Only by giving are you able to receive more

While having my morning coffee, I realized the holiday season can mean so many things to different people. As I was watching Atticus play and laugh, I took a moment to thank God for answering my prayers to become a mother and for the blessings He has given me. Being a mother has been the best gift I have ever received.

This is the season when  many mourn and reflect on loved ones lost, many are overjoyed to see the excitement on children’s face when they are opening gifts, and when many spend time with family to celebrate the birth of Christ. But it is also a season where so many are not so fortunate. There are people who have no family to celebrate with or some who do not have the ability to provide for their children to allow them to have those precious smiles on their faces. Children sometimes wake up on Christmas morning with nothing and parents who are heartbroken at the fact they were not able to provide.

How great would it be if all the families and parents were able to be taken care of in such a time of need? The smiles on the children’s faces, the warmth of family love, and the simple generosity from someone who is willing to give back.

This holiday season I challenge you to look for someone in need. For a man, woman, toddler, infant, or a family in entirety that is in need. Maybe you can adopt that family and give them the gift of joy this Christmas season. Nick and I love to give back during the holidays. This year we really look forward to including Atticus  as we give back to a precious little girl.

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting.” – Thomas S. Monson

If you are looking for a way to give this Christmas season, please feel free to contact me at bellesandbowtiesbtq@gmail.com. I have a family that would love your help.

Merry Christmas

Every Moment Matters

A few weeks back, I visited home. There is nothing better than sweet tea, southern accents, and a hug from momma. I love everything about the south; the smell, the scenery, the hospitality, but most of the all the people I get to see. Moving away four years ago taught me to be thankful for the family I have and the roots that raised me. 

While I was home I met a sweet little girl who would change my life for the better. She would touch my heart in a way I did not realize was imaginable. I have always had a heart for children and the elderly. There is something so rewarding about hearing a story from a veteran or the sweet giggles of an innocent child. But this little girl brought up a feeling I have never felt before. 

While at dinner, I watched as this little girl walked around the table trying ice cream, wanting to eat the birthday cake on the table, and looking for love and attention from anyone who would pay her mind. I later found out she has never been the “priority.” 

Children are truly a blessing from the Lord. They should be loved and cared for without fail. These precious souls should feel safe and accepted above all else. No child should ever have to feel the need to beg for attention or seek to be loved. Thankfully this child has a father and family who is stepping up to love and care for her.  Every time she comes to mind, my eyes fill up with tears and I just wish I could hug her and tell her everything is going to be ok. 

Usually Nick and I adopt an anonymous family for Christmas. A family we know nothing about other than the items they need and the wish list their children have provided, but this year we will be giving to a child that has personally touched my heart. Knowing the impact one simple gift can have on this child’s life is enough to make my heart melt.

” The soul is healed by being with children.”- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you feel led to give to this child or a child in need, please send me an email (lacieyross@gmail.com) and I will give you details on how to help.

Just Leave Him 

Becoming a mom has truly been a dream come true. I am not sure what I did before and I could not imagine life without Atticus. He has change my life in so many ways and reminds me daily how blessed I am. 
It has been four months since my little peanut made his entrance into this world. Everyday since May 12 I have spent loving and caring for him. This journey has taught me so much about myself and how much life can change due to one tiny human. 

Since having him there have been good days as well as bad. Bad as in frustration with myself, exhaustion, and advice from people who have no idea what it is like to be a mom or from ones who think they have everything figured out. Do not get me wrong some advice is welcomed but the “you should do it this way” or ” when I was a mom…” is the kind of advice that new mothers get offended by.  

Everyone has asked me if I have left him yet. My answer is still no. When I say this you can imagine the reactions I get. “Oh my goodness, you’ve been with him everyday for four months?” Or “just leave him, you need some alone time.” The reality of it all is Nick and I tried for a very long time to finally have this miracle. We did not have a baby to “just leave him”. We wanted a baby to become parents, to care for him everyday, and not miss one second. Because in the blink of an eye he will be grown and on his own. 

To all the new moms out there: you’ve got this. No one will care for child as you do. When you feel like a failure or someone is pressuring you to do something you do not want to do , remember you are the mom and that little blessing depends on you. 

“Do what fits your family. Trust yourself. “- Unknown 

You Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

It is hard to believe one month ago I became a mom. For two years I prayed endlessly for God to answer the desires of my heart. Night after night I would pray the same prayer faithfully knowing there was a chance becoming a mom may not be in God’s plan. I knew if God had a different path for me, He would guide me in the direction He saw fit. As I sit here and stare at my precious  bundle of joy, I am reminded how faithful God is. I did not deserve this blessing but I thank God everyday for calling me to be Atticus’ mom. 

Many of you followed my pregnancy. Many of you texted, prayed, or called. But many of you have no idea the journey to May 12,2017. On the outside, everything looked normal. Everything looked like it was going well. But many of you do not know the battles I faced during my nine months being pregnant. During my pregnancy I faced many ups and downs before being blessed with the greatest miracle of my life. 

August 2016. My prayers were answered. I was pregnant. 17 pregnancy tests, blood work, and an ultrasound… I was officially pregnant after being told one month before, it would never happen for me naturally. Even though this was supposed to be the happiest time of my life; there were many trials I had to face.

During my nine months of being pregnant; I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (and told I should prepare for a miscarriage), became anemic, told my baby would be down syndrome (because an ultrasound showed he could “potentially” have echogenic bowel syndrome), and an abortion was suggested(resulting in  2 doctor changes and a hospital change). Just to name a few. 

I could have easily questioned God as to why I had to face so many lows, but I realize now He was testing me to see if I would stay faithful. There were many nights I would fall to my knees and beg God not to let anything happen to my baby. I specifically remember praying, ” Lord, if your will is to bring Atticus Ellis to this earth, regardless of His condition, I will praise you endlessly and be the best mother I can be.” 

Many of us face trials. We lose jobs, love ones, friends, etc. During these times it is so easy to question God instead of praising Him in those storms. I thank God everyday for blessing me the opportunity to be a mother. I love Atticus more than anything in this world and he is a constant reminder of how big and faithful my God is. 

When you are down and facing a rough patch in your life, remember there is someone looking down that as a higher power than anything you could ever face. Keep your faith and trust in God. He will not lead you astray. 

“Be Joyful in hope, Patient in affliction, and Faithful in prayer. “- Romans 12:12

Pray. Wait. Trust

As I sit here and feel the little flutters and kicks in my stomach, I cannot help but stop and thank God for all His many blessings. Two years ago I was sitting in the mountains with my husband blown away at how beautiful the sights were. I remember thinking how amazing God’s creations were and how thankful I was for where I was in life. I was completely content with my life and had now idea how much life would change over the next two years.

This past week we finally realized, in approximately 10 weeks, a precious baby boy will be welcomed into the world. It really hit us that everything we have hoped and prayed for will finally be a reality. God has answered so many prayers and has taken us on one of the most amazing journeys we could have ever imagined. It gets overwhelming at times with the gratitude we feel for this beautiful experience.

Atticus Ellis is a true example of answered prayer. My entire life I was taught to fully trust in God and never question His plan for my life. This past July, when I was told I would never be able to have a child naturally, made that really hard to do at times. It became extremely difficult not to question God’s plan and to try and understand why this was happening. I remember the emotional roller coaster and continuous thoughts that would run through my mind. I never thought I would be the one to face such a devastating experience. I had always heard of people being told this but never really understood until I was the one facing such heartache.

If I would have questioned God there is a chance everything could have turned out different. I could still be in a devastating state wondering why I could not have children. I truly believe God was testing Nick and I to see if we fully trusted His will, using this to bring us closer, but most of all it was apart of His divine plan to prepare us for one of the greatest blessings in our lives.

We all face heartbreak and obstacles. At one point or another in our lives we all go through unfortunate situations that test our Faith. But we have to be willing to fully rely on God and His master plan. He uses these “speed bumps” to prove  that He is always there and His plan is far better than any plan we may have.

“ Where you are today is no accident. God is using this situation you are in right now to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants to bring you into tomorrow. Trust Him with His plan even if you don’t understand.” – Unknown

Atticus Ellis Ross

This past weekend Nick and I were showered with love and gifts for our precious baby boy. We cannot believe how many people came to show support and who are already praying and love our baby. It is amazing to see what God does in your life through others.

Once the shower was over we packed the car and headed to our maternity photos. I do not think it fully registered exactly how blessed we were or all the wonderful things we had received. From baby clothes to sentimental cards, we did not completely understand the extent of what we had received. Later that night we returned to my mom’s house to find all these baby gifts covering her living room floor. As we began to go through each and every gift again, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and emotions for how much love we have already received.

Baby Atticus is such a blessing in our lives and we were shown how much of a blessing he will be in so many others lives as well. The entire weekend I kept being reminded to be grateful for everything. God put me in certain situations to remind me to always be thankful for everything He provides. Gifts for our precious blessing are very much appreciated, but the love and relationships mean so much more and I am more grateful for these than any materialistic item we could ever receive.

At the end of the day we should all be thankful for the life we have been given, the relationships we have built, the hard times we fall upon, but most of all for the love God gives to each and every one of us. No matter how hard life can be at times we must be grateful for everything.

Our lives can improve just by becoming more grateful. It can strengthen relationships and increase overall happiness. Everyday wake up with a positive mindset and look for things you can be thankful for.

“Start each day with a grateful heart.“- Unknown

Every Next Level Of Your Life Will Demand A Different Version Of You.

Everyday we get so caught up in the “What ifs?” We are always wondering where life is going to take us, who we will marry, what job we will have in a few years; you name it we are always wondering about something that is completely out of our control. Instead we should stop and be thankful for today and live in the moment.

The past few years have been nothing but constant change for me. I moved 15 hours from home, got married, left a job industry I was extremely passionate about, became pregnant and took a position leading a team in an industry way out of my comfort zone. Through all this I have come to realize there is one thing in life that is always constant… change. Everyday, all day long, there is change happening in all aspects of our lives. Whether it is relationships, jobs, our pants do not fit anymore (my current daily change), or simply paint in our house; something is always changing. That is the beauty of life. We have the opportunity to experience change. No matter if it is good or bad, we have the chance to learn something from every change.

Growing up I was fearful of change. I did not want to be an adult or move away from home because it was something I simply could not control. Now that I am older, I realize how grateful I am for all the changes that have come with my life because it has molded me in to the woman I am today.

We are all so worried about changing the world that we forget to think about changing ourselves. Being a leader for a multimillion-dollar team, I had to change my outlook on the way I viewed successes and failures. I simply could not lead a team to want to make changes and better themselves without first practicing what I preached. I have learned that leading by example has much more impact on a person’s willingness to change as opposed to saying one thing and acting another.

No one will ever be able to control change. The outcome of every situation is already determined. The book for each of our lives has already been written and there is a higher power that already knows the plans for tomorrow. So live in the moment, take a deep breath, and thank God for every thing you have experienced in life thus far.

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us o the place we’re meant to be.” – Unknown

Merry Christmas!

Baby Ross Is Proof That God Answers Prayers

Many of you have followed my infertility journey. So you have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. A year and a half ago Nick and I started the dreaded journey of infertility in hopes to have a baby. There were many tears, heartache, prayer, and questioning along the way. But today I sit here and praise God for taking Nick and I on this path for more reasons than one.

In January of this year I had extensive surgery in hopes of being able to have a baby. Four weeks of recovery and five months of trying……… nothing. In July we had a major appointment with our specialist to see what our options were. We were told that day it was not going to happen naturally for us. We were told we would have to have some sort of help. I was crushed. Dying inside at the fact I could not physically give my husband the child he has always prayed for. So we sat in that room lost at what decision we should make. Should we adopt? Should we do IVF? Should we accept and be ok with just the two of us? Nick and I prayed for God to show us the right decision. We decided that day to do Natural IVF in October after our trip to Australia. We were going to use Australia to clear our minds and really seek God’s will for our life and what path we were supposed to take.

Two weeks later ……I was pregnant. God had answered our prayers, without hesitation, three weeks before we ever knew. Three weeks later sitting in my bathroom floor, I was looking at two pink lines I was told would never be possible without help. I was in disbelief. I knew it was a mistake. The test was faulty. I needed new glasses. All the excuses I could find for the truth to be false at this moment of such disbelief. But 17 pregnancy tests later (literally), two pink lines were possible with God.

Nick was out of town and I did not want to stress my mom just yet, so I called my Aunt and questioned her 10000 times about what to do. Should I tell my mom? Should I take another pregnancy test? Should I freak out? Should I eat McDonald’s? Should I put myself on bed rest? Should I run? Should I drink a gallon of water? What should I do? She was my calm in the storm that day. She was the positive voice I needed to hear and the reassurance that God had in fact answered all of our prayers. After the blood test was confirmed two days later, I was five weeks pregnant with a miracle I was told I would never have.

That night I prayed more than I have ever prayed and thanked God for this miracle and blessing. I thanked Him for the journey, drawing Nick and I closer to Him, making my marriage stronger than it has ever been, and for reminding me that there is ALWAYS a higher power. Science can only do so much and then comes God. Three months later I am pregnant with a happy, healthy baby and a support group bigger than I could have ever imagined. We are overwhelmed with the prayers and love we have received since sharing our joy.

I am here to tell you, God is still in the answering prayer business. There is no mountain He cannot move. Just because He does not answer in our timing does not mean He will not answer in His timing. Nick and I are living proof God shows up at just the right time and we will forever be grateful.

“Every good and perfect gift comes from above.”- James 1:17

Trust In The Timing

“Trust in God’s timing. It is better to wait awhile and have everything fall into place than rush and have things fall apart.” Wow. How true is this statement? How many of us question God’s timing on a daily basis? I know I am guilty. Naturally, we all want things to happen right now. Regardless of the outcome, if we set our mind on something we want we don’t want to wait on the perfect time.

Relationships are prime example. We rush into things before the timing is right to find out we are in a much deeper situation than we planned. If we were to slow down and listen to what God’s plans are for our life, many of us wouldn’t end up heartbroken. When I met Nick, I was not in a place to move forward in a relationship. I was in a bad place in my life and did not think that was the best time to move into something new. God laughed and three years later, I live in Michigan married to my best friends. Little did I know, that plane ride, was God’s perfect timing for me to meet my husband. In this case I was questioning the perfect time. Even though it hit me right in the feels… I did not think it was the right timing.

Fast-forward two years to the day Nick and I started facing infertility. Such an emotional roller coaster that you want immediate answers and results. You question God daily as to “why you are the couple having to face this?” Why do people who do not even need children, are able to have them with no trouble?” Why are we so faithful to God, but still do not have this particular prayer answered?” I am here to tell you, that God’s perfect timing has never rang so true during this difficult time in our lives. We have grown not only closer to each other…but to God. We know without a doubt God has a plan for our life and He knows what the future holds. When the time is right, God’s timing will be perfect.

We all face trying times in our life where we want instant answer. We question God, throw fits, turn the other cheek, or simply make our own decisions only to find out the time is not right. God’s perfect timing never fails. If we would all be more willing to wait on His timing instead of our own, think of the peace we would have.

“When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”- Isaiah 60:22

 

Sister From Another Mister

Growing up as an only child there were days I longed for a sibling. I know that is crazy to think that I actually wanted someone to pick on and vice versa. Being an only child can be lonely but it can also have its perks. Luckily I was blessed with two very important people in my life that filled that void. An uncle who was more like a brother and my mom’s best friend’s daughter who is well known as my “little sister.”

During the first few years of my life we lived with my grandparents and Elan (my uncle). Being able to harass him and look up to him quickly changed my view of who he was and what he meant in my life. To this day he has always been more of a brother than my uncle. I aggravated him like a little sister, embarrassed him on his first dates and would hide in his room just to make him mad. Little did I know one day I would cherish that relationship more than I could have ever imagined. He has always been and always will be my “big brother” and I am thankful for the way my life turned out in order for this to happen.

Jacey…My sister from another mister. Better known as Janice, Jasmine, Hans Solo James Henry IV, Jessi, well you name it all names that start with “J”. From the day she was born I knew she would play an important role in my life. She truly fills that role of a little sister. She harasses me, calls me out when I am wrong but would bend over backwards to be there for me. I could not imagine my life without her. I value her opinions and respect that she can call me out. We can be mad at each other one second and laughing so hard we are crying the next. No matter what happens in life I know and she knows we will always be there for each other.

This is the beauty of life. You can make anything and any relationship become what you want it to be. I value each relationship I have because every one of them is unique in its own way. No two relationships are the same. In life we all have a choice. A choice to make each relationship great, to get the most out of every situation, and to give just as much as we receive. My challenge to you is to grow every relationship you have because one day they will all be taken away and only memories will remain.

“Even though we change and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not still friends.”- Unknown