I did.  Now I gotta get back to the mess though!  Love on your kids and make some fun holiday memories with them this Christmas season!

Why Yes to Blessing

“Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD.”  Psalm 127:3 CEV

Nuff said.

I am a mom of four ages 6, 3, 2 and 1.  I did not “plan” my family this way, but God did.  I have always wanted children since I can remember, but I was pretty set on the number that I wanted.  God had something else in mind though.  (I want to be very honest in this blog so that maybe through my struggles others might learn or be encouraged.)

My husband and I waited for 4 years before having children while we were finishing college.  I have never liked birth control, but saw it as a necessary evil.  After all, having children is not an easy task.  I was working full-time when my first was born and had to return to work.  My husband quit his job and was the stay at home parent while he worked on his Master’s degree.  I went back on birth control after our first child and we planned for the right time for the second child.  After the second child was born I felt a strong urge from God not to resume birth control.  I did for a short period of time, but eventually gave in to His nudgings.

The conversation went something like this:

– Do you trust me?

– Of course I do, but right now we are struggling financially, I’m having to go back to work part-time when my baby is only 6 weeks old, Lenard is in college, our house is too small, our car is too small!!!

– Do you really trust me?

– Yeeeessss, but . . .

– Do you trust me?

– (Deep breath and a little fear) Yes.

My husband and I discussed it and felt it was really what WE were supposed to do and we haven’t turned back or regretted it since!

Our 2nd, 3rd and 4th children were born in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  Not particularly easy pregnancies either especially in the last trimester!  I kind of think God was trying to see if we really meant it!  I absolutely can not imagine life without any of my children and I thank God every day for the blessings that He has entrusted us with.

Is it easy?  No way! But it sure is fun!  My husband is in the military and often has to be gone for a week or two (thankfully not more than that in his particular field), and I am homeschooling my oldest as well so there are a lot of challenges to face.  I have to say that some of them I handle pretty well I think, but probably more often I crash and burn and have to try again.  My hubby is out-of-town right now and let me tell you, to not have him walk through the door and rescue me at the end of the day is really hard.  (I admire all of you who are single moms.  You are stronger women than me.  I don’t know how you do it, but I guess you do what you have to right?!)  Without the help and guidance of my Heavenly Father I don’t know what I would do.  “If He brings you to it, He will guide you through it!”

Well, as I am very busy and easily distracted (squirrel – where was I?), my posts will probably be a little sporadic.  My goal is to post at least once a week.  I appreciate any comments and feedback as long as they are appropriate and have no foul language.  May God bless you all.  Thanks for reading!