Check out the shirt Meron is rocking - it's the official team shirt of the Ethiopia Smile 2010 team that flew out today for Ethiopia.
What's that you ask? Oh you know - just a small team of 67 PEOPLE heading to Africa to hug on orphans, do dental work and bring the love of Christ to everybody they come in touch with. That's all.
We're so excited to be a tiny piece of this team from afar that we can barely stand it. We donated 300 pounds of formula for them to take and we are committing to stand by them in prayer while they are gone. Will you join us?
Check out their blog and Facebook group page for more information and updates.
Below is their prayer request card with some specific details around the where and when and what to be praying for.
Thanks for supporting this incredible team. I am telling ya - there is little in the world that makes my heart glow more than an Ethiopian Smile! See what I mean?
God - bless this trip, this team and every single person they come in touch with...
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Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I love when Meron just fills in the words in songs. Pure confidence - just rolling with it.
I have seen this happen on stage at church before (with the lyrics projected in front of them!).
Maybe she's destined to be a worship leader...
"If that mockingbord don't sing, I'm gonna buy you a mocking bird."
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Look at that porch - we have tons of room! Our hearts feel the same - and even though they are a little more crowded (Brighton takes up a good chunk of that real estate!) we have plenty of love to go around.
We can't wait to be loving on LH3 (or "sistah" as Meron calls her) and losing some of that porch space to her!
And this girl simply can not wait to be a big sister! She's excited - mostly because she thinks her sister is bringing her toys from Africa - but excited nonetheless!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thank You Granny. For all of the hugs. For all of the kisses. For making me muffins and eggs and toast. For praying for me at bedtime. For letting me swim in my bath (mommy and daddy don't do that!).
Thank you for an incredible weekend you and all of your awesome friends set up to help us with the stuff God wants us to do...
Thank you for loving me and my Brighton and my baby sister. And for your gigantic heart for all orphans everywhere.
I love you!
Love always - Meron
Saturday, September 25, 2010
That's what Meron screamed when she got out of the car yesterday. She's been talking about this trip for about 2 weeks and she couldn't contain herself when she finally saw her Granny.
Her face doesn't show it all - does it?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Meron loves motorcycles. I mean she LOVES them. It was one of her first words (even though back then it sounded like 'Mexico') and she is still quick to yell out "Look daddy - motorcycle!" every time we see one.
The other day I had mine out and she wanted to sit on it - then we did a first - against her SERIOUS protests - we started it.
She was ecstatic! She loved it! Big smiles all around.
After telling her that her cousin Ansley was about her age when I took her on a ride on this very same motorcycle (many years ago) - she decided she wanted to take her first ride...
We helmeted up and did it!
She had an absolute blast - she wanted to keep going and keep going...
The whole thing only lasted a few minutes but it'll stick with me forever - she was holding on so tight and smiling so big. Made my heart smile.
I hope she enjoyed it even half as much as I did...
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I think when we become parents we become hyper-sensitive to being judged on our parenting skills. We compare our children's development to all those around us and then when little Johnny isn't conjugating verbs or diagramming complex sentences when neighbor Sally is - we start to question our ability to parent.
None of that matters. It doesn't. Meron drove that home for me tonight. We were heading home after a daddy/daughter date and I was bragging on her mommy. It's not hard to do. Laura is super, dope incredible and I am still shocked I get to wake up everyday and call her my wife.
I mean seriously - hard-working dedicated career woman, amazing mom, incredible house manager, she finds time to run, never misses anything with Meron, dedicates time to her college age bible study, advocates for orphans every single day, hangs out with and supports her friends, likes to mow the front yard... I could go on and on and on.
So back to where I was - we're driving home and I said "Meron, you have a really good Mommy."
And she said:
"I know. I do. And you are a really good daddy too."Talk about a performance review to be proud of. Best one I have ever received.
And nothing else matters.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
If you visit our friends over at Team Radicchi - you may have already seen these pics. But they are too awesome not to post here too!
Seriously - seeing all these kids together and having a blast is like a z-pack for my soul. Instantly heals it. Makes it feel better.
Thanks guys - for being such awesome little reminders of the glory and love of our God.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
When Meron pulled out the bike we've been borrowing from our super duper neighbors for like the past FOREVER - I was shocked to see how well she fit on it. It's funny how we don't notice them growing til we have some tangible measuring stick... like pedals.
She was crazy excited to try it out - but the concept of pedaling was kinda lost on her.
She relied mostly on her mommy motor and would occasionally just slam the brakes on for no reason. But she's working on it...
And look at that determination! When she gets it - and she will get it... all I am saying is "watch out Lance!"
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
What an incredible couple of weeks it has been for kids and families! We've had adoptions finalized in the states, new referrals coming in from Africa, formula heading to Ethiopia - and this past weekend - Meron and Mommy got to be part of the welcoming home party for this awesome family!
Needless to say - Meron was pretty pumped about the whole thing!
As we all were actually. Seeing this family finally united as one is nothing short of a miracle. God bless this team for their incredible patience, persistence and inspiring obedience. We are blessed to know them!
Welcome home Claire! Can't wait to watch this growing group of kids do life together!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
okay - so heres how it all went down. Laura wrote up a great description of how the referral came in - thanks Laura - ya made me cry in a doctor's office!
I must preface this with letting you know that for the last 4 weeks I have kept my cell phone right by my keyboard at work, just in case the call came... [laura]
It was Thursday afternoon and I was trying to get some work done before I had to run Tymm over to Hertz to pick up his rental car. It was 2:35, exactly, and for some reason, my phone was in my purse. I heard it ringing. I grabbed it out of my purse, looked at it and saw the infamous "817" that so many other families have written about. I quickly answered and started to walk away from my desk which is in the center of a massive cube farm.
Me: "Hello?I mean, she and I had been emailing about our formula shipment to Ethiopia, so she could have easily been calling about that, right?
Natalie: "This is Natalie from Gladney."
Me: (trying to be so cool and collected) "Oh, hey, Natalie. How are you?"
Natalie: "I am good. I have a referral for you."Tears stinging my eyes right now, just reliving that moment...
I was standing in front of the windows that overlook I-75 in Midtown. I braced my hand on the shelves in front of me, feeling like I was going to fall... I bent over out of shear shock and joy, tears filling my eyes.
Me: "Oh, my gosh. Really? Oh, my gosh. Oh, okay. Um…Um…This is the best news ever."I am sure Natalie is used to moments like this, and I am envious of her job.
Natalie: "Can you and Tymm get together?"I then went in a daze over to my desk and called Tymm with shaking fingers.
Me: "Yes, he only works a mile away. He can be here in 15 minutes."
Natalie: "Okay, great! I will give you my direct number so you can call me when you are in front of a computer."
Me: "Um, can you tell me how old she is? I am shaking."
Natalie: "Let me see…she is 21 months."
Me: "Wow…thank you. Thank you. 21 months. Wow. Okay, what is your number?"
Natalie: "817-xxx-xxxx. Call me when you are ready."
Tymm: "Hello?"lonnngggg pause and tears
Tymm: "Hey. What’s up?"
Me: "Can you come over here now?"
Tymm: "What’s wrong? You okay?"
Tymm: "What is it?"More tears while I type this.
Me: "We have a baby!"
Tymm: "What? Seriously? Okay, I am coming over."I then went downstairs, walking through the parking deck to wait for Tymm. He was there, a few minutes later. We were walking toward each other. Big goofy Cheshire cat grins on our faces... big hugs and tears together.
The beauty of this parking deck is that 2.5 years ago, in the very same parking deck, Tymm had to call me with the devastating news that Brighton had passed away. I was in the parking deck when he called.
Our God is such a beautiful God of details that he allowed a bit of our hearts to be healed in that very same parking deck where it was torn apart 2 years prior. It is no coincidence. It was a moment of turning ashes into beauty...
We then ran inside to a quiet computer lab, called Natalie and she emailed us tons of pictures of one of the most beautiful little girls we had ever seen. It was instant love. INSTANTLY.
We went over medical files, family history, and other details for the next 45 minutes.
Our girl has an incredible story of sacrifice, heartache, God's redemption and love. Her story. Every orphan has a story. We are incredibly honored to be a part of hers.
Thank you, God – again, for giving us this precious gift. We do not deserve to raise these children, but will do our best to Glorify Him in all we do.
Our prayer is that more people will accept this gift of adoption... this gift that can only come from the Lord.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
This weekend was NUTS. Nuts I tell you. But nuts in a grand way.
It all started Friday morning - we packed up 300 pounds of formula in a rental car and I hopped in and hit the road. First stop - Arkansas.
Got in to Arkansas in the late afternoon. After popping the trunk to show off the stash, I set up camp at my sisters house. These guys are awesome - such huge supporters of all the nutty stuff we do and always willing to jump in and help. THANKS GUYS for the incredible hospitality, conversation and fun!
Next morning I was up early and back on the road - destination: TEXAS.
Rolled in there around 2:30 and hung out with these guys! I didn't get pictures of their whole crew but I am telling you right now - Team Alexander is AWESOME. What an inspiring family - I was blessed and blessed and blessed again this weekend by them. Love their faith. Love their deeds. Love their family. I mean really - I just love these guys.
We talked about Ethiopia, we shared referral info (they will be hugging on our baby girl in about 3 weeks - can't think of anybody better to do it!), we talked about God, missions, love, faith... man - I just clicked with them.
And to top it all off - they took me to a Rangers-Yankees game. Moody, Wick and Hill must have put some kind of Texas spell on them because somehow, some way - we lost all 3 games to them. It hurt a little - better to get that outta the system now before play-offs!
I got up early and prepped to leave - standing in their foyer - saying a prayer over the pile of formula and other supplies for their upcoming mission trip - I was seriously moved. Thank you God for allowing me to glimpse this family - full of passion for you - understanding joy in suffering and just wanting to throw the world to the wayside and live for you.
I was really, really energized by them.
By 11:00 AM Sunday I was back in Atlanta at the airport hopping in the car with this girl - I was barely gone for 48 hours but the reunion with her and Laura is ALWAYS so sweet.
Will you join me in praying for Team Alexander as they head to Ethiopia with a giant team of dentists and others just willing to love on the children? Seriously - God is alive in these guys...
THANK YOU TEAM ALEXANDER!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
We interrupt this program already in progress to bring some breaking news...
Camp Hoffman just grew to a party of four because... WE GOT OUR REFERRAL!
Yep - that's right - we were surprised today in such an incredible way! We're still wrapping our heads around it - more details to come!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Meron just MIGHT have met her match in the hug department. I don't think she was arguing though. She fell in love with Addie right off the bat...
From their matching swim suits to their love of ring-around-the-rosie... you would have thought these two were long lost friends - not two kids just meeting for the first time!
I love watching kids get along immediately - no class issues, no color issues - just love and fun. It's how God made us to be.
Thanks girls for letting us glimpse that this weekend!
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