Friday, March 27, 2009

Being Lazy

This post will have nothing to do with adoption; it has every thing to do with my spiritual life over the last week. Only one word can sum it up - lazy!

I hate it when I get this way. I wake up (a little late) and think to myself that I will get into God's word after I get the two kids off to school. We go about our routine, I drive them to school, hurry on home and then walk into a house that needs to be straightened....or I remember that the clothes in the dryer need to go through another cycle (our darn dryer just doesn't work!)....or I hear Lincoln calling to help him with his puzzle. So, I say to myself, again, I will get into the Word after I do just a few things.

I am sure you know where this is going. By the end of the day, I still have done NOTHING to grow my spiritual life. I believe my spiritual life is like a muscle. If I am working on it, it grows and gets stronger. If I don't work on it, it begins to get flabby and useless. This is no time in my life to be getting flabby and useless!

Someone warned me that the enemy would be on the attack. I kind of laughed to myself and thought, "Over one little kid in Ethiopia? Yea, right. He has bigger things to do!" But that was very niave of me. Satan DOES care about increasing his followers and taking a child out of a miserable life, where he could have easily turned to Satan is driving him crazy.

So, my life over the last month has pretty much stunk. I have a child with an unknown growth on his foot and world reknowned specialists don't know what it is. I have a husband who is miserable these days as he is having to shut down 4 branches and fire every one who works there. I have a pre-teen daughter (enough said?). And, a part of Joe's salary that we were counting on was taken away because of the poor economy. We needed that money. Boy, I hate to gripe about money because I know we have way more than most of the world, but it has been very hard this past month and we are trying to figure out how we are going to continue this journey debt free! We decided to put our house up for sale, due to the fact that we really could use another bedroom and a little more space. And, as you all know, this isn't the best time to be selling.

And..our marriage, which has been rock-solid for years, is being attacked. We feel so distant from each other. We are so busy with our own things right now, and I frankly don't want to hear about his miserable job and he doesn't want to hear about whether or not we should get shots.

In light of this life...why am I being lazy about the ONE thing that would make a difference? Yesterday, I laid on the couch for hours! Hours people! I think the last time I did that was when I was pregnant with Lincoln and was so sick I couldn't move. I am screaming at myself in my mind, "What are you doing? Stop being lazy! Do what you know you need to do!" But the desire to be slothful won.

That is so unlike me...I have so much to do and such little time! I have beds to set up, clothes to wash, things to pack, calls to make, plans to write - oh my, the list is actually never ending as it runs through my head.

Maybe I am frozen with fear? Or frozen by how much work I have to do. Either way, this is not what God wants from me. He does not want me to freeze!

I can't tell you how many time I have to keep going through the truth that God has called us to this! It is undeniable! I have talked to others recently who have felt called the adopt, but then felt the brakes come on - and stay on. That hasn't happened with us. There has been nothing that has slowed this down or caused us to even blink. So, I must stand on the truth that God calls us to care for orphans.

And...I MUST ARM MYSELF! Harry has a little piece of paper next to his bed. I taped it to the wall thinking it would be good for him to read before he goes to bed. But now I am thinking I was meant to see that every day and to stand on this truth: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with your wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.

I grabbed The Message to see how it puts this passage. "Make sure you carry out the Revelation that MOses commanded you, every bit of it. Don't get off track either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. And don't for a minute let this Book of the Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure to practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God is with you every step you take." Joshua 1: 5-9

Pray for me. Pray that I stand on the Word of God and His promise to be with me every step of the way. I am learning there simply is nothing else! Nothing can carry me, nothing can prepare me, nothing can sustain me - only God and His Revelation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wallpaper

Today, I made a picture of George looking at our photo album the wallpaper on my computer. I can't even tell you what perspective this has brought to my day. Each time I glance at my computer, there he is, with a small but beautiful smile as a nanny points to me.

What do you think she is telling him? She is obviously talking. She is pointing to me. And George has that sweet smile on his face.

These days, almost everyone I know is asking about George. What does he know? What is his like? What must he be thinking?

I can't answer those questions and it makes me realize how little I DO know about my son. There is one thing I can say about him, God hand-picked a little president with a dimple to join the Weldie family.

There is so much trust in this game. But honestly, it feels so "right", so "good" to be walking in a place of blind trust - of answering questions with "I don't know..." instead of, "Well... let me tell you what I know..". For the first time in my life, I am OK with not knowing the answers and not knowing what the next year will look like. There is a peace in the surrender.

So, I gaze at my wallpaper and think of how all our lives are going to change here in a matter of 30 days. 30 days! I need to go...lots of things to do!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Brewers Fan

Ok - I have noticed something...Lincoln has the same t-shirt on in every picture I have of him! Ocean City, taken in August; dossier pictures, taken in September; Ethiopian Cottage, taken in March - ALL with that Corey Hart t-shirt!

When I saw Lincoln is a Brewers fan, I mean it! Every day I go through the same conversation.

"Time to get dressed."

"Where's my Corey Hart t-shirt?"

"It's in the laundry."

"NO!!!! I have to wear my Corey Hart t-shirt! I'll wear it dirty! Please, please please."

"Oh, all right. You are number four and I could care less if you wear the same t-shirt every day as long as you get dressed."

He does own two other t-shirts that you might see him in, and you guessed it, they are both Brewers t-shirts. Oh, and he just grew into a Prince Fielder shirt.

Sigh.

Wait...God owns it all!

I was talking to the ladies at the dentist office yesterday (during Harry's extraction - and yes, it was quite a week!!), when they asked about the adoption. One of the ladies said, "Oh, you must be so...so...um.."

I interrupted, knowing she wasn't quite sure what I must be.

"Yes! I am terrified, excited, thrilled, scared, frozen and a little in love."

They all laughed, as did I, but truthfully, those are all the emotions that I am battling with minute by minute. I am terrified! Recently, I wrote about how when I got the news that the adoption was final, it was a similar feeling to when that pregnancy stick gives you two lines instead of one. There is a thrill and a happiness and maybe even some jumping up and down. What I am feeling now, is similar to how I have felt each and every labor. I have given birth to my 4 bio children "naturally" (but don't we all do it natuarally?) - meaning without any medicine to ease the pain. All 4 times, I have reached a point where I say, "I can't do this anymore." And each time, there is someone in the room saying, "Yes you can!".

This time is most similar to my labor with Eleanor, my first born. That time, I yelled out, "I change my mind! I don't want this baby anymore!!" Everyone in the room laughed, but for that split second, I was totally serious. I had felt the extremem pain and I knew it was going to get worse...I still had the pushing phase to go, so I just wanted to change my mind.

I feel that way many times now...I change my mind!

I have prepared myself to the point of fear. Story after story of tantrums, spitting, kicking, stealing, lying, hurting other children. I don't often hear the stories of kids adjusting quickly and easily. Is this a symptom of those who need to write out their feelings? Are the families that are doing well out there camping? Playing soccer in the back yard? Going to the parks? There are truly moments where I say, "What have I done?"

It is in these moments that I HAVE to surrender to God. Can I possibly deny God's hand in all of this? God has orchestrated this adoption from the heart tugs four years ago, to the precious time at the beach, to seeing a son with a dimple and a presidential name, to finalizing an international adoption in 7 months! Oh, and not to mention the financial resources God provided (which we are still counting on a little to trickle in for our flight to Ethiopia).

"I love the Lord, for He heard me.." Those words are running through my head as I write this. I am amazed that I serve the creator of the universe, yet He hears my prayers, He hears my cries, He knows the desires of my heart. And..He knows better than I do! God has chosen to slam some doors recently, answers Joe and I were not necessarily happy with. But, at the same time, He has blown through walls for this adoption.

This has caused Joe and I to look at what God cares for....on one hand it was "wordly" things - not necessarily bad things and we thought they were good for our family. On the other hand, eternal things. A life. A soul. These things are at stake in this adoption.

So, please excuse me if I seem a little distracted these days. My "momma bear" instincts are going into over-drive. Not only am I preparing for an Ethiopian son, I am also trying to pour into my four bio kids right now. You know, I hate to keep using the pregnancy analogies, but they are just so fitting. It's like the very end of a pregnancy and you have that little toddler gazing into your eyes saying, "Read another story, Mommy.", and your heart just melts and you want to give that child all the love you have to make her feel secure and loved. That is where I am with my four as we prepare to throw our lives into chaos. I need to love, love, love them and the only way to love them is to let God's love flow through me.

Ah...that is where I have been going with this rambling. God loves all these chidren more than I ever can or will be able to! God loves this world so passionately, He moves mountains and He causes miracles, and He sacrificed His only son. This is all about God's love! God wants to love George so God is providing a new opportunity for him. Who knows, if I let God love George through me, what George will be called to do. Or for that matter, any of our children!

I want to close with an email I recieved yesterday...Yes, it would be an honor to intercede for you and your Whole family. I will be praying for an emptiness as you travel that only the Spirit will fill and will overflow to George. I pray that you will love all your children from the “overflow” that only the Holy Spirit will provide. It will be only from that overflow that you will be able to truly love your children that God has given you. I pray that the sense of calling that you feel, that sense that has created a discontent in your hearts, that has stirred it into action will be filled to overflow through George. God has created that Holy Discontent that has moved you to do what you have done to the extent that you are doing it to love with a greater love than you realize. It will be that overflow of love from Him, that will gather your family together as you stand in awe of what a Great God we serve.



Having been to Tanzania last year, and planning to go again, this time helping at an orphanage, I have been thinking of you and your husband, and praying for you. To say the needs are great is an understatement. You will find those days as you referred to that will be so tough that only His sense of “calling” will sustain you. Know that His “calling” WILL sustain you.



God owns it all and we are just the managers. I believe He will take your faith and stretch it beyond imagination as He provides in ways that will have you standing in tears of amazement. I pray that for you and your family. I pray that your bio kids would see a love and faith in their parents through this experience that it would mark them for the rest of their lives and would impact the legacy on your family for generations.



Scripture talks of generational sins. I believe it also speaks of generational blessings. Your sacrificial love will have ripple effects in your family and friends that will outnumber the ripples on the quiet water after throwing a rock into it.



“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Ethiopian Cottage





When we learned the good news that George was now our son (yes, his last name is now Weldie!), we decided to celebrate. What better place to go than the Ethiopian Cottage!

We headed east to downtown Milwaukee and found our favorite spot easily this time (it only took us three times driving down to do so!). Isabel was so confused because she accidentally walked into the next door and saw a giant panda and chopsticks. Once we got her in the correct door, we found a seat at a table. usually we sit at these large baskets where you food is placed, but we thought it would just be crazy with the kids.

Immediately, the owner recognized us and came over to greet us. He has to be one of the nicest men we have ever met. We told him our adoption went through and he cheered and said, "Next time, George will be with you!" He remembered our son's name! Wow! That is customer service.

The kids were very excited about trying new food, especially food they know their new brother likes. They didn't quite understand "the Ethiopian way"; meaning slow. Our kids are accustomed to going to places where they need to wait a while for food, but for some reason (maybe because we had gone very early and there was only one other couple in the place) they expected the food to be delivered pronto. There was quite a bit of dancing around, changing seats, walking around to look at the art. But, Igalatoo (the owner) just watched us and smiled the whole time.

When the food arrived, they all shouted, "What do we do? How do we eat this?" These questions were purely out of curiosity. We had told them about eating with their hands and not having any silverware, but they were baffled about how to use the injera. We demonstrated how you take a piece of the injera, about the size of the palm of your hand, and use that to scoop up the food you want. The choices are amazing! There is a chicken dish, beef and lamb. There are red lentils, yellow lentils and a mixture of potatoes and carrots.

I have to give props to those kids...they tried it. And then, I noticed the faces. Not so happy with dinner. We asked, "What don't you like?" They all answered unanimously...the injera! Since the injera IS the utensil, we flagged down our waitress and asked for 4 forks. She laughed a little and then returned with the forks and then waited at the table to see if the kids would like the food then.

Happy to announce, they dug in...literally! Those forks were flying and they were picking away at their favorites. This left Joe and I with a lot of injera!

We have learned that George loves injera. Funny, how my bio kids thought is was sour and didn't like the texture. The Ethiopian Cottage lets you order injera to take home. I plan on having a good amount waiting for George when he comes home. I am even planning on asking the owner if I can come down for a cooking demonstration or two - anyone want to join me?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So Much to Say..



I have so much to say, but I just haven't been able to find an hour to do it this week. Until I can write again, enjoy these pictures we got today!

Friday, March 13, 2009

George

View this montage created at One True Media
George

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11 2009


I got the phone call! Well, actually, Eleanor got the phone call! I have always known that the "good news" calls are made first, so if one would hear a positive result from the court case, it would probably be on the earlier side of the morning. This is what didn't happen in February. As 10:00 ticked on by, a pit fell in my stomach and I just knew I was now in the "bad news" hour. Those calls are saved for the end of the morning.

Today, after a rather sleepless night (thanks in part to terrible winds), I was taking Harry and Isabel to school and made the decision to leave Eleanor and Lincoln at home to get those last minute things done before we would head off to church. After I dropped them off, I made the short 12 block drive home and a wave of dread over came me - I was not looking forward to the next 3 hours waiting for that one phone call. Pulling into the driveway, I paused to listen to the words of a praise song that was on the radio before turning off the car and heading to the side door of my house. Before I could even push the door all the way open, there was Lincoln and Eleanor on the stairs, squealing and hopping up and down.

"We passed court!" Eleanor shouted.

"We can go get George!" Lincoln echoed.

It took a good amount of time before the words sunk in deep enough for me to question Eleanor, "What? Did Patricia call? What exactly did she say?"

Eleanor did a wonderful job of telling me about the phone call, and I felt free enough to add my own squeal and hop to the little dance going on in the kitchen.

So, today, March 11, 2009, I became a mom again. This time there were no physical birth pains and there is no quiet moment of breathing in that new baby scent, but all the same, I am a new mother. What I feel today is how I felt 4 other times in my life, when that little white stick suddenly showed 2 lines instead of just one. Each time, I was excited and emotional, but it still seemed a little unreal. Honestly, that is where I am still tonight. This is all still a little unreal.

We are starting to look at airline options and working on where we will stay. I have pages of information to go through and two more government forms to fill out just right. But, I still don't know my new son.

What an amazing journey this is - I have spent months praying for and about this little boy living in an orphanage in Soddo, Ethiopia. And now, on paper, I am his mother - but I don't know anything more about him than a new name and a made-up birth date. This is what makes adoption so unique and this is where my trust in the Lord has to go into over-drive! If I did not know, know, know that God has led us to this adoption, I would be totally crying in a corner saying "Buh. Buh. Buh."

But, I am so confident in this - God has called our family to adopt George (wow - I can now write his name!), He has provided everything we have needed. He is not going to abandon us now.

There is so much more to write, but I am still a mix of emotions. I am thrilled about being a mom and even more excited about adding George to our family. But, I am really looking forward to the day when I look back on this and can't remember ever not loving this little boy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Please Call Your Senator/Representatives

I will say this as bluntly as I can: without the tax credit for adoption, we would NOT have been able to afford this! The tax credit is only good through 2010 - we need to keep this tax credit up and running! More children's lives are at stake!

This is not about padding the pocket books of the rich - I know very few adoptive families who are rich! In fact, most of us are scraping every dime to make this possible and we ALL are banking on the tax credit that comes the year the adoptions are final. We don't see any money as we are paying tens of thousands of dollars. This simply means that come tax time next year, we will have a credit that might allow us to keep more of our earned income in order to support our new child.

The tax credit is a good idea - families depend on the tax credit when they decide to adopt. We would not have done this without it - how many more children will not get adopted if the tax credit is taken away?

Call (it is much more effective than an email!) your Senators and Representatives today. You will more than likely talk to a staff member who will ask for your name and address (to verify you are in their district) and then you say you want to see the adoption tax credit to be continued. Simple - and think of the children who's lives will be changed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

America's Religion

The new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)is to be released today. It finds that, despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990.

"More than ever before, people are just making up their own stories of who they are. They say, 'I'm everything. I'm nothing. I believe in myself,' " says Barry Kosmin, survey co-author.

Among the key findings in the 2008 survey:

• So many Americans claim no religion at all (15%, up from 8% in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists. In a nation that has long been mostly Christian, "the challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion," the report concludes.

• Catholic strongholds in New England and the Midwest have faded as immigrants, retirees and young job-seekers have moved to the Sun Belt. While bishops from the Midwest to Massachusetts close down or consolidate historic parishes, those in the South are scrambling to serve increasing numbers of worshipers.

• Baptists, 15.8% of those surveyed, are down from 19.3% in 1990. Mainline Protestant denominations, once socially dominant, have seen sharp declines: The percentage of Methodists, for example, dropped from 8% to 5%.

• The percentage of those who choose a generic label, calling themselves simply Christian, Protestant, non-denominational, evangelical or "born again," was 14.2%, about the same as in 1990.

• Jewish numbers showed a steady decline, from 1.8% in 1990 to 1.2% today. The percentage of Muslims, while still slim, has doubled, from 0.3% to 0.6%. Analysts within both groups suggest those numbers understate the groups' populations.

What do you think? I would love to read your comments on these findings!

If The Lord is God, follow Him

I am loving my Beatitudes study! I know I have said that several times, but I just have to say it again. I love a study that kicks my rear end :) Simply stated, I need a good rear kicking pretty much every morning. That is what I just don't get about this life of faith; why do I constantly need to be reminded of the basics?

Today, I began the week on the third beatitude: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. This trait has been one in which I have been working on for years. What does it mean to be righteous? How do I hunger after righteouness? Righteouness is defined as the following: "A gracious gift of God to men where by all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God."

There is more to the definition, but I need to stop here. A right relationship with God. That line strikes a cord in my heart as I wonder if I even long for that at times. Being in a right relationship with God always means one thing in my life - facing sin and repenting. Facing my sin is not the easiest thing to do and frankly, I would much rather turn on American Idol than go through the process of getting right with the Lord.

I feel that I am at a place in my life where every little choice I make counts on the journey toward righteouness. Again, in all honesty, I get tired of the discipine it takes to always make the righteous choice! My study asked me to turn to I Kings and read the story of Elijah. God brought Elijah into a right relationship with Him by teaching Elijah how to trust. God started by providing food and water during a horrible drought. God often teaching us spiritual truths of provision through our physical experiences. Hunger, pain, exhaustion - God uses these experiences to lead us into a place where we chose between trusing in Him or in our own ability. Too often, we try everything our selves to remedy our physical need and THEN turn to God. Ultimately He is the only one that can satisfy those physical needs. What a foreign concept to my generation! We have a pill, a drink, a smoothie, a work-out video, a pair of shoes to cure anything and everything. If we don't "try" something first, we are looked as as weak. But God asks us to do just that - admit our weakness and say, "Only YOU, God, can meet my physical need."

When we allow our hunger for righteouness to trump all other desires, God not only satisfies our desire for righteouness, but He satisifies our other needs as well. I have to admit that I have not given God very many times to be this type of God for me. Far too often, I do everything I can to meet my own needs. God simply wants me to "trump" my desire for comfort, food, rest with a desire for righteouness - and He promises to provide that...the beatitude concludes with "he shall be satisfied."

Elijah's story is so cool! If you haven't read it for a while, go to I Kings 17 and 18 and read about how he took on hundreds of Baal's prophets in a showdown on Mt. Carmel. Elijah asks a very pointed question in V.21 - "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him." The Message puts it this way, "How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it's Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!"

Of course, none of us today would say we follow Baal - so what does Baal represent in our 21st century lives today? Following the Baals of this world is looking to another source (than God) to satisfy whatever hunger we feel. What do I hunger for? Feeling loved. Being accepted for who I am. Physical satisfaction (food in my belly - mainly chocolate!). I also think I like to numb my feelings of insecurity, boredom, failings. I do that more often than I dare to say. My number one way to numb my thoughts? Television.

I think God uses my racing mind to get my attention. I think God is asking me to come into his throne room and lay down all those burdens and let Him teach me, speak to me. Most times, I quiet those urges by turning on mindless TV. So, who am I chosing to follow? Who do I believe will satisfy my longings? How long am I going to try to sit on the fence of this world and chose both God and the world?

I have been challenged to print off this verse and tape it to my TV. I need this to be a reminder that the issue comes down to a simple choice; what am I really hungry for?

I believe the Lord is God. I need to follow Him.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Good Ending

The last week of February was a tough one. Joe and I experienced many blows this week. Obviously, the first one was the news about the delay in the adoption. The second, we have kept to ourselves, but all I need to say is something we had hoped and planned on didn't come through. We both were sent spiraling a bit.

But, God is so merciful! He let's us spiral a bit - He let's us question and cry and be angry. We don't have to pretend that we are always happy and "OK" with the answers we recieve.

Being unhappy and questioning is very different that losing faith. We never wavered in our faith our in the fact that God is sovereign and there are good reasons for the answers He gave us this week. We just didn't understand them and were a little angry that He didn't write a message on the wall explaining it all.

Saturday morning was tough - we fought, we cried, we yelled and by noon we parted ways for a few hours. Sometimes that is what we need most, a little breathing room. It wasn't a great day, but we both ended it feeling better and looking forward to Sunday.

Sunday is when God nurtured our broken hearts and held us. Our congregation was given the opportunity to pray silently at the end of the service. Joe grabbed my hand and we wrapped around each other like a comfortable old blanket. In the silence, we both just paused to listen to God. And, He spoke. "I've still got you in my hands."

That night, we gathered the kids into the family room and popped in The Gospel of John, committing to watching an hour or so each Sunday night. The kids all watched silently and attentively (I LOVE that my children are getting to that stage!). We didn't want to turn it off. But, Joe, the priest of the family, quitely turned it off and then led us in prayer. It was a beautiful, surrendering prayer that we all needed to be led in. The kids then asked questions about what they had just seen in the movie and we had the chance to really teach them.

After we tucked the kids into bed, Joe and I met in the kitchen and held each other tight as Joe whispered another prayer to our Lord and Savior. I know God uses all these disappointments in our life to teach us and I am grateful for where this whole journey has taken Joe and I in our marriage. We were angry, sad, confused all week, but by Sunday night, we were restored, renewed and refreshed.

Our God is so good.