This is the story of our precious baby boy, who was diagnosed prenatally at
17 weeks with a fatal chromosome disorder called Trisomy 13. Although
Jonathan's condition is considered "not compatible with life", we desired to give
him every chance at life. Our prayer is that those who are touched by our story
are drawn to God, who is Life Himself. John 14:6

To start at the beginning of our story, click here.


let me introduce myself...

i know that i blog about some serious, heavy stuff most of the time. that's just where the majority of my heart is. i don't know, maybe i'm just having an exceptionally good week or something but after having been told for months that "with time it will get better"...i think it has gotten a lot better. i've been able to let myself get back to enjoying life again and having fun, all without feeling guilty about it. but of course i miss jonathan and i think about him everyday. as always, thanks for your prayers.

so in the interest of having fun, i decided to lighten things up a bit and follow the lead of another blog i read by posting some random facts about myself and answers to questions we get frequently.  you all know some of my deepest thoughts and struggles by reading this blog but you don't really know me that well.  so let me introduce myself...
  • i have lived my whole life in florida except during college. i spent a year in colorado and 3 1/2 years in alabama.
  • i have a younger sister who just moved from st. louis to atlanta. she's pregnant with her second baby, due in march. we're so glad to have her closer to us! and no, her pregnancy does not bother me, just like none of my friends' pregnancies bother me. (i get asked this often.)
  • i love my husband.  you are probably thinking that this should be a given, but it's not always, for everyone.  greg and i have been married almost 7 years after meeting at church about 8 years ago.  he graduated from auburn and is an engineer.  he is a wonderful father to both kate and jonathan.
  • i graduated with my undergrad and graduate degree from troy university in alabama. go trojans! actually, i am even more of an FSU fan. even with bad football seasons like they are having currently.
  • in college, i spent a year playing basketball and three years competing on the cross-coutry and track teams.  i have participated in sports my whole life and i love to run.  i haven't run a race in 3 years for obvious reasons, the last race being the 2007 disney marathon. i miss it so much that i even dream about running.  i plan to get back out there one day.  i would love to try competing in a triathlon sometime.
  • i grew up going to church but didn't truly understand the saving grace of Christ until i was halfway through college.  you know, college is where you're supposed to "find yourself."  well, the first half of my college experience was spent with discontentedness, low self-esteem, and wondering what my purpose in life was.  it's kind of a cliche, but there was a God-shaped hole in my heart that i tried to fill with all sorts of things:  partying, relationships, trying to attain the "perfect body", etc....  only once the hole was filled with God have i been able to experience complete freedom from the bondages that tied me down to unfulfillment.  so in the course of "finding myself", i found God.  or should i say, He found me. :)  and i am so incredibly thankful.
  • right now i am a stay-at-home-mom with a very small side business of sewing/embroidery. before i had kate, i worked with the sheriff's office here for five years as a crime intelligence analyst. it was a wonderful job and i really enjoyed the people i worked with.
  • in case you're wondering, i type in all lower case because i'm super-spiritual and only God gets an upper case  a lazy typist. (the super-spiritual part is totally facetious, of course.) and because when i first started this blog, i didn't know so many people would read it. i might have typed properly if i had known that in advance. so i apologize to those it bothers, but i can't change it now because then it would bother me that it wasn't uniform for every post.
  • kate does exist. but we don't post pictures of her here because we are over-protective parents. it's nothing personal against anyone except the people who said ugly things about us after the newspaper articles.  i really do hate to not share things about her here.  instead we have a private blog and i post all things kate-related there. 
  • we get asked all the time if we are going to have another baby. i understand that it is a natural thing for people to wonder about. the short answer is, yes, hopefully in the next year or so.
  • i think my 30's have been better than my 20's so far.  that should give my younger friends hope.  from my older friends, can i get an amen?
  • i love mexican food, specifically chicken fajitas and chips and salsa with lots of cilantro.  cliantro is the most important ingredient. 
  • i love to shop.  my husband hates to shop.  so since i love my husband, i try not to shop too much.
  • i don't believe in cheese as part of a dessert.  as in, cheesecakes, cream cheese icing, etc.  it's just not right.
  • i'm a dog person, but i have two cats.
  • i don't have any cavities.  really, it's the only thing about myself i can brag about.
  • i prefer diet sunkist in the morning over coffee.  i consider it my "orange juice."
  • i'm a collector/slight hoarder of fun fabrics and sewing accessories, as well as with a certain brand of clothing.  i just can't pass up a deal or a good sale on these things.
  • did i mention i love to shop? 

i'd love for those of you who read this to "introduce yourself" too, either by way of a comment or a re-post of this blog in your own words. (leave a comment with your blogsite so i'll know and be able to read it.)  for my friends who are currently failing at their vow to blog once a day, (you know who you are) this should give you something to post about!  :)


sanctity of human life

today is "sanctity of human life" sunday. this day was established to put a focus on the value of human existence and every individual's inherent right to life as acknowledged by the american founding fathers. it is observed on the sunday in january closest to the anniversary of the roe v. wade and doe v. bolton decisions handed down by the U.S. supreme court on january 22, 1973.

the observance recognizes the millions of aborted babies, now numbering nearly 52 million, as well as the value of all human life young or old, yet unborn or facing end-of-life decisions.

i've written here before that thanks to jonathan, the topic of the sanctity of human life is closer to my heart than ever. after facing the option to abort as the world's "right answer" to the "mistake" that was jonathan, i can honestly say that choosing to keep him resulted in quite possibly one of the biggest blessings i've ever received. i'm not here to condemn anyone who chose the other option. i'm just here to let people know there is another option; one that carries with it great peace, and even joy. i will carry those precious moments with jonathan with me the rest of my life.

i've also mentioned a couple times before that greg and i got some public criticism for choosing to keep him. the most common complaint was that we were selfish because jonathan was surely suffering. what i'm not sure about is if those same people realize what our other option was. abortion is horribly violent. most abortions involve the fetus being ripped apart while it's alive while being vacuumed out. late term abortions involve scissors being jammed into the back of the head to kill the fetus. the baby is then discarded as medical waste, or even into the trash can. i hate to be so graphic, but THAT was our only other option. the amount of suffering jonathan had at any point in his life pales in comparison to the suffering of abortion. besides, we were assured by doctors that jonathan was not suffering at any point.

the good news for those affected by decisions to abort, and something i just love about God, is that no matter what we've done in the past, He welcomes us in.

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." ~Psalm 103:12

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." ~1 John 1:9

"This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." ~1 John 3:19-20

i love this song about God's invitation...



i am a little late in acknowledging the devastation and destruction beyond comprehension caused by the earthquake in haiti. the suffering they are surely experiencing makes most other suffering, including mine, look like a cake walk. we are praying for the haitians as well as the americans that are there, specifically missionaries, the military and other aid workers.

when this happened last week, i began to think about how God fits into all of it. it has been interesting to hear on the news, through friends, and even on facebook what people think about God in relation to the earthquake. i've heard people say things like, "where is God in all of this?", i've heard miraculous stories showing that God is definitely involved, and i've also heard people say insensitive things like "they had it coming" for one reason or another, including the well-known rev. pat robertson.

ugh. i hate it when christians as a whole get negative representation because another one says or does something that is not reflective of the beliefs of us all. who can really know why God allowed the earthquake to happen there? i say now is not the time to make judgements about nation or people as a whole (that's up to God), but it is the time to love them and help them.

interestingly enough, a day or two after the earthquake happened, i came to chapter 10 of randy alcorn's book "if God is good" which is entitled, "natural disasters: creation under the curse of human evil." he says that it all can be traced back the "the fall" where a perfect world became corrupt because of human sin (Genesis 3:17, Romans 8:18-22.) his main points are:
  • God is sovereign over all nature. (Psalm 147:18, Job 37:13, Numbers 11:1, Matthew 5:45)
  • Sometimes God uses natural disasters to punish evil. (Genesis 6-8, Numbers 16:30, Jonah 1:12, just to name a few)
  • Natural disasters ordinarily are general results of the Curse, not specifically linked to the sins of individuals who perish or suffer in them. (Luke 13:2-5)
  • Scripture does not distance God from disasters and secondary evils the way his children do. (Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6)
  • Even when satan is behind natural disasters and diseases, God hasn't relinquished his world-governing power. (Job)
  • Some disasters fall on the blameless. (Job)
alcorn also points out the good that can come from these natural disasters:
  • Disasters can initiate self-examination (Luke 13:5)
  • Disasters can bring out the best in people.
  • Disasters can lead to spiritual transformation.
  • A world without personal tragedy or natural disasters would produce no heroes.

alcorn says: "one day, in Christ's presence, we will be relieved of evil and suffering, yet we'll remember- and our characters will forever benefit from- what we learned in this world." (p.91)

i have no doubt that God is using the tragedy of this earthquake (and other natural disasters) for some sort of good. we have seen it on a much, much, MUCH smaller scale in our life recently. even through loss and devastation, we have been able to see God much more clearly, whether it was through the absolute perfect timing of events, answered prayers, or through the love of others.

i truly pray that the goodness of God will be seen even in the fog of devastation in haiti.


land of the living

after the temperatures here on the gulf coast dipped down to record lows recently, today was the kind of day that reminds me why i live here in florida. the sky was clear blue and the temperature was around 70 degrees, all in the middle of january. now if it would just stay like that year round...

so what to do on a day like this? take a walk on the beach? take kate to the park?

maybe last year. today, kate and i spent quality time in the cemetery where jonathan is buried.

it's a good thing kate likes going. greg and i have this joke that jonathan always knows we're there to visit him because he hears the galloping of little feet running all around his grave. that, and he hears mommy and daddy constantly telling kate to take her hands out of the bird bath, quit throwing dirt, and put back the ceramic dog/angel/cross/whatever she finds left at the nearby graves.

going on three and a half months now, we still haven't picked out jonathan's headstone. i did feel guilty about this at first, but it's one of the things i've given myself some slack about. really, it's the last thing left to do for jonathan. and maybe that's why we haven't done it yet.

so kate and i wandered around the entire cemetery today checking out headstones to get some ideas for what we want. i had no idea that there were so many options. it's just not something i ever thought i would have to consider. we brought our first gift to jonathan, a little windchime that was given to us that had an angel on it and said "whispers from heaven." kate demanded to carry it around the entire cemetery, so needless to say we made a lot of noise while we were making our rounds. jonathan heard us coming a long way off.

there were a few other people visiting graves out there. a man and woman briefly commented to me on the beautiful weather and the windchimes kate was carrying with her. they were laughing with each other at the gravesite of someone presumably older; probably someone who had lived a full life. there's just not a lot of laughing at the gravesite of a baby or child.

then, for a split second, i had one of those moments (that still occasionally happen, even three and a half months later), that i can't believe this actually happened to me, that i buried my child. not to mention, a cemetery is not exactly the place i had envisioned spending beautiful afternoons. or the place i would have ever considered bringing kate to "play." but here we are. it's the reality i live with, though i'm determined not to let it steal my joy.

"Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. " ~Psalm 27:13-14



today was kind of tough.

only when greg and i sat down in church today and looked over the bulletin did we realize that today was baby dedication day for babies born over the past few months. i quickly scanned the names and birthdates. september, october, november birthdates were on there.

my heart sank.

as we sat there, politely listening to how great a blessing these babies are (and they certainly are), i couldn't help feeling uncomfortable and out of place. it wasn't because of anything our church did or didn't do. it was because i felt that we were supposed to be up there, proudly holding up our sweet baby boy for all to see and admire, too. today we should have been dedicating him to the Lord, being prayed over by our church family, and celebrating his life.

there are days where i feel i have submitted myself fully to the Lord's sovereign plan for jonathan and for our family.

and then there are days like today when i realize that jonathan's absence is still waging war deep in my heart between what i feel about him being gone and what i know and believe about God.

i feel guilty for feeling this way, and God is probably thinking something along the lines of, "what more do you want from Me?!?", after being so real, so present, and so....good to us during our journey with jonathan.

i guess my hands are still clenched around the hopes and dreams of a healthy baby boy named jonathan. i don't know why, seeing that he's been gone three months now. maybe there is still some questioning deep down. maybe even some resentment. maybe i just need more time to heal. maybe i need an occasional harsh reminder that i haven't completely surrendered all those deep down feelings to the Lord.

tonight i found myself back at 1 Samuel 1, with the story of hannah. hannah was infertile, but after petitioning the Lord for a son and promising his life to Him, she was given a son, samuel. and with a thankful heart for His answer to her prayers, she dedicated samuel back to the Lord.

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

samuel went on to become one of ancient israel's great leaders.

when i compare the story of hannah and samuel to my story with jonathan, i can see that:

~i, too, desperately prayed for my son (although the prayers were vastly different.)
~the Lord also answered my prayers over and beyond my expectations.
~jonathan, for being only 40 minutes old, has an amazing legacy himself.

perhaps it's time, with grateful acknowledgement of the Lord's provision, to dedicate jonathan's life fully to the Lord.

i'll do it quietly in my heart and let the Lord handle the details for a heavenly celebration.


make it beautiful

“To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory.” ~Isaiah 61:3

huge, beautiful oak trees are abundant here in the florida panhandle. when greg and i did the landscaping for our current house, we studied them in order to decide whether or not to plant them in our yard. we learned that they grow slowly and take root deeply. over the years, the roots become as deep and far-reaching in the ground as the tree becomes tall and wide, giving each tree incredible strength to endure the harshest of storms. this is good, because we also tend to have lots of hurricanes and tropical storms here on the coast.

eden state gardens, florida

i'm sure God created the oaks like that in order that they would endure the hurricanes, just as He has provided us with all the strength and grace we need to endure the storms we might face. it brings Him glory.

He could stop there, but it keeps getting better. in typical God fashion, even after He provides what we need, He still promises beauty, joy, and praise.

just barely over three months after losing jonathan, we have seen some of these promises come to fruition. jonathan may not be here physically anymore, but we obviously have not reached the end of his story. much of our heartache has been soothed over time with the continuous reassurance that jonathan's life had a wonderful purpose. the joy and praise that has come from this has helped to drown out the silence where there should be the cries of a 3 month old baby.

but life is moving quickly by. three months will become four, then five, and so on. i realize that as time goes on, the stories we hear of how jonathan's life has touched others will become much more infrequent, or even cease. yet i pray that because jonathan has become so deeply a part of our very beings, just like kate has, that our lives will continue to be shaped and molded in such a way that jonathan is a vital component of the process. that our family's story will never be the same because of jonathan's life. jonathan's story will continue because our family continues.

i don't know what our story will be. i leave that in the hands of the Storyteller.

but i pray He will make it beautiful.

He promises to make it beautiful.



well, already 2010 has not started like i envisioned.

the good news is that "losing 5 pounds" will no longer be my new year's resolution. i can check that one off already.

that's right, i spent the first two days of the new year very sick. it appears a stomach virus (no doubt lingering from that mean ol' 2009) had attacked 2/3 of our family. i thought i had food poisoning until greg also got sick. we immediately had kate whisked off to the grandparents' and used an entire can of lysol in our house. that seems to have done the trick. so far kate has escaped it's wrath, thank goodness.

we apologize in advance to the friends we hung out with for several hours on new year's eve.

and i apologize to my mother, who is sick even as i type this.


i normally don't make a big deal about new year's resolutions or "starting over" every time january first rolls around. i might make a goal to read more, eat less, and water my plants more often or something boring like that.

well this year, i stood on 2010's doorstep with a ton of baggage collected over the past few months.

and i made the choice to step over the threshold and leave the baggage behind:

~minor regrets of things i should have done or didn't do while i was pregnant with jonathan or while he was alive in my arms....gone.

~getting thank-you notes out in a timely manner or not visiting jonathan's grave enough....gone.

~and the big one: letting people's negative reactions or comments about our decision to keep jonathan, or about our faith bother me....gone.

and that's just the tip of the baggage iceberg for me.

i have realized that by concerning myself with these types of things, especially the ones i can't change or put too much pressure on myself about, have caused me to become very weary. i recently found myself back at the place where my prayers were one word, "help," because i was too tired and overwhelmed to pray anything else.

in 2010, i gladly hand it over to the One who says:

"Come unto me all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. " ~Matthew 11: 28-29

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." ~Psalm 55:22

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:7

i pray each of you have a baggage-free 2010!


a year of refining

usually when a year ends, i like to reflect on the past 12 months by counting my blessings and marveling at how fast the year has flown by. like the year before, a lot of this past year has been measured by more of kate's firsts: her first complete sentence, her first time on an airplane, her first time using the know, the important things. in fact, i'm not so sure what we did every year before kids.

however, this year i'm not sure what to make of it all. my first instinct is to say that i am glad 2009 is over. it's been a rough year for us and quite frankly, i'm ready to start anew with 2010. but after examining our year, i realize that there were many, many blessings that happened mostly, if not only, because of the trials and difficulties we faced over the past several months. that's right: trials + difficulties = blessings. is that possible? with God, yes.

at the same time, i can't deny that losing jonathan has changed me in many ways. i'm not sure that anyone out there can say that losing a baby like that doesn't shake you so deeply to the core that you come out exactly the same person you were going in.

it humbles you.
it quiets you.
it reveals your weaknesses, and therefore your desperate need for Christ.
and it gives amazing perspective, once you take your eyes off yourself and look at Him.

eventually, i became to understand that for me, it was very much a faith and character refining process.

"For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver." ~Psalm 66:10

"See, I have refined you....I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." ~ Isaiah 48:10

a refiner's fire melts down the bar of silver or gold, seperates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. this, i believe, exactly describes what our journey with jonathan has done for my faith and my heart. and let me tell you, the process of having the very deepest, darkest corners of my heart scoured and swept clean (and in a very public manner, i might add) is excruciatingly painful. yet, it's very healing and liberating at the same time.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." ~Ezekiel 36:26

i believe my experience with jonathan has changed me for the better. i'm totally OK with never being the "same" again. and because i can't go back and change the circumstances of 2009, i choose to be thankful for them.

however, i really do want to reach the point where even if i could go back and change the circumstances of the past year, that i wouldn't; to truly accept that the life and loss of our precious baby boy was for a greater gain that i might never be aware of while i live. so far, this has been the greatest challenge my faith has ever faced. in fact, it is probably the greatest perplexity a parent might ever face, in trying to understand that God had a good reason for their baby to die.

i take great comfort in the fact that God, who willingly gave the life of His Son for our gain, knows how i feel in my loss.

He knows how i need to be consoled and encouraged, and He provides.
He allows me to question Him and gently responds with love through His word.
He knows what i need to move forward, in faith and in life, and gives me hope.

i find all of these things (encouragement, answers, hope) in this scripture:

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." ~1 Peter 1:6-8

so 2009 will go down in our books as the most difficult year we've faced thus far. but i trust that the growth of our faith that has and is to come from it will be worth more than anything we could have ever lost.