Under the Tree


A fun Under the Tree/Get to Know You for June:

Hair Color: red--not carrot top, but more burnished copper

Eye color: green/brown

Profession: pharmacy technician

Relationship status: Married

Favorite color: anything bright

Favorite movie: The Phantom of the Opera, The Little Mermaid (always has been and always will be)

Favorite animal: I've always wanted to hug a panda...

Favorite store: Target

Favorite childhood memory: making homemade Blizzards at Grandma's house

Favorite hobby: sleeping, music, movies, reading

Favorite song/singer: "Broken Hallelujah" by Mandisa, "Revelation Song" by Christ for the Nations, "I'm Singing" by Kari Jobe, "Arise" by Chris Sligh... just to name a few.

Favorite book/author: right now... The Shack. Ask me again tomorrow and it will be different!

Favorite school subject: science

Favorite vacation destination: My husband and I have always wanted to go to Australia!

Favorite food: chicken fried rice

Favorite restaurant: Depends on my mood, but I could eat at Chick-fil-A just about any time!

Coke or pepsi : Coke, all the way

Beer or wine: nope

Coffee or tea: I like a little coffee with my cream and sugar.

Apple Juice or O.J.: apple juice

Summer or Winter: Winter! I hate being hot. There are only so many articles of clothing you can remove before someone starts to stare...

Cats or dogs: Dogs

Salty or sweet: Sweet... or salty... or sweet and salty...

Plane or boat: plane--I love to fly!

Morning or night: neither!

Money or love: Love

Breakfast or dinner: all of the above

Forgiveness or revenge: Forgiveness

House or apartment: house (although sometimes I wish it was an apartment because then someone else would be responsible for repairs.)

Like to cook: nope, just like to eat!

Have You Ever:

Got a speeding ticket: Yes (60 in a 45 in a construction zone!!!)

Wished you were someone else: At times, but when I see the things in my life that couldn't exist if I wasn't me, I wise up and learn to be content with myself.

Cried during a movie: yup!

Describe yourself in one word: Loved

Biggest fear: I can't bear to write this one down.

Biggest mistake: running away from my purpose

Your proudest accomplishment: walking in grace, although I didn't accomplish anything to get here!

Dream job: I always wanted to sing, but I am afraid of speaking in public!

Special talents: I love to sing.

Where would you rather be at the moment: home, asleep in my bed

Famous person you want to meet: at the moment... either Mandisa or Steven Curtis Chapman

Song to be played at your funeral: "You Wouldn't Cry for Me Today" by Mandisa--I hope every word of it is true!

Walking With You

Sharing the Journey: Waiting

The day of the amniocentesis, we came home and made phone calls to all of the waiting grandparents. Some asked questions, some sat in shocked silence, no one cried. I couldn't understand that. It is a difficult feeling to go from praying that it's not Down's Syndrome to praying that it's only Down's Syndrome. The doctor had told us that the amnio results would take ten days, but that they might have some preliminary results after two days. That night, we talked about all of it--the diagnosis, our options, our daughter. That was the day that I named her. We had discussed names before and we both liked Raelyn Elise, but I had reservations because of the spelling. Our last name is frequently mispronounced and even more frequently misspelled so I kind of wanted her to have an easier first name. However, the moment I saw her on that ultrasound screen, that was her name. She was my Raelyn.

We prayed that night and felt at peace with the day. We had some theories as to why we saw some of the markers that they were worried about. Our quad screen test had come back with all negatives and we knew (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that my dates were correct so that wouldn't have affected the test. My husband had a hole in his heart when he was born that resolved after birth, so we weren't too worried about the Ventricular Septal Defect. We reasoned that since she was moving around so much during the ultrasound, her head might have been tilted back some so that her eye sockets made it look like a lemon head. I spent the next two days happy and at peace. I had printed out a normal karyotype, placed it next to my computer at work, and every time I looked at it, I said to myself "Two and only two." When I got the call to come back to the doctor's office for the preliminary, I went by myself. I was so sure that they were going to tell me that everything was normal. I had such peace walking into that horrible genetic counselor's office and I think that is why the bad report sent me reeling so far downward.

After that, we waited ten days for the final results of the test. We had decided at this point that for us to carry her to term would be worse than letting her go. This was by far the hardest decision I have ever had to make. For my husband and me, we thought it would have been harder to hold her and let her die in our arms. It was like being told that my daughter had been in an accident and she would never regain consciousness, never breathe on her own, and be resigned to a lifetime of tubes and needles and medicine. To be completely honest, my prayer at that time was not "God, please heal my daughter" or "God, please let the test be wrong." My prayer was "God, if you have not willed for my daughter to live past birth, please take her before I get these test results." I naively thought that if I knew she was in Heaven, healed and whole, that I wouldn't hurt so much. I was wrong.

I never felt her little 'swishies' after the amnio and I have an ultrasound picture (from where they were guiding the needle) that shows her lying still at the bottom of my womb--a strange sight since she had been bouncing off the walls minutes earlier. I had a scare that landed me in the hospital the following weekend (before we had the final results) and we heard her heartbeat there, but it was slower than normal. After we received the final diagnosis of Trisomy 18, and the doctor had time to process all of the pictures and estimate the extent of the defects, we scheduled an induction for the following Sunday after church. It seems so wrong to write that because we are Christians and we are pro-life, but I couldn't see the good in forcing my daughter to go through a painful birth, only to live her entire life on earth under bright hospital lights, with tubes and needles and poking and prodding. The doctor outlined the problems that he could see on the ultrasound and told us that there would likely be many more that he couldn't see right now. To allow her to go straight from the love and comfort of my womb to the waiting arms of Jesus was the better option for our family.

This was easily the most heart wrenching decision of our lives and I still feel guilt and doubt about it. I wonder if things might have been different if we had continued the pregnancy. I just couldn’t bear the thought of waking up every morning wondering if today was going to be the day that I miscarried and lost my daughter or trying to explain to people why I wouldn’t need a baby shower. I know God is sovereign and I know that He knew my decision before the beginning of time, but I still wonder if he is disappointed in me. We prayed and we offered her back to the Lord. He gave her to us as an idea and later as a broken body, but we were never meant to keep her. We felt peace about it then and I know that most of my feelings now, three months later, are thoughts from my flesh sneaking in but I still wonder…


He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. –Isaiah 61:1-3

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. – Psalm 119:49-50


Please continue to pray for my husband and me. I have felt your prayers and I thank you for them. He did get a positive medical report yesterday that we are thankful for. I am dealing with some emotional and spiritual issues of my own

Father's Day

With Father's Day coming up tomorrow, I want to take a minute to honor Raelyn's Daddy. I will never forget the look on his face when I told him that the test was positive. He was so excited to be a Daddy! He hugged me tight and we went out to buy some digital tests just to be safe. That night, he was supposed to preach at church and he told me that I couldn't look at him while he was in the pulpit or he would start smiling so big that everyone there would know our new little secret! All through my pregnancy we would fall asleep with his hand on my belly, protecting the life inside the only way that he could.

I will also never forget the heartbreak on his face as I explained what the doctor had just said to us or the anguish when he called his parents in from the waiting room, saying "She's here... she's gone." He tenderly cared for me during those early days of shock and numbness while dealing with it himself. He gave me the space I needed while simultaneously holding me close.

We have been through some rough times, but our relationship is stronger than ever. I eagerly await the day when he can really show me what the Daddy in him can do!

I love you, Sweetheart!!

Walking With You

Sharing the Journey: Our First Steps

September 15, 2008--my husband's 24th birthday--was to be the day that we got to meet our first baby via ultrasound. We had no idea that it would also be the day that our world was shaken to the core.

I was 21 weeks pregnant and very excited. The night before, while we were laying in bed, I told my husband that I was nervous. He asked why and I told him, "Because it is always the ones who don't want children or who have 5 other kids and can't afford to feed another mouth who have healthy, perfect babies. It's the ones who did everything right who have problems." He brushed my fears off and reminded me that we had already passed all of the screening tests with flying colors. We went to sleep content, but I still had this nagging anxiety.

We requested a friend of a friend to be our ultrasound tech, so we had to wait a little while for her, but it was worth it. She was so sweet to us. It was amazing to hear that heartbeat and see our baby moving around in there. She was using me to practice her kickboxing but I was shocked to realize that I couldn't feel it yet. We sat there and marvelled at this life inside of me while the sonographer took her measurements. After a long search and some belly wiggling to get the baby to turn over, she finally moved and the sonographer said "It's a girl!" We were so thrilled and all negative thoughts were gone from my mind. She took a few more measurements and pictures before beginning to type in all of her findings. While my husband watched the baby, I watched the sonographer's screen. My mind began to crumble as I watched her skip important measurements like head and heart and she chose "poor" for stomach. My thoughts raced through all of the possibilities and as my eyes filled with tears and I couldn't read anymore, she got up and said, "Let me go get Dr. Welt and see if he can get some better pictures so I can fill in these measurements." She left and I tried to compose myself enough to talk to my husband. His face was positively glowing as the thought of having a daughter began to dawn on him. He asked me what was wrong and as I told him about the "poor" notation and the skipped entries, I began to pray.

The doctor came in and began looking at the pictures. He started listing off abnormalities like "ventricular septal defect", "rocker bottom feet" "clenched fists" and "the lemon sign" and the tears started to flow down my cheeks and into my hair as my biology background kicked in and I realized what was going on. My husband looked on in confusion until the doctor said those terrible words--"incompatible with life". At this point we were both crying and the teary-eyed sonographer passed out tissues. Dr. Welt started talking options and further diagnosis and then left the room so that we could decide what we wanted to do. I sat up on the table and sobbed into my husband's chest as he whispered prayers into my hair. They escorted us to a waiting area to talk to a genetic counselor. She seemed very uncomfortable and almost uncaring as she grilled us about the preliminary diagnosis and what the doctor had said to us. (I wanted to tell her to leave and come back after she had read the chart.) We opted for an amniocentesis so that we would know for sure and once again we were left in the room alone to contemplate our fate. During this short time, we called our closest pastor/mentor and he prayed with us on speakerphone in that little conference room. We were ushered down the hall, prepped, and punctured within 15 minutes. One of the most difficult things about that day was having to walk back out through that waiting room filled with swollen bellies and smiles. I felt it was my duty to hide my splotchy, tear-stained face from them in order to protect that innocence that I had only hours before. Sometimes, I still feel that obligation to be silent, to protect those who are still innocent...


What helped me through was the fact that my husband stood and cried with me. If he had shied away or not been willing to talk through things openly, I don't know what I would have done. Some time later, I discovered Bring the Rain which became a huge source of encouragement for me.

2 Chronicles 20:17 (NIV)
You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "


I have a prayer request for my husband and I as we walk this road. We seem to be walking further apart than we were in the beginning, but not dangerously so. We have been under attack in every area--jobs, finances, health, family--in the last 8 months, so we covet your prayers.


Love: A feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; as, the love of brothers and sisters.

How do you know you are loved?

Because someone tells you so?

Because of something someone does for you?

Because of something someone gives you?

A feeling?

A touch?

The Way of Love
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
~1 Corinthians 13~
~The Message~

How do you know God loves you?

Because He tells you so in His Word.

Because He took your sins upon Himself and He died on the cross for you.

Because of the grace He extends to you in your need.

A feeling of humility before His throne.

A touch of sunshine.

I know that I know, but how do I explain it to myself so that I can remember it when I don't feel it.

Wild Olive Tees

I just discovered this website with these awesome inspirational tee shirts! This is an amazing icebreaker to be able to share your faith with others in your life. Here are some of my favorites:
Front: such things...
Back: Philippians 4:8
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.
Front: beloved

Back: Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Front: unfolding

Back: Philippians 1:6
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.