We have a baby sister!

We have a baby sister!
Joshua & Aaron hold Abby the first time.

Abigail Helena Tsegay Wright

Abigail Helena Tsegay Wright

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Considering the Lilies

One week from today I will be back at work with a bang...headed to Salt Lake City for a business trip. Ouch--I will be away from the family for 3 nights--leaving Tuesday morning and returning Friday afternoon. The good news is that I should not have to travel for a while after this trip and at least I get a lot of frequent flyer miles since it is a long flight out West!

The other good news is that I think I have managed to secure the flexibility of working from home one day a week (probably Thursday). I was so nervous about talking to the boss about it and it actually turned out to be a non event. If you read the last blog you can better appreciate my anxiety. Here we are in the red and I am asking for more flexibility at work. Who does that? All the way to the lunch meeting I kept repeating, "consider the lilies". It turned out to be a great meeting and I feel much better about going back to work.

I can tell the boys are a little anxious, but they are being the troopers they always have been. The trick for them, and I suppose any 9 year old boy, is keeping them focused. If they get off schedule in the afternoon we are doomed. This is very delicate because getting off schedule is incredibly easy. For instance, feeding the dogs can lead to an ice cream sandwich (the dog food is beside the extra freezer). Opening the freezer for ice cream leads to questions about what is for dinner. What is for dinner leads to a discussion about how many times we have had chicken in the past week. Too much chicken leads to both boys agreeing they would like to order pizza. Then one is off looking for coupons and the other is digging through the piggy banks. They talk it over and devise a plan. One of them calls me at work to see how my day is going and pop the pizza question. All the homework is forgotten and lying on the kitchen table with a pencil or two in the freezer. Basically, the nine year old boy's ability to focus on one task at a time is pretty much non existent. So we have been working on this and have decided to make an afternoon check list. I'll let you know!

Little Abigail will be home with the au pair. It should be a smooth transition for Abby since she will be in comfortable, familiar surroundings. I just need to make a schedule for the au pair, and get over my own misgivings about going back to work.

So if you see me around and I am muttering about lilies, it might have been a rough day. Just offer a silent prayer for me...I am a work in progress!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Pilgrim's Progress

I have only a week and a half before I return to work. The time has simply flown by! I have very much enjoyed being home with the kids and taking care of everything here at home without being pulled in different directions. While I am anxious about returning to the office, I am also a little excited to get back in the swing of things. The perfect job would allow me to work from home a few days a week so I don't feel so stinkin' behind all the time. I hate that feeling like I am a hamster on a wheel--spinning, spinning, spinning. My goal is to try and find more balance. Heavy sigh here because I have yet to succeed, but this time I will be more deliberate and positive. Check in to see how that goes!!!!

A few blogs back I mentioned that I sense the turning of a page for our family and how we approach life in general. The trip to pick up our daughter (still loving how that sounds..."daughter") really changed our perspective and sparked a strong desire to do things differently. First on the agenda is to become absolutely debt free. So we took a hard look at the finances and mapped it out. Armed with our new plan, we were excited and eager to get started.

Then, excuse the expression, but I am beginning to think that all the wrath in hell was unleashed on us. At the risk of sharing too much information let me tell you a bit about the last 2 months in the Wright household:

1) Before we even left for Africa the airfare almost doubled.

2) Before we left we put the car in the shop because of a funny sound. We landed to the tune of repairs costing $2500 smackaroos.

3) The old car the au pair drives is leaking oil badly so we needed to buy a new one. Found a great deal on an old Saab--3000 more dollars flew out of the account. We thought we could get at least $2000 for the Volvo (the mechanic said $2500 so we thought we were being conservative with the $2000 estimate). Almost 2 months on e-bay and Craig's list and we have been offered $800. The tires on the beast are worth almost $500. Heavy, heavy sigh here.

4) Transmission started slipping in Shawn's truck. $800 later we really do praise God it was not the $2200 the mechanic originally thought.

5) Family trip to the dentist went awry and we will need about $700 in treatment not covered by the insurance. And, they tell me we have excellent insurance.

6) Engine light on in my car. Something with a throttle and blah, blah, blah. $800 more dollars. I am beginning to feel numb.

7) We need to readopt Abigail in the U.S. to secure American documents for her and we planned on about $800. Guess again...because we live in Fulton County, GA we are paying approx $1800.

So in the last 2 months we have spent $12,000 dollars that was NEVER in the budget, and it was most definitely not on this new map we made to get out of debt.

The evolution of my prayers went something like this:

Oh Lord, we were not planning to spend this much on airfare. I know your hand is in this and you have us covered so I refuse to fret. We will have Abby soon. Please keep us safe as we travel.

Well, we have not really had any major work done on the car and thanks God we have the cash to take care. It could be much worse. No worries.

Thank God we have the Volvo to sell and replace most of the cash to pay for the "new" old Saab we need to buy. God, please help the car sell quickly!

Your truck is doing what? Transmission???? Aren't those things expensive to repair? I knew that truck was a lemon when you bought it. What are we going to do? Oh, Lord!

Boys, brush your teeth after EVERY meal from now on. God, you see what is happening down here. You got this, right?

You have got to be kidding me. An engine light? Oh GGGGGGOOOOOOODDDDDDD, where are you? Did you forget about us down here? You see we have been faithful and well this is not part of the plan. I hear nothing...not even static.

Okay, what next? I am rolling with the punches. This Lord? Well this is simply ridiculous. I just don't understand.

I'm not real proud of it, but that is the ugly sum of it. I am sure none of you ever talk to the Lord that way and none of these thoughts ever invade your prayers. I figure he knows the real me and it is better just to get it all out there.

So I have been depressed and anxious and I will just go on and admit it, even a little angry. Why? Why is this happening now? I just want to enjoy our new baby and bask in the newness of it all. Come on God, work with me here. We are the good guys.

While the budget was rapidly entering the red zone, I spent many hours helping my amazing boys memorize Matthew 5, 6, and 7. To complete memory level 5 they must be able to recite all three chapters word PERFECT in one sitting. Pretty heavy stuff for little fellas, but they are simply amazing (get that from their mom's side--wink, wink). In case you have no idea what Matthew 5, 6 & 7 encompasses, it's the Sermon on the Mount and let me tell you that it has much more than the Beatitudes and the Lord's prayer. Those chapters pack a pretty powerful punch and listening to your 9 year old sons quote it from memory is a humbling experience.

I listened to the words..."consider the lilies...are you not much more valuable than they...why should you worry what you will eat...even the pagans run after these things but your heavenly father knows what you need...he sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous...do not worry about tomorrow...each day has enough trouble of its own."

And then I knew. Well, let me rephrase: I have no idea why this is all happening to us now and I am frustrated that MY plans are thwarted. I do know that I have a heavenly father who knows what I need and sometimes I get out in front of him. He gives me just enough rope (kinda like I do with my children) and then he very patiently beckons me back. He reminds me that I am not in charge of these situations even though I like to act like it (ouch, ouch, ouch).

Then he very gently says to me, "What, child, did you really learn from this trip to Ethiopia? Did you really see all those people? Did you see the hunger? Did you see the disease? Did you see the pain? When you were in that church with hundreds of my people praising me did you see that? They have nothing. Yet they were so sincere in their praise that you felt it even though you could not understand a word. You felt my presence there and you saw me when you looked at them. Those people are depending on me for their very next meal. They have no idea how they will survive even one more day. You child have been blessed beyond measure. You will bask in a warm shower and choose from a closet full of clothes. Tonight you will lie in a dry, soft bed. You will put leftover food in your refrigerator because your children could not consume all that you prepared. Do I need to continue?"

There is nothing really for me to say. Like a little child caught being naughty I can only shake my head.

"Child, you must learn to depend on me. I am here and I am aware of your every circumstance. Do you really know who I am?"

Still nothing for me to say. So I nod my head and the tears come.

But He won't let me go yet. "If you know who I am then why are we having this conversation?"

And so I am utterly ashamed and speechless before my heavenly father. He does not really expect an answer. He made his point and put the ball squarely back in my court.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Love

Yet another week has flown by with our new little one. She is constantly entertaining us. Ok well, maybe Josh and Aaron are not always entertained! They adore Abigail, but they are now willing to concede that little sisters can be hard work and just a teensy little bit annoying at times!

She is even more beautiful than when we got her home and she is rapidly turning into a saucy little thing. When they brought her to us on June 22 she was so mild and quiet. I was a little taken aback because nothing about my mothering experience prepared me for mild. Josh came into the world screaming to high heaven probably mad because he had to go first and Aaron arrived over an hour later red-faced and angry with the doctor who was holding him up by one leg. And just like that we had two of the most rambunctious, loud mouthed, quick witted little boys God has ever created. I was so in over my head and I am still so in love with them:-) They continually teach me so much about life and perspective. The world is a different place when you take the time to look through little boy eyes.

So Abigail's meek and mild was like a different language. As it turns out I should not have worried. She is tiny, but let's just say she is fitting in nicely here with the Wright boys! Last week she had one of her Abigail fits (that is what me and the boys call them now). She was full. She was dry and clean. She was not even so tired, but she was mad about something. I gave her gas drops for her stomach. I gave her teething tablets. I gave her crackers. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Five more minutes to finish something and I could give her my undivided attention. She was not having it and she screamed at me like every strand of DNA she has came straight from Shawn Wright. So there we were facing off in the kitchen and I started laughing. She is really ours and she is really perfect!

We do get lots of looks. People stop us all the time and make funny faces at her and talk to her in that silly voice only cute babies can elicit. I have actually started padding the schedule a bit to leave room for all the random conversations we now experience. People say the weirdest things. "Is she adopted?" That one took me a little off guard and I just nodded my head. I have since thought about how to respond. "No, we don't know what happened really. Do you think they could have mixed up at the hospital? Oh well, we have her now..." Or maybe, "No, just some crazy thing nature does sometimes. You know how sometimes two really, really white people have a black baby?" Maybe I will just tell Shawn so he can answer. He is much better at those responses than me. I'll just stick with my MO and smile sweetly thinking what a goober:-)

Overall, I have been positively overwhelmed at the reactions. People of every background have responded with such enthusiasm and warmth. Last week we sang "We Worship You" in our church's version of VBS. It was like a new song for me that night:

Lord You are good and Your mercy endureth forever
People from every nation and tribe
From generation to generation
We worship You
Hallelujah Hallelujah
We worship You for who You are
You are good, all the time, all the time, You are good

Standing there next to Shawn, I held Abigail and looked over a sea of children to find Josh and Aaron dancing like fools, singing at the top of their lungs and I realized I was getting a little glimpse of heaven.