Tag Archives: trisomy 18

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When Looking Good is the Last Concern

fullsizeoutput_1541If you ever want to find out if you have Image Issues, go skiing in extremely cold conditions and see if you care how you look.

Last weekend’s fierce winds brought the wind-chill factor down to a negative twenty-five degrees, but that didn’t take into account the wet snow on my exposed cheeks. It was literally painful; an adventure I would never have even considered years ago when I was young enough to handle it (and dumb enough to only have cute ski gear!).

I wasn’t brave when I was young. I didn’t take risks. Somehow I got the impression that the comfort-zone was where i’d find peace. I didn’t find it there.

There is no peace in taking the easy way out of a challenge; there is only disappointment and the stress of trying to change the circumstances. When I was on that mountain too cold to cope, all i could focus on was the weather and, at my skill-level, it is not safe to think of anything other than navigating the slopes. i couldn’t just quit because the only way back to warmth was to take another lift and ski there.

Keep going.

We cannot always get out of fierce and frightening situations. Sometimes we must find a way to conquer our mountain. I heard from a lot of you regarding my blog last week and I know many of you are facing very difficult mountains right now. You feel like you are on a slippery slope in a nasty storm with no proper equipment and no knowledge of how to ski. Some of you have also lost a Trisomy 18 baby or are dealing with a loved one’s depression or addiction.

You are not alone.

We may be far from our comfort-zone, but we can still have peace. When we can’t move the mountain or change the weather, we can still bundle up and enjoy the ride. When I was losing hope skiing, I decided to stop pushing through the pain and let my husband know I couldn’t take it anymore. I was so grateful when he patiently adjusted my equipment and strongly assured me that I could finish the run.

The funny thing is, once he fixed my face mask and I was properly protected, I was able to enjoy the experience again.

And we skied all day.

Yes, it was still bitter cold, but I was no longer rawly exposed to it’s danger. I had the upper hand. I was prepared, which disarmed my fears.

When I got cold again, we stopped again.

Most of all, we enjoyed the adventure of conquering a challenge.

If you are freezing and fearful as you face your mountain today, I encourage you to stop a moment and share your heart with someone who can help you adjust your gear. Maybe you could help them with their’s, too, because more then likely they need to figure out the mountain, too. Life is not a comfort-zone; it’s an adventure and it’s the difficulties that make the greatest adventures. Be brave, take care of yourself  and enjoy the thrill of conquering your mountain. You can do this!

After all, skiing is simply falling gracefully.

*****

As an author and speaker, Catrina’s passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, Catrina now uses her profession, her own powerful stories and her training as a Biblical life-coach to reach the heart in a way that is relatable, encouraging and inspiring. Her message is balanced with both fashion and faith and is making a difference  in the lives of women and girls all over!  To be part of this movement, connect with her on FacebookTwitter PinterestLinked In, Goodreads  and consider having her speak at your next event. Visit http://catrinawelch.com for more information.

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Finding Purpose in Pain

I had just laid my newborn baby down to rest and knew I should close my eyes until she needed me again, but I couldn’t resist the overwhelming urge to write the thoughts that were running through my head. It was strange, the words I was hearing were directed to me, not from me. It was  as if the voice of God was thundering a very personal message and I had to capture it.

Once my pen hit the page, the words kept coming faster than I could write.

I knew Rebecca would not live long, the doctors were adamant about  that; and her physical impairments  were obvious, so I felt foolish doubting them,  but it felt so wrong to believe she would die!.  There were so many  questions and such confusion causing fear and anxiety. I needed a “word from God.”

When the student is ready the Teacher speaks.

I can’t help but wonder if this is why God allows difficulties in our lives. It makes us ready to learn. Writing down “God’s Comfort”  empowered me, like the embrace of a warm, soft blanket  in front of a beautiful fire His voice was protecting me from the fierce storm outside. I felt His love and wisdom and it brought certain peace, which is  still hard to explain, even eighteen years later.

Every year around this time, I like to share those words somewhere. On March 5, 1999 (just a few weeks after I wrote them) we shared them–unedited–at our daughter’s funeral. Today, I want to share them with you. My prayer is that you, too, will gain a new perspective on the goodness of the heart of God, even if goodness seems far from your reality. Continue reading Finding Purpose in Pain

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How the Beauty of Autumn can Help Us Survive Change

Change is hard.  In fact, most of us struggle with any major alterations in our lives. It is especially difficult when it’s unexpected, unwanted and we have not yet had to make extreme adjustments in our lives before. This is evident when we see how difficult this election has been for so many millennials.

Consider the first major change in your own life. Perhaps it was a change in schools, a move, a death or divorce that had you stressed about your future. Do you remember the fear, frustration or panic you may have felt? (If you are a Natural, then you don’t have to answer that because your calm and casual nature is very strong when it comes to Confidence Conflicts, but keep reading–and please share–because you are the girls who can help the rest of us with this.)

Having been brought up in a safe and secure family environment, my first few major changes only strengthened me for the devastation of my divorce. I remember moving into my parents basement pregnant and alone and having my mom (a Natural) remind me that I had been through other difficult times and I would make it through this, too.

img_3996When my baby died, it was my pastor who knelt at my rocking chair and reminded me that I would survive that extreme adjustment. I remember his words like yesterday, “Catrina, we are not human beings living a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings living a human experience.” I was still holding Rebecca in my arms when he told me to look outside at all the barren trees. “Their lifeless branches look dead, don’t they? But you know Spring will come again and those ugly, grey trees will once again bear their beauty. Imagine how scary it would be to watch the entire landscape around you loose it’s color and fall to the ground, withered and dried, if you had no idea that this was part of a cycle. Don’t allow the fear of your reality to keep you from the peace that comes with having faith in the future.”

When we believe there is life after death, that God is ultimately in control, that He is trustworthy, generous and kind; and that He knows what He is doing, it changes everything. Faith chases away fear.

Whether it’s the political changes that have you fearful, frustrated, or in a panic, or if it is your private life that is unsettled, I encourage you to look around at the extra-vibrant colors in our landscape this Autumn, and consider it a Holy Hug. God has surrounded us with evidence of His ability to make all things beautiful in His time. None of our drama is a surprise to Him. Let’s rest in this peace that surpasses all understanding and put all our nervous energy into enjoying the process. I don’t know about you, but I used to be blind to the beauty of Autumn for dread of the Winter. This year I find its beauty is only strengthening me for the barren season. I am up to the challenge and have high expectations for Spring and Summer to return once again in our Country and in my personal life.

Call me a fool, but I have seen God’s faithfulness too many times to doubt Him now. After all, when’s the last time you didn’t survive a change?

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.      –Romans 8: 37-19

*****

As an author and speaker, Catrina’s passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, Catrina now uses her profession, her own powerful stories and her training as a Biblical life-coach to reach the heart in a way that is relatable, encouraging and inspiring. Her message is balanced with both fashion and faith and is making a difference  in the lives of women and girls all over!  To be part of this movement, connect with her on FacebookTwitter PinterestLinked In, Goodreads  and consider having her speak at your next event. Visit http://catrinawelch.com for more information.

 

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God is Bigger than the challenges we Face

In memory of our Trisomy 18 baby, I offer the words God spoke to me one night before she died in 1999. May these words be an encouragement to you and your’s during whatever trial you face.

God’s Comfort to Our Family and Friends 

by Catrina Welch

Rebecca
Rebecca Welch Feb 9, 1999- March 2, 1999

This child is my gift to you, like a delicate flower.

Do not expect her life to last like that of a carnation.

Her purpose here is a quick and powerful one.

Enjoy each moment.

Do not waste time in meaningless comparison,

And do not get caught in the trap of self-pity,

Or you will miss the blessings I have in store for you.

I love you and long to bear this yoke with you.

I want to ease your pain; I do not want to take it away.

Because if I did, I would take away all the victories, the lessons,

The character being created in you.

I promise, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

I will bear this load with you, if you just draw near to me.

Trust in me, and tell of the wonders you will see.

There are great riches in store for you,

But if you only look at the pain and sorrow, that is all you will see.

Look unto Me and my Son.

When you want to find comfort in the sympathy of others

When you feel as though no one understands,

When you are tempted to sit and compare your circumstances with others,

Look at the cross, look at the life of my Son.

He understands.

He knows what it is like to anticipate great trials and great pain.

He understands rejection and betrayal.

He knows misunderstandings and false accusations.

He understands what it is like to be raised by a father who is not his own.

He has felt every physical and emotional pain.

He has felt separation from Me,

And I have felt the great pain of losing a child I so dearly loved.

Let me bear this cross with you.

You have honored me as Creator and Master; right now, let me be your “Daddy.”

Climb into my lap, and I will give you rest.

Wait upon me and I will renew your strength.

Trust in Me, and I will provide all your needs.

But if you turn from Me, and blame Me, How can I reach you?

I will wait, and I will welcome you back when you are done with your fight,

But I will not fight back. I am a gentleman.

I will stand at the door and knock, but you must open the door.

Only then will I enter in; and you and I shall dine together.

I will be your God, I will provide for you, protect you, comfort you and counsel you.

I love you and My grace is sufficient for you.

My power is made perfect in weakness.

Give to me your challenges, I find that to be the greatest gift of all.

And you will know my peace.

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How to Dress for Tragedies, Trials and Temptations

You have come to the top of a mountain peek; the only way to continue on your journey is to navigate your way down the steep slope and over to the next lift. You have three choices:

  1. Just do it.
  2. Take off your skis, walk back to the last lift and risk your life trying to get back on the chair that was designed to only be exited.
  3. Stand there in fear until you find the courage to choose 1 or 2.

This is much like the feeling we get whenever we face a major transition in our lives. I felt this way as a kid each time my family moved to a new location where I  had no friends. I felt it again during the my divorce and single-motherhood as well as throughout my son’s drug addiction and the death of my trisomy 18 baby. Continue reading How to Dress for Tragedies, Trials and Temptations

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Building Confidence by Keeping Christmas Unfair

“I just have to get this for little Tommy, he will just love it! Now I need to get something more for Suzzie or he will have more than she does.”

My parents didn’t keep Christmas fair for their five children. I’m sure they were tempted to, and I’m sure there were times when our complaints about the sibling who got the most gifts made them feel bad, but instead of giving into our (and society’s) pressure they responded with a non-apologetic, practical answer. “He needed the bike. You all already have bikes. This is his big year.” As children, we may not have known it, but we were learning powerful life-lessons from this response.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will never forget my junior year of high school, when my parents made that Christmas my “big year.” I felt extremely humbled as I opened the beautiful ring they bought me. I knew we were in a very difficult season financially and I couldn’t believe they spent the money on me. The only thing I remember my brothers opening was sox! I don’t know how my siblings felt toward me that year, but I do know that if they felt it was “unfair,” they didn’t show it. Instead they Continue reading Building Confidence by Keeping Christmas Unfair

Comfort for all Seasons

Rebecca close upRebecca went to be with Jesus when she was three weeks old. It feels a bit disloyalty to imagine her growing up because in my heart she will always be a baby. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I wish I were planning a sweet 16 party for her this week, I’ve found it easier to cherish the past and embrace reality than it is to torment myself with “woulda, coulda, shouldas.”

The heartache we suffered because of our loss taught us many things, and without a doubt there is still much to learn, but in times like these–when a part of me would really like to wallow in my sorrow–I hold onto that which I have learned and received and heard and saw (Philippians 4, vs. 9) and I choose to rejoice in the Lord always (vs 4).

As a tribute to my daughter’s memory and to the God of all Comfort (2 Corinthians 1) I share the words (poem) He gave me during her quick and powerful life. May they be a comfort to you, whatever season you are facing.  We shared this poem at Rebecca’s funeral; to read it, click this link: God’s comfort to our friends & family. To learn more about Rebecca, or her chromosome disorder click the topic Trisomy 18.

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Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.

Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com

Is there an Elephant in the Room?

I was really enjoying our budding friendship when suddenly it came to a holt.

We were spending hours together waiting for our boys’ baseball practice while we pushed our little girls on the swings. Then the elephant appeared.

“Did you know this playground was named after a little girl who died? I can’t imagine losing a child,” she said.
She wasn’t prepared for my reply.
“I can; I did. Her name was Rebecca, too.”
Silence.
My new friend’s sudden need to leave the park was an obvious indication to me that she was uncomfortable talking about matters of the heart. This wasn’t the first time the knowledge of my loss had created an awkward moment in a conversation. But this time our entire relationship dropped. For the remainder of the ball season, the most she would say to me was, “Hello, I can’t stay today.”

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Most people would rather avoid emotional discussions–unless they are the one who needs to talk it out.
At that point I still needed support with my grief. And making myself vulnerable only to be shut down so abruptly reinforced my fear of vulnerability. I’m sure that fear is also what drove the baseball mom away, because I have been on the side of not knowing what to say as well.
Like when another friend was coming out of addiction rehab. I thought it was most helpful to act as if she had never gone away for help. I thought talking about it might make her feel shame, so I never acknowledged her challenge in re-entering her world. My fears only made her feel estranged from me.

We all have feelings of inadequacy when we want to fix, control, or even understand other people’s problems, but really, our  attempts are only insulting anyway, don’t you think? I think we would have less awkward moments if we would just let go of our fears and focus on each other’s needs. Women shouldn’t be afraid of emotions. After all, tears are the glue that bonds our hearts together.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

If you are facing some awkward moments and are feeling inadequate to help a friend, I want to encourage you to be brave enough to ask about the elephant in the room and let her share her heart. You don’t have to understand it or fix it and you have no right to control it. Perhaps it’s time to leave the problems in God’s hands and simply validate the challenge and offer support. When we believe in someone facing a challenge we show them two things: respect and the assurance that they are not alone.

*****

Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.

Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com

Helplessly Helpful

With so much neglect, abuse and addiction running ramped in our society, what do you do when you want to help someone you really care about but you just don’t know how to help?

imagesUndoubtedly, every one of us has faced an emotional, spiritual or physical difficulties that we can be confident that others will survive. After all, we did. But helping a friend with something that we have no understanding of can truly be a challenge. The people we love do not deserve inadequate assistance–not on their good days and certainly not when their need is exposed and vulnerable. Half-hearted counsel from someone who cannot relate to the crisis at hand is a bit like offering them a squirt gun to put out their house fire.

I’ve been on the receiving end of that kind of help during my grief. “Don’t worry, you can always have another child.” “At least you don’t have a lot of memories with your daughter.” Logic doesn’t always help. I get it, because I tried that method of helping for many years but I have leaned now that true compassion respects other people’s boundaries and that includes their emotions and their will. You and I cannot fix every problem and unfortunately, letting other people make their own choices can be a lot harder than taking control. It’s also very difficult when they are ready for help and we don’t know what to do. In that situation I am learning to follow the example of Jesus’ disciples.

Act 3:2-8 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

If you are trying to help someone with circumstances that are far out of your league of understanding, don’t try to forge up feelings of empathy or fix it with advice you’ve never had to take; instead simply direct them to the One who is able to really help.

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Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

 

 

Mourning Turned to Eternal Joy

1427832-3-the-butterfly-quoteThis weekend marks the anniversary of our daughter’s death. Rebecca was a Trisomy 18 baby who’s three weeks of life far exceeded the doctor’s expectations. If you have ever lost a child, you know there are many questions that torment you throughout the grieving process. For me, one of the hardest ones was, “would she remain a baby in Heaven or would she grow up there?” Before I could move on with my life, I needed to know if I would recognize her when I reached Eternity myself. I searched the Bible tenaciously until I finally found my answer.

When Jesus returned to His disciples after His resurrection, they did not recognize Him until He showed them His scars. It seems to me that a resurrected body is healed and whole–but it is the same body. My heart has settled on the idea that maybe Rebecca will remain a “baby” for eternity (though I am sure that she will not be held back by any physical or mental ailments). This brings me great comfort because I cannot think of anything that contends with the joy of holding a baby, and I feel as though I see a glimpse of a bigger picture.

Right after Rebecca’s death I lost my business partner to lung cancer. Janice never had children. I can’t help but wonder if God wants babies in Heaven to complete His family there and bless those who missed out here. I do not claim to understand it all, but one thing I believe with all my heart: Some things we just cannot understand because we do not have the whole picture, but we can trust the One who does. Maybe the things that break our hearts while we live here on Earth were actually designed to bring us great joy for all eternity.

God, would you help us with the things we just cannot get our head around? There is so much we don’t know, but we thank you that we can put our confidence in You and Your character. Amen.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com