And lives that will never be the same.
Journey with four families as their lives are about to change forever.
In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman
Ruth Anne has been dreaming about motherhood her entire life. Now she is doubly excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.
A Son for Always by Amy Clipston
Carolyn and Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child together. Carolyn was just a teenager when she had her son, Benjamin, and she still feels solely responsible to secure his future. As Joshua watches Carolyn struggle to accept his support, he knows he has to find some way to convince her that she—and Ben—will always be taken care of.
A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller
Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight—and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.
An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman
At 42, Etta discovers she’s pregnant again. After a frightening labor, Etta births a baby girl. That joyful moment is followed by months of worry. Will their estranged son, David, return home? Can Mose save the farm or will they be forced to move? Etta must hold tightly to the promise that God will watch over each of her children—and that He does have a plan for their future.
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About the Author
Beth Wiseman is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Daughters of the Promise, Land of Canaan, and Amish Secrets series, as well as novellas that have been included in many bestselling collections such as An Amish Year and An Amish Garden. Visit her online at BethWiseman.com; Facebook: AuthorBethWiseman; Twitter: @BethWiseman; Instagram: @bethwisemanauthor.
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, and Amish Homestead series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.
With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kfstoryteller; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.
Read an Excerpt
An Amish Cradle
By Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman
All rights reserved.
Ruth Anne held off pushing when Mary Elizabeth said to, even though she was sure the baby was going to come out anyway. Levi stood at the end of their bed, white as the sheet that covered Ruth Anne. He apparently had forgotten everything he was supposed to do during the birthing process. Ruth Anne had asked for her mother to come in four hours ago, and she'd only just arrived. And she'd asked for pain medication. Repeatedly. As she focused on a stuffed elephant on her bedroom dresser, she tried to recall the day she and Levi had gone to the fair, but the pain wouldn't allow her to shift her thinking. She'd packed a small red suitcase, which now sat in the corner, in case of an emergency and they needed to rush to the hospital, but Mary Elizabeth had assured her that everything was going well.
"Not quite yet," Mary Elizabeth said as she positioned herself on the stool at the end of Ruth Anne's bed. She pulled the sheets to the side and checked Ruth Anne again. "Levi, I see the head. Look."
Ruth Anne hadn't cried out and wailed the way Bethany had, but this was indeed the worst pain she'd ever felt in her life. Even worse than when she broke her leg in three places when she was seven. But when she saw her husband move in closer and a smile light up his face, she knew that Joshua was almost here.
"Wow," her husband whispered before he looked up at Ruth Anne. "I can see the head. I can see the head."
"Oh, blessed be the Lord," Ruth Anne's mother said as she reached for her daughter's hand.
"It's time, Ruth Anne. You can push." Mary Elizabeth edged Levi to the side as Ruth Anne held tightly to her mother's hand.
Ruth Anne pushed with all her might, knowing she sounded like Bethany and not caring. She followed Mary Elizabeth's instructions and kept pushing and pushing and pushing—and crying. The pain, the anticipation, the miracle of birth ... Her emotions were all over the place. But when she heard a tiny cry and felt the pressure ease from her body, she drew in a deep breath and wept. Her mother walked to the end of the bed, her eyes tearing up.
"It's a boy," Mamm said as she brought both hands to her chest.
Thank You, God. She closed her eyes and thanked Him again. After a couple more deep breaths, she looked up just in time to see her mother and Mary Elizabeth exchange looks, both leaning closer to the baby.
"What? What's wrong? What is it?" She tried to lift herself, but couldn't. "Levi!" she screamed. "What's wrong?"
* * *
Levi was sure he'd never seen a more precious sight in his life. He quickly counted his son's fingers and toes. Ten. And he was breathing. And beautiful. He looked at Mary Elizabeth, waiting for confirmation that everything was okay since his wife was acting concerned all of a sudden.
"Ya, dear. Ya. Everything is fine." Mary Elizabeth smiled as she and Ruth Anne's mother cleaned the baby. Once they were done, both women touched Joshua's feet, and as Levi leaned closer, he saw why they were studying his son in such a way.
"His big toes are a long way from the other ones." It was almost like an extra toe could fit there. "Will he be able to walk okay?"
Mary Elizabeth nodded. "Everything is fine." She swaddled Joshua and handed him to Levi. He couldn't take his eyes off his son. He'd always heard that the love a person has for a child isn't like any other kind of love, but experiencing the emotion had caught him off guard. He hated to cry, but a tear slipped down his cheek just the same.
"Let me see. Let me see." Ruth Anne had both arms stretched toward him.
Levi didn't want to turn his son loose, but Ruth Anne was anxious. He handed her their baby boy, then put a hand on his wife's arm. He wished his mother were here. Levi's parents and siblings lived in Hershey, too far to travel by buggy, so he didn't get to see his family as often as he would like. Had it not been for a mutual friend's wedding in Paradise, Levi might not have ever met Ruth Anne. His mother had planned to hire a driver so she could be here, but a feverish cold had kept her away today.
"You did gut, Ruthie. You did so gut. Isn't he the most beautiful person you've ever seen?"
Ruth Anne met eyes with her son, each studying the other. There was no doubt that it was love at first sight for her too. "His eyes are so blue. Will they stay that color?" She glanced toward the end of the bed, but both the midwife and Ruth Anne's mother were talking in low voices in the corner of the room. After a few seconds, Mary Elizabeth walked back to the bed.
"He is a beautiful baby." She shrugged, smiling. "And who knows if his eyes will stay so blue. Some do and some don't."
Both Levi and Ruth Anne had brown eyes, so Levi figured the likelihood of Joshua's eyes staying blue were slim. And that was fine by him. Joshua was perfect in every way. Except maybe his toes, but that was certainly something they could live with.
"Mary Elizabeth said we need to cart little Joshua to the pediatrician. Maybe tomorrow if you feel up to it." Carolyn smiled, but Ruth Anne's mother had never been good at hiding her emotions, and Levi could tell the smile was forced.
"What's wrong?" Ruth Anne's eyes grew round, and Levi could feel his pulse quickening.
"Everything is fine," Mary Elizabeth said again. "Remember, we talked about this, that the baby would need to be thoroughly checked out by a doctor."
"But you said we could wait a few days as long as everything looked okay." Ruth Anne peeled back the swaddling and began inspecting their son, eventually latching onto one of his tiny feet. "Are you worried about his feet?" She glanced at Levi before she looked at Mary Elizabeth. "Because no one will see his little toes most of the time anyway." She smiled.
Levi helped her bundle Joshua back up. Their son had closed his eyes, but Levi could see him breathing.
"So beautiful." Levi's mother-in-law folded her hands in front of her as she stared at Ruth Anne and Joshua. But Levi saw her blink back tears before she asked, "Shall I go get the others?"
Mary Elizabeth finished cleaning up Ruth Anne and draped fresh covers on her. "Are you ready to show the world your precious son?"
Ruth Anne and Levi both nodded. Levi was anxious for their family to see their boy. There were probably twenty people in the living room waiting to visit.
Levi gazed upon his son with so much love in his heart that it almost hurt. When he finally pulled his eyes from the baby, he saw that Ruth Anne's mother and Mary Elizabeth were back in the corner again. Despite the fact that everyone kept saying everything was fine, in the pit of his stomach, Levi knew it wasn't.CHAPTER 2
Two days after Joshua's birth, Ruth Anne was sore, tired, and disappointed that Joshua hadn't latched onto her breast, so she'd been pumping her milk and feeding him with a bottle. Mary Elizabeth had set the appointment with the pediatrician in Lancaster for today. What made the niggling worry bearable was the love that was growing by the minute for little Joshua.
Watching Levi interact with Joshua was deepening her love for her husband in a way she didn't know was possible. And he wasn't only attentive with Joshua, but also with her. She didn't remember her father ever being so involved in their lives. Just five years ago they'd gotten a surprise when Katie came along. Ruth Anne tended to her mother while her father headed back to the fields within an hour of Katie's delivery.
"Do you think everything is okay?" Ruth Anne twirled the string on her kapp as Levi held their sleeping infant. "Dr. Prescott said they were doing some blood tests. Is that normal?"
"I'm sure Bethany's baby had all that stuff done too. It's routine." Levi continued to gently rock Joshua, not taking his eyes off of him, while they waited in Dr. Prescott's office. Ruth Anne looked at the clock on the wall. They'd been waiting for almost thirty minutes. She jumped a little when the door opened.
Dr. Prescott was young. The woman must have had to go through lots of schooling to be a doctor, but Ruth Anne didn't think she looked old enough for that.
"Hey, you guys," she said as she walked around her desk and sat down. She even talks like a young person. Ruth Anne scanned the doctor's desk. On the desk sat a wedding picture of Dr. Prescott and her husband, lots of file folders, and a stack of books on the doctor's left. "Sorry it took so long." She opened a folder. Smiling, she said, "What a beautiful boy Joshua is. Isn't he just amazing?"
"Ya. He is." Ruth Anne glanced at her baby in his father's arms, then back at the doctor. "Is he of gut health?" The doctor had examined Joshua earlier for what seemed like a long time. Then they'd been asked to wait in her office until she finished with another patient.
Dr. Prescott opened her mouth to speak, but pressed her lips together when the door opened and an older man walked in. He was slightly hunched over, with gray hair and gold-rimmed glasses, and wearing a white coat.
Dr. Prescott nodded toward the man. "Ruth Anne and Levi, this is Dr. Calhoun. I've invited him to join us."
When the doctor offered his hand, Ruth Anne shook it. The older man gave Levi time to shift Joshua into the nook of his left arm, and they shook hands as well.
"Listen, guys." Dr. Prescott sat taller and folded her hands on her desk. "I've brought Dr. Calhoun in so that he can talk to you about a condition we believe your son has."
Ruth Anne swallowed back a lump in her throat, but quickly thought about the power of prayer. She'd prayed away problems, ailments, worries, and the like her entire life. She held her breath. Please, God. Don't let it be bad. Please, God. Please, God. Please. Don't let anything be wrong with our baby. Ruth Anne looked at her husband, sure he wasn't breathing either, but a glance at Joshua let her know that even if they weren't, their son was breathing just fine.
"Have either of you heard of Down's syndrome?" Dr. Calhoun took a step farther into the room, but he remained standing despite the fact that there was another chair against the wall. Ruth Anne shook her head, then looked at Levi. Her husband blinked back tears.
"Don't tell me our Joshua has Down's syndrome," he said as he shook his head. "He doesn't. I know he doesn't. I've seen kinner with Down's syndrome. Their faces look different. Our Joshua looks just fine." He lifted the baby a little bit. "Look at him. He looks like a normal baby."
Ruth Anne felt light-headed. She'd never heard of this Down's disease, but it was scaring her the way Joshua was reacting. "Can you tell us what this is? This disease?"
"It's not really a disease. It's a syndrome, and I know this is a lot to handle for anyone, to get word of this about your child. Especially since you are both young and first-time parents." Dr. Calhoun pulled the chair closer to Ruth Anne. Maybe he sensed that she might keel over. He sat down, put his hands on his knees, and focused on Ruth Anne since Levi was scowling and wouldn't even look at him.
"How sick is he?" Ruth Anne wished her mother were here holding her hand. Mamm had offered to come, but Ruth Anne was trying to be a grown-up, so she'd declined. She'd only been married to Levi for a year, and while he'd been very nurturing throughout her pregnancy, right now he was trembling and just staring at Joshua. But they were both nineteen. Mature adults.
Levi glared at the doctor. "He doesn't have it. My third cousin had Down's syndrome and this isn't it." He looked at his son again.
"Doesn't have what? I don't understand what this is. Will he be all right?" Ruth Anne's voice was cracking, and the woozy feeling in her head was getting worse. "Is there medicine for it?"
Dr. Prescott cleared her throat. "Ruth Anne, like Dr. Calhoun said, it isn't really a disease. When a person has a full or partial extra copy of a certain chromosome, chromosome 21, it can genetically alter development, and we call this Down's syndrome." She paused, but Ruth Anne still didn't have a clue what she was talking about or what was wrong with her baby. "Your midwife noticed the gap between Joshua's big toes and second toes. This is a clue that a child could have this syndrome."
"So, do we fix his feet? I don't think it looks bad, but if it will help him to walk or—"
"It's not just his feet, Ruthie!" Levi's face was red, his bottom lip trembling. "It's ... it's ..." He finally lowered his head after his eyes teared up. "Explain it to her."
Ruth Anne started to cry. "I'm scared. What does this mean?"
"Honey, I know you're upset," Dr. Prescott said. "I brought in Dr. Calhoun because his office is in this building, and I wanted to be sure before I told you. This condition has all kinds of physical distinctions, and some won't become apparent until little Joshua gets a bit older. But he does already have some of the common traits." She nodded toward their baby. "Do you see how his eyes have an upward and outward slant?"
Ruth Anne swiped at her eyes, then leaned closer to her son. "My aunt has eyes kind of like that." She shrugged. "We can live with that."
Dr. Prescott turned to a computer that was on the desk in front of her and began to type. After a few moments, she turned the screen so that Ruth Anne and Levi could see it along with her. "Here are some varying degrees of Down's syndrome. See how the mouth is small and the lips are thin in this picture?" She pointed to another one. "The head is a bit smaller than average sometimes, and the ears are lower set. The arms and legs are—"
Ruth Anne sobbed, waiting for Levi to offer comfort, but he just sat staring at Joshua. Then he started to cry also. She touched his arm. "But we will love him no matter what." She looked at Dr. Prescott and spoke in a shaky voice. "We already love him more than life. He is perfect."
Dr. Prescott reached over and put her hand on Ruth Anne's. "Of course you love him. And I have always believed that God chooses special people to raise special children. It isn't what any parent expects, but every child is a blessing."
Ruth Anne couldn't catch her breath. "What ... what ... do we ..." She raised her shoulders and dropped them slowly.
Dr. Calhoun handed her a box of Kleenex. "We need to run a series of tests. Babies with Down's syndrome are at high risk for other medical conditions, and we need to rule those out." He handed Ruth Anne a card. "Dr. Prescott said her initial exam of Joshua didn't indicate anything that is urgent, and he is breathing well on his own. But I'd like to see him next week. You can call the number on the card. Ask for Kayla. She'll be expecting your call and will make sure to fit you in."
"I love him. I don't care if he looks a little different." Ruth Anne scanned the faces on the computer screen, and most of them were cute in their own way. "Look how adorable some of those children are. And we are simple people. Plain people. Our looks don't rule our lives like—" She stopped herself before saying, "Like the Englisch."
"Awe, sweetie. Of course you will love him no matter what. He is precious." Dr. Prescott closed her computer and pushed it aside. "And I know you said you felt badly because you couldn't get Joshua to latch on. That's very common with Down's babies. So don't feel guilty about it, okay?"
Ruth Anne wished she could bring Joshua back to Dr. Prescott instead of the older man. Her mind was awhirl with thoughts, questions, and fears. She wasn't sure what to ask, so she just nodded.
Levi had stopped crying, but he wouldn't look at anyone. After a few moments, he stood up and looked back and forth between the two doctors. They all waited for him to say something. Looking out the window, Ruth Anne could see dark clouds rolling in and that it had begun to rain. She was glad her parents had hired a driver since Lancaster was a bit too far to go by buggy. Besides, she couldn't have managed all the jostling of a buggy ride just yet, and August in Lancaster County was still too warm to be carting around a newborn.
On shaky legs, Ruth Anne stood up. As best she could, she thanked the doctors, then extended her arms so that Levi could hand her Joshua. She waited as her husband leaned down and kissed Joshua gently on the forehead. Then he handed their son to her and walked out of the room.
"He just needs time to process this information," Dr. Calhoun said as thunder boomed in the background.
Dr. Prescott opened the drawer of her desk, then handed Ruth Anne another card. "This is a local support group. After Dr. Calhoun finishes testing and things settle down, you might want to call that number. Everyone in the group is raising at least one child with Down's syndrome."
Ruth Anne swallowed hard as she pulled Joshua closer to her. After a few moments, she eased him into the baby carrier, fearful of dropping him. Her legs were shaking, her lip trembling. "I have to go find Levi," she said as she leaned down to grab the carrier.
"I'm going that way. Let me carry that for you. I doubt you need to be lifting anything so soon." Dr. Calhoun lifted the carrier, and together they left the office and headed toward the exit. Ruth Anne still thought she might pass out. But she didn't have that luxury. She had a baby to care for. In the distance, she saw Levi standing underneath the awning, staring out into the darkness of the storm, and she tried to picture a future that neither of them saw coming.
Excerpted from An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman. Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsIn His Father's Arms by Beth Wiseman, 1,
A Son for Always by Amy Clipston, 87,
A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller, 181,
An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman, 283,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very good book. I really enjoyed it. All the stories have very good morals. Good read. :) ?