Ascension: the act or process of moving or rising up especially to a higher or more powerful position. That is the definition of ascension according to Merriam Webster.  Ascension is also the name given to this beautiful piece of furniture painted by Claudia Twiss of ReDone to Be ReLoved.  This is the story of a self portrait of a US Army Sergeant Major, as displayed on a dresser.

Wooden dresser painted in blues and greens Ascension right side view
The Ascension Dresser by Claudia Twiss – Rising from the Depths
Wooden dresser painted in blues and greens Ascension left side view
ReDone to be ReLoved Ascension dresser

Where She Began

When ReLoving furniture, Claudia is not afraid of being bold, using strong colors, or of glamming a piece up.  Nevertheless, in her own life, she is bold, strong and glams up fantastically! Also, she is so much more than that.  Hence, this is a peak into her own ascension. When I reached out to her and told her I wanted to feature Ascension on our social media pages, I asked her for a short bio.  This is what she sent me:

  • Originally from Texas
  • Joined the Army as Active Duty in 97
  • I’ve deployed 6 times
  • Been to both Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Works in Cyber Defense
  • Am a Sergeant Major
  • Married to another Service Member, a Master Sergeant
  • We have 3 kiddos
  • We’re leaving JBLM and headed to Hawaii
  • I’ve been painting for about 6 years now!
Wooden dresser painted in blues and greens Ascension front view
Ascension dresser by Claudia Twiss

What I Know

Then, I started my bio list about her, in no particular order.

  • Fiercely loyal – to family, friends, and country
  • Animal lover
  • Wonderful artist
  • Fair-minded
  • Outstanding parent
  • Uplifting of others
  • Determined and driven
  • Understanding of compromise
  • Expects the best of those around her
  • Calls her husband “Mr. Sessy”
Wooden dresser painted in blues and greens Ascension
Ascension dresser by Claudia Twiss
photo of 5 family members.  Mother, Father, 2 teenaged sons and 1 teen aged daughter. Ascension
Claudia Twiss and family

Rising from the Depths

The first time I saw a picture of Ascension, I saw it as the self-portrait of Claudia.  From the dark, distant start, slowly rising upward; working hard to get ahead. Deployments, physical training, weapons, motherhood, divorce, qualifying, classes, sacrifices, women in a man’s world, assignments, goals, CIF, missing important family life, the gym, marriage, PCS, deployments, rank, road marches, co-parenting, duty station, schools, promotions, MOS. Finally, all the hard work, all of the sacrifices, the time away from her family, start to pay off.

Kicking upward toward the light, her strength, her intelligence, her dedication started to propel her toward greatness. More deployments, physical training, teenaged children, schools, weapons, PCS, qualifying, classes, sacrifices, duty stations, goals, missing birthdays and anniversaries , road marches, co-parenting, working harder, helping others, promotions. Claudia reach the pinnacle on June 27th, 2019 when she was promoted to Sergeant Major.

A few days later, she revealed her art work, Ascension.

Close up picture of SGM Claudia Twiss in her dress uniform with her husband pointing to her newly pinned rank. Ascension
She Did It!

You Go Girl!

For those that are unfamiliar with military lingo, a Sergeant Major is the highest rank for a noncommissioned officer.  Most certainly, in order to obtain this rank, she has worked hard, studied diligently, and out performed her peers.  Furthermore, she has also sacrificed greatly, withstood the physical and mental tolls of service, and given over much control of her life to the Army. It is estimated that there are about 300 female Sergeant Majors in the Army. Above all, it really is a HUGE deal!

And a MilSpouse, too!

Even more, did you notice that her husband is also a NCO?  Do you know that dual service member marriages face unique challenges? Can you imagine how difficult it is trying to get assignments at the same base? Who’s turn is it to pass up a career-enhancing assignment or school to stay together? Perhaps one of them has to take less desirable job so the other can advance. Knowing, first hand, of the dangers your spouse faces while deployed to a hostile environment. Claudia faces all of the challenges of being a service member plus the challenges of being a military spouse. Furthermore, having been a mil-spouse myself, I can tell you that alone is tough enough.

SGM Claudia Twiss with husband MSG Jason Twiss in US Army uniforms. Ascension
SGM Claudia Twiss with husband MSG Jason Twiss

Her Greatest Creations

First and foremost, Claudia’s kiddos are her most important creation. Chris, Benny and AJ have always had a solider-mom. They have lived through leaving friends, deployments, frequent moves, new schools and the unknowing of what the future holds in being a military kid. However, they have also had the privilege of having a strong, purposeful, loving mom.

As an aside, I have seen Claudia speak of her former husband and his wife. She and Jason co-parent her boys with them. She publicly acknowledges what great parents they are and how important it is to work as a team, with them, in raising the kids. Similarly, they sent her flowers to congratulate her on her recent promotion. Kudos to both sets of parents.

Sergeant Major Claudia and her children - 2 teenaged boys and 1 teenaged daughter Ascension
Sergeant Major Claudia Twiss and her children

When Claudia mentioned that she might put some gold leaf on her piece, I grinned. She should! Both the dresser and Claudia deserves the bling. Personally, I love that she is not afraid of showing off, both with her artistic work and herself. However, that has to wait till she, her family, and the piece make it to Hawaii, their next duty station. Hence, I am hoping for an invite.

Picture of Claudia Twiss with black strapless dress and gold necklace
Claudia Twiss

For Claudia, furniture painting is her creative outlet.  She has been painting for around six years and is known for her use of vivid colors, graphics and love gold leafing. Claudia is a hobbyist painter but not afraid to tackle complex refinishing jobs. Consequently, those projects show me she has a great attention to detail and focus, as well as patience.

Picture of Black and gold leaf Union Jack dresser with globe and books sitting on top. Dresser designed and created by Claudia Twiss. Ascension
Black and gold leaf Union Jack dresser

Claudia is an inspiring lady, true leader and great artist.  Her ascension didn’t happen by luck or chance. 

Ascension Wooden dresser painted in blues and greens in a diagonal ombre style. Ascension Designed and Created by Claudia Twiss. Paints by CeCe Caldwell's Paints.
Ascension comes from work and dedication.

Take a Look

Here is more of Claudia’s work. You can find more of her work at ReDone to be ReLoved.

Nuevo Laredo long Dresser with gold hardware and Kukui Stain + Finish top by Claudia Twiss _ painted Emerald Isle Green by CeCe Caldwell's Paints
Nuevo Laredo Dresser by Claudia Twiss. Painted in Emerald Isle Green by CeCe Caldwell’s Paints.

Last, but never least, her fur babies.

Claudia often gets hardware for her designs from D. Lawless Hardware. It is her go-to furniture jewelry store.

Some of Claudia’s favorite colors.

Picture look down on a can of a green paint.  Emerald Isle Green by CeCe Caldwell's Paints
Thomasville Teal
wooden medallion painted in a navy blue from CeCe Caldwell's Paints, named Newport Navy.
Newport Navy
Picture looking down on a can of a green paint.  Emerald Isle Green by CeCe Caldwell's Paints
Emerald Isle – Retired