Saturday, December 31, 2011

You'd Never Know...

You would never ever know that these two best friends, these two sisters, these two crazy little maniacs - were born far away from each other in different regions.

They are simply the best of friends and when apart one is ALWAYS asking about the other.

It's such proof to me of how God weaves our hearts and families together.

I hope their bond never, ever weakens...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Growing Out

Mebrate's hair is starting to really grow out...

And she is loving it!

Your hair is every bit as beautiful as your sister's girl...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cleaning The Plate

That plate right there - the one that's almost clean... that's a pretty big deal around here lately!

She was pretty proud of the work she put in!

Way to go Mebrate! Chow down girl...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pink Daddy With Hair

Meron drew a portrait of me on her new dry-erase board...

A little work of art we like to call "Pink Daddy With Hair."

Thanks a ton girl - now - can you make the hair part come true?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gifts That Give

We have an awesome friend named Jennifer who has been on both a trip to Africa with Laura and a trip to Africa with me. She also was one of the first ones signed up to go back with us in June/July of next year. Love her heart and her passion for the least.

This year she sent some Christmas gifts down for the girls that were just awesome.

There were princess outfits - cuz what little girl who is the daughter of a Heavenly King doesn't wanna dress up like the princess she is?

But there were also those envelopes the girls are holding. In each envelope was some money and there was a note from Jennifer that read:

"Meron and Mebrate - I admire both of you girls for your desire to help others and know that Jesus is so happy when we give to His children that don't have as much as we do. So, I put some money in an envelope for each of you to use to help someone else."
Uh... awesome! I read this to the girls and literally before I was done with it Meron said:
"I want to give my money to Carla and Evan to help bring their baby home from Africa."
It's almost like she TRIES to make me cry. Man - this girl and her heart. We have some friends who are in the process of adopting - they have their referral of the most precious little boy and we pray for them often. Like most adoptions - it's costing a fortune and apparently Meron has heard us talk about it around here.

I was so proud of her - but really not surprised. When she's not bossing her sister around, whining or pouting like a 4 year old - she has shown off a heart that only God could have built. I love it.

Check them out thanking Jennifer and giving a little shout out to who they are gonna help with their money (not quite sure who Mebrate is going after...)

Thanks so much Jennifer for helping us reinforce the beauty of giving...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Really Big Deal

That's about the best present I could have ever unwrapped. My two girls home together - under one roof. A far cry from last Christmas. And to me... a really big deal.

On Christmas Eve we got to be part of the Hope Market again and a bunch of giving, caring people gave a whole bunch of money to Brighton Their World. And to me... it was a really big deal.

Earlier today Meron displayed the God-given sacrificial giving nature of her heart. And to me... it was a really big deal.

But it all pales in comparison when we talk about THE really big deal. So tonight - after the toys, and the lights and the food and the fun all started to die down - here's what we huddled together and read:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
- Luke 2:6-21
If ya don't know THAT really big deal - man drop what you are doing and go get to know it. Seriously. Go. Now.

These guys right here are still a really big deal to me. But it's because of Christ - and His love for me - that I am able to love them the way I do. Unconditionally. Uninhibitedly. Unabashedly.

Today just couldn't pass without that being said. Merry Christmas everybody!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Today was nuts...

Just... busy nuts.

A lot of running around. A lot of last minute prep for my trip. But I got to be with my family - and that was awesome.

And these guys still manage to make it look good!

Merry Christmas Eve everybody!

Meron-y Christmas Everybody!

Meron wishes everybody a MERRY CHRISTMAS with some singing and some scripture and a guest appearance by Mebrate at the end...


Friday, December 23, 2011

Early Christmas Present

I got an early Christmas present this year. It came via text message and filled our house with some serious happiness. First - let me give ya some back story...

We spent Thanksgiving out in Little Rock with both of my sisters and their families. Meron and her cousin Sammy are close in age and they got a lot of playing in. You might remember this pic...

On several occasions I witnessed Sammy say something to Meron about wanting to pray - and then reaching out to hold hands and asking her to pray. She did (you know we are some praying fools around this place) and Sammy was just studying her.

On the way back to Atlanta, Laura and I talked about it and just marveled at how God built us - in His image - to desire to come back to Him. Sammy was yearning for that - wanting it - but wasn't quite sure what to do with it. And I knew my younger sister wasn't regularly attending a church or even semi-regularly for that matter.

What I did know was that she grew up in the same house that I did where Christ was NOT at the center of the family's focus (that's a different post for a different day...). So when I discovered the real Jesus - at the ripe old age of 31 - I immediately began praying for those I cared about. I mean - come on - those of us who know Him and get what He did for us - we want others to know it too, right? It's a freedom like none other... and I wanted my sisters to know it too!

After Thanksgiving I heard Wendy had gome home to NJ and her family had found a church that they were attending and digging it. I upped the prayers cuz I knew she'd be attacked - satan doesn't want someone to experience the true grace of God. So we were praying for her and her whole family - especially those kids.

On the way home from work last week I got this text message:

I could not wait to tell Laura. And Laura's joyful reaction was AWESOME! It wasn't that they were in church (we all know religion doesn't matter) - it was this statement right here:

"... it has made our hearts so much fuller this Christmas season."
Ain't that the gospel truth? That's what it does. It fills us up. Hello, Holy Spirit!

I've been riding high on this one all week. So thankful that God uses the little ones to reach us older stubborn ones! And thankful we're built the way we are and that God has the patience to wait us out...

Wendy - we are so happy for you guys and we'll keep on praying that you find that peaceful and full heart not just this Christmas season - but all year long!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Straight Up Weirdos

The girls love to know what "the plan" is. So when we came in the downstairs door I said...

"Okay - here's the plan. You guys run upstairs and use the potty and get some comfies on - we're gonna take a good quick nap..."

They scampered up the steps while I dipped in the office to grab something. Then I headed upstairs and came upon this...

They are some straight up weirdos!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Icky Boo Boo

We've had a little winter cold trying to attack Camp Hoffman lately. There's been some coughing. Some headaches (mommy and daddy). Some more coughing. Some coughing so hard there was throw up...

It's all just been Icky Boo Boo.

Tonight Meron took some medicine to help ease her cough...

And that was icky boo boo too.

Mebrate was just watching - didn't even have to take any... and she thought the whole situation was icky boo boo.

I hop on a plane to Africa in 6 days. Seriously - we're ready for icky boo boo to be GONE.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas Cards

Ya know - we debated and debated - weighed the pros and the cons - had a hard time swallowing the cost when it could pay for stuff like formula - and in the end - just flat out ran out of time.

So... there will be no Camp Hoffman Christmas card in the mailbox this year.

But wait! Don't panic (I know you were about to panic, weren't you?)...

The way we see it - most everybody on our list is probably the same group of people who drop by here so we decided to go one better than another old "open the envelope see a picture" card in the mail.

We made you a craft project!

So start a fire, make some hot cocoa and everybody gather around with your safe scissors and follow the instructions below!

And remember - HAVE FUN - because you are about 45 seconds away from the arrival of your Camp Hoffman Christmas card!

Maybe next year the traditional card will be back in play - until then - we hope EVERYBODY has an incredible Christmas season full of God, blessings, family and fun...

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Joy-O-Meter

Joy just radiates throughout my entire being when I see these two little works of art...

Add their mommy into the mix and my Joy-O-Meter about explodes.

I am blessed. And I am thankful.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Best Buds

I think God used the same mold when he made these two. Yeah, sure, He got creative with the hair and stuff... but the insides? Man - these two are a LOT alike. They crack me up when they're together and I LOVE seeing them just enjoy each other's company...

Thanks Hayden for being such a dope little friend!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Goofy Is As Goofy Does

We got a whole lotta goofy going around up in these parts these days...

Seriously - you'd think these two were identical twins with the way their goofy feeds off of each other.

But the cool thing about it is neither goofy ever over rides the other...

Nope - they are equal opportunity goofballs for sure...

Crazy outfits... rain boots in dry weather...

And smiles to top it all off.

Keep up the goofy girls!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gonna Shake Heaven

Meron's school unleashed this flock of sheep as part of their Christmas program today... and it was AWESOME!

They have put in SOO MUCH work the past few weeks getting ready for this. We couldn't wait to see it. This morning before school Meron looked up at me and said:

"Daddy... is my WHOLE family coming to see me?"
It was adorable.

She spotted us quick when she came out...

But quickly got in to character...

They did a TON of singing with some great dialogue sprinkled in. They talked a lot about worship and brought the show to an end with an awesome singing of "Gonna Shake Heaven (the Christmas version)"

We could not have been more proud of our girl!

Way to shake Heaven Meron - way to shake Heaven!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Good Friends, Good Cookies

One of our good friends invited the girls over tonight for a Christmas cookie decorating extravaganza...

So after a little bit of this...

And probably a LOT of this...

Our kitchen table has this!

So thankful for friends who love our girls with all their hearts...

Merry Christmas Heather!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Step By Step Hug

i LOVE watching their love...