Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hope


Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my might rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:12


I have been experiencing something beautiful in the last week; hope! And I tell you, my hope has not been a result of a new administration or a bail out plan. In fact, those two things have actually been a bit discouraging for me. On the contrary, my hope has been totally unexcpected and not of this world.

In this adoption, we are faced with a good bit of risk. The risks includ the following (and these are just the things I can think of off the top of my head today): failing court one or more times, postponing traveling to pick up G, plane flights over the ocean, staying in a 3rd World country, being so close to very unstable countries, G being very sick, G's mother changing her mind, G failing to bond with me, G having behavior, social, learning problems, G acting out things that have happened to him in the orphanage, we get sick in Ethiopia, our bio kids have difficulty adjusting, tax laws change and we don't get expenses covered, timing doesn't work out with loved ones asked to watch our kids....if I sat here long enough, I could probably come up with more things that have caused me moments of stress and anxiety over the last few months.

But, I simply refuse the stay in that place of worry. I have been living the words of 2 Corinthians 10:3 - 5 that say, "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Let me break it down - the world is waging a war right now, especially against Christians. I won't even begin to discuss the obvious ways (morality, greed, lust, etc.), but will be specific about our case right now. The world says this is not a good time to be spending thousands of dollars on an international adoption! The economy is collapsing, we are on the brink of a depression. We should not be spending our savings account away - especially not now. Then the world (or every child psychologist out there who has written a book about adoption) says this is going to be the toughest time of your life, your child will have so many issues he brings into your family, you just can't possibly prepare or come out the same. There are more books written by the world that say an interacial adoption will be detremental to G - he should be with a family that shares his color. I read horror stories, hear of endless corruption in the adoption system, attend hours of classes that prepare me for the worst possible experience. The world is sending one message - while God is sending me a totally different one. God is saying, "I have called you to do this. I will provide what you need financially, mentally, emtionally... you can't name anything I won't provide for you. Because I asked you to do this."

God's words are clear and I can turn to many passages in the Bible that remind me of His call to care for orphans and widows! There is no room for misinterpretation or doubt - He wants us to love His world. So, using those scriptures and many of the Psalms that praise the strength, faithfulness and love of God, I can demolish all the "worldy wisdom" that causes me to fear and falter. What I can do, and am commanded to do, is to take captive every thought that sets itself up against the promises and the truth of Christ. For me, that very practically means that I must scream in my head, "I will not listen to these lies. I will stand on the promises of God." And, instantly, those thoughts are gone! I am experiencing first hand the power of God's words!

And so...Joe and I have been prayerful about a few things. First of all, that we would love G. Second, that we would trust God to work all this out. God has answered those prayers with one attribut - HOPE. Despite all the things that could still go wrong - I have HOPE. Joe called this morning just to say, "I have been flooded with the HOPE and the knowledge that all these things will work out!"

The Psalm I quoted at the beginning of this post sums it all up. I am finding rest - but not in myself or in a system or in a bank account...it is in God alone. God has let me pour out my heart on this so many times, and He has been my help and my refuge. I can hide in Him and turn a deaf ear to the world.

I don't know what this next year is going to look like - there is no way I can predict that. But, I am confident in this, God has made it so clear that adoption is His plan for the Weldie family. In that, I can rest, trust and find HOPE.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Story Book

As I was lying in bed last night, I couldn't fall asleep as quickly as I would have liked, so I turned on my computer and logged on to Focus on the Family. I knew they had discussed adoption this week, I just happended to miss that particular show! So, I decided to catch up.

Of course, within 5 minutes I was sound asleep. I have no idea what was said, but something must have lodged within my brain because I woke up this morning thinking of a story book I will write for G.

A few weeks ago, I put together a photo album using snapfish.com for G to get to know his new family. I was so happy with the way it turned out, I began looking for reasons to make more books. Something that MUST have been said during that show kept running through my brain; it was a little boy saying, "Please tell me the story again about how you and Daddy found me."

I am going to start writing that book tonight :) I want to get these feelings and emotions down before they are too quickly forgotten. I will include the pictures the agency has given us and will hopefully be able to include some information about Ethiopia.

I know books like these have a name, Lifebooks. I just get so overwhelmed with the thought of cuting, pasting, cropping, and then writing in beautiful handwriting on a page! This is much more up my talent level - typing and using computers to do all the cropping and pasting!

I can't wait to take this book to Addis Ababa and read it with my new son!

Some Great Questions

I saw this on another blog and thought these were great questions to ask at the beginning of a new year.

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Please Watch This

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love


I have been praying for it. I have been begging God to give me some supernatural dose of love for our new son. I have been stressing how I haven't fallen in love with the picture or the DVD. I have questioned my ability to love a child that was not my biological child. I have been shamed and afraid.

When I have been pregnant, I have fallen in love almost immediately. I always remember that moment when I first heard the heart beats. Then, that first flutter in the belly followed by the beautiful pictures that appear on the ultrasound. Personalities seem to develop in the womb and I would find myself saying, "That's so like the baby, to be kicking me all night long." After hours of hard labor, I would then get to finally hold that precious baby in my arms. Every time, I was knocked over with the emotion of unconditional love. I knew that I knew that I knew that I loved this child and would do anything for this child!

It hasn't quite been that way with the adoption. I haven't had those slowly growing feelings of love. There is no flutter in the belly. While there are pictures, I can't say, "Oh, the baby has your nose!" This child still seems so far away and the reality of bringing him home seems almost unreachable. I may have actually guarded my heart over the past few months, worried that something might fall through and I would be left empty handed with no child to hold.

But, today, I felt a rush of love. Nothing in particular caused this rush - I wasn't looking at a picture of G or thinking about the video. Maybe it was a simple word expressed by my 3 year old. At lunch, Lincoln asked, "When is my brother G coming home?"

His brother. This little child, who insists on watching the video from the orphanage every morning, has bonded enough to call the boy in the video his brother. When Lincoln uttered those words, I caught my breath and thought, "Yes. He is your brother, isn't he?". Within that moment, a rush of love flooded my heart and a smile came to my face.

This was all I needed. I just needed to know that I could love this child. I needed a reassurance from the Lord that He would fill me up, again, so I could love another child. I know I face so many challenges in the coming months, more challenges that I have ever faced as a mother. But, I am beginning to fall in love...and that is what will make all the difference.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Three Legged Stool to Stand On

A stool to stand on? Aren't stools for sitting? Well, I am trying to form a strong enough stool for my kids to be able to stand on and to stand out from the rest.

This three-legged stool comes from the book I am reading, Going Public. The first few chapters of the book talk about the three qualities that we (parents) must instill in our children, especially if they are out of the home and in the secular world. Those three qualities are the fear of the Lord, self-control and obedience. When we give our children these characteristics to lean on, they will be successful.

I am going to take some time to write about each one of these qualities in the coming days. I feel as if the Lord is asking me to camp on these chapters before moving on to the rest of the book. It is easy to nod my head and say, "Yes, those are important characteristics." But what does that look like in my children specifically? As I camp out here, I will be looking up verses that will help me in this journey.

I know the Lord has much to teach me about raising children. I am aware that I can not do this without His guidance and wisdom poured out in my life. The authors of this book started each morning with all their children having "face time" in their living room where they would read 5 Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs (talk about guidance and wisdom!). We are trying this as well. Some mornings it goes well...some mornings, not so well. I am thankful that I have one little princess who encourages me each morning by asking, "Should I go get my Bible, Mom?"

Like I have said earlier, I know that God is asking me to be more intentional with my kids these days, not treating them as one unit. What has worked with my oldest has definitely not been working with the second. The same goes for 3 and 4 and I am sure 5 will add new challenges to the whole mix. What I need to embrace is that God chose for these personalities and characters to be raised by Joe and I. He did not do anything by mistake. I am also learning that raising these children is not all about them - a lot of it has to do with how they are teaching me!

So, as I continue to wait (and wait and wait), I am turning my focus to my 4 blessings and how I can be a better mom to them. There is not turning to best sellers or Parenting magazines that will bear the truth - I know that. But, I do think this book was thrown my way for a reason, and in conjunction with scripture, I am slowly learning what it means to be a mom.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Challenge That Lies Ahead


Well, I did it again. I surfed the web looking for support, encouragement, ideas of Christian parenting of kids of public schools. Again, my google search was filled with "get your kids out of public schools", "home schooling is the only things that makes sense for Christian parents", "th worst thing you could do is send your kids away for 8 hours a day"... the list went on and on. This is getting down right distrubing.

Where are the Christians parents who are actively sharing how to get our kids through the government school system unscathed and educated? Where are the tips, ideas, encouragement that parents are anxious to share with each other? Maybe because I have been in the home school community for so long, where moms are incredibly eager to share and share everything! We encourage each other on every chance we get, we share text books, work books, ideas, lesson plans - in a nut shell, we share our lives.

Maybe that is why I am so shocked that the parents of public school kids are not doing anything like that. I know there are parents who are actively involved in their kids' education! I know there are parents who really, really care. But, for some reason, we are not talking about it and we are not sharing what works, what is exciting about school or what we have to look forward to.

Oh, there are plenty of moms hanging out on the playground ready to talk about Market Day or when the next teacher in-service day is, but are they sharing tips about organizing the mounds of paperwork that comes home each day? Or are they encouraging the mom who looks frazzled getting her 5 year old to Kindergarten with a toddler underfoot and a baby on the hip?

It is time to share the stories of Christian parents and their children thriving in public schools. It is time for Christian parents to encourage each other, pray with and for each other, and children to hang out together. I want to be one of those parents that says, "Hey! This can work!" I am sad that I don't hear a lot of those stories right now. But, I have only been in the public school world for two weeks now, while I was entrenched in the home school world for 6 years.

God does not call all parents to home school. I am certain of that. And I was reminded today that God loves all those teachers and administrators who are in charge of our kids all day. The schools today may be floundering and a small percentage of parents may be trying to push God out of the schools, but we need to pray for them and be a light in them.

I know the logical arguments are stacked up against that...but is anything impossible with God? We underestimate our Lord when we think that God is no where to be found in public schools.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fear


I belong to an online board made up of Christian parents who are thinking about, in the middle of, or who have already adopted from Ethiopia. This has been a great resource for me as I read about travel plans, photo book ideas and adjustment periods. Recently, a wonderful mom brought home 2 children. She has been having a really tough time (became very sick in Ethiopia, grandmother died) and is being very honest with the struggle of being an adoptive parent


I have a great fear. How do I love this child we are adopting? What if I don't like him? What if he has habits or quirks that I can't stand? What if he screams and pouts and cries and hits? It is not like we are bringing a baby into this home, and who can't help but love a cuddly baby? We are bringing in a boy who already has her personality in place. He already has certain ways of doing things. And, he has been greatly hurt by being a child relinquished by his mother.


I read the responses to this woman who is struggling with loving one of her new children. Many moms responded that they could relate. They simply did not love their children right away. The didn't even like them and would have to force themselves to go through the motions.


I am frozen in fear of what that is going to be like. How does one force themselves to hug a child who is crying? How will I kiss away fears after a bad dream if I don't even care?


Of course, it is not guarenteed that I will struggle with this same feelings. But, I am afraid. Probably because I can honestly say I am not madly in love with this child yet. I see pictures and I have a video, and I do have a motherly love that cares that this child is living in an orphanage. What I don't have is that overwhelming, deep in your gut, do-anything for you child love....yet.


I know that God led us down this path - and He has caused so many changes in our lives this year that are all pointing to us finally getting G and bringing him home! I am now in a place where I have to trust that God will provide.


This is my prayer, Lord, that You supernaturally fill me to the point of overflowing with Your love for G. I know You love him! I know You have chosen for G and our family to be one. You are the only way we can love each other. I can only guess how G might be feeling. He may be struggling with the same issues. He sees picture and is told he is going to a new family. Maybe he is wondering how he can ever love another mother? God, You are the author of this adoption, so work within both our family and G so that we may all love each other fully and completely. We can't do this without you! Amen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where are the Support Blogs for Christian Moms with Kids in Public School?


I have been in the pursuit of encouraging blogs for Christian moms with kids in public school. I can't find any! I have found dozens upon dozens of beautiful, witty, crafty and snazzy blogs for moms of home schoolers. So, maybe that is what my blog is to become - a place where I share my personal experiences not only about the adoption, but also about my life as a mom.

My "mom life" now encompasses so many different aspects; public school mom, home schooling mom, adoptive mom, toddler mom, and now working mom! I am learning so many lessons as I go about each day as each of these different moms. Maybe I'll change the title of my blog.

A Question for You




Stuart Briscoe posed this idea a few weeks ago and I thought it worth repeating:

God won't impose himself for eternity if you did not want to be with Him in time.

Where do you want to spend eternity? If you answer, "In heaven", great! Then why do so many self-proclaimed Christians spend so little time with Him here and now? Do you really think you will all of a sudden want to spend your days worshiping the Lord?

This is hard stuff and it has made me think about how I spend my time. My time should be consumed with Him, yet we live in a society that does everything it can to dissuade one from doing just that. How many times are we encouraged to go be quiet with Jesus? Or, are we told instead that you deserve a drink or a night out or a shopping spree? How many times are we encouraged to pray? Or are we told instead to look things up on the internet or call a friend or get away for a while?

Obviously, Christians and not encouraged to grow in our disciplines in this culture. In fact, I would dare to say that discipline is even a "dirty" word among many Generation Xers like myself. I am incredibly challenged not only by how I spend my time, but even more on what I advise my friends. Do I encourage them to be more disciplined? Or is that too hard to say - after all, we are so politically correct these days.

So, I am just going to through this out to all of you out there in cyber land, if you won't spend time with Jesus on earth, why in the world do you say you want to spend eternity with Him?

I just don't get it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Identity


What is my identity? I learned yesterday that our identity has to do with whom we are closely associated with. You could learn my identity by looking at a group of people I identify with. So if I say I am a Hewitt, if you knew the Hewitts, you would have an idea of what I am like. Or, if I said I am a homeschool mom, you might immediately have an image come to your mind based upon other homeschoolers you know.

So, what is my identity? I thought my identity was a Christian, one who is trying to look more and more like Christ in this life. Oh, how I want to look more like Christ; to be more patient, more loving, more truthful, more wise. Apparently, I am as far from being like Christ as I could possibly be.

I got a letter last week from a woman I had considered a friend. In this letter, all my faults over the past 4 years where pointed out to me. This woman than said she no longer could be around me because I was such a bad person. Despite not wanting to admit it, it hurt deeply. It hurt so bad that I am now doubting if I can ever be a friend to anyone.

I am a sinner. I gossip sometimes. I lie sometimes. I fail every single day. I often need to ask for forgiveness and I am desperately in need of a savior. This is what I know about me. So, if I need to rename my identity, it would be "Sinner".

But, I can't stay in this place called sin. I KNOW I have been forgiven. So, maybe I should change my identity yet again to "Forgiven Sinner".

Yet, this past week, I was brought to a place of great discouragement and reality of how far I truly need to go. Thank the Lord that He is full of mercy! He sees even more than this so-called friend did, and He still loves me and still choses to be my friend.

I am reeling a bit from this. I am questioning what friendship means. I am waiting now for other women in this group of friends to say the same things, "Two and half years ago, you said Betty could really use a night away to settle down," or "You think you are so this-and-that, and trust me, you are so far from that!". I feel myself wanting to retreat from it all.

Again, I am brought back to all the ways that God cares about me. If anything, this brutal lesson is cause for me to praise God even more for being who He is. He does not desert those who love Him! He forgives and continues to forgive! He loves despite seeing my ugly heart! He gave up all for me to be with Him someday in Paradise! What amazing love!

I must keep my eyes focused on Christ. I want to identify with Him. I was just reminded this week what that really will look like.

Forgive me, Lord, for falling short so many times. But thank you, thank you, thank you for being a loving God, a God full of mercy and one who will give me another chance. Be my best friend, Lord, for You are all I have right now. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Praying Over My Children


I love the Motivation for Moms today (on the side bar) that encourages moms to pray over their children as they sleep. Yes! This is such a sweet time to pray for your kids.

Due to a very poor sleeping child, named Lincoln, I am often up in the middle of the night taking him back upstairs to his bed. I resolved when he was born that every time I was up in the middle of the night that I would pray over my kids. When he was an infant, I would sit in a comfy chair in his room, snuggle up to feed him, and spend the time going over each of my children and taking them to the throne room of God. I have to tell you, it just may have been the secret to getting through sleep deprivation!

Lincoln is now 3 and he is still my "worst" sleeper and just can't stay asleep all night long without looking for me. So, as I trudge up the stairs to put him back to sleep, I remind myself that I now I have the chance to pray over my kids...again!

As a busy mom, it is unusual for the house to be completely silent. It is a gift to be able to concentrate in my prayers, not distracted by anything or anyone. As I pray for each one of my kids, I try to let the Holy Spirit direct my prayers, often praying about completely different things each night. Sometimes I pray about something that happened that day. Sometimes I pray about my children's future spouse. Often I pray about their future and for their spiritual lives.

It was great to see that reminder today. And I actually hope I get a chance to pray tonight (Lincoln slept through the night last night!!!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Recent Update


Well, Isabel announced tonight as we were playing Guitar Hero, "I wish it were Saturday! I am so sick of school already!" I turn to Harry and ask him how he is doing. He is silent. Is he ignoring me or did he just not hear me.

I repeat my question, "How are you, Harry?"

"Fine."

End of discussion, but I could see it written all over his face that he is pretty sick of school, too.

Joe and I knew this day would come, we just didn't think it would happen 4 days into school! So...what is next? That's the big question tonight. The last thing I want is to let them know they can just swing back and forth between school and home while they decide what they want. And.. they asked for this. No, they didn't just ask, they were down-right incredible behavior problems insisting that school would be so much more fun!

They made my life pretty miserable the last few months in their crusade to get to go to school. I guess a huge lesson was learned here - be careful what you wish for, kids.

They will finish what they started. And we will re-evaluate in the summer. Until then, I need to pray them through. I am sure things will settle down and they will get into a groove, I just need to encourage them until they get there.

Off to bed to pray for these kids of mine - sigh.

Update on the Kids

As I continue to wait for our court date, I find that I go between days of being OK with the wait, and other days I just want to scream! Waiting is hard - I would venture to guess that there is no one I know who can say that waiting for something you want so badly is a piece of cake.

So, as I wait with no new news about G, I will update how the kiddos are doing. Isabel has adjusted well to school. She has told me her teacher is "strict" and "yells a lot". But what I have found out is that this particular teacher is just down to business. Joe and I are totally fine with that and support this teacher 100%.

Harry has the "fun" 3rd grade teacher (a bummer! I wanted HIM to have the strict teacher!). This teacher has a disco the last day of every month and puts kids in charge of the music. They got yoga mats for Christmas and she was sure to give Harry one. Not much homework is assigned, either. And, of course, it is hard to get more than a few words out of Harry about his day, so I am assuming things are going well.

I am still reading the book Going Public and am trying to determine what I will "fight for" and what needs to be let go. While the yoga mat really bugs my spiritual side, that is one thing I need to just let go. Harry just said, "That's weird," and tossed it into a corner in his room. He hasn't once pulled it out and done some zen meditations!

I am learning that I need my kids to be of good, solid character so that when an issue does come up, I have some ground to stand on.

Eleanor is doing very well and we are enjoying the quieter days around here. We are able to work together so much more and I can see how her math skills will surely improve with this one-on-one attention. As we walked to pick up Harry and Isabel from school, she commented on what she will do after school next year, making plans already of where we will all meet. We live in a community that sees the majority of kids walking to and from school, so she got excited about the idea of walking from the middle school over to the elementary school where we would all meet up. I was happy to hear her talking so positively about school next year!

Lincoln is the same ornery 3 year old! But, he is playing more and I am hearing his funny sense of humor. He will lie across a kitchen stool and yell, "I'm Stuper-Man!" Of course, he is trying to be Superman, but it is just so funny when he shouts that he is in a stuper! That boy can really make me laugh.

I have some news, as well. I am going to a job interview tomorrow! When Joe and I tried to sell our house a few years ago, we met a great real estate agent. We "clicked" right away and at one point even said, "We would work really well together." Well, that times seems to have come. She really needs a coordinator who can put in 4 - 5 hours of work a week organizing paperwork. After putting together my dossier, I feel organizing paperwork is my middle name - ha! The best news is that she is a Christian and I know we won't do anything without first taking things to God in prayer. It would be nice to have a few extra dollars, although at 5 hours a week those dollars really will be few. But to a woman who has been sans income for over 12 years, even an extra $50 a week will seem like a fortune!

Tomorrow is Eleanor's 12th birthday! I can't believe I have a 12 year old! She is turning into such an amazing young lady. Full of creativity, grace, kindness and generosity. I am blessed with my firstborn! While I am ready to launch her out into the "real world" next year, I am truly treasuring our relationship builing this year. I love how she climbs down the stairs at least once a week at night just to talk. I love that she is now enjoying classic movies and musicals with me! And the other day, she needed a shirt to wear, and I realized I could grab the pink one from my closset and it looked great!!

Even though there are many days in which I am tired, grumpy and frustrated with these kids of mine, I realize how fortunate I am to have such wonderful kids. And it makes me look forward to adding one more to the brood.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fire in the Market Place devastate the community!





desperation, despair, hope lost…….

It has been a frightful night when the whole food area of the market place got devoured by flames in the still of the night. The wind carried the flames from one merchant’s space to the next and quickly destroyed the only livelihood and income of many families!

This morning, I found these images and were shaken by the despair in many faces! Another attack on survival in this already poverty stricken nation!

Like a thief in the night, tall flames lit the black skies and devoured many merchants only way of survival!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Going Public

Oh, where to start? Ever since August 10, 2008, our lives have been completely turned upside down! Many of the changes have been good ones, but some have come from some painful confessions. The most painful was the admission that I just can't homeschool all my kids.

I don't want to share too much, because I don't want my kids to read this and feel bad. But, I realized my heart was just no longer in having all my kids at home. Don't get me wrong, I still adore my children and I long to be their main teacher, but I had to admit that teaching all of them was not possible.

One child, in particular, was extremely challenging. This child fought every thing I did all day long. If I turned my back for one minute, this child was off doing something other than what this child was supposed to be doing. When I sat at the table and monitored this childs' work, it would cause many hurt feelings. Bottom line is that my relationship as a loving, guiding parent was being jeopardized by the teacher dynamic. I felt that if I continued being the teacher, I would lose the chance to be a mother to this one in particular. I love this child too much to take that chance.

So, off to school went a couple of my children. One is still at home, and of course, the youngest is still here. There was one night close to Christmas that I was up all night wrestling with my own mind about this decision. I opened up my lap top to find out how homeschool kids do who go back to public school. I was bombarded with pro-homeschooling sentiment that said it would be disastrous to send my precious children into the dens of evil. I couldn't fine one positive experience! The enemy pounced on this and attacked my ears with accusations of failure and being weak. I just kept hearing the same thing over and over again, "You are such a failure! And now you have to admit that to everyone!"

It was at this point that out of sheer desperation, I fell to my knees and cried out to God, "Lord! Minister to me!", was all I could say. Slowly, I felt the peace that passes all understand come over me, with a gentle whisper of, "You have not failed. Now, you need to be intentional with each child." It was truly a moment of epiphany as I realized that I had been treating my children as one single unit. We all would do Bible study together, pray together, do math together, eat together, etc. I was failing to minister to my children in the unique ways that each one needs to be ministered in.

It became clear to me; I need to have alone time with each child, asking them about their day, praying with only one child at a time about what he or she needs to pray about. I need to share scripture with the child that needs a certain passage and I need to pray for them as individuals. Where I had failed was not in whether to homeschool or not; I had failed to train a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). God led me to a great study on this verse and told me then what that verse meant. It means to train a child in his ways - train a child in the way that individual child needs to be trained. Our children are so different! How can we possibly teach/train them in all the same way. Trust me, I am learning that just doesn't work!

So, starting today I going to train (there is no try, there is only train - wisdom from Yoda!), to raise my children in their own way and trust that God will show me what that way is. For now, that means a couple of my kids are in public school. For me, it means I am learning even more to depend upon God.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ethiopian Cottage

Today, Joe and I went on a fabulous date! Although we only drove a few miles into downtown Milwaukee, it felt like we were a world away when we stepped through the doors of the Ethiopian Cottage.

We have been wanting to visit this restaurant for several weeks now, obviously because of the name. I am sure you can guess what type of food it is. We were there for an early dinner, so when we arrived, we were the only guests. Joe and I were told to sit wherever we pleased and we chose a delightful circle of chairs that surrounded a gorgeous basket that comes to your knees. It has a beautiful, matching lid. Water glasses were placed on very small side tables in between the chairs.

So, right of the bat, if you need a table to lean your elbows on, this might not be the place for you. Then, you might notice there is no silverware. In fact, there is a cute little sign in the door that shows a set of silverwaire with a nice "X" over it.

Ethiopian food is eaten with the fingers using injera, a gluten-free bread made from teff. Teff is a grain grown in northern Ethiopia, and according the the delightful owner of the Ethiopian Cottage, is being grown now in Idaho and parts of Cannada.

We tried a Cottage #2, that gave us a sample of doro wat, key wat and some vegetarian dishes. It is served on a very large piece of injera and placed right in the middle of the basket. We then rip off pieces of our own injera and use that to scoop the savory delicacies! Joe and I laughed as we immediately asked for a few more napkins, knowing we were going to be a mess. Surprisingly, it didn't take long for us to get the hang of it and the food...ah....it was so wonderful!

We ate until we could not sqeeze in another bite and even enjoyed tearing pieces of the injera that had soaked up the sauces from the doro wat and the key wat. My mouth is still watering thinking of it.

But, while the food was wonderful, it was the company that made our visit unforgettable. The owner was one of the kindest men we have ever met. Joe and I had just purchased a Lonely Planet guide to Ethiopia and were reading it after we placed our order, when the owner noticed and asked us if we were planning on visiting Ethiopia. That started a wonderful conversation that lasted most of our meal! We talked about where he is from, where G is from, some history of Ethiopia and finally, quite a bit about Addis Ababa, where we will be staying.

This was a proud Ethiopian man! He talked about coming from the region of the kings and encouraged us to visit the places where castles still stand today. He told us about national parks where we can see amazing wildlife and about the merkato, where we are sure to find anything and everything. We talked about the sentiment I keep hearing about, that local Ethiopians are not happy with Americans adopting their children. He understood the pride of the locals, but his wish is for those people to see all the adoptive families that stream into his restaurant, teaching their children about traditional Ethipian food. He was so happy we were adopting and said G will adapt in no time.

We finished our meal and as we were getting ready to leave, he came over again to offer any help he might be able to offer as we get closer to going to Ethiopia. He also wants to be a part of bringing together all the adoptive families in this corner of Wisconsin. He gave us his number and wished us a happy new year.

I know, it may seem like a normal encounter one might have in a restaurant when you are the only ones there, but to Joe and I, there was something vey special about this dear man. There was a sweetness, a kindness, a sincere demeanor about him that was so endearing. He truly wanted to know us and in turn, wanted us to know about him.


If this is a taste of the people of Ethiopia...count me in! Now, who wants to join us for dinner there next week?