Sunday, April 25, 2010


Believe it or not, I am still continuing to receive deeply moving stories from fellow sisters of "SOS."  The bravery and resiliency of these women challenges and inspires me. Their willingness to share their stories is generous beyond measure. The knowledge they share of  treasures gleaned from darkness is an enlightening  gift. Thank you, sisters, one and all,  for your vulnerability and trust. 

An excerpt from Kelly's story:

"...I was thrilled to learn that I was pregnant yet again - I always knew I needed three children.  My oldest son turned 5 right after we found out we were expecting, and my youngest was 3.  My husband and I were so excited, and my oldest son, Matthew, was thrilled!!  Matthew was dying for a sister - I did not think that would be such a bad idea, either, seeing that I was one of three girls.  He was so determined we were having a girl that I found myself continually, throughout my pregnancy,  repeating this phrase - "Matthew, we are so lucky that God decides what baby is best for our family - that may be a girl or it may be a boy."   Well, we like to keep things a surprise around here and chose, as we did with the other two, not to find out the sex of the baby.  As my pregnancy moved on, Matthew began to call the "baby girl" Joy - and, if I'm honest, we all did - he had me convinced we were having a baby girl.  

On March 30, 2009 our baby boy was born and I knew I was meant to have three sons!!  Shortly after his birth, my OB came back in the room and asked to speak to Matt and I alone - I was so scared and had no idea what he was going to say. He informed Matt and I that he had a strong suspicion that our baby had Down Syndrome. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life - not because of the "Earthquake" shock but because God's Holy Spirit was in that room with us and wrapped His arms around my husband and I. The first words spoken after Dr. Kouri's announcement came from my husband - "We are the absolute best parents for this!" There were no tears at that moment - just a celebration of the life God had blessed us with.  After we had told the shocking news to our parents and everyone had gone home - we were finally able to hold our little bundle.  I forgot to mention he was in a bit of oxygen distress after birth so he had been in the nursery.  I sat there and held Vaughan and cried a mixture of tears.  I grieved the baby Joy I thought I was having, I grieved for the baby boy that was going to struggle, but mostly I felt real fear as to what this would all mean for our family.  

News travels fast in our town and the next day we were inundated with precious friends at the hospital. They would all come in the room and not know what to say, and then they would see we were the same Kelly and Matt - just anxious about an awaiting Chromosome Karotype that was going to confirm the diagnosis.  

But the strangest thing happened and I did not realize it until the end of that next day - almost EVERY person that came to visit us in the hospital said something about Joy!!!  "What Joy that child will bring to you!"  "I have a friend that has a cousin with Down Syndrome and she is the most Joyful child!" On and on it went - I finally looked at Matt and said, "Well, Matthew knew all along that God had picked out our special baby named Joy!" 

Our Earthquake, like yours, has been one that has shown me the transforming love of God.  I know that he has been with us through the sad and uncertain days- and there have been some - and He has shown me His love through my two older boys that have loved Vaughan in the most unconditional way possible.  We were advised to not tell the boys about Vaughan's DS and I am so thankful for that advice because they have had the opportunity to teach all of us some pretty valuable lessons.

I am so sorry for the long email - I just wanted you to know that your story helped me tremendously as a mother before I experienced my Earthquake. Now that I have experienced an "Earthquake" of my own - I know from your experience to enjoy and make the most of the journey God has planned for my family.

Thank you and many prayers to your family!

from D.:

...I wasn't going to write because I didn't want the emotions of "my earthquake" to get me shaking again. I don't even know when it started, which makes me sad. I was so trusting and maybe arrogant about my marriage. I truly believed that when I stood at the altar and said my vows in front of family, friends, and...most of all, God... that it would be forever. We went to couples bible study together, we had prayer together, we made a life together. Most importantly of all, we had three children together. Of course it was going to be forever.
When he walked out the door and I learned of the other women, I was shattered. My earthquake did not destroy any material things, although it would have been easier. It destroyed me and my children. I could not see past the rubble. There were days that I didn't think I could go on.  My heart was broken into a million pieces. I then learned that this women was an agnostic and had been living in an open marriage. The pain that my children would be exposed to this type of life-style was more than I could bear. They moved in together. How could God not only destroy me but do this to my children? 
It has been five years since this earthquake occurred. God has done a miracle in my life. I am amazed at how He has healed my heart. He is a physician. He has allowed me to forgive. He is full of compassion.  He has allowed me to laugh again. He is full of joy. He has become my bridegroom. The love of my life who will never let me down. When I look past all the destruction and ashes from this earthquake I see the greatest gift.....sharing my story of death and resurrection with others. This is my gift to Him!!!
Serendipitously, I "happened" to run across the following teaching of Beth Moore this afternoon. I've been really sick this week...sick enough to be pretty much bed-ridden for the past couple of days. Irritable, ill, and impatient, I found myself listening to Beth speak on our current topic of earthquakes. She echoes some of what's been said, but also brings up some provocative new points to consider.
If you are not familiar with Beth, not from the South, and not familiar with this type of speaking, perhaps a little forewarning may be in order: A Bible Study teacher from Texas, Beth is what we might refer to as a "large personality." Her style of teaching may be a bit different from what some of you are used to. But her honesty and passion are very genuine. She has lived through many major earthquakes, of which severe sexual abuse as a child was only the first. 
These teachings were aired on the program of a pastor with whom I'm not familiar, and he adds commentary at the beginning and end. If you just want to hear Beth, fast forward.
 If interested, go to:

and scroll down to:

Life QuakesPart 1: Video - QuicktimeFlash  Audio - MP3   Text - Transcript
Part 2: Video - QuicktimeFlash  Audio - MP3   Text - Transcript
Part 3: Video - QuicktimeFlash  Audio - MP3   Text - Transcript


  1. Two amazing stories. The Down's one really hit home with me because we (or at least I) start our families with utter faith that we will have "perfect" babies. As in, societally perfect. If they are short, they will be dynamos on the soccer field or in gymnastics. If they are long and gangly, they will be great swimmers. They will be able to succeed academically with enough determination, because surely they have been gifted with sufficient intellect to support their inborn spirit to succeed.

    They will be a superlative something.

    But maybe their superlative will be survival. Or getting to have a normal life even though they are deaf, or on dialysis, or, as much as it might pain us to admit it, not really all that smart.

    Maybe what we learn from both our trials and our children (and sometimes the two coincide) is that we don't run the world and the life we're allowed by its constructs is full of lessons and blessings.

  2. Laurel,

    Thank you for your insights. I agree!

    I wonder why it takes some of so long to realize that "we don't run the world?" Guess I'm just a really slow learner.

    My friend Marianne writes of some of the issues you've brought up at:

    Check it out when you have a chance.

  3. What a great blog! I just checked it out. I'd been meaning to hop over because I see her here. Marianne, whoever you are, good work. Taylor sounds like a lot of fun.

  4. This is not meant to look like the "Laurel, Kim and Marianne" show, but we are, in fact, the first readers to comment (so I guess it's our show---till others join us!)
    Thank you both for your support and love. Today is a good day for me to accept that.
    Laurel, it was Kim, who unknowingly inspired me to write. Kim's honesty, faith, and gift of owning both pain and joy really spoke to my heart. Here is a woman---an entire family--on a difficult journey. And even with all of the realities of what needs to happen in their day, so much insight, wisdom and encouragement is shared. It makes me want to live a better--and bigger life.
    My respect and admiration go to Kim and Katherine and to everyone who loves them along on this path.
    I've said too much. Like Kim always says, "I am honored that you even read my blog." And humbled. I love the community that the Arnold-Wolfs have created. We are, in fact, a family of sorts. So many of us check in every single day to see how they are doing. Don't you all agree? Isn't that what family is? Let Kim know. Leave a comment. It means so much.

  5. Huh. What's wrong with the "Laurel, Kim, and Marianne Show?" I mean, besides the fact that it is not taking place with the three of us seated on a couch with popcorn and a chick flick primed in the DVD player.

    I know what you mean about owning pain and joy. I have always done this. I don't know why except that I feel self-confidence and humility are wrapped up together, just like joy and pain.

    I have friends who were shocked at my point blank, frank, bleak observations about the first year after having my son. They weren't shocked that I felt those things but that I said them. Out loud. To other people.

    I had a healthy dreamboat of a baby. Good eater, good sleeper, all systems go. There were some other things going on with my own health, genetic things that had a 50% chance of BIG BAD for the baby boy. But for the most part, I had it good. I knew that intellectually. I still really, really did not enjoy the transition to motherhood. AT ALL. I loved him very much but I did not love being a mother.

    I'm humble enough to suppose that I am not the first person to feel whatever I'm feeling in a given circumstance. I'm self-confident enough to not care if you want to take it the wrong way when it's really just offered as a mercy to anyone stumbling across the road I've already trod. At the very least, you can know you're not the only one.

    We, not just moms but humans, need to stick together. There is nothing new under the sun. So why on earth would we leave anyone to deal with what we've already dealt with thinking that they are the first/only one?

  6. oh wow...The LKM show...

    maybe kind of like "The View?"

    Ya'll are both amazing...should have hooked you up before now!

    I'm laughing and crying.


    p.s. as you may have noticed, I have finally given myself permission to comment on my own blog, much to the dismay of certain of my offspring. They claim it's 'pathetic,' like writing on your own facebook wall....which I've caught them both doing, anyway. ha!



Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

It helps to know we're not alone.