Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spent


She convinced Laura she wanted to stay up a little later to watch some of the Olympics.

After 2 days of playing at a waterpark and a long ride home (that she never napped during) - this is where she ended up.

Happily spent.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Power of Fun

We spent the majority of the day in the water - fighting waves in the wave pool, sliding like maniacs down tubes, doing handstands under water and generally just being nutty...

Come 10:00 p.m. - you'd think we'd look like this:

HA! Wishful thinking! The fun of the day has left us with more energy than we know what to do with.


See what I mean? This isn't normal, is it? I was expecting them to be crashed out... Instead I get crazy plus...


Nutty hair-dos like this...


And this...


And insanity like this!

Wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING. Totally blessed by these nutcases...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Much Needed


Today kicked off the first of what we hope are a few smaller but much needed family vacations. Breaks. Get-aways. Call 'em what ya may - we don't care - we just want 'em!

We haven't had a real family vacation in about 3 years. Both Laura and I have spent a nutty amount of time in Africa for various reasons over the past few years - but now... oh now we are making up for it!


I can't even begin to express how much i LOVE doing family time with these guys...

And today - simple things like wave pools, water slides and squirt guns created incredible smiles...


like this...


And like this!


And the fringe benefits? It led to sleep like this!

Falling more in love with my family every day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Junkies


I had some late night Olympic junkies on my hands tonight...


They were glued to the TV and loving every minute of it...


But apparently just watching those athletes can be pretty exhausting.

Gonna be a tiring 2 weeks!

Friday, July 27, 2012

That Kind of Night


Laura and I had a very rare "date night" tonight. Uh... awesome. And when we got home with the girls - they were kinda in a crazy mood.

It was one of those "one in a laundry basket, one with a lampshade on their head" kind of nights...

Immediately made me wanna sing an old Brad Paisley tune:

"And I'll bet you a drink or two that I can make you
Put... that... lampshade... on.... your... head!"

It's nuts around here - and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh No - I'll Never Let Go


Sometimes at bedtime - after convincing one of us to "lay with me for just a second..., " Meron will bust out into her version of Matt Redman's "Never Let Go" which is something like this:

"Oh no, I'll never let go,
In every high and every low
Oh no, I'll never let go,
Mommy, I'll never let go of you..."
as she wraps her tiny arms around our necks...

In this particular case... I think she won!

I absolutely adore this picture.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Little Candy Land Action


The girls busted out the board games after school today - too HOT to do anything else!

They have not been the best at these in the past - but today? They showed us! They were destroying it - I was IMPRESSED!






I LOVE how these two get along...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Heart Talk With Meron

Laura had a good heart to heart talk with Meron tonight and they touched on adoption. I wasn't here for it - but apparently it went something like this:





Laura texted me this conversation while I was at my bible study. I stopped what I was doing and read it to the whole group... even managed to not cry.

Then Laura sent me this:

"Yeah... take that! We live with an amazing girl. God is so good.
We do not deserve this front row seat to His glory... but I'll take it."
Amen Laura... Amen.

Meron just summed up the gospel with her life and with her words. And she feels how I should feel about my redemption.

In awe of Him... through her...

Monday, July 23, 2012

UPDATE: Fekerte

I wanted to give an update to all those who supported our girl Fekerte and contributed to getting her into a boarding school outside of Addis a couple years ago when Laura met her in Korah. On this most recent trip, the boarding school was out and Fekerte was back in Korah! We were pumped to see her...


And we were blessed to be able to go do a home visit with about 9 members of our team to her home...


We walked quite a ways down this road in a HEAVY rain to get to her house... but it was WELL worth it!


Fekerte was super excited to show us the room where the entire family sleeps and to show off the bag we had sent her that was in there.

On a side note - when I visited the family 1.5 years ago - they were only in one small room - this year they are in TWO rooms - so things are going good for them!


We met her younger sister Harge - who has a smile that will light up the darkest corner of the world - I mean - she was beaming - ALL THE TIME.


Then her mother came out and was so welcoming and loving to us as she immediately showed her servants heart by starting a traditional coffee ceremony right there...


Complete with the oddly delicious popcorn that always accompanies the coffee there. LOVED IT!

Over coffee we got to chat with her mom and we asked where her father was (I had met him on my last visit there and he had been out of work). Well - another praise - her dad was AT WORK. Love how God is working in their lives.


After chatting it up some more we had to get a "family picture!"


And then - in true Camp Hoffman style - we went straight for the group hug. Which probably scared them to death... but we LOVED it.


The next day we were able to purchase about a month's worth of staples for the family (coffee, teff, rice, corn, oils, etc) and had the privilege of dropping it off.

Her mom was SO excited again and almost whipped up another coffee ceremony! We were richly blessed in the short amount of time we were able to spend with them...

Big, huge "thank you" to everybody who initially donated and helped us get her tuition and other requirements paid for to get her in boarding school. The rates have increased as inflation has hit Ethiopia HARD - but rest assured we are committed to seeing her through her education at the school - and a passionate friend and team member is already working on her younger sister's situation.

God - my simple prayer for this family is that your will be done in and through them and that you continue to bless them in the ways that you already have.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Personal Prayer Warrior


Tonight at prayer time Laura called an audible and said "Okay - we're going in a circle - I am praying for Meron, Meron is praying for Daddy, Daddy is praying for Mebbie and and Mebbie is praying for Mommy..."

I love that the girls are always game for whatever we throw at them. Mommy nailed a prayer for our girl Meron and then it was Meron's turn - with zero hesitation she said:

"God... thank you for daddy. Thank you that he is my daddy and thank you that he loves me so much. Take care of daddy. In Jesus name. Amen."
I ain't gonna lie - my softie side almost bust out in tears...

There is nothing - NOTHING - like an innocent child dropping a truly heartfelt prayer for you.

Humbled and blessed.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reunion


We had a mini-reunion here tonight with some of our family from our most recent Africa trip.

Processing through how God is working in our hearts works best when surrounded by loving, authentic people who are chasing after Christ.

Blessed by our time tonight - thank you guys!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Extra Tight


We live in a cold, fallen world. Remembering we are not to be conformed to it. Prayers tonight for people hurting because of it.

Hugging these three a little extra tight tonight and thanking God for Him being in the business of redemption.

Because of that... there is HOPE.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Many Moods of Meron







And trust me - they can ALL happen in a span of 30 seconds too.

She's just that good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Motivation


Some days are harder than others - ya know - just to get up and go.

Then I see these two.

It's all I need.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Prayers Are Powerful


Before bedtime here we always huddle up and we each get the chance to pray out loud. It's honestly one of my favorite times of the day - I love it.

The other night Meron kicked us off and when she finished, she pumped her fists in the air and said:

"My prayers are POWERFUL!"
And by "said" I mean she yelled it. She believed it and she meant it.

I asked her where she learned that, who had told her that? She pointed at me and Laura and said:
"From you guys. You taught me that."
But we've never used those words with her. We've told her God listens to her, that she isn't forgotten, that He wants to hear from her and that He cares about her. We've stressed the importance of prayer to her.

But we've never said it that way.

That was all her and the Holy Spirit in her heart.

Thank you God for a reminder I needed from a 4 year old who gets it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What She Is To Me...


I know that 99% of the time I am blogging about the girls in my life - the little ones who seem to run things around here. But tonight - I am pressing pause to brag on the best thing that has ever happened to me (hint: that's her up there loving on kids in Ethiopia!).

I spent the last 4 months prepping to lead a team with her and then then 11 days actually doing it - and I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly blessed I was by the whole process.

And during it all - I learned a lot about what this incredible gift of a wife is to me...

  • She's my organization
  • She's my peace of mind
  • She's my restful place where my worries don't exist
  • She's all the energy I ever need
  • She's God's hand resting by me at night
  • She's my relief
  • She's the most incredible mother of my incredible children
  • She IS love
  • She's my calmness
  • She's my playful side
  • She's my best friend and confidant
  • She's my biggest fan
  • She's my excitement
  • She's my passion
  • She's my hero
  • She's my rockstar
  • She's my inner voice
  • She's my outer voice
  • She's my mind's eye
  • She is the best decision I ever made...
I could go on for days. Bottom line is this - she is EVERYTHING to me. Without her - there is no us, there is no Camp Hoffman, there is barely a Tymm. She keeps me going.

If you can't swing leading a team together - I would HIGHLY suggest at least going on a mission trip somewhere with your husband/wife and serving together. It's life changing. Eye opening. Defining.

Laura - I don't tell ya enough - but I love you. I am blessed beyond words to have you as my wife, as our girls' mom, as my best friend and as my teammate through this thing called "life."

Thank you God for yet another blessing I simply do not deserve.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

National Ice Cream Day


National Ice Cream Day is pretty much every day up in this spot. But we decided to honor this national holiday in the best way we knew how...






We celebrated hard!