Just Cate opens in the delivery room with Noelle Alix, a 29-year-old promising finance attorney in a large New York City firm, whose newborn daughter Cate is unexpectedly diagnosed with Down syndrome. On hearing the news, Noelle’s childhood friend Angela Martin is inspired by her quiet faith to write Noelle a sincere note in a baby card assuring her that Cate’s birth was purposeful. This note and this child spark a 12-year journey of renewed faith and friendship for both women—their second stage of growing up. The friends come to discover the simple things they’ve always had in their lives—family, friendship, faith, and unconditional love—matter most. It’s in leaning on and being open to these gifts that they find solace, acceptance, joy, and, ultimately, peace with the lives they have.

In a refreshing twist, Just Cate gives voice to Cate—a child with an indomitable personality that both charms and exhausts her family, her teachers, and her community. Written in alternating diary entries, each author in her own voice, Just Cate describes with humor and heart the angst and joys of raising a child with a disability, the importance of laughter, the pain of losing a parent, the emotional growth that comes with motherhood, the connectivity of faith and everyday life, and the funny and poignant early years of Cate. Readers will embrace this spirited child, whose love for her mom, her robe, her lemons—and getting her way—comes above all else.

“Somehow, for whatever reason, my baby had Down syndrome. Everything was fine when I was pregnant. My AFP results were average, no cause for alarm. And, I just turned 29. Didn’t this happen to older mothers? It was as if it wasn’t I who was experiencing this, though I knew it was. I guess this was like any unexpected event, where you’re present in the moment, but your mind isn’t totally there with you. Where you believe what happened, whatever it is, but don’t yet understand.”

“…It was my emergent faith—a faith I always had, but never stood up for as my own—that shed a new light over the question of what was supposed to be. This was an inviting door to open wider, to contemplate more deeply why this happened to Noelle, to float about in the idea that Cate’s birth wasn’t chance, but purposeful. At the same time, I found myself dropping back to the days when life wasn’t so heavy, when our friendship was as easy as picking up the phone and talking about what now seemed to be nothing of any significance.”

“A dual memoir with heart and soul, Just Cate inspired me, brought tears to my eyes, and had me laughing out loud.”
-Betsy P., Mt. Airy, MD


“I will always carry a piece of Just Cate in my soul—a true story of life, love, and overcoming what seem to be insurmountable obstacles with a sense of joy and wonder.”
-Cheryl L., Montclair, NJ


“I picked up Just Cate before bedtime and never put it down—a sleepless night spent with a refreshingly honest story filled with lots of love.”
-Andrea E., Simsbury, CT


“I hugged my girls just a little more tightly after I finished—there’s a bit of Cate to love in all our children.”
-Anne F., Worcester, MA


“A compassionate and heartwarming story, Just Cate inspired me to cherish my women friendships more deeply, love more unconditionally, have faith in the unexpected, and trust that life’s curve balls could be for our greatest good.”
-Ann G., West Hartford, CT


“The beauty of this book is at least twofold: the serendipitous but well-tended thread of faithfulness in friendship and the equally important openness to the spiritual gifts that came in the midst of unexpected events.”
~Nina W., Simsbury, CT


“The power of true friendship shines throughout Just Cate. Noelle and Angela are blessed to have each other.”
-Sue M., Raleigh, NC