Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Ransom

I have always struggled with the expense of adoption. I can't tell you how many people would say to us, "You are paying HOW much?" or my personal favorite, "Shouldn't the country pay YOU to take their orphan?"

There does seem to be some injustice in the huge cost involved in adopting an orphan, especially from a different country. As we wrote out each check, we would have to swallow back anger as each one went to a different pot; one to the US government, several to our agency, some to a local agency, and then a few to the Ethiopian government. We did it because we loved our son and wanted him home, but I still failed to reconcile that anger with the huge cost.

Until I led an adoption class this past Saturday. I decided to try a different curriculum..actually, I have yet to find one that I completely love, so I was piecing together two different sets of materials from adoption curriculums. There was one part from this new curriculum that I just knew I had to include...and it had to do with the cost.

The chapter begins with this verse: "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28. This verse is followed by a fill in the blank: Adoption requires a ____________ be paid, not a ___________. So, I filled in the blanks with suddenly clarity, adoption requires a ransom be paid, not a price.

A ransom. A ransom I am paying to free a captive. For George was a captive of poverty, neglect, abandonment, hopelessness. I needed to simply pay that ransom to set him free.

The old testament is filled with examples of God-followers being called to pay a ransom, to set captives free. Jesus did it to, providing us with the ultimate example. I Peter 1:18 says, "For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold and silver." Jesus paid the ransom for our lives, why do I expect to do less than that for another life?

As I taught the class, I went over this concept when I noticed a gentlemen in the class suddenly nod his head and tear up. It was as if God was using those words to speak directly to this man's heart. Later he approached me and said, "I have been dragging my feet because of the injustice of all the costs. God just kicked me in the butt and said 'pay the ransom'." I replied, "I know...I needed to hear that message, too."

Just as we could not escape our sin on our own, and we needed a savior to ransom us, George could not escape his captivity. A ransom needed to be paid for his freedom.

Another part of the ransom....God will provide. God provided the spotless lamb. God provided for us in unexpected ways. God will provide the ransom.

Talking

We have changed things up yet again around the Weldie household. The kids are back on the bus in the morning. The decision was initially made due to a schedule conflict this week. But, Joe and I were talking and thinking that we are going to use the bus for the remainder of the school year, which is only 30 days according to Eleanor who has been counting down and announcing that every morning. We are doing this for several reasons, but one of which is simply that the sun is up, and so should we be also.

I find that waking up early has huge benefit. I find no excuse to not be in the Word after the kids get on the bus. The house is quiet and the hour is still early. I also get to my chores that much earlier, which of course results in having a cleaner house earlier each day. That leads to fun times with Lincoln and Gunnar outside and then time solely focused on the older kids when they get home. All good stuff.

Also, George has matured since November. He was struggling with another little boy on the bus. And part of the problem was George and how he simply does not understand the social rules of mid-west America. Now, he is getting closer.

So, this morning is Show Choir rehearsal morning for Eleanor which means she does not ride the bus, but rather catches a ride with our neighbor. We have about half an hour between the kids getting on the bus and the ride catching and today, we simply sat at the kitchen table and talked.

It was a sweet time. I looked at my beautiful thirteen year old daughter wearing a Brewers t-shirt and sporting a pony tail, and marveled at how amazing she is. And I realized how crucial this half an hour was in a young woman's life. Eleanor often tells me how most 7th grade girls at her school talk so negatively about their moms. The girls talk about how "stupid" mom is, how "unfair and mean" mom is. It almost makes me cry when I hear it; and Eleanor just doesn't understand it.

When does that disconnect happen? When do moms and daughters start to find themselves on opposite sides of the field? Why does our culture seem to tell young women that it is the right thing to do?

This morning, Eleanor and I giggled, we hugged, and we spent time complimenting each other. I know that sounds kind of corny, but I have found that I really need to acknowledge all the things that Eleanor is doing well. And, she in turn, needs to focus on the things that Mom is doing well. It is good for our relationship to think about the GOOD things.

Moms, don't buy into the world's message that teenager daughters (and sons, for that matter) need to be rude, heartless and crude. I have an amazing relationship with my two oldest kids; Eleanor and I can sit and talk for hours about anything, and Harry will come to me with his deepest thoughts and feelings without embarrassment (usually late at night when the others are asleep).

Believe me, I am not naive enough to think that we have figured out the secret to raising teenagers; after all, we are JUST getting into the game. With two in middle school next year, I find myself entering a totally new stage in parenting. No longer are answers black and white; much of our parenting with them takes much more mental and emotional thought. But, I am trusting on Jesus.

Parenting, no matter what the situation, is impossible without Jesus. Having George in my life taught me to "pray on the spot" with and for my children. There have been times where we have been walking through WalMart, the kids all fighting with each other where we have huddled in an isle and said a quick prayer. Some may look at us and laugh, but I trust in Christ, not in the current culture which pits mom against tween. The Word says to turn to God about everything in prayer.

So...this seems like a rambling mess....but the bottom line is that I had a sweet talk with my thirteen year old today, and I am looking forward to millions of more sweet talks with her, even through these teen years.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anniversary Emotions

This time of year should find us always thinking back to 2009. And from what I have gained from the orphanage, George was dropped off at the orphanage this time of year in 2007. While this time of year brings renewal and life, it also reminds my son of abandonment and pain.

Experts say our adopted children will experience emotions, even subconsciously, over these anniversaries. My heart breaks thinking that George will spend spring-time reliving the shock to his system when his Africa-Mommy left him behind in a strange place. I can't even begin to understand that level of betrayal.

We thought we were making it through this time relatively well. We had a great weekend and George was very happy. Today, he ran out of the car his usual way...saying "I love you" and then slamming the door before running full speed into the school building. Nothing seemed wrong.

And then I got an email from his teacher. Teeth grinding. Threatening to hurt a class pet. Both are things I have never witnessed in George. And they surprised his teacher, too.

This is where things get so confusing. Is this behavior a hurting boy acting out the pain and abandonment he felt? Or is this a typical 7 year old boy who sometimes does things that would be considered out of character? I just don't know.

But, the email reminded me to pray. Sounds really bad that I needed a reminder, huh? The good news is that he has become so much a part of my life that I don't spend hours a day crying out to God over my relationship with him. The bad new is that I don't spend hours a day crying out to God over my relationship with him. So today I stopped everything and I prayed. And in that prayer time I recommitted this child to God, acknowledging that I can't even begin to parent him with out God in my life.

I'm not totally sure what is going on, or what happened today at school. But I am anxious for Georgie to get home so I can give him a big hug, help him with his homework, and then listen as he talks incessantly to me as I cook dinner - probably about shoes or cars or car shoes. Either way, I am looking forward to just being with my son today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm Enrolled

*Acknowledgement: the following idea is not my own. A friend sent me an email with this idea.

I guess I enrolled. I didn't realize what I was doing. There was no stated tuition, so I wasn't sure what the total cost would end up being. I purchased my books and showed up to most of the classes, only sleeping through a few. I have no idea when I will graduate, I guess that depends on my teacher.

I am officially a student at Jesus University.

I now have completed my freshman year. I messed up so many times this year. It was so much harder than I thought it would be. But, I sure had a merciful teacher. So often he would say, "Not quite, Traci. Why don't you try that again and then I will give you a grade?" Sometimes, my teacher would remind me to do what He would do. Often times, I would fall at His feet, crying, saying, "This course is too hard for me! Please, can I just flunk out and pretend I never enrolled in Jesus University?"

My teacher would ask, "Do you really want to do that? If you would just trust me, I will give you all you need."

Jesus University is no slouch school, no party school. It is the toughest education I have had. At Jesus University I have been asked to take up my cross daily and follow my teacher. Taking up that cross....not an easy thing to do. Yet, my teacher would look at me and say, "Take my yoke upon your shoulder. Let Me do the work with you. But I want you to do MY work...not yours."

I stared blankly at my teacher and said, "Your work is too much. Life was so easy before I enrolled! I mean, all I worried about was if my kids had clean clothes and got to school on time. Since I have enrolled, you have asked me to give up so much. I am tired of giving things up! I am bitter watching the rest of the world just stroll through the park! Can I just get an associates degree and get these lessons over with?"

My teacher laughed. "Oh Traci. I never promised that enrolling into Jesus University would be easy. I spelled it all out for you in the manual. The path is narrow, the road is hard. But, it is so much easier when you are looking at me and now everyone else. Keep your eyes focused on me. I won't lead you astray, but I will lead you through a path that will change you. And change...well...you need to change. You need to grow. I want you to look and act more like me."

I scoff, "That's impossible! There is no way I can be like you, teacher!"

Teacher looks with a face full of love and says, "Yes, you can learn to be more like me. It just takes work. Don't be afraid of the work. And remember, you volunteered to come to Jesus University. I never forced you to come. Go back to the manual and see how many times I have told you I love you and how my love is sufficient for you."

So, I searched my messy kitchen for my manual. Where did I put it? I haven't had time for a few weeks to look at it. I know it is here somewhere! Slowly, I open the pages...this is a HUGE university manual...and look for those words of love and encouragement. Once I start looking, they jump off the page!

I am overwhelmed with the messages of love I read.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful....(Ps. 25:10)
The earth is full of His unfailing love....(Ps. 33:5)
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens...Continue your love to those who know you...(Ps. 36:5 and 10)
May your love and your truth always protect me...(Ps. 40:11)

And then this verse: "It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them." (Ps. 44:3)

If I want to graduate, it is because my teacher has done a work in me....because he loves me.

My major in Jesus University has suddenly been decided: it not religious studies or theology, it is not criminal justice, it is not doctrinal teaching.

No, my major is LOVE.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gotcha Day!


Today, April 20th, marks our first "Gotcha Day". This is the day we celebrate the day George Bush entered our lives. Today, there will be no real party or fan-fare..I don't think any of us are totally ready for that. George gets so confused over any change in his routine, so today is going to be like any other Tuesday. My prayer is that someday, we can really talk about and celebrate the day we walked into a crowded orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and saw George standing there waiting for us.


But for now, I want to share a little about our weekend. Besides being crazy with multiple musical performances by Eleanor, two soccer games for Isabel, our ministry pot-luck lunch and a mission trip meeting, this weekend found George in his 2nd soccer game of the season.


I had watched a little of his practice a few days earlier and I noticed how quickly George was picking up on the game. But I have to admit, I was a little surprised when the coach sent out the starting line-up and there he was! As was the case in the first game, George's team charged like gang-busters up the field and controlled the ball for most of the game. George had a few great kicks here and there and was doing a fantastic job of being in the right position.


Then, all of a sudden, George stole the ball and had a clear lane in front of him. He looked up and ran full force and bam! Gggggooooooaaaaaallllll! I couldn't believe it! The whole crowd went wild - for some reason all the parents seem to cheer louder for a boy they know has had a tough life. George smiled from ear to ear as his teammates gave him high-fives.


I was especially touched by the way his siblings reacted. They all truly felt pride in their brother. Someone told me recently that a good way to know that the love is growing is to see how you react when your child does something special. Well, here was something special, and we all were so excited for George! Little Lincoln was sitting on my lap (because it was freezing!!) and clapped his hands wildly.


When George was called off the field, he made a bee line for us, wanting to make sure we knew he scored a goal. He ran straight to Lincoln and they hugged. Then Lincoln said, "Georgie! Come here! Georgie, I am so proud of you for scoring a goal!" Neither one could contain the joy they were feeling and it was rather contagious. All who were sitting around us got a little emotional at the display of true brotherly love.


But, the best part of the morning was when the game was over. George ran over to us and we thought he would talk about how he scored a goal or how his team won the game. No....he wanted to show us his snack and juice box!


So, on this "Gotcha Day" I can say that our love is truly growing and that George has forever changed our family. It is amazing what one little boy can teach a family and I still can't wait to see what God has in store for this boy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Segregated

Having a child of a different color than myself has truly opened my eyes. And spending a week in Ethiopia taught me what it would be like to live where I was one of only a few of my own color. Both experiences have changed my lives.

I now see the looks we get walking through WalMart, little boy with chocolate brown skin calling me Momma. Or, I notice the stares of the fellow soccer parents as Lincoln wrestles with his brother in between games. People do stare. People don't hide the contempt on their faces sometimes. Simply put, we still live in a world where people judge immediately based upon skin color.

I am sure you have heard about the most segregated hours in America. Those most segregated hours are Sunday mornings. Shame on us. When I was in Ethiopia, I attended a church that blew me away. Sprinkled among the congregation were dark skinned Africans from southern Africa, light skinned Ethiopians, fair skinned Americans and Australians, dark haired men and women from the Philippines, and a pastor who was clearly from South Carolina! All together, all worshiping the one true God.

During the choir-led worship, I heard high pitched trills coming from the African women. I heard shouts of praise in languages I couldn't understand. There was dancing in the isle, clapping, and lots of smiles. And I thought, this is a taste of heaven. Multi-cultural, multi-raced, multi-generational all joining in praises despite language differences. Beautiful.

Back in America, though, we cluster off. We have black churches, white churches, Moravian churches (still not sure what that is, but there are several in my small country town). There are so many choices of churches..almost as many choices as the cereal box isle.

So, I had coffee with a woman last week. She goes to a black church. I go to a white church. She is black - in fact, she is a liberal Democrat and former State Senator representing Milwaukee! And I am white, conservative Republican. We talked about how we could partner with each other by fostering children. Her church has an amazing program where the church has answered the foster care issue in our city. Her problem? No foster families, but lots of families in need. Yet, her church is working hard to minister to these families in need. Privately, she has been praying for years that my church would hear the call of these families who need help.

But, I have been working in central city Milwaukee for many years and I know one thing...we need to build community and relationships, not just volunteer for one day and then pat ourselves on the back. We don't help when we do that. If we partner with this church, we need to commit. We need to be ok with living with a black child, facing the stares and the dirty looks in our all white community. We need to learn how to care for hair and skin that is different than ours. But more than that, we need to face our deep seeded racism that was born generations before us. Sometimes, that is very painful.

It is time! Imagine two churches, one black, one white coming together several times a year to celebrate how children have been protected and loved. Imagine a black mom hugging a white foster mom and thanking her for loving her child while she got back on her feet. Imagine the message that would send to the world around us!

Right now, Christians send the message that we segregate on Sunday morning - you go there and I'll go here. Do you think the world would sit up and take notice if we changed that?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rescue

I Have Struggled About Writing This

I am sure you know what I am talking about...the Russia situation.

After Joe and I heard the news, we simply stared at each other, each one knowing what the other was thinking. I know how the woman felt.

You may hate me for saying that. You may judge me. You may begin to throw stones. But, to be totally honest, there were days that I wished I could go back in time and change things.

That said, in NO WAY to I condone what that woman did. It was heartless, selfish, immature and has potentially hurt thousands of families. She was wrong!

But, I will never throw a stone at her.

I have felt discouraged. I have felt defeated. I have felt at the end of my rope. I have yelled, screamed, stomped around, run away, and cried until I was too exhausted to move. THAT is the reality of my adoption story.

But, I have never given up.

One thing has kept me putting one foot in front of the other....Jesus. He has made all the difference in the world to me. He picks me up off the floor, wipes my tears and encourages me to move on. He loves me with an unconditional, unrelenting love. He reminds me that George is HIS child and that HE loves him more than I can ever imagine. And then He tells me that He has chosen me to be Georgie's momma and that is a privilege and a blessing.

I don't know if this woman had Christ in her life; I would suspect she doesn't. He would have made the difference.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Busy Time of Year

I find it so hard to sit down and blog these days...probably the sunshine mixed with warmer temperatures has me clamoring to simply be outside. But, these days have been busy....this week alone we have two soccer practices, two games, two musical performances and one Show Choir event.

The most exciting part of the week....we bought a John Deere tractor! Yippee!!! The grass was getting so long and I was able to convince my husband that it didn't need cutting until the worst happened...OUR NEIGHBOR CUT THEIR GRASS! That was it, Joe became obsessed with cutting the grass and since our push mower bit the dust at the end of last summer, we had to figure out something. Joe came home early yesterday, smile on his face and receipt in hand.

"Guess what, Babe?"

"Um...I have no idea. But, why are you home early?"

"I found a great deal on a used tractor and I bought it! I am so excited! It should be delivered in a few hours and I just can't wait for you to see it. She is a beauty. Oh, man, this feels great."

I cracked up. We have truly gone country!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gotta Love Arthur

I was cuddled on the couch the other day with Lincoln...it was a little rainy outside, I was waiting on a load of clothes on the dryer to finish, and it was about 15 minutes before the rest of the kids were due to come home. Lincoln was watching Arthur, you know, that PBS aardvark. I have always loved Arthur, it has been one of those kid shows that as an adult I could more than tolerate, I actually enjoy! Don't tell anyone, but I have been known to watch an entire episode of Arthur when NO kids were home!

So, this episode was about baby Kate and Pal. Kate was growing up and she was losing her ability to understand "DOG". While once, Kate and Pal could talk to each other, as Kate was now growing up, she was struggling to understand her dog's language. At one point in the show, there was an instance of Grandma talking to Pal, illustrating what a dog hears when humans talk to them. It went something like this:

"Pal gooble calou frumpis tralag ball setiong frestigh good yupin boinbub dog."

Suddenly I got it. Well, actually, I made the connection a few days later during George's soccer game. This is what George has had to deal with for the past 11 months. Understanding intermittent words here and there. Being in a world where everyone is speaking a language that he simply can not understand yet. So as I watched George play a game he had never played, thrown on a field with boys he hardly knows, and hearing a crowd of parents and coaches screaming out commands, I got it.

How frustrating and hard life has been for George this year. Yes, he has a family, a clean bed, an abundance of food...but at what cost? He has been thrown into new situations each and every day for the past year, forced to either conform or be left out, learn a new language and be expected to progress at an unreasonably fast rate. Wow.

No wonder he still has nightmares. No wonder we still talk about the same things over and over with him. No wonder he doesn't understand us. No wonder he says the wrong thing at the wrong time again and again.

Arthur gave me a reminder of all that George has been, and continues to go through. And I see just how far we have all come in this year.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Soccer Saturday

Saturday was George's first soccer game. I think he was nervous and excited at the same time; very understandable. Friday night was a make-up game for Isabel, and during the whole game, George was telling me he didn't want to play soccer anymore. Joe was getting frustrated, but I remembered what I have learned lately about this. We assured George that he would do a great job and that it would be fun.

Saturday morning, Isabel had another game, so we sat through that one before heading over to the field where George would be playing. So far, so good.

After missing two practices, then having a game and a practice cancelled due to Wisconsin weather, George has not seen his team for over 2 weeks. But, the boys recognized him and all called out, "Hey George!"

He smiled.

At one point, George tripped in the net and got his cleat stuck. The boy from Haiti (who could probably play up a few grades) booted a shot on goal that nailed George in the side. I sat and watched, so nervous about George and wondering how he would handle this. Suddenly, a few of the boys, including the one that kicked the ball, noticed George was stuck and ran to his aid. I saw George wipe away a few tears, say thank you, and then run back in line to take a shot on goal.

I was so proud of him.

The whistle blew and it was time for the game to begin. The team started strong, scoring two goals right away...again, thanks to you-know-who! George sat on the bench for that first set, and when it was time for subs to run out, he was right there with the next set of 5 players. Momma was so nervous. George just doesn't know that much about the game yet. I wondered how he would do...would he go the right direction....would he quit if something didn't go his way?

The answers: he did pretty well...he did kick the ball in the wrong direction a few times...and he did not quit. In fact, he did have a few key stops during the game that won great applause from the watching parents.

The final whistle blew and George's team won hands down. The boys high-fived each other and then shook hand with the opposing team. George ran to me and said, "Georgie like soccer!!"

I hugged him and sent him off to his huddle, as the coach wanted to talk to them.

Suddenly, I knew something was wrong. George was looking around in a panic. Did he lose us? Was he scared? No, he saw us...but he looked a little angry. Then, he saw what he was looking for and promptly marched over to the opposing team, reached out his hand and waited for a snack! I was horrified...and frozen. Thankfully, Harry showed some maturity beyond his years and calmly walked over to George, put his arm around him and tried to explain that he could NOT get a snack from the other team.

George was so angry and cried all the way to the car.

Mental note: put some granola bars in my purse before going to any more games.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Communions



This month was a rarity in my life since moving to Wisconsin...I had communion twice this month. These two communion ceremonies could not have been farther apart from each other if they tried. One left me empty... the other brought me closer to the Lord.


The first communion came as a total surprise. The pastor had preached for about 5 minutes when suddenly there we were facing communion...in the "middle" of his sermon. Whoa - I was not ready. I had not prepared my heart. I thought, "That's OK...I will use the time while the bread and the juice are being passed around to ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart." You see, I was raised in a home where communion was taken very seriously. I will never forget an incident when I was a teenager at church.


First, I must explain that my parents are in the choir; always have been, always will be. One of the added bonuses of Mom and Dad sitting in a lofty position facing the congregation is that they could watch their children....CONSTANTLY. They knew if I had been passing notes, or if I fell asleep, or if I was whispering and giggling with a friend. And most rides home, if I had misbehaved, I was asked a question about the sermon. Basically, I would have to admit that I wasn't paying attention and then they knew that I knew that they knew that I was not paying attention. Well, one of the times when I was being particularly irreverent happened to come during a communion. My dad did not let me off easy that time. He challenged me to read I Corinthians 11: 27 - 29: "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement on himself."


I have never forgotten those words. From that moment of teenage epiphany, I have set my heart and my mind on going through an intense examination of myself before I eat the bread. There have been times I have passed on the bread because I was in the middle of confessing sin and I knew I wasn't ready. What is the point of examining myself? The point is to acknowledge to myself and to God how desperately I need a savior! To say to myself and to God that I need the sacrifice that was made and to come clean before my Lord.


So, this Sunday there was no examination. Why? Because as soon as the plate of bread (or more like tiny crumbs of hard, tasteless crackers) began to make it's way through the isles, music from the worship team blared through the sound system. And this was not a quiet hymn, it was pretty loud and all the congregation was asked to join in. Join in? But those words on the screen had nothing to do with what I needed to do at that moment! I needed to be quiet....silent....and reflect on the dark places (and even the not so dark places in my heart) that needed confessing. Confess? Not even possible. I stuck my fingers in my ears and tried in vain to concentrate, make my mind went numb, then it kept going back to the words being sung by 3000 people. I took the bread anyway. I ate the bread anyway. And then I felt sick. This was wrong.


OK, try again. This time the cup. Pastor prays, the plates of cups start moving and then boom, bam, whap! This time a raucous song with electric guitar, bass and drums! What? I can't do this! I have not confessed anything and all I am doing is getting more and more confused about what this moment is about! Is this a worship concert, complete with lead solo before the audience (and at this point I do feel like part of an audience at a concert) is asked to Please Join.


I don't take the cup. I leave. I feel empty.



Tale two. This time in a small country church. I had been invited to a Seder Supper. Candles on the table, four small cups of grape juice and baskets of matzo bread on each table. There are probably 100 people there, in a gym, of all places. We were led through a traditional Jewish Seder supper which reenacts the Passover meal that Jesus would have been partaking in for his "last supper".
We ate bitter herbs dipped in salt water, we ate horseradish to induce tears, we had a delicious mix of apples and raisins that symbolized the mortar used by the Israel slaves to make bricks. And then we took the bread and remembered the broken body. An older gentlemen led us in prayer. The room was silent. He prayed unscripted, from the heart, an obvious man of God. Remember Jesus. I ate the bread. Then another older gentlemen rose to lead us prayer. He prayed and I shed a tear. I searched my heart in the silence and lots of junk came out and I laid it before God and simply said, "Forgive me." I drank the juice.


We rose and sang a simple praise song. With only a piano. I left filled.

Pray With Me

Good day dear ones,

Wednesday morning, I had the amazing opportunity to meet and pray with an Elmbrook couple who are also foster parents. I would ask that you read their story and then come back to this email to see how you can provide a small bit of help to this family:

http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/83736552.html


I saw these twins and let me tell you, God is healing them!!! They look amazing considering what they have been through and their foster momma and daddy LOVE them with every bit if their being. They need our help! First of all pray, pray, pray! On April 20th, a bio sister of the mother (the one who was in jail for child abuse before horribly abusing her twins) has sued for custody. April 20th is a jury trial to decide if the foster couple can keep these twins. At this point, I need to give a bit of background: the twins came to the foster couple at 2 days old and lived with them until they were about 7 months old. This sister was given the children by a social worker and judge. She in turn gave them to their mother and father. For over 3 months, these boys endured horrendous abuse. These boys will never be the same. Now, this sister wants them back again. Pray that justice is done! Pray hat these precious boys, who are thriving and healing in this loving home, are allowed to stay there. Unfortunately, this will be only the first trial...the foster couple hope to adopt these boys and that will bring many more battles. So, will you join me in pray on April 20th? There court date starts at 8:30am. I am asking for a time of prayer and fasting that morning.

Will you join me? Next....can you purchase a pack of size 5 diapers? Foster dad is laid off...they also have a 9 month foster child in addition to the twins....and all they asked for was diapers. Let's see to it that they have plenty of size 5 diapers! If you can help, please purchase a pack of diapers, tape a piece of paper with my name on it (Traci Weldie) and put it on the shelf above the coat rack behind the information desk (right across from the chapel). I will collect diapers until Wednesday afternoon, when I will then drive the load over to the family.

This couple is trusting completely in God...they both say they would do it all over again for these boys...and they cried out to God with honest tears for help.

Thank you,Traci Weldie

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reading Daniel

One of my favorite times of the day has become reading the Bible with my kids each morning. Let me tell you...when I don't do it, my day stinks! And, it really is up to me. I can't rely on my kids to motivate me to sit at the kitchen table and pull out the Bible. If it were up to them, they would continue to putz around in the morning. But, I am banking my children's lives on one verse of scripture: Isaiah 55:11 "...so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

God's Word will accomplish a work. Period. God's Word has power and is effective.

My job, as Momma, is to pour that Word into my children's lives. Daily. And then trust that His Word will do a work. It's not about me...it's about Him.

It took us only four months to get through Matthew - ha! Those four months of reading and conversations were amazing, though. The kids got to know Jesus. To actually read his words and not simply be told a story in Sunday School was a new experience. They get bits and pieces of Jesus' teachings at church, but they had never been given the whole picture; birth to death to life again, sprinkled with thought provoking teaching, miraculous wonders, and challenging requests. And the three oldest kiddos soaked it all in.

My question for weeks was where do we turn next? Harry wanted to study Revelation (that is so like Harry!), Eleanor requested an Old Testament book that was more of a story (that is so like Eleanor!), and Isabel just sat and played with her hair (that is so like Isabel!). I didn't make a decision for a few weeks - I simply let us finish Matthew. Then, in a clear voice I heard DANIEL. Perfect! There is an amazing story for Eleanor, deep and confusing prophesy of end-times for Harry, and for Isabel...well...it is time spent together.

So, on Monday we started Daniel. I am always amazed at the questions the kids ask as we read. The kids wanted to know why we call Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego those names, when those are NOT their given names, but rather names that Nebuchadnezzar gave them. They wanted to know how old Daniel was and what had given him the courage to not partake in the good food, but rather chose the better path. They commented on how Daniel's first response to being told the king's dream was to praise God...not to run to the king crying, "I've got it!". And then they laughed at how short the king's memory was (falling down praising God and then the next moment building a golden statue of himself that all must bow down to!). This is good stuff!

The home school mom in me pulled out maps of the different empires and we discussed those in reference to the statue of gold, bronze, silver, iron and clay. And we were even able to tie in teaching from Matthew and the kingdom of God, how it is here and it is coming. I often sit back and am amazed at how much these three "get it".

And then, I am reminded, that it is all about God's Word! If I am faithful to my part, pour it into their lives and their hearts, God's Word is going to see to it that something is accomplished. I have no idea what that will be...for now, it is knowledge - historical and Biblical. There are also spiritual gains - I am sure of that! I want my kids to have this knowledge in order to guide them as they face tough decisions as teenagers and young adults. I am learning that the Bible is so rich in so many ways....the kids gain that history knowledge, an understanding of geography and how places in the Bible correlate with places in today's world, and their vocabulary is enriched. But, most importantly, they are learning how to recognize the voice of God. They are hearing His words daily. My prayer is that they recognized God's voice so well that they know when they are hearing a voice that is NOT God's - and turn away from that voice, seeking the one true voice.

All three older kids have come to me in the last two weeks saying the same thing: I have decided to follow Jesus, but I don't feel any different. Do I have to ask him again? Did I do something wrong?

I am sad that our children feel like asking Jesus into their hearts should bring a rush of emotions, should result in a drastically new life...when in reality, they wake up in the same bed in the morning, are faced with the same annoying little brothers making too much noise, and go off to school to do the same thing over and over again. I think the Christian world has sold us a bill of goods - instead, I should be telling my kids that deciding to follow Christ will be challenging, difficult and hard at times. There WILL be those mountain top experiences where you feel your heart leaping out of your chest, but we can't live there. God is in the whisper, the slightest breeze, the mundane of our lives. That is where we learn how to follow Him.

All I can do right now is model and teach my children the importance of being in The Word each day. The Word will teach them how to follow. And I know, without a doubt, that God has great plans for these kids!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Family














































Let's Go Fly a Kite...
















As one of my favorite songs says, "Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest heights. Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring. Up through the atmosphere. Up where the air is clear. Oh, let's go...fly a kite!" Thanks Aunt Chris!





Some Spring Break Pictures

We had a lot of fun in Ohio - here are just a few pictures from our trip. We had a beautiful day at
the park:


















Lincoln got quite the injury in Ohio - he is telling people he "ran into a stick". We closed it up with a steri-strip and avioded a stitch. It looks great now!



It wouldn't have been a complete time with Grandad without a time of baseball.





The kids all enjoyed morning games of tennis in the driveway with Grandma and Grandad.






Lincoln would occasionally break out into his "rocker" mode and use his tennis racket as a guitar.



George was very good at tennis!



Dinner time found all five kids fighting over who got to sit at the bar. This time, the three youngest "won".



Just goofing off!



George rode his bike every chance he got. He was so muddy after this ride!




Brother and sister who love each other dearly!


Our joy giver!