Thursday, March 24, 2011


I’m sitting here on the couch at 4:30 a.m. just thinking. It’s been a very emotional week for me. I have been so reflective, contemplating my life and everything about it.
So much has happened to me in these short 34 years, and the only word that I can think of to describe my life is the word “blessed.” In so many ways, I have been blessed, and some of the biggest blessings in my life are the relationships I have. Those relationships with my husband and parents and friends have shaped me and molded me into the person I am today.
But when I think about the relationships I love the most in my life, It would have to be the ones I have with my sisters. Just thinking about my 3 sisters brings tears to my eyes. Memories pour through my mind. Memories that make me smile, laugh and cry.
It’s so funny. My sisters are so different and they have each filled a need and a void in my life that could never have been filled by anyone else. They are the greatest gift my mother and father ever gave me. A gift that I wouldn’t trade for all of the money or fame in the world.
Just the other night I stared at Darla, my sister who is 3 years younger than I am, as she sat with me on the floor in my parent’s basement. We were sitting together, just talking. I looked into her pretty blue eyes and touched her long straight golden hair. I twirled it in my fingers as she talked about her little girls.
Darla is 31 and I am 34, but I can so easily remember when she was 10 and I was 12. I couldn’t stand her because she annoyed me. I remember being so impatient as I couldn’t wait until we would move into our new house in Upper Marlboro so that I wouldn’t have to share a bedroom with her anymore. I didn’t like her tattling on me, and I didn’t want to share anything with her anymore.
I didn’t like that she had all of the baby dolls, either. I remember how she got this special Baby Alive doll for her birthday. The doll looked so real, and I was jealous. I wanted to play baby dolls, too, but only because she did. So I pretended to be a mother to Thumbelina – the doll with the cloth body and the bad hair. I wanted to be like Darla, but I didn’t want her to know that. I was jealous that she could play the piano, and I was jealous that she was always the teacher when we played school.
Last night I watched Darla’s two little girls as they played together, and they reminded me of us.
I remember not liking my sister Darla sometimes, but I also remember really loving her, too. I remember those Christmas mornings when we’d push our twin beds together and dream of what we’d get from Santa Claus. I remember playing outside and making obstacle courses in the summertime. I remember sitting at the dinner table and playing like we were kids in an orphanage when we didn’t like the food mom was serving. I loved swimming in the pool with her and playing Barbies together. I loved having singing competitions in the van when we’d go on trips.
When I look at Darla, I see strength and I see Christ’s hands. She’s taught me that people need love and that they need Jesus. She’s never cared what anyone but Jesus thinks of her, and I love that about her.
If Darla has taught me about strength, then my older sister Cherie has taught me about compassion. Cherie is 5 years older than me, and I was never ever jealous of her. Quite honestly, I was in awe of her. I kindof idolized her. She was the pretty older sister that was in high school when I was in 7th grade. She was a Senior. I remember her walking down the hallway with her friends. She had a big locker, and when she’d wave at me, I felt important. She never made me feel like the stupid little sister. I loved when she drove me around and when she’d let me wear her jewelry or clothes. She had these black sunglasses with paint splashes on them. I loved when she let me wear them.
I remember when she was homecoming queen and she wore her purple dress. It was so pretty. She wore the crown and she let me stand beside her. I remember the time she took me to the movies with her own money. We drove all around town to see “The Vanishing.” It was the dumbest movie, but I remember that she took me alone and treated me to the movie all on her own. She paid for it all!
I am sure I annoyed her as I followed in her footsteps, working at the same store she worked at when I was old enough. But she was my supervisor and she treated me fairly. She was never hateful, even though I was immature. I remember her kindness and the fact that she would take me places. She didn’t ever leave me out.
She was older than me and I can remember crying my eyes out when she left for college. I hated every minute she was gone. I was so happy when she came back home and didn’t go back the next year.
I just loved my big sister. I thought she was cool and she was everything I wanted to be. She took care of everything and to this day she still takes care of things. She is the nurturing, loving mom who is filled with love and compassion for everyone. She has taught me what dedication, loyalty and friendship means.
And then there’s my littlest sister Betsy, who is 6 years younger than me. I remember sitting on the bed with Betsy in her bedroom on Flag Day. She wanted to get saved and she asked Jesus into her heart that day. I got to be there for her. I remember many times when I would bribe Betsy into get me an iced tea or candy. I would tell her that I would tell mom that she did something bad unless Betsy would go get me what I wanted. She was easily tricked, especially if Darla joined in with me. We would use Betsy’s Barbies, and we’d leave her out of the game many times. She got the job of doing everything we wanted her to do without much reward, and she was teased mercilessly. I always felt like Betsy looked up to me. I loved taking her roller skating on Saturdays, and I remember being there for pivotal events in her life. Betsy has this knack of making me feel so important and needed. One of the greatest moments in my life happened this week when my nephew was born into this world. Betsy asked me to stay in the delivery room. I was so honored to be asked to witness the birth of her son. The fact that she wanted me with her made me feel so important and needed. I felt so honored and trusted to be there to see my nephew enter this world. I can’t have children and I always felt cheated of the ability to experience the miracle of child birth. But It was just so special to be asked to witness the birth of my precious nephew. I got to be there during the entire delivery. I got to see the miracle of birth, and I wasn’t even expecting it. Betsy has that way about her. She’s always surprising me and she’s so thoughtful to think of me. I remember when she found out that she was pregnant. She was worried to tell me that she was pregnant because she knew that I can’t have kids although I really want them. She was so concerned as to how I would take the news that she would be a mom. She cried, and I cried, for happiness, of course. And I cried when I saw my nephew enter this world. What a gift Betsy gave me! A chance to see this little life come into the world.
My sisters have each been so special to me. Their presence in my life has shaped me and made me into a better person. I love them and couldn’t imagine walking through this life without them.
They each play this certain roll in my life. They fill a cavity, a part of me that wouldn’t be whole without them.
I talk to them each several times a week, and even though we live far away, they are still near to my heart.
They each have children, and I especially pray for Darla’s girls to have the kind of sister relationship that I have with my sisters. It’s a bond that will never be severed. It’s a bond that I promise to always cherish and one I’ll never take for granted.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby Benjamin

On March 21st, I got to experience one of the most amazing moments in my life.
I got to see my nephew Benjamin Ryan Herold be born into this world.
It’s something I wasn’t expecting to get to do. Not just now, but ever in my lifetime. Because of my own health situation, I never thought I would get the chance to experience a child being born. It was one of the things that I thought this disease had taken from me.
But I was wrong.
My sister asked if I would stay in the delivery room with her. Of course I wanted to, but to hear her say she wanted me to was special in and of itself. Her husband wanted me to stay too.
I am used to being the big sister, but there she was, my little sissy getting ready to have a baby. She was so strong and while she was in a great deal of pain, she was beautiful and ready to go through all of the agony, just to deliver this perfect bundle of joy. I watched her as she struggled to deliver him. I got to be there to hold her hand and to help her count her breathing. It was an amazing event – being there through the pain, and helping her as she needed me.
It was so amazing, getting to watch this little life come into the world. When he entered this world, I began to cry.
He was so big and beautiful – all 9.7 pounds of him. All I could think of was all of the love that he was coming into. He is loved by so many already. I just thought of how many people are going to love him and adore him for the rest of his life. He screamed and I got to see him as the doctor and Robert cut the umbilical chord. It was neat to hear his little voice as he cried.
I was so proud of my sister for bringing this little life into the world. I looked at my sister’s face, her tired agony was over. She never looked so beautiful. Her face wore her pain, and her eyes drooped in sheer exhaustion. I was so proud of her.
Then I began to think about this little life.
He is born into this world now. He has so many roads he could travel. He will have so many opportunities in life. He is so perfect and precious and so untouched by this cold world.
I don’t have much to offer my nephew, other than all of the love in the world. So I have decided to pray for him, every day of his life. I have written this little prayer and letter to him:
To my dear Nephew Benjamin:
I watched you come into this world tonight, with all of your beautiful black hair and bright eyes. You screamed as we cried with happiness that you were finally here. You are the picture of beauty and what happens when two people love one another so much.
Benjamin, I love you. I love you so much that I’m going to tell you how much. I love you so much that I would do anything in this world for you. I would give my life for yours. Just like Jesus gave his life to save yours. That’s how much I love you. That’s how much Jesus loves you. Oh Benjamin, you are coming into a world that at sometimes will be cruel, but my prayer to you is that you will always look to your Savior Jesus Christ for all of the answers in life. He will guide you, baby Benjamin. He will never leave you or lead you down the wrong path.
I promise to be there for you Benjamin, when you get tired or when you struggle, I will promise to be there to pick you up and give you what you need, but most of all point you to the one who can give you everything you need in every way. Jesus Christ died for you to save you, and all you need is His eternal life to go to Heaven. He will provide you with eternal life and then everything else that you need to follow him successfully.
Baby Benjamin, as you grow older, I want to be someone who you can call on to love you, to take care of you and to help you throughout the dark and lonely times, but also through the good and beautiful times too.
As long as I am around, I will do everything to protect you from anyone who tries to hurt you. I will keep you close to the Lord in prayer and I will sacrifice to give you anything you need if it’s in my power to give it to you.
I want you to have a relationship with me, but also with the Lord Jesus Christ. I promise to steer you always toward a strong relationship with Him. He is your Savior, and the one who will be there when I can’t be. He will be your everything. I pray you will fully know Him at an early age, and I pray you will love Him and serve Him all of the days of your life. I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens.
I love you, as I love all of my nieces and nephews. I pray this over your life. I pray that you are strong mentally, physically, and spiritually and that you will grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ every day that you live.
I love you,
Love Aunt Ami

Saturday, March 19, 2011

From Parents to Friends

Well, I am here in Maryland. My husband and I were here together for a week, but he had to go back home so he could go back to work! I'm staying for a few weeks to see a few new doctors and to try to get my stomach problems figured out. Anyway, while Kevin was here, we had so much fun. The only thing he didn't get go see was the birth of our new nephew Benjamin, who is due to be born on Monday. We had hoped he'd be early, but he'll be ready in his time! I'm praying for a safe delivery!
It's so funny. I'm sitting here with my parents. If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would be sitting in the family room, drinking coffee and talking and sharing things willingly with my parents, I would have called you crazy. I never knew that I could and would be best friends with my parents. It's funny how things change. Back when I was a teenager, there was this reverential fear of them, yet they were always approachable. Now, they are the ones I come to for help, for advice and for love. I just never ever thought that I could be their friends. But that's what we are. Friends. We talk about everything and while they are opinionated, they listen and share things about themselves I never knew. I can appreciate behind the scenes stories. Things were tough for them financially when we were growing up, but they never let us know that. They can share those things now and I appreciate them so much.
It's funny how life is, how it changes and grows. I love the way that God always gives you just what you need when you need it. I'm glad for the relationship that I have with my parents. As teenagers and young adults, you take for granted the things they do and you think the things they say are relevant, but that they don't always get the picture.
But they do. My parents always advised me in the Lord, but they let me make my own choices. Now I run to them for their advice. Kevin's family is good like that too. They listen and give advice that's so Godly. I am so fortunate to two sets of parents that give me everything I need, but most of all they give me friendship. For that I am most grateful!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Babbling on and on...

I am looking at this upcoming week, and I am already kind of nervous about it. I need to take it easy and relax. I need to give it to God already because He already knows what's going to happen anyway.
I'm going "home" to Maryland on Friday with my husband! I am So SO excited about that. We are going home because it's his spring break, but also because my littlest sister Betsy is having her first son, Benjamin Ryan Herold. That's why we are going. We really hope he makes his arrival early so that we can spend the week that Kevin has with the baby. I will be staying for longer than a week, as I am planning on seeing a specialist at John's Hopkins in April for my stomach.
Getting ready for the trip is stressful, though. It takes forever for me to pack all of my medicines and medical supplies and stuff. Plus the laundry. Uggh...I dread the laundry.
But I am so thrilled to see my family, especially going home with Kevin. I have been blessed with two families. My family is so special, and I have a great relationship with my husband family too. I feel so blessed to have so much love in my life.
I know I am rambling on, but sometimes I can't contain my excitement when I think about my life. Sure I have physical problems that I can't control and don't like, but when I think about my life, I know that I am not defined by my illness. I want Jesus Christ to define me. That's just how I feel!
I'm going to go to bed. I just wanted to babble tonight before I went to bed!