Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Doc and Lambie

This years costumes were special requests from the girls - Doc McStuffins for Meron and Doc's stuffed animal Lambie for Mebrate. They were loving it!

And they refused to allow us to go dressed as "parents." So with much begging and borderline whining - we dug in the closets and then captured the moment forever on uh... smartcard?

Next it was off to do the same thing we've done now for years...
We've gone and had an awesome dinner with these guys and then bumrushed their neighborhood for the past 4 years. It's an awesome tradition that we LOVE and are very thankful for.

And just looking at this group is amazing - to see God's hand in it from 2008 to 2009 to 2010 to 2011 to this year... it's way cool.

Tonight - after we chowed down on some chili - we all sang "Happy Birthday!" to Meron to celebrate her upcoming birthday! Love seeing my girl beam when some of her best friends on this planet were singing to her...

She blew out the candles, we chowed on some treats and then we hit the streets...

And by "hit" I mean - we were sprinting! These girls were flying - like they had clocked in and weren't allowed over time...

It was a blast!

Afterwards - we retired back to the house to compare loot and eat the allowed 3 pieces (no more no less). By 9:20 we were home, bathed and snoozing hard...

Another Halloween down. Thanks guys for yet another year of this tradition that we hope doesn't die out any time soon!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ethiopian Opals

One of the coolest fringe benefits of our blog is that we get to meet neat, new people who stumble upon us. I absolutely LOVE meeting people who have been moved by Brighton and Meron and Mebrate and how God is using them...

Recently, one of those cool new people sent two Ethiopian Opal necklace kits for the girls! Way too kind!

They were super excited to put them together!

I had to warn them that these were definitely not necklaces to be worn while playing - but instead they were real dress up necklaces for church and stuff!

We popped the stones in place and they immediately wanted to try them on...

Finished product was ALMOST as beautiful as the girls wearing 'em!

Thanks SO MUCH for this kind gesture that put BIG smiles on the faces of our girls!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Whole Story

Yesterday before church Meron snatched up a picture of Brighton and slid it into her back pocket. She told me she wanted to take it with her. No worries here... I thought it was cool.

On the way home afterwards we were all in the car and I nonchalantly asked her if she showed anybody her picture. She said:

"I showed my teacher in my class..."
Even cooler, I thought. "Did you tell her anything about it," I asked...
"Yes... I told her the whole story."
Really? Now I was curious. "What is the whole story?"

She was shy at first but eventually she shared with us what she told her teacher:
"I just told her that this was my brother Brighton... and that he passed away before you guys could go get him and bring him home. And that it was before I was born. But because of him, now we send formula to the babies there..."
Uh - jaw dropped open. Oh... I know she hears us and goes with us to Brighton Their World stuff and all of that.

But now I know that she doesn't just hear us - she actually listens. And her willingness to share the story apart from us - well that is just God - 100% in her heart.

Thank you Meron - for having a loving, caring heart that is willing to tell the whole story.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Three Things

I got some solo time with Mebbie today and we decided to roll to Lowes for an extension cord. On the way home, I rounded a corner quick and the cord slid across the backseat. Mebrate noted to me that "if I went fast the other way it would slide back to her."

I was quick to big up her on her grasp of basic physics and told her how smart she was and like we always do I asked "Who made you so smart?"

"God did! He made me sooo smart!"
That was her quick answer. And I said "Girl - what are you going to do with all these smarts God gave you? What do you want to do when you grow up?"

At this point she was beaming from ear to ear from me saying how smart she was and she quickly stated:
"I have three things I want to do when I grow up."
"Really?" I said. "Tell me about them..."
"I want to be a doctor. I want to be a mommy. And I am going to adopt some kids."
Trying not to cry as I stared at this living, breathing, walking, talking picture of the Gospel in my backseat, I said "Mebbie, you can do all of that and then some. You can be and do anything you wan..."

That's when she cut me off and said
"And my sister is going to adopt some kids too."
There ya have it. I guess there are some grandkids in my future...

Thankful for Mebbie Moments like this...

Saturday, October 27, 2012


It was a real tough thing to ask her and it hurt me to watch the world tug so hard at her flesh. The past few years we've made the decision to not have gifts at her birthday parties and it was time to let her make the decision. So we asked "What do you want people to bring to your party?"

"Presents." [LONG PAUSE] "For me AND the kids in Africa."
We had said this was going to be her decision completely - but I wanted her to have all the facts. So we told her how incredibly rich we are. And how her family will ALWAYS give her presents no matter what... And I reminded her that we want to be the type of family that gives and finds joy in it and that it takes practice but it's just something we do. And then I asked her to pray about it.

I am pretty sure she prayed right then and there. After a few minutes... and close to tears - she looked at me and said
"No daddy - I don't want them to bring me presents. I want them to bring formula for the babies in Africa."
And that's when it hit me how hard doing the right thing is sometimes. Meron had just sacrificed gifts. Things she really, really wanted. The world competes for our flesh so hard and I had just watched it in real time.

We huddled up and prayed - cuz tough tough sacrificial decisions deserve prayer - and sweet Meron prayed this:
"God - thank you for the people coming to my party to bring formula for the babies. And God... not all families do this kind of stuff. But we do. In Jesus name. Amen."

Doing the right thing often goes directly against what we desire. If giving something up was what we wanted to do - then giving it up wouldn't hurt. And it wouldn't be a sacrifice. One of the dictionary definitions for sacrifice is "the surrendering of something for the sake of something else."

And that's what our girl had just done. This stayed with me for the next day - how big a deal it actually was - this decision of hers. So I talked to Laura about it and we decided it was worth it for Meron to see the repercussions of decisions. See - we're so quick to jump on learning opportunities when the negative is focused on. But this deserved something bigger...

That next night I called Meron in to her room and said I had to talk to her about something. I told her I wanted to talk to her about decisions and how there is always an outcome from the choices we make. I am pretty sure she thought she was in trouble for something.

I popped her sweet little 4.9 year old self up on her bed and looked her right in the eye and said:
"Meron - that choice you made the other night - to give up presents for formula instead - that was a huge sacrifice. And I want you to know that sometimes in life - God asks us to do these things and He wants us to be faithful. God has offered us eternity with Him in heaven and that is the ultimate reward. But oftentimes, He rewards us here on earth too."
She looked at me like I was speaking jibberish.

That's when I told her how much her decision revealed about her heart to me - and that her sacrifice and tough decision was the reason that on the saturday after her birthday I was taking her to Toys R Us with $100 and she could get whatever she wanted. I reassured her that sometimes - not always but sometimes - decisions that seem so so hard on the surface - are really the right decisions and they can come with a reward.

She realized now she wasn't in trouble. And in one of the biggest and sweetest big-girl moments to date, she slid off the bed, wrapped her arms around my neck and said:
"Thank you Daddy. Thank you so much..."

No... thank YOU Meron. For yet another lesson taught to your old daddy through God in you...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Face Painting

Meron and her face painter shared the same hair style and hair type!

Mebbie and her face painter did NOT...

there's just something about a good old fashioned face painting...

It always seems to bring out the smiles!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jackie O

It was that time again. Time to do a little brain surgery on a pumpkin and turn it into "Jackie O"

We made it a family affair - cuz pulling out "pumpkin poop" (as we called it) should always be done as a family!

Mebbie wasn't digging the smell or the look of the inside...

But Meron, on the other hand...

She was all about sticking her hand in there!

She was a little hesitant at first...

And I eventually had to go in hand-for-hand with her...

But she definitely helped "scoop some poop" for me...

We tried to take a "finished product" picture but ended up with a crazy creeper in the background!

All in all - we had a BLAST! Jackie O is sitting outside on the purple picnic table and the girls love looking at her all lit up at night.

Thanks girls - for pulling pumpkin poop and starting another fun tradition for us all!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Student of the Month

We got the call yesterday that Meron would be winning another award at today's ceremony at her school. So of course Laura and I snuck our way in there without her knowing to surprise her during the show...

Last April she won student of the month for "Most Honest" and this month... this month it was for "Most Helpful Student."

She was a little shy up on stage by herself but aftwards - she was loving it...

Had to get a pic with her awesome teacher, Ms. Chisholm, who nominated her. These teachers are so great and love our girls so much. We are very blessed by them...

I know what you're thinking... and you're right - this WAS an excellent reason to hit Yogli Mogli directly after school. And that's exactly what we did...

Meron - keep up the incredible work and awesome role modeling for your sister!

Proud doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about ya girl!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gymnast In Training

This girl LOVES to tumble, flip, cartwheel... whatever it takes to be a gymnast...

She wants it bad!

Keep it up Meron! Daddy wants to attend the Olympics some day and watch ya!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Double Trouble

Dear Lord... help me!

I am in trouble with these two rock stars here for sure...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Weekend Won

Here's how I found my two "oldest girls" not too long ago - crashed out hard!

Mebbie was the smart one - she went to bed early! But not these two...

We had a busy weekend with thing after thing after thing after thing... and these two thought they'd make it through some "Wipeout" on TV...

Only wipeout I saw was the two of them!

I think the weekend won!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Play Hard

With the way these guys played with each other tonight - you'd think they see each other all the time. They don't - they hardly ever see each other.

But play hard they did...

And they got weirder and weirder as the night rolled on...

Thanks X for being such an awesome host to crazy little girls!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Creative Juices Flowin'

The girls donned their aprons for a little creative outlet recently...


But not just any ole fingerpainting...

This one involved glitter as well!

They got busy - they got dirty...

And they turned out some masterpieces!

Gallery worthy girls... GALLERY WORTHY!