Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Brighton Board

I am loving some of the stuff we're coming across as we pack up 12 years of living in the same house.

This little gem was hanging inside Meron's closet. As I took it down I asked her what it was.

"Oh that? That's just my Brighton Board."
When I asked her what a "Brighton Board" was she told me:
"It's a board to remember my brother Brighton. I started with his picture and put other things I like all around it."
I love this SO MUCH.

I love that she simply refuses to let the memory of her brother die.

Thank you Meron. Your simple yet strong faith and never-ending love is inspiring.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Music To My Ears

I came back this past Friday while the rest of the family stayed in NC - and even though I was busy packing like a maniac and then eventually injured... this house was just WAY TOO QUIET.

And then these guys got back tonight and all was right again.

Zechie escaped to La-La Land before I busted out the camera - but I managed to snag one of these two maniacs...

And they were perfectly content back in their natural habitat!

Thanks guys for bringing back the noise that does my heart and soul good!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

All Robed Up

It was on their lists - and now they're rocking 'em!

Thanks Aunt Stacy for keeping 'em warm and covered!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

His Inner Cowboy

okay... so his inner cowboy might need a little work...

Colorado - I'm counting on you to fix this!

Friday, December 27, 2013

His First Christmas

This year was Zechariah's first Christmas with us and we were all pretty excited.

Not 100% sure what he was thinking though!

Even when we dropped the silly props he still kinda looked like he was being held hostage!

But things started changing on Christmas day!

He quickly got the hang of unwrapping gifts!

And he was always pretty happy about what was inside...

He learned that his sisters pick out pretty cool presents for their little brother...

And that the real reason for this crazy fun holiday is to celebrate Jesus' birthday...

And that means we get to eat cupcakes!

Gifts are cool - but hanging with family is WAY more fun!

Overall - I think he had a pretty good time!

And for us - 6 years after Brighton went home to his heavenly Father - we had little boy's toys under our Christmas tree - confirming that we weren't wrong in discerning our hearts' desire for a little boy that God had planted there so many years ago.

He is so faithful to us. He finishes what He starts.

Merry 1st Christmas Zechariah!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hero In A Half Shell

Somebody got into his oldest sister's teenage mutant ninja turtle christmas gifts and was having himself a grand ole time...

Let's just say that he wasn't speaking or walking very softly but he WAS carrying a big stick!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to every single person out there. Thankful for all of you in our lives!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Storm Before The Calm

Part of the idea behind this new adventure of moving to Colorado was SIMPLIFYING and SLOWING DOWN our lives. I chuckle when I even think of that because right now our lives look neither simple nor slow...

Matter of fact - it's the opposite. Coordinating a cross-country move, packing up the last 12 years, prepping a house for sale, finishing out 5 years at a current job, mentally preparing for a new job, being mommy and daddy to three maniacs... oh yeah and trying to help those aforementioned maniacs have a fun, joyful and memorable Christmas...

Neither slow nor simple.

We did manage to slow down enough to snap a quick pic of us before church in the FREEZING cold ATL weather...

And tonight - as the clock struck midnight and Christmas Day was upon us - we managed to have the living room looking like this for the kids in the morning.

Simple and slow may be overrated... but I'm still kinda looking forward to it.

Merry Christmas Eve everybody...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cheers from the Three Musketeers

Mommy had to stay home from church on Sunday with Zechie who wasn't feeling super well - which meant I got to roll with my girls up in there...

And lucky us they had a photo booth set up to take Christmas pictures!

Pretty sure the girls could have stayed there all service making faces (okay, okay... me too!).

Merry Christmas everybody from the ENTIRE crew (we'll try again on Christmas eve!)

Where Is The Love?

First it was chickens and now it's a duck,
And a bearded man's opinion on who you should... be with.

Man I hate to see this, this country doesn't need this,
'Tis the season for Jesus - we should be loving to pieces;

But instead of our savior we're all stuck on Phil,
And the things that he said that made people act ill;

Yes WE built up his words and WE made them matter,
Then got madder and madder - asked for his head on a platter;

We said "he said this - he can't say that - that's libel!"
But it's not Phil we fear - it's the words of the bible;

Cuz if we give them exposure or a place to be spoken,
The truth is the world might find out that we're joking;

That we don't really care what is written in there,
Or believe in the outcome our sins bring to bear;

So we're quick to scream "Jesus - please come and relieve us!"
"And silence that DuckMan so that he can't deceive us!"

"Don't make me read scripture, or look deep within,
Don't you dare ask a question of what constitutes sin!"

And on the flip side "I'll say it - just watch me I will!"
"It'll be coarse and unfiltered cuz my name is Phil!"

So both sides just start jawing, and biting and scrapping,
And things just get worse while their lips just keep flapping;

And Jesus is relegated off to a corner,
As if this doesn't involve Him - like He's some kind of foreigner;

And instead of a focus on Him filled with love,
We rear back to fight and we pull off the gloves;

And when the dust settles and pain's been inflicted,
we start to feel bad - that's called "being convicted;"

we look at the cause that's been blown out of proportion,
twisted and shifted like some distortion contortion;

and we're no better off than we were at the start,
Filled with anger and hate and no change in our heart;

So the next time I pray that we pray before we say,
Then the state of our hearts won't get lost in the fray;

And if we do this we just may - be amazed at the way,
that we all will stay happy. Or dare I say... gay.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cards In The Mail

Weeellllll... not really.

But it IS here on the blog! And I almost didn't even get that done in time.

With all that's been going on around here Christmas Cards were just super low on the priority list. And truthfully - we have kinda gone the digital route the last few years - we find it harder and harder to justify the cost of those bad boys not to mention I live in constant fear of forgetting somebody.

But never fear - cuz THIS is better!

Fire up the fireplace (or launch a YouTube burning log video), make some hot chocolate and GET TO CUTTING, cuz your Camp Hoffman Christmas Card just arrived!

Camp Hoffman wishes a very Merry Christmas to everybody out there... one that is filled with fun, Jesus, love and joy...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Game Changer

We've been saying a lot of our "goodbyes" recently and one of them was this week to Ashley - one of our absolutely incredible doctors.

We met Ashley this year and ever since we started seeing her she has just completely amazed and impressed us with the way she practices medicine. In all my long years on this earth I have never experienced it.

Every time we see her she makes us feel as if we are the only ones on her schedule that day. Oh yeah - and she immediately gave us her email address and said to contact her for anything.

"Sure..." I thought and decided to test her out. She responded within an hour. Not only that - but she had scripture in her signature and was praying for our family. Okay... she wins.

But in all actuality... WE won. We scored one heck of an amazing doctor in her. Which is why as we made this decision to move out west a lot of our decision hinged on her (and whether there was Chick Fil-A out there).

Trust me - when it came to losing her - it was a super hard decision to make.

Ashley - you absolutely changed the way we see doctors... and somebody somewhere has some really big shoes to fill.

Thank you so much for who you are and the lasting impression you left on our family.

P.S. - come to find out she wants to move to Colorado some day. So if anybody in the medical/hospital/pediatrician field in the Denver/Colorado Springs/Boulder area wants to up their practice by like a billion - let me know and I will get you in touch with her! We want her to go west with us!

Friday, December 20, 2013

They Are Not Forgotten

Man - we are so blessed by the awesome friends we have. Seriously...

Heather right here is heading over to Ethiopia in a few days and will be able to be there during our Holiday FEED 'EM program!

Not only will she be there to take part in serving those awesome kids - but she is also delivering this hand-made christmas cards to all of the kids 3 years old and over at our partner orphanage!

These cards were made by another incredible friend and her students (she's a teacher)... Thank you so much Jen!

Jen also slid a picture of the team that visited these kids last year. She stuck on a message of hope, encouragement and love. We want these kids to know they are not forgotten, that we think of them often and pray for them regularly. But most of all - that they MATTER TO GOD.

Thanks guys so much for your hearts and willingness to partner with us! We can't think of a better way to spend Christmas this year than helping these kids know they aren't forgotten...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

And The Goodbyes Begin

Today was "pajama day" at Meron's school. So all the kids were rocking their jammies in class.

It also happened to be Meron's last day of school there before we move... so the goodbyes have started!

Meron absolutely loves everyone in her class. She has never said an ill word about any of them.

And I know just how hard today was on her... as her friends surrounded her with love and hugs and happiness.

We took a stamped and addressed envelope to every classmate so they can all write letters to Meron. We're gonna do everything we can to help her stay in touch with these great friends she has made this year.

Tonight - I crawled in her bed to pray with her and I just thanked God for her strength and for her being so willing to go follow Him with her family with no hesitation. I really am so proud of her.

Then she asked to pray and from her big ole heart she said:

"God... thank you for all of my friends. I love them so much and I miss them already. And God thank you that once you have a friend you will always have a friend and I know that i will always have my friends in my heart - and we can never leave each other from there. In Jesus' name... Amen
I couldn't stop hugging her. She's my six year old but she gives me strength, confidence and faith I need.

God... I am seriously SO PROUD of this little girl today - for standing strong in the face of tough things. Lord... if it's your will... please continue to bless her with these incredibly strong gifts of faith and strength that she shares daily with her family. I love you Meron!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hang Your Hope On Jesus

"Jesus: Hang Your Hope On Him."

That is what Meron's kindergarten Christmas show that happened today was called. And as usual - my allergies started up as soon as I saw my big girl come out and climb up to her position on the risers.

You know... itchy eyes leading to tears. I pressed my eyes closer to the viewfinder of my camera hoping it would give me some relief from these terrible... allergies.

It didn't help.

As I watch Meron adjust her ornament hat and get ready for the show - my mind races back over the last 6 years and i am flooded with emotions at the thought of her life and all she has overcome in her short time here on earth.

"Stop!" my manly outer-self yelled at my wimpy inner mind. "She's been home for years - it's just another school show!"

But my allergies kept itching and my eyes kept tearing up.

Because the thing is... it's not just that.

Every single time I see Meron (or any of our kids) with their peers succeeding at life - I am starkly reminded of the redemption in their lives. The incredible, undeniable work that God did for them and through them.

But it hardly ever stops there.

Nope - instead it drives right into the core of my very being - directly into my heart and reminds me of the incredible, undeniable work that God did for me when He sent Jesus.

To die.

For all of my sins. And yours.

Dang these allergies are bad this year...

And then... then Meron grabs one of her best friends by the hand and says to me:

"Look Daddy! We look EXACTLY alike! We are like... twins! We have red dresses and the same shoes and both wearing tights. WE'RE TWINS!"
And it's right then that I wish that I was more like these two - singing about my hopes being hung on Him and not caring one bit about the things that the world sees.

Like the stifled giggles from the parents who heard them. "Silly girls," their giggles seem to say. "Nobody would ever confuse you two for twins."

Except maybe God. Their creator. Who gave them the exact same heart and made them in His image. Twins in HIS image.

It's 12 hours later now. And my allergies are doing a little better, thank you.

Trying to hang more of my hopes on Him this year...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meb Qui Qui

"Hey!!! I didn't know you come here..."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Little Ditty

Little ditty... about Meron and Z...

I love these two "performing" together!

Keep it up guys!

Looking forward to atendding the first concert!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Sidekick

As the girls wrapped up their "girls weekend" today - I got to spend the good majority of the day hanging with my little homey.

It was cold so we bundled as we headed outside to do some work this morning.

Complete with Meron's red hat.

Mebbie's pink mittens.

And his bright yellow fleece.

And he was looking every bit as dapper as he possibly could!

Thanks Z for keeping me company and keeping me smiling all weekend!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Girl's Weekend

A long time ago - before this "move across country" insanity kicked in - Granny and Laura concocted a little Christmas plan for the girls. They were gonna meet up in Charlotte, NC - get a hotel room - and have a little girl's weekend. I am so glad they stuck to it - even in crappy, rainy weather - and went and did it this weekend.

Granny bought the girls their "go out on the town" dresses last week while she was here. Looking good girlies!

The girls were SOOOOO EXCITED about this...

Their destination? A broadway-style show called "The Real Christmas Story" put on by Narroway Christian Theater - known as the "Broadway of Christian Entertainment."

Aunt Connie even came to make it a full on girls getaway!

The show was awesome - and not just because they served a full meal of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie either (though I bet that carried some weight with our resident foodie!)...

The girls called me after they got back to their hotel rooms - and I could just hear the excitement in their voices. The joy. The fun they had just experienced.

Granny, Mommy, Connie - THANK YOU for spoiling these girls this weekend and not letting this season of life change get in the way of a great celebration of Jesus!