Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#teamhaiti2015 Update

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
Ephesians 4: 11-13

Greetings friends and family!!

Since the cell reception is not so hot where the team is in Haiti, I've been getting about 1 text a day ... I can actually picture Pete walking around in circles on a roof somewhere trying to find a signal.  :)  Here is the latest text as he sent it.  I'll add some interpretation at the end. 

"Amazing day, kenni helping others learn Creole tk big help too - 11 new salvations tonight!  Const tues wed Vbs thurs calico fri - luv u!"

They'll be doing contruction projects Tuesday (today - this text was from last night) and Wednesday.
VBS will be Thursday with the school kids ... they are on break this week so no regular school.
They'll be going to Calico beach on Friday to relax and debrief.  We've been there before, very beautiful and a popular break spot for foreigners.  :)

Thank you for your prayers for the team and the families here waiting for them to return.  I have had such a wonderful time with my 2 kids here, we hardly ever have such undivided time together.  We've been singing, praying for the team and just being loud and silly together.  I spent a couple days with my sister, but now I'm home again.  

I've been reflecting quite a bit on the joy of serving ... there is a tangible joy in serving others ... a reciprocity that cannot be found in anything else.  We have something to offer the people of New Caanan, but they very much have something to offer us as well.  Our family's prayer continues to be that each one of you gets to experience this mystery with your children.  We have been blessed beyond measure by the joy of serving and it has marked our lives forever.  

Until the whole world knows His name ...
and with so very much love and thanks for all of you.

Amy (for Pete) 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


"Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."  taken from The Westminster Catechism


The answer is yes.  I pray for healing.  And Pete prays for healing.  And our kids pray for healing for me.

Truth be told, though, I have a bigger prayer. We have a bigger prayer.

A prayer that God placed inside of me as a young girl.
A prayer that has been at the center of my being ever since.

That my life would make much of Him.  Of Jesus.  And His work in me.
Because this life is not about me.  Or my health.  Or my family.

This life is about Him.  It's about Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross.  About Jesus coming to this world to make a way for us to spend forever with Him.

And so, yes.  I do pray for healing.  But that is not my central prayer.  That is not the prayer that leads me to my knees, begging God for His work.  That prayer remains, "God, my life is in your hands.  Do with me what will make the most of You.  What will show the world around me the most about You.  What will bring the most glory to Your Name.  Make my life less about me and more about You."

Perhaps this will come through healing.

Perhaps it won't.

But, I gave my heart to the God of this universe when I was a young girl.  He loves me.  He wants what is very best for me. And He is in control of both this universe and me.  And there I will rest.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How are you doing?

How am I doing?

That is a question I am asked quite a bit these days.  And, most of the time I'm not exactly sure how to answer that question.

Because, I think that most people are asking me with the intention of finding out how I feel physically.  And, while I do have some physical challenges I've never encountered before, the physical is not what tends to push me over the edge into, "Actually I'm not doing so great today."

And, with that comes the second part of that question for me ... that being, "Do you really want to know?"  I don't mean to be sarcastic (okay ... maybe I do sometimes), but do you really want to know?

How often do we ask that question of people everyday?  "How are you doing?"  It's a common greeting, offered flippantly the majority of the time.

And when we say it, do we really want to know how the person is doing?  Are we ready for the answer and are we expecting that person to be honest?

Because I'd venture to guess that the majority of the time the person I ask really isn't completely fine.  What are the chances really?

For instance, I was asked this question recently:  "Amy, how are you doing?"

And, I'm not sure what snapped inside of me this particular day at this particular time, but I opened my mouth and out came honesty:

"Actually I'm tired.  Really, really tired.  Tired physically, tired emotionally.  Tired of tripping when I used to be able to just walk like a normal person.  Tired of asking for help every time I need a jar opened.  Tired of trying to concentrate when I'm tired so my speech doesn't sound slurred.  Tired of sticking myself with a needle everyday.  I'm tired of the welts that are left behind, and I've only been doing it for 2 weeks.   And overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed by my diagnosis and my medication.  Overwhelmed by my job.  Overwhelmed by my kids.  Overwhelmed by the thoughts in my head about how much our life and goals have had to change these past few months.  And grieving.  Grieving what has happened and grieving what will never happen now that this is a part of our story." 

And then I breathed.

And received a *blank stare* in response.

Okay, truth me told, what I said at that moment was not so very eloquent as this.  It was probably more of a blubbering report of tiredness, frustration and insanity ...

But, what it did do was scare that person who asked me right off.  He walked away after only mumbling a couple words of disbelief.  Because all he expected to hear was that I was "fine."

I've been thinking about this encounter for a while now.  At first I was hurt and angry at him.  Because this is someone who should have been genuinely interested in my response.  Or, at least I thought/assumed he should have been.  Then I was angry at myself ... for opening myself and getting hurt.

Then I really began to think about it.  About how many times I've asked the same question:  "How are you?" Did I really mean to find an answer?  Have I always been expecting to hear honesty?  And, have I been prepared to sit and listen when all is not fine?

And, the honest answer, of course, is no.  Of course not.

So, the honest answer to that question for me it this.  Sometimes I'm fine, but sometimes I'm not.

But all the time I am more aware of myself and the world around me than I ever have been in my life.

And, for that, I'm pretty sure I'm grateful.  Most of the time.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Time of Silence

I was diagnosed with MS 67 days ago.
The past 67 days have been the most full of any 67 days of my life to this point.
I have cried, I have been angry, I have been confused, I have questioned everything ... but mostly I have been quiet.  Sometimes the quiet has been a push everyone away and pout kind of quiet ... but sometimes the quiet has been a place of solace, of reflection and of healing.
I am not a still person.
But my world was halted and I was forced to be still.
And God is continuing to force me to really consider what drives me.
What is it inside of me that really makes me tick ... what really gives me satisfaction and contentment?
Is it Him?
Or is it my ability to accomplish bigger and bigger things?
Until this time in my life I have never let anything hold me back ... I have run marathons and ultramarathons ... I have brought my children to the other side of the world, I have finished nursing school in a year with 4 kids,  I have worked 9 overnight 12 hour shifts in a row at the hospital, I have stayed up late, gotten up early and accomplished what so many told me was impossible.
But now I have been forced to sit.  And think.  And really analyze what is at the base of what I call myself.
And I wasn't always happy with what I found.
Because what I found when all that was stripped away was that I didn't really know what to do when there was nothing to "do."
And I was not sure if I could rely on the truth in Psalm 23 like I thought I could.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Is the Lord My Shepherd really all I need?  With him do I really lack nothing?  
Sigh.  I have spent a lot of time in the quiet thinking about this very thing over the past 67 days.
And I have learned to begin to like the quiet.  And the questions that do not always have answers.  
And I have only yet begun to hand back to Him the dreams I had for my life that really should have been His all along.  The entire process has been terrifying ... yet at the same time it has been exactly what Psalm 23 promised it would be ... comforting.  And refreshing.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I have Multiple Sclerosis.

Hmm.  Hardly seems any more or less real when I type it out like that.

I have 4 kids.  I'm a nurse.  I like to run.  I have MS.

Again.  Seems hardly more or less real in print.

Maybe I should apologize for telling my news like this.  Maybe not.  I'm not really sure.  How do you tell the world you had a life-changing diagnosis?  Quite frankly I am weary of talking to people about it ... telling my story over and over and over again.  Letting people hug me while they cry and trying to cry myself.

Is it okay that I have not really cried much myself?  Did all this really happen?

Waking up with double vision a couple weeks ago.  Just dealing with it for a few days.  Going to my eye doctor and then for a CT scan.  Ending up in the Emergency Dept halfway through a shift at work.  Being admitted to the neurology floor at Yale.  2 MRI's and a lumbar puncture later and the words that still ring hollow ...

We believe you have Multiple Sclerosis.

Excuse me?  What did you just say?

Now 8 days later and it does not even seem any more real.  I finished the 5 days of IV steroids it took to reduce the swelling in my brain and clear up the double vision.  I went to my follow up appt at the Yale MS Clinic.  I'm waiting for some additional tests to come back in order to determine which medications I'll have to take for the rest of my life.

For the rest of my life.

I have not taken an antibiotic in ten years and I am now going to take major medication for the rest of my life.  My vision goes double again when I read through the lists of possible side effects.

Numb.  Yep.  That's where I am now.  Numb.

And grateful.
For my God who remains Faithful and True.
My husband who is my best friend and confidant.
My kids who pretty much thought it was awesome they got to help give me IV meds at home.
And my friends who have surrounded me with support and prayer.
Keep praying for us.  Your prayers are holding us up.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reflections on a year gone by ...

This has been a difficult but good year for all of us.  I've been working full time as a nurse, which I love, but which also drains the life out of me at times.  Pete has been going to school full time, which he loves, but which also drains the life out of him at times.  Kenni has a will and drive beyond her years, but there has been a consistent struggle as she learns to use that within the boundaries of our home and the fact that she really is only ten.  Sasha is still our lover, but with that temperament comes emotions that are ever on the edge, happy and sad.  Ashebir grew inches both in stature and in character, but he still struggles with change and trust. And Tariku lives every minute to the fullest, which has led to both extreme fun and also stitches.

We have intentionally hid ourselves away from the world this year. We were in survivor mode really, just trying to make it to the next week and stay together as a family.

There were tears shed by all.  And there were a lot of really difficult conversations.  But it was good.  It was really good for us.  Like anything, I'm not sure I would go back and willfully choose the difficult, but now I am starting to see the purpose and growth through it all.

My beloved and patient husband has walked with me through my struggle this year and he has pushed me further than I ever thought I would go.  I have cried, I have been angry, but he knew I needed to grow.  Our conversations have been very difficult for me, I not one for confrontation and vulnerability.  But the ever growing result has been a deeper intimacy and depth to our relationship and friendship than we have experienced in very long time.

And now it is summer.
And we are starting to pull out of our survivor mode and work on shifting into thriving mode.

We went a little crazy this spring and bought a pop-up camper.  It's old and ghetto, and has proven to be the source of enormous amounts of crazy fun this year already.  We camped overnight in the backyard for Ashebir's 6th birthday, and then we took it to the CT shore for a few days.  We are headed back out tomorrow night for another 4 nights of fun at a state park.  We even figured out that it is possible to completely tear it down in the absolute pouring rain.  Again, would not have been our first choice, but it will now make for a forever memory.

Our commitment this summer is to capturing the most of it together.  We will be outside a lot, we will be playing a lot of games together outside a lot.  And we will continue to keep our electronic entertainment at a minimum.  It has its place, but we don't want it to be a major player in our summer fun.

And we will dream together as a family.  Dream about the future.  Dream about where God may lead us next year as Pete finishes his master's degree.  And dream about what God would have us do now, in this moment, to change our world for Him.

The journey is fun, but the journey is hard.
And I have learned that I have so very far to go.
I am more grateful everyday that I serve a God who is forever faithful and forever unchanging.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, September 2, 2011

Trying to process home

Today I went to the farmer’s market in my city. It’s generally one of my favorite places to go.

It’s hard to explain exactly what happens when we come home from faraway places like Haiti. It’s not like I make conscious decisions toward dysfunction. It’s more like I’m standing somewhere normally familiar and okay and my brain just short circuits.

And then I am completely overtaken by the urge to run away.

There was food everywhere … beautiful, yummy, fresh fruits and vegetables. And I was using WIC vouchers to get my produce, which should be a good thing, right?

Well, it is a good thing.

It’s just really hard to process when I was only a week ago triaging patients in an outdoor clinic who are unable to feed their children enough for normal growth and development, never mind fresh fruits and vegetables.

So, because I am a US citizen in a certain income bracket the State of CT will help me buy produce for my children.

But, there are mommies in Haiti who are living in a world of poverty I cannot even imagine who have no access to adequate food for their babies. And no government who cares to intervene.

And this comes down to where we were born.

Where I was born was not a choice I made or a circumstance for which I can take pride.

I am here. And they are there.

And now I can sit and eat my salad.

Only it just makes me nauseous.

Coming home is really hard.