Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Friday, April 13


Oh how I love Easter!!! It is such an important time in our Christian lives and it is a time to really think about the great sacrifice. I love standing in the sanctuary, surrounded by Easter Lilies, singing the traditional Easter hymns...letting every thought of today's world and today's to-do list slip from your mind as you remember what TODAY really means. Our church does a beautiful unveiling of the cross and the alter on Easter Sunday.
Easter has always been a special holiday for the Ross family, we make a traditional Polish breakfast. This year we didn't do the Polish breakfast for a few reasons...mainly because of poor planning on my part but also because mom is doing a 24-day challenge and almost every element of a traditional breakfast is terrible for you. The secret to those big Polish women is now revealed. But next year I plan to have the entire Ross clan (you too Cory & Ross monkeys) in my kitchen feasting and explaining the tradition to Austin {as Zach will most likely be making barf noises in the background sabotaging my efforts...he's not a fan of the meal}.
Back to the word SACRIFICE, the last few weeks I have had that word on my mind a lot. I received a photo the other day of a plywood bed with a small plywood desk in a very small room about the width of the bed. No it was not a photo of an Alcatraz cell, it was where my brother sleeps every night serving our country. Plywood, people, no least not yet. Maybe he will be upgraded to the presidential suite sometime soon, I will put in a request. But back to my point- I am sure we all have heard about the sacrifices that our military people make to protect us and hearing the stories will bring you to your knees in tears. So imagine living in Jesus' time and seeing what he was going through to serve and protect and ultimately making the biggest sacrifice imaginable.

So as we all start our weekend doing numerous enjoyable things, sleeping in our warm snuggly bed with all of our "things" including our family close by, just be grateful everyday because people have sacrificed everything to afford us those things.

Thursday, April 12

Happy 35th Birthday...

No no, not me and not Zach.

It's little Emma's 35th birthday (in dog years of course). She is 7 in people years and we will go by people years since she is one of the family!
I got her when I lived in Birmingham living with Sally Wicker and working for Southern Progress (Southern Living). She was flown to me in a little crate, all 2lbs of her, from St. Louis and from the moment I met her at the airport I knew she was born to be my dog.

For all of you that know Emma you know she has "Lapdar", yup that's radar for any lap within a 5 room radius. If you sit down you will have a weenie dog snuggled on your legs in 2.5 seconds. She loves cheese, walks and giving baby Austin kisses. Although the horse drawn carriages and the mailman are daily occurrences at our house, she still feels the need to "protect this house" from those people. Our mailman Robert is a really good sport but I know it wouldn't hurt his feelings if she lost her voice one day.

Although I am sure Emma feels like she is second fiddle to the new addition to our house, she will always be my first baby. She was my sidekick, watch dog, sleeping buddy and source of comfort when I lived alone and now she adds so much joy to our little family...

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE SWEETEST LIL WEENIE DOG EVER! (or "Sausage dog" as our new friends from New Zealand called her)

Monday, April 2

Last weekend my insanely talented sis-in-law came to town and took us out on a beautiful day to snap some pictures of our sweet Austin. He has a calm curiosity about him and studies things very carefully, like a clover in the grass. That pictures speaks volumes to his personality, my little observer. Austin also loves woodwork, iron details, finials and scroll work on chairs and furniture. He lights up when he sees something he can study and touch and he does so in a very delicate manner. I say he's gonna be my little architect which seems to be acceptable to Zach since it is a manly twist on him being an artist as I had hoped.
One of my favorite parts of the afternoon was seeing Austin light up while Zach was playing the guitar. Zach played a lot while I was pregnant and that is how we would get the baby moving and then he plays regularly around the house and Austin literally stops everything and goes into a trance. It is really sweet. So maybe he will be a musician too, who knows.

I feel like Becky captured his sweet, calm spirit. These are the type of pictures I see myself digging through when he 18 and leaving for college or on the eve of his wedding day, likely tears streaming down my face while I am feels like this was just yesterday. I will treasure these pictures always. I can't explain the feeling of sitting in the grass looking at my sweet husband as he laughs with our son. Randa always told me there is nothing like the feeling when you get with your first born, she said you'll love all of your children but there is something about your first born that ignites very unique and special memories and feelings. Sometimes I think my heart might burst, I just feel so blessed with these two boys.

You have to take a minute to view Becky's lovely work: SLIDESHOW