Monday, June 30, 2014

Photo Bomb Mom

Nothing's safe people. Nothing...

Here she is creeping in.

Then - she ducks down - fooling me into thinking the shot was ready...

And then...


Photo bomb at its best...

We stayed strong and held out until the bomber was arrested...

Kidding. We didn't press charges.

We love our photo bombing mommy...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

This Crew

I love this crew right here... so much.

So thankful for this part of the family who has loved Camp Hoffman so well.

You guys are AWESOME!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Their Love

These two...


I really got no words to describe their love.

But it's so awesome to watch.

And infectious!

Thanks guys - for being such an incredible model for love around this place!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Family, Fun and a Garden Fit For God

We got a little touristy today and took the family to Garden of the Gods.

Actually - you can call it touristy all ya want - but we love it at this place and were excited to show it off to the guys!

Our girls have been here a bunch so they were loving showing their cousins around...

and hitching a ride!

But this guy here had the best idea of all...

Top shelf on Uncle James makes for a great visit!

As usual, Garden of the Gods... you did not disappoint!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Look Who's Here!

Some of our very favorite people on the planet got up real early this morning and drove all the way here from Arkansas just to visit us!

They even had energy left over for pizza dinner and a celebration of Aunt Stacy's birthday!

And even managed to keep eyes open for some hang out time afterwards!

We are SO EXCITED to have them around for four days - the girls have been counting down the days for a while!

Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Refined. Not Defined.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about our house, our pasts and where we are today.

And then after being around some grown people who have not been able to get past what their past is and have firmly rooted their identity in it - even going as far as justifying behaviors of today beause of their past - I came to a conclusion:

We can either choose to be DEFINED by our past and let it dictate our identity and behaviors.

Or we can choose to be REFINED by our past, invite God into our present and choose to leverage our refined selves for His glory.
And here in this house - we are all choosing to be refined by what WAS and leverage it for what CAN BE.

See - here - in this camp - there's LOTS of history. I don't have to share my kids' stories (which aren't mine to share) for you to know they have overcome some stuff. Some hard, HARD stuff.

This girl here - our strong leader Meron - she is choosing refinement instead of a definition by her past.

An orphan spirit? Not around here people. We have worked VERY VERY HARD to defeat it - to crumble it - to break it down and toss it to the side.

Because that is NOT who she is.

And then there's our strong, silent prayer warrior - Mebski Love.

Orphan? Not any more folks. She is choosing to be refined. Go ahead... ask her about what she is focusing on in her life. She is leveraging who God made her to be for His glory.

So don't come around her with an attitude of "I get it - your behavior is because you were such and such..." - because that simply isn't who she is. Mebrate has overcome a lot in her life - more than most. But that's just it... she OVERCAME it.

And we don't accept that in this house anyways. We love and cherish and respect our pasts - but they are NOT what we are today - we are present, we are His and we wanna reflect that.

Mebbie does it with the best of them!

And then there is this little dude. Z-Dogg. He has tackled more things head on than most humans will in a lifetime. And he's only two and a half.

And while he can't grasp it yet or put it in words - he has two incredible models that he looks up to every single day and it's his goal to follow them in life. Their choice of refining instead of defining will ultimately weigh in to his choice - and our prayer is he goes that exact same route.

Because he is not all of the million things you could say he is because of his rough start.

Nope... he is Zechariah - redeemed child of God built to do good work to bring Him glory.

I pray that over him almost daily. My silent prayer is that our prayers align so tightly with God's will that they will quickly and repeatedly come to fruition.

But it doesn't stop there... not around here.

This leader - this incredible model of love and patience and caring - she has a past too. Because we all do.

What do you think she is choosing? Why do yo think it's so easy for her kids to choose to be refined and not defined?

Yep - you got it.

Because their mommy - who they adore and want to be exactly like - has chosen to boldly say - "Any junk from my past - that is NOT who I am today. It may have refined me - but it surely won't define me."

And she does it beautifully and with grace and humility. And I am already seeing it being impressed upon her tribe of goofballs...

And well - that leaves me. Probably the chief of all sinners - chief of all messy pasts.

Disregardng God for 30+ years, allowing past to dictate just about every action I made... but then...


A new identity was found - and I believed it. And as I look back now - I simply refuse to allow my past to define me. Nope. Not now. Not ever.

I'll take the refining that it did and pray that God can leverage who I am now for His kingdom, for His people, for His work. And for HIS glory.

Camp Hoffman - I know our dinner table discussion was deeper than usual tonight - and I know we'll fail, we'll fall and we'll be tempted to blame things in the rear-view mirror.

But I have faith in us as a team... that we are going to show the world that pasts are just that... PAST.

And we don't live there.

Instead - we live here - as a bunch of refined, redeemed misfits just trying to shine His light...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Like Them

Man - one of the BIGGEST fears and anxieties of mine when leaving Atlanta for this new adventure was the girls. Their friends. Their happiness. Their joy.

They had so much of all of that and I didn't wanna mess it up. I wrestled with this man... in a big way.

Ha. Tymm of little faith. That's me. These girls are spectacular - but even more than that - God has been so faithful!

That's Olivia up there. She lives right across the circle from us and she is one of the nicest, kindest, most polite little girls I've ever met. And our girls are LOVING hanging out with her.

And this daddy right here is loving seeing that spark in their eyes, that joy in their voice... that innocence of children as they become fast friends.

Watching them ride bikes and race across the cul-de-sac has been awesome - and it's as if I heard God whisper: "See Tymm... I told you to trust me. They did!"

He knows when I worry and when I don't. That whole omniscient thing.... He wins.

Ya know... Matthew 18:3 tells us:

"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
And watching these kids... I get it. They don't see race. They don't see gender. They don't see age.

They just see another human being and they wanna hang out.

Faith like a child? Sure... but I say take it another step. I say:
I think it gives us a better chance to know Him on a much deeper level.

God... thanks for Olivia. Thanks for a little girl willing to come talk to me and my family and make us feel at peace.

And Olivia - thanks for being willing!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Feeling Like Home

This weekend we finally got some time to just hang out as a family, get some boxes unpacked and start to give our new house some touches of Camp Hoffman.

We got some of our favorite things hung up - like our Camp Hoffman board from Aunt Wendy...

And our giant and awesome Africa tapestry from Team Radicchi!

As we were just chilling together and getting things set up Meron sat back and said:

"Ahhh! You know what daddy? It's finally starting to feel like home!"
She has no idea what that does for a daddy's heart who has been worried about his family from the time we pulled out of our driveway in Atlanta!

Yes, Meron... it is starting to feel like home!

Oh - and then there's this.

It'd never be home without this

Home Sweet Camp Hoffman Home...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Camp Hoffman High Tea

Mebbie got a new tea set this weekend and we wasted no time breaking it in with a little High Tea!

[insert Colorado jokes here...]

Actually - looking at that photo you might think we were all under the effect of something - but NOPE - that's just how we roll!

Mebski Love was the Princess of the moment and she was looking adorable!

And then there was this crazy sipper...

and her nutty sidekick!

Even the resident minion got in on it!

There was dancing, there was wooden pizza and wooden cake.

And overall - there was FUN!

It was a worthy celebration for a fun, family weekend in our house!

And honestly - anything that brings out laughter and good times like this - is well worth it!

I'll do tea with you guys anytime!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Well - Hi There, Summer!

How'd we welcome in the season of Summer this year?

Chillin' on the front porch under blankets - that's how.

This ain't Georgia, Folks!

But we aren't complaining - LOVING the cool evenings!

Welcome home Summer, welcome home!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shining In The Shadows

Hey you over there... yeah you Mebbie!


Mebski Love!


I just want you to know I see you.

Daddy knows how hard it is living in the shadow of a big sister like Meron. Noise and attention just follow her. And I know you look up to her and have a heart that is so selfless and giving that you thrust her out in the limelight... ALL. THE. TIME.

But I want you to know that your Daddy SEES you over there girl.

And I want you to know how much your big sister loves her little sister. Tonight while you guys were doing your "show" for us I heard Meron say to you "Go ahead Mebbie - make some stuff up!" and your response was:

"No Meron - I just want to copy you!"
As you pushed her back out to front and center. I know how much you love her and want to imitate her and be like her.

But I also want you to know... that I see you.

I see you growing like a weed!

I see you losing teeth and looking adorable.

I see the gift God gave you to be creative coming out in your pictures and your great illustrations.

I see you loving your little brother every single day and helping him grow and learn.

I see you swimming and learning and getting ready for kindergarten.

I see you overcoming so many of the challenges you were confronted with when you first came home.

I see you loving your family with your whole, entire heart.

But most of all, sweetie - I see God in you. I see Him molding and shaping your heart, your values, your morals, your mind and your spirit.

I see it in your daily life.

I hear it when you pray such deep, heartfelt prayers for your entire family.

I see Him every single day in you, sweetheart. And I love it.

From one middle child to another - I just want you to know that you are seen. You are loved. You are adored.

Daddy knows that shadow is big girl... but the way you keep shining in it - at times I forget it's even there.

Keep shining Mebski Love.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Little Brother Problems

These things happen sometimes.

Sometimes you just find yourself being two years old, in your pajamas and stuck watching the action from inside behind a screen window.

That's life little homie...

Luckily... he just rolls with it!

Your time will come little fella... and sooner than you know it you'll be out there protecting your two big sisters.

Give it time, Z-Dogg, give it time!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peach The Giant Pumpkin

Meron can be a daddy's girl at times - theres no doubt about it. If daddy likes it and does it - Meron wants to do the same...

Well - I like to write.

And I think Meron may be testing those waters out too!

Today when I got home - she was quick to want to show me her new "book" she had written. It was called "Peech the jiyint pupcin" or "Peach The Giant Pumpkin" for those of you who don't read meronese.

The cover looked like this:

And the inside page looked like this:

The story goes like this:

Here's a little story I like to call "Peach the Giant Pumpkin."

One day peach met a pumpkin. He seemed weird to peach because he looked different. Then one day peach found out he wasn't weird.

The end.
She also knocked out a masthead type of page:

It read: "The author is Meron. The illustrator is Meron."

Outside of "everything" - you know what is awesome about this?

The content. Differences in characters. Recognizing differences as "not weird."

I've been praying about this kind of stuff for a LONG time for her. Silently - never spoken to her - but to God - and asking Him to prep her heart for her future - to give her insight and discernment and discretion.

What some might see as a silly story about a giant pumpkin named "peach" - I see as God working on her heart. And I am thankful.

Keep writing, Meron.

Keep on writing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shooting Some Hoops

We got accused of wasting a perfectly good basketball court when we were skateboarding on it...

So we put in some work out there!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pass The Granola, Please...

Something about being in Colorado is turning these guys into some outdoor-loving hikers...

And I'm LOVING it!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

They Made Me...

Brighton officially brought me in to the position... and taught me what it means to love. To really, really love.

Meron forced me to my knees to pray and pray and pray about doing this right in His eyes. And she continues to teach me daily about what it means to live life to its fullest while being BOLD in our faith...

Mebrate helped me put in to practice some of the stuff I had been praying about. And she shows me almost daily what it looks like to be tuned in to the Holy Spirit and to yield to Him...

Zechariah helped me put others before myself and to really, truly sacrifice to bring Him glory. He also teaches me what perseverance looks like as he walks around a redeemed little dude every single day.

They all brought me through different places in life...

But together...

Together they made me a daddy.

I don't deserve this God. I simply do not.

But I am forever grateful for it and I pray and hope that I bring You and You alone glory in the way I do it...