Thursday, June 30, 2011

Genesis One and One

Meron has some beef with the word "Amen." It's weird. About a month ago she simply started refusing to say it. She'll pray her little heart out but go dead silent at "Amen."

It's nuts. I say "Meron! Why won't you say it?" And her response is always the same:

"I don't like that word."
Weird, right?

I dunno if someone bullied her on the playground while screaming "Say Amen! Say it!" or something nutty - but she is dead-set against using it.

However - the other night she more than made up for it when she dropped this gem on us at the dinner table in lieu of "Amen." Check it out below (we recorded her later saying it again):

Is it just memorization? Yep.
Is it being required of her at school? Yep.
Is it the sweetest thing I have ever seen? Yep.
Is the Holy Spirit involved? Yep - I believe so.

Hearing her rattle off scripture made our hearts swell. We were happy, proud, enamored and in awe all at the same time.

Meron - you got a 30+ year head start on where daddy was with the bible - KEEP IT UP GIRL!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We woke up this morning to an email in Laura's inbox from the embassy. Yep - you guessed it...

They want some more info.

Meron's face summed it up pretty well (and hey - background Buzz Lightyear - wipe that smirk off your face...)

So we hunker down... and wait.

I can almost FEEL our faith growing. It simply has had to...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Man Up!

What's wrong with dudes? I mean seriously... guys are kinda... weak. Or maybe it's wack. Or both....

I take part in these mission trips and I watch them fill up so quickly with females just jumping to go serve others... but where are the guys? They're few and far between - that's for sure. What is it... are you busy leading your household? Hopping on one of these trips is probably the best thing you could do for your household!

I read this quote somewhere and it is SO true:

"The war on poverty/orphans is the first war where men are happy sitting on the sidelines and being the cheerleaders."
That's some hard truth right there... but it gets worse.

Over the past few weeks I have heard multiple stories of guys/dads just bailing on their families. Just saying "Forget it!" and checking out physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Willfully making decisions early on in life that can and will affect their family FOREVER. Breaking down their families instead of building them up.

Some of these stories have hit closer to home than others.

And those literally pain me.

But to all of them I say "Man Up!" Some of you are so far past it that it almost seems unfix-able. You'll have to deal with regrets later and your family will deal with the fallout of your decisions at some point.

But others are at a point where you can STOP the nonsense, STOP the madness and make the right decisions. Is there really any other choice? Do what's right! You got little eyes watching your every move - and trust me - they're smarter than you could ever think. They KNOW what's up. They really do...

So make the right decisions - before it's too late - and your kids/family don't care anymore...

Got your family involvement on lock down and ready to step it up a notch? Join one of the "Man Up" trips that Visiting Orphans offers and show your family how a real man lives!
DISCLAIMER: I am BY NO MEANS perfect or getting it right - that's for sure. Just trying my best to be what I am supposed to be but finding myself shocked by the lack of effort I see sometimes... just some thoughts in my head, thats all...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Step Off...

The other night I tried to teach Meron the Humpty Hump (a dance for all you non-hip-hop heads out there). It didn't go over all that well - but she DID manage to pick up some hip-hop attitude.

You might even say she is channeling her inner Shock G.

This is what I am met with often now - followed up by her emphatic stating of:

"Step off - I'm doing the Hump!"
HA! Not yet Meron - but we'll keep working on it...

Whew... the attitude is all there - we're probably not far off from some freestyle battles in our living room.

Bring it Meron. Bring it...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

400 Pounds

Today was a whirlwind Sunday for Camp Hoffman. Full from beginning to end but well worth it.

Yesterday we packed up close to 400 pounds of formula for two of our partner orphanages in Ethiopia! Totally exciting - this is our largest "mule load" to date!

We hopped in the car early this morning to personally drive it up to the team leaders of the Visiting Orphans team that would be carrying it for us. This is an awesome family with awesome hearts for orphans.

Meron absolutely adores their kids...

And truth be told - I am pretty sure they were all cut from the same mold - GOOFY! (Yes, Meron is covered in stickers. Why? I have no idea... again - GOOFY!).

We hung with these guys for a while (thanks a TON for lunch!) and then piled back in the car to head back home...

Meron demnstrated how we all felt - we were beat. FYI - I don't typically straight jacket her in her car seat. She was covered with a towel as a blanket and then she dozed off. Her new big girl seat offers nothing in the area of neck support - so I hooked her up with a little "head sling" to keep her comfy...

We pulled in to the neighborhood tired but happy - and then we saw this:

Felt like a perfect ending to a perfect day.

I know it seems like a lot of driving for some formula - but honestly - I'd drive 24 hours with one can of formula if I knew it might be the can that saved a kid's life.

Thanks Visiting Orphans for helping us get this food where it needs to be...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting Excited...

We're starting to get really excited about our girl coming home. Truth be told - we've been excited since we first saw her last September - but we had been holding back on the showing of said excitement. Probably an emotional defense mechanism...

But now... Now we're pumped. And we have some dope friends who are pumped with us. Last week a few of them got together with Laura to celebrate Mebrate coming home.

They ate crepes, hung out and talked up our girl...

Meron hung out for a little but but daddy sprung her outta there before the partying got too crazy (see below)...

At first glance I thought that said "I love creeps" and I was a little worried...

Thanks guys for loving Laura and Mebrate like you do!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Party In The Tub

Tonight we piled in the car - with swimming suits on - to go spend some time in the pool with some of our favorite people on the planet.

About half-way there some CRAZY thunderstorms started rolling in. Meron was in tears over the idea of no swimming.

Lucky for us - our group of friends is a resourceful, go-with-the-flow type of group...

The pool may have been smaller. But the fun was just as big - if not bigger...

We love these friends - thanks for the night of laughs guys!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One More Step

Adoption is made up of a bunch of steps - some tiny some huge - all worth celebrating. Today we had our paperwork submitted to the US Embassy in Ethiopia. WOO HOO!

We were gonna celebrate by teaching Meron a new dance - The Humpty Hump. But she wasn't feeling it. Something about "..Limp to the side like ya leg was broken.." just didn't go over well with her...

So we decided to dance like crazy to anything and everything. I skipped my run and hung out with my girls instead. And yeah - I probably didn't burn half as many calories but I bet I had 5x the fun!

We danced and jumped as high as we could...

We put on some crazy wigs in preparation for...

Whipping our hair back and forth!

Afterwards - I was sprawled out on Meron's bed with her under the fan trying to cool off (we worked up a sweat during our dance routines). She rolled over and looked at me and said:

"Daddy... I love having fun with you."
Boom. Makes every single thing worth it.

Dancing with my girls trumps running every single time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Resting In Peace

That's what I am doing tonight... resting in peace. Because for the last 2 weeks I really haven't been. I've been a little stressed and worried. Exactly 2 weeks ago we found out that we needed to move our son's resting spot. Not really the easiest thing to coordinate from 8,000 miles away.

That's where this guy comes in to the picture - this is Nebiat. And I owe him so much. He lives in Ethiopia and I met him when I led that mission team there last Christmas. When I needed help, he didn't even hesitate to jump in with both feet.

Don't get me wrong - I know where Brighton is eternally. I know what happened when he drew his last breath - I even wrote about it before. But we fought so hard for a proper burial and visits to his grave have had such an impact on so many people - that it was absolutely critical we get him moved before they plowed, burned and built on the land he was currently in.

And Nebiat just totally got that - he swung into action with no questions asked. He got the paperwork done. He rounded up workers. His dad lent him his company vehicle to transport Brighton's body.

And then - this morning while we slept - the workers began disassembling Brighton's grave and preparing his remains to be moved. All under the watchful eye of Nebiat.

I have no doubt of God's involvement in all of this. Within the first 20 minutes of the 4th Watch I sat straight up out of sleep and felt compelled to pray. This was actually during the time they were moving Brighton in Ethiopia. Laura told me this morning she was awake during that time too doing the same thing. We also heard from another friend who was awake at that time praying.

Yeah... God was involved.

The move went off without a hitch. He has a new place - with some actual greenery around it again! I can't wait for Laura and I to visit it - should be real soon...

We are also super thankful for our friend Caleb in Ethiopia. He went with Nebiat and the two of them captured tons of pictures and videos. And yes - some of it's tough to see - but this is the reality we NEED to face and we never, ever want it far from our minds.

Brighton - I know you are running around with Jesus doing all kinds of unimaginable heavenly things - but you got some of God's people down here who will fight for you and scream about your story til we can't scream any more.

We love you son. A lot of people do...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Biker Chick

Meron has always had a thing for motorcycles. Always. We were out just starting my Interceptor tonight when she insisted on a photo on it...

She LOVES this thing. Sad thing is - it's for sale. Know anybody who wants an antique bike?

I dunno who will be more sad to see it go - Meron or Me?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bedtime Discipline

Holy cow - bedtime has gotten a little nutty around this camp. Defiance. Stubbornness. Disrespect. And unfortunately (or fortunately if you're Meron) - a whole lot of cuteness.

See this face:

She makes it difficult to wanna be a tough guy...

But we're sticking to our guns. There are certain things we simply won't tolerate and she has tested us on all of them.

Thanks a lot "fall of man"... this built in sin stuff sucks!

We'll win though - cuz we're about as stubborn as she is!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Daddy In Our House

Laura is writing for the blog again! I promise I didn't pay her a penny for this one! And trust me when I say that the job of "daddy" in this house is simple because of the mommy that is here...

Today was Father's Day, and as Meron says,
"This day is for daddies and not mommies."
You got that right, Meron! And although this is when we recognize the daddy in our family, it is something that should be celebrated EVERY DAY!

I have had the joy and blessing to watch Tymm over the last 4 years become the most amazing father. From major moments like the day we received Brighton's referral, to him fighting for his proper burial, to receiving Meron's referral, to holding her in our arms on Father's Day weekend 2008, to receiving Mebrate's referral, to seeing him hold her in January and whispering in her ear that he is her daddy, to the day we receive her in our arms forever.

Between each of those major moments, there have the been the day to day moments that are just as special for me to watch. I watch him with Meron. I see TRUE JOY in her face when she runs into his arms and trusts that her daddy will catch her when she jumps. I watch him dance with her to Mickey's Hot Dog Dance (you know what I am talking about) with no holding back. I watch him read her nightly devotion to her and pray with her. I watch him sow seeds of God's love in her heart and water them each day. I see the fruit of his labor of love in Meron.

I am honored, blessed, thankful and down right giddy at the sight of this daddy in our home. And while Mebrate does not know the tangible love of her father right now, I am sure the Lord is whispering in her ear just how much her daddy loves her.

Girl, be ready to be loved like you have never been loved.

Happy Father's Day, inspire me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Friends - Same Hearts

Today we did one of our favorite things to do at one of Meron's favorite places to be. Tough guess where that was, huh?

We got to meet up with some more folks from the adoption community who share similar hearts... You know - the kind that are crushed for orphans and Africa and wanting to do something about it. It was a great meeting... these guys are the real deal - making trips every year to Africa to make a difference.

Check them out here when you can and support them if you want an easy way to get involved!

It's always awesome to see the kids playing together and us falling right into conversation as if we knew each other forever.

Thanks guys for a great lunch and for being difference makers in the world!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Crazy Girls

Can't wait til there is a third one in the mix!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Land Shark


It's not really a shark. Seriously... it's not. I hate sharks. I would never let one hang out on our couch.

I double checked. It's no shark. It's just Meron wearing a shark mask.

Trust me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bragging On Family

Here at Camp Hoffman we like to brag on our family. We've always wanted Meron to know that she has a family that will champion behind her and support her and brag on her all the time.

So as soon as we got our referral for Mebrate we started praying daily that God would whisper in her ear that her family is right here. That we are supporting her. That we got her back. That we can't stop bragging on her. That we LOVE her.

That's why these pictures here are nothing short of an answered prayer. It's our girl - Mebrate Hoffman - showing off her family photo album we sent her and bragging on her family!

She pulled her book out from under her bed and called the other kids over... (I smiley-faced them out because they are all getting adopted too and I dont wanna risk showing anybody who isn't legally allowed to be shown yet!)

They sat down with her as Mebrate started pointing out her family... her mommy, her daddy and her sister...

And she was showing it off to everybody!

I am pretty sure this is like the best post ever. Mebrate - we can't wait to love on you in person and show ya how Camp Hoffman gets down when it comes to bragging on family!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Family Day 2011

Today was a big day for Camp Hoffman. It was the 3 year anniversary of us becoming a family! And around here - we'll take ANY reason to celebrate with cake! Check us out below celebrating our family!

Excellent reason for cake... I must say!

3 years ago our life was changed forever when they placed this little vulnerable girl in our arms...

Each year has gotten sweeter...

And sweeter...

And sweeter...

Thank you God for the miracle and blessing of adoption and for a family that just keeps getting better and better and better...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meron and Mommy Monday

Hmmm... Meron at the pool during the day on a Monday?

Hanging out and having fun with her other water-loving friends?

It can only mean one thing... Mommy's part-time gig has fully kicked in. Laura is now doing 3 days of work per week and 2 days of spending time with her girl. I am so pumped that they are getting this time together - it's precious time that we'll never get back...

Pretty sure Laura is loving it too!

Oh - and we got this incredibly awesome picture in our inboxes today:

I have got two gorgeous daughters... and I fully recognize that I am in deep trouble...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Smile Says It All

Meron LOVES when Granny comes to town...

Absolutely loves it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Good Hands

Daddy passed on his stuffed animal addiction to Meron and now he's prepping to do it to Mebrate too...

Don't worry Mebrate - Meron is taking care of your guys til ya get here!