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May 31, 2011

Looking up...

Today I am recovering from a WONDERFUL weekend with my family.

The sunshine just might be here to stay for a while in Southern Ohio, and with it has come my good mood. I'm starting to feel like now I am finding my strive in this new life of mine. I'm dealing more graciously with Maddie not being here, and this weekend I was stronger than ever.

I feel like things are finally looking up for us.

I've been told that once you reach this point on the road of grief that it will continue to get better. There will still be occasional meltdowns and bad days, but for the most part I'm dealing with this new partly empty but mostly full life. I'm so in love with my boys, they make me so happy. Well, most of the time. =) lol

Over the weekend,we were able to really spend some quality time together. I'm learning more and more everyday that the Lord, Rick and my boys are all I need to give me strength. Everyday, I'm stronger because of them.

There are still those moments when I want to fall apart. Like the phone call I received the other day asking if "Madeline" was my daughter. Or when Elijah found the baby teether and asked if we could use it for Baby Maddie. But, mostly, I'm getting the hang of this.

I was able to really just "focus" on the boys this weekend without constantly thinking of and wishing Maddie was there the whole time. Of course I would love for her to be, but I need to completely focus on what's in front of me. I can't let "what isn't" take away from "what is" in my life right now.

Going through life with a hurting heart is a very difficult thing to do, but I'm getting the hang of it. Things really are looking up.

I'm blessed.

I have a Husband who absolutely loves me, two little boys that are the light of my life, a precious little girl shining down on us from Heaven, and a little bundle on the way.

Which by the way, I'm feeling that little bundle flutter around now. =) I'm so thankful for this. I think God just "knew" I needed this so I could have a peace of mind.

Funny thing is.... When I started noticing the tiny movements, I pulled out Madeline's baby journal and guess what? I started feeling this little one the same exact week I started to feel her. Isn't that sweet. <3

So, life is good. Life is exciting. Life is happy again.

I feel like I've smiled and laughed more in the last week than I have at all in the last (almost) 5 months. God is giving me strength and peace to get the victory and move forward.

I'm so thankful that things are finally looking up!

As I spent this perfect weekend together with my family, instead of crying that Maddie Grace wasn't' with us, I was remembering that she is.... She always will be.

I have a special story to share about Sunday, so stay tuned... God is at it again and I'm blessed that He is able to use me.

May 26, 2011

I've still got a song...

Well, I had the opportunity to talk about Friday night and Noah's graduation but I wanted to talk about the rest of my weekend and some really special things that happened.

Rick and I spent the day on Saturday with his family celebrating Noah and Erica and their accomplishment of graduating Kindergarten. We took them for a pizza party at Cici's and then to Jungle Jims to have fun.

The sun was shining and I was in the BEST mood. It's amazing how much the weather affects my moods. I was really enjoying watching the boys and their cousins having such a great time. It was nice to just go out with the family and have fun and not think about the constant pain and grief I struggle through daily. I tried so hard to just focus on what was in front of me, but it seems like everything just reminds me of her. I'm hoping that one day these reminders won't hurt quite so much.

Later that night we had a cook out with some friends and played some games, it was really a fun day overall.

On Sunday I woke up sad for some reason. Satan was fighting me really hard. I remember singing in Choir and the first song really got to me. Music really speaks to me anymore. Before I felt like I could never really "feel" the words. Now I feel like every song was written just for me.

Here were some of the words...

Once again, I faced Satan this morning...
And I battled him all the day long.
But in my weakness, God sent reinforcements,
And at sundown, I sang Victory's Song.

Oh, the sun's coming up in the morning,
Every tear will be gone from my eye.
This old clay's gonna give way to Glory,
And, like an eagle, I'll take to the sky.

In a world, filled with doubts and confusion,
It's so hard when you don't understand.

Oh, but I'll stand on a Solid Foundation,
And I'll hold to an Unchanging Hand.

Oh, the sun's coming up in the morning,
Every tear will be gone from my eye.
This old clay's gonna give way to Glory,
And, like an eagle, I'll take to the sky.

Church was really good and we had a picnic afterwards which was lot's of fun. My Church family is such a big part of my life. Sometimes I don't know what I would do without them. Their strength and love has brought Rick and I through some of the worst of times.

On our way home from the picnic, it started pouring rain, and along with it came my tears. I couldn't stop crying. It was like someone just turned on a faucet. I was a mess.

Satan was fighting me again and I was getting down. I was REALLY missing Madeline.

I guess in my head I just pictured here with us for so long that now sometimes I'll get caught up in the moment and realize she's not and never will be. It breaks my heart. I feel like I'm always forgetting someone when I look around and she's not there. It hurts so much.

We had put the boys down for a nap and I just laid in my bed and cried.

Rick had asked me what he could do to make me feel better and I told him I just wanted him to talk about her. I guess a part of my heart just doesn't want to believe that she will forever not be physically a part of this family. So, I just want her to be a part in spirit and in conversation.

Rick told me it's hard for him to know what to say. He told me that if he talks about what she would be doing , it would make things worse. And it would. I guess I just wanted to hear her name.And honestly, only have a day and a half of pictures and memories. We've looked at the pics and talked about the memories over and over. I guess, I really don't know what I wanted him to say. I just missed her.

The boys all fell asleep and I went downstairs.  I stopped by Maddie's room and just peeked in. I feel close to her in there for some reason, even though she never spent one night there. It helps some, but it also makes me miss her more. It's mixed emotions.

It was still pouring outside and even hailing a little.
I walked to the back of the kitchen and looked. out and  I saw Maddie's tree at the back of the yard. It had been greening up all week long and I was wondering if it was going to bloom. Then I saw something so special. There was ONE pink flower that had bloomed about half way up the tree. I couldn't believe it.

I felt like it was Madeline telling me that she was there. She wanted me to know that she always will be a part of our family. In the moments when I'm missing her most, she's still there. It melted my heart.

We went back to Church that night and I was pleasantly surprised during the song service. The Days were singing since Heather was in town and they dedicated a song to all those going through trials. Then Joey mentioned Maddie and everything we had been through. He mentioned that though we are going through so much, we still have a song in the Lord. It was so sweet.

I saw Rick up at the pulpit completely in tears and I was right there with him. We listened to the words and wept along with them.

The truth is, we do still have a song. No mater how much our hearts ache for our little girl, we still have a song to sing. We still have a life to live and a Savior to tell about. As much as Satan tries to use our situation to keep us from trusting God and having faith, we still know that God is in control. We still have our Salvation. We still have a song.

Here is the chorus.

But I've still got a song
Though the enemy rages
I've still got a song
Though I'm battered and torn
Deep in my heart there's a joy that stays
My trials can't take my song away
Though the battles been long
My faith is made strong
And I've still got a song...

Some days I do feel so battered and torn and that I just dont' have any strength left, but deep down God gives me the strength and joy to keep going. My faith has increased in ways I didn't know it could. I'm so thankful that God has used what is such a tragedy in our lives for the good in so many ways.

I'm not naive to think that every week will get easier and easier. I know that it's really up and down. One day I feel the best I've felt and the next day I feel like I'm back at day one. There is no guideline on how to get through such loss. Just constant prayer and asking God for strength. Trying to fill our lives with sweet things to remember our little girl.

As I left Church that night, my sweet friend Natalie handed me an adorable plant in a pink pail. It had little birdie's sticking out of it and pink blooms that were flowering. She remembers too. I'm so thankful that so many people love us and loved our "Maddie". It was a blessing.

I know Madeline would want me to keep a song in my heart. I always thought the "bird" signs during my pregnancy meant she would be a singer. I can only imagine how beautiful her voice is now. I can't wait to get to Heaven one day and sing along with her. What a day that will be.

Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

May 24, 2011

Helping out a friend =)

I am posting this to help out my friend Patti whom I have met through blogging. I have been following her blog for a while now and it has been a blessing to me. I have enjoyed reading the precious stories of her adorable daughter Lily. Please take the time to read this and help out if you can. I know it will mean the world to Patti. Thank you!

What if?
What if by some cruel twist of fate I woke up one morning to find that the tables were turned, and my beautiful and perfect Lily were lying in an orphanage, somewhere in Eastern Europe?
What if she had lived out the past 16 months of her life with no mommy and daddy to love her, no brothers and sisters to dote on her every day?
What if instead, she spent most of her waking hours in a crib, staring at the slats of the bars and playing with only her fingers or feet for comfort? What if she cried herself to sleep at night, because there was nobody who cared or had the time to attend to her when she woke up scared or lonely or sad?
What if she didn't eat when she was hungry, go to sleep with a full belly, or have her basic needs met with loving care?
What if my Lily stayed in that orphanage for many years, never leaving it to see the world around her? What if the only connection she had to the outside world was an occasional trip to the playground on the orphanage grounds...but for the most part she was locked away, an outcast of society?

What if she never received the help she needed through therapy with her beloved Karen, never had the opportunity to develop skills, to grow, to learn...

What if Lily never got the medial attention she needed when she was first born, had attention given to that tiny hole in her heart that doctors watched so carefully...what if she survived simply because she existed, devoid of any quality of life?

What if she were never celebrated for the treasure that she is, never nurtured or praised or adored? What if there were no parties or gifts or songs to commemorate that beautiful day she made her entrance into the world, nothing that distinguished that day from any other day of her secluded and monotonous life?
What if, after being shut away in that orphanage for five years, she woke one morning to find herself being whisked away from the only home she'd ever known- however stark or isolated- to the horror that is the Institution? What if, because of the inability of any five year old, let alone one with cognitive delays, she could not comprehend what had happened to her? What if there were no one to explain to her why her head was being shaved, her tiny arms tied to a crib, or where her friends had gone, and why no one was coming back for her to save her from the nightmare that was now her life?
What if that were my Lily's fate?
What would I do?
In the words of a dear friend.....
I would beg, borrow, and obsess myself to make sure she knew love and felt valued and wanted. If Lily were alone on the other side of the ocean, I would find her and rescue her no matter what the cost or how much dignity needed to be compromised.


Albina is my Lily.

She's no more deserving of the fate that awaits her than my child.
Or yours.
She is a beautiful and precious treasure, waiting for someone to recognize her value.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27If you're new here, Albina is an orphan in Eastern Europe. Because she was born with Down syndrome, she is considered a burden to her society, an outcast to be hidden away.
An anonymous family has committed to matching dollar for dollar donations for her up to $5,000. So far, through the generosity of so many like-minded people, she now has $2,873 in her grant fund on Reece's Rainbow. If she receives $5,000, her grant fund will be $10,000. Enough to entice a family to step forward to adopt her.
I have a feeling her sweet little face is enough- but due to the nature of international adoptions, it's going to take a pile of money for someone to rescue her.
I don't want money to be the thing that stands in the way of Albina being given a chance at a normal life.
I've seen people respond in monumental ways to the needs of orphans over the past 6 months. Just last week, Kareen met her family for the first time- in large part because of what many of you who are reading right now sacrificed and gave for her.
Peter and Olga are going to be rescued soon as well, and their families are deep in the process of adopting them.
I truly believe it's just a matter of time until Albina's family comes forward for her. Maybe they're willing, but not sure they can commit without a large grant fund to help them. Maybe you're that family, and reading these words and looking at her beautiful face is all the convincing you need.
I know that there are those who will gladly give without any added incentive. But I'm so thankful for the generous hearts of those who decided to donate this fabulous prize just to make things fun:)

Canon Rebel Digital SLR camera
EOS Rebel T2i EF-S 18-55mm IS Kitestimated retail price $799.99
The new flagship of the EOS Rebel line, Canon EOS Rebel T2i brings professional EOS features into an easy to use, lightweight digital SLR that's a joy to use. Featuring a class-leading 18.0 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor and increased light sensitivity for low light photography, the EOS Rebel T2i also has an advanced HD Movie mode for gorgeous Full HD movies. Able to capture up to 3.7 frames per second, it's ready to go the minute it's picked up. Advanced Live View, a new wide-area screen, plus features like Canon's brilliant Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone features ensure brilliant photos and movies, easily. With some of the most advanced features of any digital SLR, it's simply the best Rebel Canon has ever created

The rules are simple.

Donate a minimum of ten dollars to Albina at Reece's Rainbow and leave a comment on this post at A Perfect Lily saying you did so.
Blog or Facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment (on the giveaway post at A Perfect Lily) saying you did so (one comment for blogging, one for FBing).
The giveaway ends June 1st at midnight. will pick a winner from the comment section, and we will announce that winner Thursday June 2nd.

What if Albina were rescued ....because of you ?

May 23, 2011

Growing up and Graduation...

Well, I made it! I made it through Noah's Kindergarten graduation weekend.

There were definitely a few tears and lot's of hugs and kisses, but mostly I did really well.

 I still can't believe my little boy even went to Kindergarten this year, let alone graduated already. I am one proud Momma.

I remember when the school year was about to start, I was a little apprehensive about sending him. I had considered waiting since he wasn't even 5 yet when the school year started, but now I am SO glad I did. He may not be as tall as some of his classmates and he isn't 6 yet, but I don't think any of that mattered. He amazed me with how eager and excited he was to learn. He loves to work hard and learn new things. He is determined and focused and so very intelligent.

I knew he was going to be good at school when he was already reading before Christmas break. It just comes naturally to him. Plus, He has one of the sweetest, most dedicated teachers. We were so blessed to have had such a wonderful experience this year. Mrs. Becky made everything so smooth and comfortable for us, even when we had a hard time letting go of our "baby."

As I sat there friday night and watched my little boy quoting The Constitution, The Gettysburg Address, and over 26 verses of scripture, I was amazed. I enjoyed watching his personality as they sang a song about the United States. I loved hearing him quote all three of the pledges. He is so full of joy!

I didn't seem that long ago, when my sweet Noah Riley came into this world on August the 19th, at 6:54 pm. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 9 oz and was 22 inches long. He was my chubby little baby and now he is writing, reading, and making his way through growing up.

It was such a blessing to watch our "little blessing" learning to do so much. And not just learning about reading, writing and arithmetic, but about the Bible and the Lord. What a blessing it is to send our little boy to a Christian School where the Lord is ever present and a huge part of their education. After all, it is HIStory, isn't it? =)

After Noah and his classmates did their recitations, I enjoyed watching Him receive his diploma. He had the biggest smile on his face as he turned his tassel and gave an adorable wave. He looked like he could be the future president with that wave. It was so cute. I had tears in my eyes with pride for my little boy, what a blessing he has been to my life.

During the rest of the ceremony, one of the other Kindergarten Mom's leaned up to me and asked how I wasn't falling apart. I simply replied, "I'm just so happy for him." And I was.

I remember thinking when they called his name "Noah Riley Ross" how exciting it was. I couldn't help but smile for him. I looked over at Eli and thought in a few years, we will be doing this with him.

But, I also remember thinking how I would never hear my sweet Madeline's named called at a graduation.
I would never watch her turn her tassel or wave to the crowd. It broke my heart.

So, yes, It may be emotional, but I'm happy Noah graduated. I'm happy I got to hear his name called and watch his face light up with excitement as he was handed his diploma, for all his hard work this year. I'm proud that each day that went by, he was learning and growing a little more. He is being molded daily into the young boy who will one day become a man, and make a huge mark on this life. He's growing up and for the first time in my life, I can say that I'm glad.

I remember with each month that would go by when the boys were babies, I would be sad. Each birthday that passed, I would cry and wish time would just slow down.

Now, I'm happy. I'm happy because it means that they are living. They are growing. They are here.

We may not want our babies to grow up, but really it's a wonderful thing. I wish I could watch Maddie Grace grow up. I wish this so much, but I can't.

So, I will watch my boys grow and I will cherish the steps they take forward into this world, always praying that God will use their lives in a great way.

I truly think that God is going to do something great with Noah's little life, and I am so proud of him. He has been a blessing since the day I first held him, and he continues to bless my life daily. I love him so very much.

I took some pictures of Noah's graduation.

Enjoy =)

Our sweet family. Maddie Grace may not be in this picture with us, but she was smiling down on us that day I know.... She is proud of her big brother! We are proud of him too! =)

May 19, 2011

Victory after all...

God doesn't send replacements, but He does send reinforcements:)

Aren't those wonderful words? So much depth there.

My sweet friend Jennie had noticed I was really struggling this week with missing Madeline. She has been messaging me and sending me such comfort through her words of wisdom and experience all week long.

This quote was just many of the wonderful things she shared with me and I'm so grateful.

I wish I could just re-type everything she wrote me, she is a beautiful writer, but I do want to share something she wrote...

"These tears, sweet friend, will heal your heart. When you run to Him, he will heal. Take note of your tears, for God does. Notice when you weep to Him you become victorious. You may see this day as a failure, but it is, indeed, a victory."

Yesterday was a victory?

Yesterday was a victory.

The word victory, (to me) used to be a word I spelled out during cheers, while cheering for my local Football team back in high school. Back then, the big victory was to win the game. Plain and simple.

Now,  for me, the victory is to get through my new life. And guess what? I'm getting the victory!

I guess in the moment, I didn't see it that way, but it was. I got through another day. I am another day stronger. I am another day wiser. I have won another battle between my broken heart and living life!

Let me be honest, I cry a lot. I cry over Maddie Grace. But, not one of my tears have gone unnoticed, God saw them all. He has counted them all. He knows my thoughts before I think them. He knows my heart.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you know it is in my weakest moments that God always shows up. Through my Bible, through someone, through something... He shows up to comfort me.

This week, He has shown up through others who have taken the time to pour comfort and care into me.

I love these verses...

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort: Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

I felt yesterday, very comforted. Comforted by friends and family. Comforted by those who have "been there." And even those who haven't.

As I read the words of a sweet friend that I have met and gotten to know through Madeline's little life, I was comforted. I was encouraged. I was getting the victory of being down.

Then this morning, I woke up ready to take on the day. I was happy. I was smiling. It was a good day.

I went on to read some AMAZING comments on my blog from such sweet, wonderful, comforting people. Along with numerous wonderful inboxes on facebook. Every word that was written has helped me to day. Every word that was written, has given me strength to push forward again.

I am so thankful that so many, go so out of there way to help me and comfort me. I just hope when faced with a situation like this, I can repay the favor in sharing helpful and comforting words as well. I am blessed.

Today is a good day! Today, I have gotten the victory, again.

One last thing. Last night, my husband brought home the sweetest thing that his Mom had found for me. When I called to thank her today, she told me they had been at the Christian bookstore and were leaving when she saw it in the window. She said she knew she just HAD to get it for me. I'm glad she did. =)

Here's a pic of the blessing she sent my way.

Today I'm full of hope as I have gotten another victory on this road of life.

May 17, 2011

Rainy day reflections...

Today was a really hard day for me. I think I cried most of the day.

Maybe it's pregnancy hormones, or maybe it's the rain I'm not sure, but I was so emotional all day long.

I took Noah to his last day of Kindergarten and it was pouring rain outside. The weather seemed to mimic the way I was feeling on the inside. I tried to be positive and happy for my boys but I was failing greatly...

Later this afternoon, I really hit a wall.

I had to get together some photo's of the school year for my son's school's yearbook. Most of the pictures I had taken were on my desktop computer which I have not used in a while.

I sat down to burn the cd's and that was when I really lost it. I had to open up all the files to find the ones I needed. They are all dated but do not have an album name on them, so I had to open them all. As I was doing so, I came across so many pictures that brought back so many memories.

I found pictures of my belly during Maddie's pregnancy. Pictures of my shower. Pictures of preparing her nursery and then of course, the pictures of her birth and 2 days of life.

I lost it... Every file I opened was like tearing out another little piece of my heart over again.

I got so overwhelmed in that moment. I called Rick and just started bawling to him. I told him I just can't believe this is our life. I can't believe she really is gone. Still seems so unreal.

I don't know what the cure for this is. I have given it to the Lord. I have asked for strength and He has provided.

But, my heart is so broken over my daughter and I don't know how to get passed it. I thought I was really starting to turn a corner in healing, and now I feel like I've taken a step backwards.

My Pastor preached on Sunday a sermon about having "Childlike Faith." I'm trying to trust in the Lord and have faith and hope in Him. Some days I wish I could have the innocence and carefree spirit of a child again. It seems so much easier than bearing this load. It's awful.

Please pray for me and Rick. We still have a long road of healing ahead of us... Please pray for my boys.

When Eli saw me crying today, he asked "What's wrong, Mommy," when I replied that I missed Madeline, he replied "me too." It broke my heart.

Please pray that this little baby to make it and be able to come home with us. Please pray that my boys will get the chance to be big brothers. Noah has already started kissing my belly. It takes me right back to my pregnancy with Maddie Grace. Everything about this pregnancy is a complete deja vu of her's. It's so strange. Yet, it's a blessing.

I'm 10 weeks along now and praying my way through this first trimester. Please pray with me. This little Baby "hope" has given us something to look forward to, but I'm still struggling with looking back.

Plain and simple.... I just really miss her. Everything about her. But mostly, I miss the time I didn't get.

It seems that people are slowly stopping to talk about her. Even my family.

That's okay, I guess people just don't know what to say, but I just wish she could still be a big part of this family. She is my heart.

While reading my sweet friend Lisa's blog this week, I read a quote she had posted. It really resonated with me. And I know it did with her too. She misses her Macie. There are so many Mama's with broken hearts over their children. This is a reminder for us...

A smart woman said, "If you know someone who has lost a child and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift." -Elizabeth Edwards

Please pray for God's strength and comfort on me this week.
Oh how I miss this little girl. <3
Thank you,
Natalie Ross

May 16, 2011

At the end of the day...

Well we had another busy week/weekend here in the Ross Household and I'm trying my best to find time to get on here and update everyone.

Last week, something happened here in our town that just completely broke my heart.

A man by the name of Deputy Brian Dulle was killed in the line of duty while laying down stop sticks. He was trying to stop a vehicle who was running from the police. He was killed on impact.

Immediately, I went to prayer for the family. I think now, anytime I hear of a tragic death, I just go to prayer.

I then got online to learn more about Brian Dulle (age 36) and his family. When I saw that he was married and had 3 children, (ages 10,7, and 4) I was even more heartbroken.

I saw some links posted on facebook and watched a video collage of this precious family. In the video it showed Brian and his wife, Abbie with their children. In particular, it showed their oldest daughter.(who's name is also Maddie) She had been fighting cancer. She has fought cancer twice in her 10 young precious years.

I found myself bawling at my computer for this family. My heart broke for Abbie and her children. Her precious Husband was working to keep our city safe, and his life was taken way too soon. I couldn't help but cry out to God on Abbie's behalf. On her children's behalf. I have felt so burdened for this family ever since. I wish there was something I could do for them.

It was in that moment that it hit me. This is what so many of you have done for me. You have heard my story. You have cried for us. You have prayed for us. You have been there for us.

To many of you, I am a stranger. To many of you, I am a girl in a picture, or words on a page. Yet, you are here. You have helped me in the last 4 months to get up and move forward, even when I thought I couldn't.

I don't know why sweet Abbie had to say goodbye to her Husband. I don't know why those precious babies will not get to feel their Daddy's arms around them again on this earth. But I do know, if we all pull together, we can help each other through the hard times.

Instead of overlooking tragedies and skipping past the (sometimes depressing) news, we should be more aware and eager to pray. You just never know when it could be your family...

I had such a hard weekend of missing Maddie Grace. I think many of mine and Rick's friends and loved ones think we are doing so much better and are moving forward. And to a degree, we are.but it's been so very hard for us.

There isn't a day that goes by that we don't cry for our girl. There isn't a day that goes by that we hear a baby cry and wish it was our daughter. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't remember the awful tragedy that we've been through.... This is our life now.... As ugly as it is some days. This is our life.

Everyday, we wake up remembering the terrible morning that our daughter passed away. We remember trying to put life back into her tiny body. We remember the doctors telling us there is nothing else they could do. We remember kissing her tiny cheek and walking away, never to see her on this earth again.

It's awful. Yet, it's our life.

As I struggled all weekend with missing her and praying for this other family. I couldn't help but just pray. What else do people do when life is just to hard to take? I just pray.

And so I said all that to say this...

At the end of the day, what matter's to you?

At the end of the day, who is on your heart?

At the end of the day, who's life did you touch or influence?

At the end of the day, did you live life the fullest?

You just never know.

I know that if I could go back to January the 8th, I would have kissed her a few more times. Sang to her one more time. Taken a few more pictures. Not even worried about getting a minute of sleep.

But....I can't go back to that day.

I can only go forward.

Except, now, I go forward with a hole in my heart. As does Abbie.

I have often thought how lost I would be if Rick was to pass away. I don't know how I would go on and raise my children and enjoy life again. I would be a mess.

I have not experienced this as Abbie has. I wish I could take away her pain.

Please pray for her and her 3 sweet children.

Please continue to pray for me and my hurting heart.

It takes a long, long time to get through the loss of a loved one. It takes a lifetime.

Sometimes I feel like we hear of these "tragedies" so we can be sure we are living life to the fullest and not missing a moment of the ones we love. They are who really matter in this lifetime. That, and where we spend our eternity. John 3:16

I just hope from now on, at the end of the day, I can say that I love and lived to the fullest. We just don't know how short life can be. Let's not miss a moment.

James 4:14
 14Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Please pray for the Dulle family along with so many others who have hurting hearts.

Much Love,
Natalie Ross <3

May 13, 2011

My whole heart design...

I've been wanting to write about this for a while and thought today would be the perfect day to do it.

Where to begin...

Well January 25th, I decided to start this blog. It was about 3 weeks after Maddie Grace passed away, and I was still completely lost in grief and despair.

I had started writing a journal but just couldn't get my feeling's out fast enough on paper. So, I decided to start this blog.

I sat down in front of my computer and started telling our story.

I remember bawling as I typed, everything was so fresh on my heart and mind.

I was broken and empty, and I just wanted to find strength. I wanted to find relief for my pain. Through this blog, I have done that.

I remember finding a pale pink template and a caption with birds. I titled the blog "God's gift of Grace" the exact meaning of my daughter's name.

It was in that first post, I poured out the story of the birth and death of my sweet Maddie Grace. Once I got it out, I knew I could continue to tell our story, and so far I have.

About two months ago, I realized just how much time I spend writing for my blog, and I wanted my site to be a little more personal and prettier to look at. =) So, I started researching Blog designs.

I found some sites' where people design them, and looked into that a little. I posted on on facebook asking if anyone could help me.

Not long after, I got an inbox from my friend Nicole who I met while attending Crown college. She is such a sweet heart and a wonderful photographer. You can check out her beautiful work at:

Nicole had informed me that her friend Kimberly was a web designer and did beautiful work in blog designs. Boy, was she right.

A few minutes later, I got another inbox saying that Nicole had talked to Kimberly and after hearing our story, Kimberly wanted to design my blog as a gift. As a gift!

What. A. Blessing.

I couldn't believe it.

Isn't it neat how God works?

He knew I needed this and sent someone with such a kind generous heart my way to bless me and help me. It was great.

So without hesitation, Kimberly and I messaged back and forth with what I would like the blog to to look like.

I picked pink and turquoise because those are the colors of Madeline's room. Then I asked her if I could have birds here and there on the website. I wanted to have little birds because they remind me so much of my sweet birdie girl.

As she started working, I was so excited! I was checking every day to see what else she had done, and how beautifully it was turning out.

I cried every time I pulled up my computer and saw a new picture of Maddie or another little birdie. It melted my heart to see something so beautiful coming together to honor my precious daughter.

The Heading couldn't have been any more perfect. I love all the detail of the birdies and even the tree. It reminded me so much of the tree Rick had painted on Madeline's nursery wall.

Everything Kimberly did was so Maddie. =)

Keep in mind, Kimberly has never met me or even talked to me except online, and yet she was able to design the PERFECT blog to honor my little girl. She is wonderfully talented.

She even shared our blog recently on her website. Check out the nice things she had to say about me. What a sweet heart.

I said all that to say this.

Thank you Kimberly from the bottom of my heart for creating such a beautiful spot for me to honor the life and memory of my little girl. So many people have said how beautiful the blog is and that is because of you!
You really did put your whole heart into doing this for us, and we will be forever grateful.

If any of you are looking for a web designer, please contact Kimberly at
She is a wonderful person with a heart of gold. Please visit her site and check out her beautiful work. =)

Kimberly taught me a lesson through this all. She taught me how giving and thoughtful others can be. She taught me how to reach out to other's (even strangers) in a time of need. She taught me how to love others and God with my whole heart... =) Thank you, Kimberly!

I can't get the links to post, so at the bottom of the page is a link to her blog. Please check it out!!! =)

Psalms 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

Psalms 111:1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

Psalms 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

Psalms 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Psalms 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Psalms 119:58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

May 11, 2011

Learning to serve...

Last week, Rick and I had the opportunity to have some great friends come and visit us.

We met Nathan and Bethany while attending college. Rick and Nathan were roomates and Bethany and I were dorm mates. I thought right away that the two of them should meet because I thought they would really hit it off. And guess what? They did. =) Just call me match maker. Now they are married and have 2 precious little boys.

Bethany and I were wonderful friends through college.
I remember her coming over to hang out with me at the house when Rick was working. We would have "friends" marathon and laugh for hours on end. There was never a dry moment between the two of us. We were destined to be frineds. We always had a blast together.

After college, Bethany and I still remained in contact but hadn't seen each other in years.

I'll never forget the day of Maddie's funeral, seeing Bethany and my other friend Lois walk into my Pastor's office. They came all the way from Michigan, in a huge snow storm, just to be there for me. I am blessed.

I will always be grateful for the friendships I have made through Crown College. It's really been a blessing to have met so many wonderful people.

So when they arrived, I was thrilled. My boys loved meeting their little boys and I enjoyed catching up. It was so good to see them.

Nathan serves as the Pastor of their Church in Michigan. So, when they were coming in on a Wednesday night, Rick asked Nathan if he would like to preach our teen service. He did great.

He preached on being a Servant of Christ and it really touched my heart.

The first thing he said was...

1. We need to serve God with fear.
Psalm 2:11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

I think so often we forget to fear God. I know that so often life gets busy and we go through our days filling our time with what has to and needs to be done. We forget to think about what the Father expects and wants us to do. We forget to serve God but fill our times with making only ourselves and the others around us happy.

I know sometimes I feel like we spend ALL our time at the Church, and for the most part, we do. But, where else would I put my time. The work we are doing for the Lord is affecting eternity's. There is no greater place to put my time but into the work of the Lord.

2. Serve the Lord with gladness.
Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

God wants us to serve Him with gladness. So often, I think Christians get into a routine of what they do for the Lord that they forget to be happy in the work of the Lord. We don't HAVE to serve Him. We GET to serve Him. we should be full of happiness and joy.

Just as I talked about on Easter Sunday, I could've really let that day get me down as I was missing Madeline so very much. Instead, I let the Lord work and because of that, He allowed me to see 6 young ladies be saved. You couldn't have wiped that smile off my face for anything that day. I was happy and full of joy that God was working.

Even in the midst of pain and suffering, God used me. That makes me happy.

3. Serve God with the right spirit.
Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.

Our spirit says so much about us. Living in the right spirit is so very important. If we have a bad spirit, it shows.

There are so many people who just go through this life with such a negative outlook on life. Nothing is good. Life is horrible. Nothing ever goes right.... Do you know anyone like that?

But, where is this attitude going to get us? Nowhere.

I know what it's like to have been dealt a bad hand. I know what it's like to suffer. I know what it's like to grieve to the point that you don't know if you will be okay. I know that, because I've lived it.

I also know, that if you fill your emptiness with the Word of God, He will fill you up and allow you to smile again. He will comfort you and allow you to live again.

I don't know what each of you are going through. I don't know where your struggles or heartaches are. But... God does.

He knows everything, and He knows what's best.

So, what did I learn during Nathan's message that night?

I learned to serve. God has so much for us in the days ahead. Everything I have been given in this life has been from God. I would be foolish not to love and serve the Lord with all my life.

So, as I go through each day searching God out for where I should be and what I should be doing, I'm learning; you can't go wrong when serving the Lord.

I remember shortly after Maddie Graced passed, so many people said "Why you guys?"

What they meant was, we are faithful to God in Church. We are faithful to serving in the ministry. We are faithful in reading the Bible and in praying. We have dedicated our lives to God and this hasn't changed.

I don't know why God "chose" us to go through this, but I do know that He has helped us through it. I know that because of it, we have learned to trust Him and serve Him more. I'm grateful for that.

God has been so good to us. Even in the midst of the worst thing we have ever been through, He is good. And we will continue to serve Him the rest of our lives.

I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to spend time with Nathan and Bethany and their family. I'm so thankful we met them almost 10 years ago. They have been such good friends to us and we are grateful for them.

Hope you all are having a good week! God Bless!

May 9, 2011

Mother's Day and messages...

Well, I recovered from the weekend. It was a long one.

It started out pretty good, because we had company in town and we were really enjoying spending time with them. But, I had a feeling that little Eli was getting sick, and he was. Rick and I had unfortunately passed along this sickie bug to him. The poor kid has a terrible immune system and he seems to catch everything.

So, on Saturday after he was up the previous night with a fever of 102.8, I was worried. We had a wedding that day and guess who was the ring bearer??? Eli.

Our sweet friends from Church, Josh and Amanda were getting married and they had chosen Eli to be their ring bearer. Ever since Eli was born, he has LOVED Amanda. I would always giggle because she would always love on him in the nursery and tell me how she loved the ornery little boys. Which of course we know Eli is full of... orneriness. He's such a stinker.

We finally got his fever down and headed to Church. The wedding was beautiful. Eli wasn't giving us much personality because he still didn't feel very good, but I was so glad that he was able to go.

He did great walking down the isle and fell asleep on Rick through the ceremony.
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful.
I watched as Josh and Amanda took their vowels and as they are so in love. It was sweet.

My mind wandered back to my wedding day... I remember standing there in front of everyone I love and in front of God, vowing to the love of my life. It was such a precious moment. Almost 8 years later, and we are still so in love. We have been through so much, but we have made it. God has been good.

I looked back up to the altar as Josh and Amanda finished their vowels, just about to begin their lives together as one. I was crying. I think I cried through the whole wedding. Just so many emotions...

I saw Rick standing there holding Elijah and I thought how lucky I am to have them. How blessed I've been to receive so much love in this lifetime.

Here is a picture Leah of Precious Photography took of my sweet boy. Love him!

The wedding ended and Josh and Amanda made their way down.

Then came Eli... The poor thing looked awfully pale and really sick. He barely made it to the back of the auditorium to me. Then... He stared getting sick.

Vicky(my mother in law) and I made our way to the bathroom with him. Poor little guy.

He was so, so sick. We got him cleaned up and he seemed to be feeling better.
I took him home that evening and put him to bed. He just wanted to be held and loved on. Of course I didn't mind that. I hate when my babies are sick, but I love when they want to be babied by Mommy.

I was worried about him as his fever went up again and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to take him to Church on Sunday. I was bummed.

It was the Mother's Day service and I was going to miss it. Although, I was staying home with one of the reasons I am a Mommy, so I didn't mind so much.

We spent the day snuggling on the couch and getting better. I was really struggling with some pregnancy nausea, so we were two of a kind.

Rick brought me some lunch and tried to cheer me up, but I was discouraged.

I was REALLY missing Maddie. I found myself crying a lot yesterday. I just couldn't seem to pull it together. Also the fact that it was the 8th didn't help. I really despise the 8th.

I didn't think Mother's Day would be so hard on me, but it was.

Don't get me wrong. I'm blessed BEYOND measure to be the Mommy of Noah and Elijah. They have brought more love and joy to my life than I could've ever imagined. I love them with my whole life and I would do anything for them.


Maddie Grace was my child too. She was part of Rick and I. She was everything I dreamed of in a daughter and more. And she was not here with me.

She was not there to celebrate with her Mama on this special day and I wanted to her be so much.

I found myself really breaking down. I was discouraged I couldn't be at Church and hear the Mother's Day message. I was sad that Eli and I were sick and couldn't leave the house. I was heartbroken that I opened a card with Maddie's name on it, yet, couldn't hold or see the sweet baby that made me a Momma for the 3rd time.

So many emotions.

Rick did his best to cheer me up. They bought me the most beautiful pink purse. Noah bought me an adorable pink mirror compact. Elijah bought me a gorgeous pink bracelet that I adore.

The next gift I opened broke my heart... It was a pair of pink flower hair pins and at the top of the box Rick had written the words "From Maddie."

I lost it.

I got overwhelmed thinking about how many Mother's Days I will have to go through without her. How many times will I be asked how many children I have, and have to relive what I've been through. How many times will I have to sign a card and not put her name on there. It's just too much, too soon.

I was discouraged and I was down, but God knew just what I needed.

I thought about how sick I felt that day. How I spent the morning trying to keep my breakfast down and that was when it hit me.

I may not have Maddie Grace here with me today, but I am still her Mama. I always will be. And the sickness that I was feeling all day, was simply a reminder that God was going to let me be a Mama again. And next year on Mother's day, I will have a little baby in my arms. I will have a smile on my face again. Oh, I can't wait for that.

Later on, I opened my laptop and read many Mother's Day wishes. It was so sweet. Then I opened my inboxes. I was flooded with so many precious messages from so many precious people. It was wonderful to know that so many people were thinking of me.

There were two messages in particular that really stuck with me and I wanted to share them...

One was from my sweet friend Betsy. She had written me to congratulate us on the new baby. Then she shared this...

"When I read that #4 was due in December I couldn't help but think that Maddie and the new baby will be "Irish twins", two siblings born in the same calender year. I just thought it was neat that even though they will not meet on this earth that they may share a special bond.

Just something to ponder. Can't wait to keep reading the blog."

This really blessed my heart. I hadn't even thought of this.
You know, so many people have said they want me to have twins, and I would love them, But... I can confirm through ultrasound that there is only one baby in there.

So, for all of you who have been praying this, your wish came true! =) I'm having Irish twins.

I love how Betsy said that Maddie and this baby will share a special bond even though they will not know each other on this earth. It really blessed my heart.

Then, I opened another message from my sweet friend Meredith. She wrote the folowing...

"I haven't seen you since college, I guess, but I think of you often and thought I'd say hi. I clicked on a facebook picture of Maddie Grace that took me to your blog, and I read the ones commemorating her four months and the one where you found out about the new baby. I am absolutely thrilled for you!!! I think this new baby must be a special gift, handpicked by God, for you, as a token for good that He knows your heart and has sweet days ahead. I had tears in my eyes as I read, and I think it's such a great thing that you acknowledge God in every aspect of your life and use your blog as such a great testimony to His goodness. You were an inspiration to me.

I also thought I'd tell you that I think you have something with this baby that you probably never had (at least at this level) with the other three: literally HUNDREDS of people, best friends and ones that only know you by name, that will be praying for you and the baby all throughout your pregnancy and afterward. So many people want this for you and want to see you blissfully happy again. I know I do, and I will commit to pray. Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know what was on my heart. Hope you have a great week."

I was in tears after I read this. I needed to hear every word she said. What a blessing. To think that this baby really was "hand picked" by God just made me have chills all over my body. I guess I've been so caught up in the fear of miscarrying this baby, that I didn't see exactly what God was doing here. This little pumpkin has been hand picked. God is giving us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

Then to think about all the prayers going up to Heaven for us. I just can't even imagine how loved and "prayed for" this baby already is... God is so good.

So, last night as I went to bed. I could've been pouting about being sick and missing out on all the fun of Mother's day. I could've been mad that Bob Evan's was out of the Chicken pot pie's that I was totally craving and couldn't have. I could have been frustrated that Eli and I were sick on my special day.
Or, I could have been mad that my little girl wasn't there with me.

But, instead... I was thankful. Thankful for my little boys and little girl. Thankful that I'm a Mom. Thankful for all of those who went out of their to make my Mother's Day a good one.

Your messages mean the world to me. Thank you for sharing them.

I am blessed.

When I wake up every morning, til I lay my head to rest. I am blessed, I am blessed.

Much Love,

May 6, 2011

4 months since Maddie...

Happy 4 months to my sweet Maddie Grace.

I can only imagine all the fun we would be having if you were still here with us. I wonder how big you would be by now? I wonder who you would look like and what your personality would be like? I know you would make everyone smile with your beautiful bright eyes and sweet chubby cheeks. Oh I miss kissing those cheeks.

I miss you every day of my life. I miss you even more in the night time. I would love to get up with you and stay up with you all night. It wouldn't bother me at all. I miss that.

I wish I could hold you just one more time. I miss how good your little newborn skin smells. I miss feeling you snuggle up on my cheek with all that beautiful hair. I can't wait to feel you in my arms again.

Thank you for teaching us how to truly love and live each moment like it's our last. Thank you for teaching us to have faith and hope that will move mountains.

You have taught us so much sweet Madeline, and for you we will be forever grateful.

We miss you today, as we do everyday, but we are smiling today as we miss you. We know we will see you again. Thank you for being our daughter. Happy 4 months to my sweet birdie girl!

My sweet friend Leah, sent me this song about Hope... It's beautiful.
Enjoy =)

May 3, 2011

Update on Baby Ross

Well... Let's see....I found out I was expecting Baby Ross #4 on April the 3rd. The morning I took took the test was a really sweet morning because it was a Sunday. I think I have found out with all of my babies on a Sunday morning, it just seems like the perfect day for good news...

I had been suspecting I was pregnant as I was really tired and completely starving. I also had a little nausea and light headedness. So, when I saw the two lines come up, I was thrilled. I was emotional. I was overwhelmed. So many things ran through my head. But mostly, I was thankful.

It was really early in the morning and I didn't want to wake Rick up just yet, so I decided to leave a surprise for him when he woke up that morning. I snuck downstairs and left him a little note on the mirror along with the test I had taken...

I followed Rick downstairs when he got up that morning and listened outside the door as I heard him say "No way! Really?" We were both in tears as we celebrated the new little life God had given us. We never expected to be here now, and having another child, but we are thankful for the opportunity to love another baby with all our hearts. And we will.

The next week was full of emotions for me. Satan came in with all his questions and what if's and I fell for them. I struggled with letting myself think about and become attached to the baby. I got nervous about Rick and the boys being hurt and disappointed too. I just couldn't feel completely happy and this upset me. I wanted to. I thought about my precious pregnancy with Maddie Grace. If it wasn't for all those special moments I shared with her in my tummy, I really would have only had 2 days of memories, but I had far more than that. I took her so many places and experienced so many wonderful things with her in tow. I wanted this pregnancy to be like that, full of happiness.

I guess I'm scared of putting my heart out there and getting hurt again. But, the truth is, God knows. So, after a week of going back and forth about everything in my head, I finally surrendered everything to the Lord. On April the 9th, I bowed my head and thanked God for this little one and gave this baby back to God. Was this hard for me to do??? Absolutely.

The reason I struggle with this was because I gave Maddie to God while she was still in my belly. He decided to take her back home after a short time here, fully knowing He would use her little life in such a different way... Yes, I'm scared of this again, but the truth of the matter is, I'd rather give this baby back to God and let him use his/her life how He see's fit, than try to plan this babies life out how I think would be best. God knows.

I am, however, praying God lets us keep and raise this baby. I'm really hoping this prayer comes true.

At about 6 weeks, I went in for my first ultrasound. I didn't know if we would see much or even anything but I just had to know. So, Rick and I headed to the Doctors office to check on our little one. My stomach was a ball of nerves, I was a mess. Rick, however was cool, calm and collected. He just kept telling me "Everything is going to be fine."

When the ultrasound tech came out my heart started racing. We made our way back to the room as she began asking me questions about numbers of pregnancies and babies. When I told her that I had 3 live births, she looked over at my boys and then back to me. It was in that moment, I just wanted to head back out the door. Nope. Not today. I can't do this today.

I pulled it together enough to explain to her that we had our sweet baby girl on the 6th and she passed away 2 days later. The room was so quiet. Rick had taken the boys to the waiting room across the hall. It felt like he was gone forever. Little did I know what was going through her head.

Then tech looked up at me (tears in her eyes) and told me how sorry she was. Then, she did something that not many people do... She wanted to know about Maddie Grace. I told her how healthy and happy she was. So full of life. I told her about her dark hair and beautiful sweet face. She listened intently with eyes of complete sorrow for me. Then something happened I didn't expect at all. She told me that she had a little girl named Katelyn who passed away after just 14 short days. She told me a little about her and how she will always be part of their family. She said that their other two little girls know of her and still talk of her today. I couldn't believe she just "happened" to be my nurse that day. What was the odds someone has been there and had been exactly where I was.

She knew.

I went on to explain to her my fears of miscarrying this baby and of this happening to us again. She completely understood and was able to empathize with me. She was wonderful.

She talked to me all throughout the exam and let me know what was going on. She told me that the reason she went into this line of work was because her daughter's condition was missed on an ultrasound. She told me that the first time she saw the same condition in a patient, it was really hard, but she knew that what happened to her, could be prevented if caught early enough.

I was so impressed with her as she talked. What a lady.

I saw her clicking around with the mouse and I was so ready to hear the outcome. I was in tears as she told us that saw the baby, the yolk sac, and the heartbeat. She then turned the screen towards Rick and I. We could see our tiny little baby with it's tiny little heart just beating away. We were both in tears and completely thrilled.

God really showed up for us in that moment. Our baby was just fine.

The tech went on to do the measurements and take pictures all while comforting me and talking to me about how everything looked great. She turned on the heartbeat and we got to hear the little heart beating too. What a wonderful sound to our ears. What a blessing.

She told us that the heart had just starting beating within the last couple of days. Isn't that amazing? She told me she wasn't even sure if we would see or hear it but was so glad we were able to. So was I. I know God allowed that little baby's heart to start beating early just so mine and Rick's mind and heart's could be at ease. What a God.

After the ultrasound, the tech sat with me for a few more minutes and talked with me. She told me that she hoped everything would turn out great and she thought it would. She thanked me for sharing Madeline's story with her and I thanked her for sharing Katelyn's story with me.

I asked her if it get's easier and she said it does with time, but my heart will always ache for my little girl. Always.

That day I walked away with two things; the assurance that our little baby was doing okay, and a friend who I know God allowed to be there for me that day. It was so special.

I know God has great plans here. I know this baby is going to do something great in this world just like his/her big sister. I know that my God's ways are perfect and I'm thankful for them!

Not long after I gave this baby to the Lord and after my ultrasound, He started to lay certain things on my heart. Things about hope.

I'm sure many of you read my post about "Finding Hope" and that was when it started. I don't know what yet, but this baby has such a connection with hope for me.

What is hope?

Hope is the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life.

I definitely feel like this little baby is such a positive outcome relating to all that we've been through. I feel like this baby is giving us a reason to smile again, something we've struggled with.

Shortly after God began bringing things about "hope" to mind for me.
I received a phone call from a very good friend. She told me that she had had a dream and it was about a baby boy and a baby girl. She said that in her dream, one of the babies was mine and the others was my Sister in laws. I asked her which baby was mine, the boy or the girl. She said she didn't know for sure but she did know what the babies names were. She told me that the little girl's name was... wait for it.... Hope.

My jaw dropped.

Hmmm? Maybe it's a sign? Maybe it's a girl? I don't know for sure...but I thought is was a pretty neat thought. Wouldn't that be something.

Just about a week later, my sweet Mother in law had a dream about Rick and she told me that he playing with our little girl. I asked her if she heard the baby's name in the dream and she said "Yes, her name was Hope."


About a week ago, I received a package in the mail from my sweet friend Nancy. In the package were two of the sweetest wall plaques. One of them said "believe" and the other... "hope." And that is exactly what I'm doing, believing and hoping in my Lord. When I fear the worst, I need to hope in Him. He knows.

So, I think it's safe to say, if this little one does end up being a little girl, her middle name will most definitely be Hope. I love it.

I think it's so neat how God always lays the names of my babies on my heart. I think it makes their names more special.

I may be wrong, this may be a little boy and if it is, we will be thrilled and love every second of raising him. I think either way, it's safe to say our hopes and dreams are still coming true with this baby. What a blessing. I can't help but think sweet Maddie Grace is smiling down on us. I know she is happy for her big brother's and her new little brother/sister. I can feel her with us. I know she is still such a part of our family.

So....for now, I'm just taking it easy and making my way through my first trimester. I had another appointment today and I am 8 weeks along. Everything looks great and the baby is doing good. I have some nausea during the day but am not too terribly sick so far. I'm thankful for that. The Doctor said my due date is December the 14th, so we will be getting a really special early Christmas present. =)

I went to get my bloodwork done today and I had all the ladies there crying as I told them Maddie's story. They were so sweet and encouraging with their words. I have never seen nurses go so out of there way to make me feel so comfortable and loved. They go above and beyond to do their jobs. I'm happy I've been able to share Maddie's story with them and they have been so touched by her little life too.

So, tonight as I go to bed, I still have a heavy heart because I miss my little girl. I miss her so very much.

Yet, I have a lot of new happiness too. I think this baby is going to help me in a great way to have a smile on my face again, and I'm thankful for that.

I would love for you to continue to pray for us and the new little addition on the way. I covet your prayers and am so thankful for them. Thank you!

Much love,
Natalie Ross <3

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne!

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

May 1, 2011

Easter Sunday...

Our Easter Sunday service was so amazing! We couldn't have asked for a more wonderful Church service and overall day of celebration.

I have to admit, going into Sunday, I was wondering how I was going to do.
I looked so forward to celebrating this precious holiday with Madeline.
I couldn't wait to put her in her sweet Easter dress and put a big bow in her beautiful hair. I wanted to set her on her "bunnie" blanket that was made for her and snap pics of her surrounded with Easter eggs.

I wanted to put her in the same big basket that we put the boys in on their first Easter. I wanted all that so very much. But, I knew that she was in Heaven with the One that Easter was really all about. I tried to remember that.

I tried to stay positive and remember all the "good things" going on in my life. I have a wonderful marriage. I have 2 precious little boys. I have a new little life growing inside of me. I have a Savior who died for me and because of that, we are celebrating Him on this Easter Sunday.

So, as I woke up that day, reminding myself that this day was all about the Lord and what He did for me. The price He paid for me on Calvary that has given me everlasting life. How could I not smile about that? So, I pressed forward, and got ready for our Easter services.

When I arrived at Church, I was excited to see what the Lord would do. I had been praying we could see at least one soul saved that day. I was hoping God would really move.

When I made my way into my SS class, I walked in to a group of 16 young ladies! I couldn't believe what a crowd I had. I sat down, passed out candy and introduced myself to our visitors. I love teaching this young ladies class. They are so sweet and caring, I truly enjoy seeing God working in their lives.

I opened my Bible and began telling them the story of the Gospel; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It was a story that many of them had heard before, but some acted as if this was the first time they heard it. Toward the end of my lesson, I began giving the plan of Salvation. I noticed the questioning faces. I noticed the curiosity of what I was saying. I went through the verses and told them of What Christ did for us. That morning, I had the opportunity to lead 6 of those girls to the Lord. 6 girls got saved!!! 6! I couldn't believe it. I asked God to bless us with one the entire service and 6 had before the main service even started. God is so good.

I walked down stairs with the biggest smile on my face and ran to tell Rick what God had done. I finally found him as he was preparing for our Cantata and told him the news. He smiled and said, "I already heard." "The girls came and told me we love your wife, and she showed us how to be saved." What a blessing!

I started thinking about those six girls and the celebration going on up in Heaven. I thought of how Maddie was a part of it! I hoped that she was proud of me. What joy. I thought of her when I took the 6 girls name down. You see "6" was Maddie's number. She was born at 6 pm on 1/6 and weighed 6 lbs 12 oz. I will always relate "6's" with her. =)

So, on this day when I thought I would be crying over all the little girl's in their Easter dresses, I wasn't. I was rejoicing about what the Lord was doing.

After this, I made my way up to Choir. The Church was completely packed and they were bringing chairs in to give people a place to sit. I couldn't help but smile as God was working. We sang our beautiful Cantata and was feeling so blessed by the words. I found myself tearing up thinking about what Jesus did for us. How He gave His life for mine. It was amazing.

After the Cantata and other specials, Rick got up to give some brief announcements. Before, he finished he said, "And I have one more announcement. My wife and I went to the Doctor last week and found out we are expecting another child." Before he could even get it out, the entire congregation started cheering and clapping for us. They were thrilled to hear our good news. We are thrilled that they can now pray for us more specifically. We have such wonderful people in our Church. We have been so blessed by them over the years, and specifically in the last 3 1/2 months. We love them.

The main service was wonderful and we had 4 more souls get saved next door. God was really working. My Pastor gave a wonderful message on the resurrection of Christ. God was moving.

After the service, we had a huge Easter egg hunt for the kiddo's. They were loving running after the eggs and trying to find the special eggs and win baskets. It really turned out to be great day overall. I didn't cry. I didn't break down. God held me up the whole day. It was wonderful.

During the egg hunt, I had numerous people coming up to me to congratulate me with tears in their eyes. I loved getting the hug's and hearing so many say "I was praying for this." It made me feel so very loved.

We spent the rest of our Easter having family dinners and then heading back to Church. I tucked my boys into bed that night, thankful for such a wonderful Easter Sunday. God did a great work, and because of it, 10 more souls are on their way to Heaven. Praise the Lord!

I hope that all of your Easter Sunday's were great too. Thank you all for your sweet words and for helping us along this journey! Thank you for being here.