Sunday, January 31, 2016

Seeking Forgiveness... Again


We had just put the goofballs down for bed when I came back upstairs and saw this sitting on the kitchen counter.

It was an "invitation" to a show that Meron and her minions were going to put on... and when I saw it - my stomach dropped.

It said:

"We are doing a show at 7:40. Come please."
Ugh...

About an hour earlier she had come to me with the idea of another show - and I had squashed it.

So many valid reasons in my head - so close to bed time, so much to do... yada yada yada...

But then I saw this... and the effort she had put into it... and her distance when I kissed her in bed now made a lot more sense to me.

And I tell ya - I am forever grateful for the Spirit in my heart - because right then it nudged me and said "You know what you have to do... dad."

And I did know... but I had a million reasons not to.

No time. School needed finishing. Had to finish the talk for church tomorrow. Big storm was coming and I needed to get some groceries and stuff...


But the spirit won... and I am so thankful it did.

While getting groceries - way too late at night - i picked up a card.

I wrote Meron a long message - asking for her forgiveness - and then I made her some new invitations and printed out a handful for her and colored them.

I stuffed them in the envelope, made a colorful name on the outside - and left it on the steps for her to find...

Way too early in the morning - I was awakened by Meron tapping on my chest, card in hand saying "Daddy... what is this? Who is it from? Can I open it?"

"Of course," I told her and I heard her scamper off to the bathroom.

A few minutes later she was back - grabbing my hand and saying "Daddy - come here..."

She took me in the bathroom where the card had been opened and she hugged me and said she did forgive me and then it was ALL about the show, and the time and what refreshments would be served...


This afternoon - the show kicked off as scheduled.


There was dancing. There was singing.

There were Oreos and Kool-Aid for refreshments...

There were even autographs afterwards.


And there was also this girl - smiling. So happy...

She may never remember this incident - just another apology from dad. Or - more likely - just another show with refreshments...

But I'll never forget it.


Meron... you have made me such a better person. I don't have much of a model to look back on when it comes to this parenting thing - so I am forever grateful for the grace you show me every day.

And God... may I NEVER be too busy, too prideful or too full of myself to stop and write those words above when I know they are needed to be said.

Thankful tonight for a relentless Holy Spirit that holds me to the standards I need it to...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Little Dude


This is my main little dude right here...

Sometimes I get envious of how much time Laura gets to spend with him.

But today? Today it was just me and him hanging out.

We dressed alike (both in camo pants). We went and shared a meal at Chick Fil A. Hit up REI and climbed in and out of tents.

Made a Lowes run for some stuff we needed.

That's my main little dude right there...

And I love him fiercely.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Bunch of Ballers!


Tomorrow is Saturday and ya know what that means around here - WE BE BALLIN'!


Three different kids, three different games, at three different times in three different gyms...

That's right... we kinda own the Y on Saturdays!


And little Mebski Love has about a 13 foot wingspan - so poor little number 12 here didn't even stand a chance when she threw those arms to the sky!


Stay ballin' guys... stay ballin'!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Celebrating Laura


Tonight - we took this awesome, incredible, amazing, loving, caring, smoking hot mommy out to celebrate her birthday!

First we hit up a Mexican restaurant to get some of mommy's favorite food...


Next - it was home for a little singing a some cake eating!


We all had some gifts to give mommy...


to thank her for being such an AWESOME mommy and best friend!


I was a wee bit jealous at her hand of gift cards she scored!


Seriously though... we are SO blessed by this gorgeous girl in our lives.

Of course we had to bust out a few rhymes...

LAURA
I can barely find words to describe this here girl,
All I know is she makes up my whole entire world;

She's clever, she's smart, she's silly and funny,
She keeps us on budget, she's good with the money;

She faced down some sickness and scared it away,
And because of that fight she's much stronger today;

She's the best kind of mommy, the best kind of wife,
I'm the luckiest dude cuz this girl's in my life;

She's my biggest cheerleader - always has my back,
And if her family's under fire - she's known to attack;

If I'm honest - I'll say it - I simply adore her,
I'm so thankful that God breathed His life into Laura;

And speaking of God - I can only imagine,
How big He smiles when He sees her compassion;

And the heart that He gave her to model His own,
Has a passion for Him and to help Him be known;

She's caring, she's loving, outside and within,
When I see her I feel like I see Him with skin;

I'm sure that when Brighton pulls back the clouds for a look,
He's so proud of his mom's life and the direction it took;

Because I know that I am - daily I stand in awe,
And I'm blessed - cuz through her it was Him that I saw;

I do not deserve her, we all know that's true,
But today - my best friend - I'm so thankful for YOU.



Laura... thanks so much for who you are - how you raise our kids - how you love God first and let that love translate to the most amazing love for our family...

I am SO SO BLESSED AND LUCKY to be able to cruise through life beside you.

Happy birthday, best friend.

I love you more than you know...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flip Flop Obsession


The dude is straight up OBSESSED with his flip flops...

For example - tonight we said: "Z-Dogg, go get your jammies on..."

Dude comes back in looking this:


He struck a pose, screamed out:

"Shimmy, shimmy, down, down!"
And then sunk to the ground...


But it didn't stop there.

Then he bum-rushed the camera, knocked me over, screamed like he was BatBoy and jumped on me...


You're certifiably nuts, Z-Dogg. You really are.

But daddy likes it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Elf Outtakes


Tonight - Z-Dogg says to me:

"Daddy - you ready go take my elf picture?"
Had to explain to him it wasn't elf season any more and we had to wait another year...

But it got me scrollin through pics and I realized this one never made the cut...

Not sure why - but let's all just enjoy a little late January elf action!

Elf On, Zechie!

Monday, January 25, 2016

My Crew


This is my crew right here...

I'd roll anywhere and face anything knowing these guys got my back.

Yesterday - when I got the chance to speak in the middle school service at church - these guys skipped out on their own class - begging me to come watch me. And they sat right down front - beaming up at me - support turned on full blast.

And I felt 'em!

Thankful for this posse, no doubt!

What's your support crew look like?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Game Day


"Game Day" for most means football, chilling, snacks...

But around here... it really means "get your hair done day"

It's a super long process that none of us really love - but Laura was determined to knock it out today...


At least Meron had her favorite entertainment to keep her from going crazy - FOOTBALL - and her furry buddy hanging out with her.

It doesn't even matter who's playing any more - the girl just loves the sport!

Quick dinner break - and they were back at it... finally claiming victory and success at 9:30.

That hair work ain't no joke people!

Way to stick with it Mommy and Meron!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

King of the Tongue


Watch out Michael Jordan... there's a new tongue in town.

Don't bite it off, Z-Dogg!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dedicated


This girl right here is dedicated to her new favorite sport!

Dribbling around the cul-de-sac whenever she can!


Go get 'em Mebbie!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Drama


Nope... no drama here.

Ever.

Yeah right... the kid belongs in his own TV show.

Stay nutty, Z-Dogg...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

8 Years of Healing...


8 years ago - almost to this day - our hearts started the long, slow, painful process of healing.

See - that was the day God delivered a prescription - to be taken daily - in the form of that gorgeous little picture up there.

It's crazy... the fullness of the circle.

Brighton had just died... and Laura and I were out HERE in Colorado.

Her for work.

Me... to tag along and snowboard and lose myself on the slopes cuz the pain was still really real...

And then... while out here - God flipped the script on us - switched up all we thought we were doing - and showed us OUR DAUGHTER.

And the healing began...


I think the prescription was "take daily... for life."

This girl still heals me on an every single day basis.

I pull the Jeep in the driveway - hit the garage door opener - and almost every single day - that inside garage door comes flying open and she is sprinting out to the driveway as if she hasn't seen me in years.

She healed my heart.

She continues to heal me and grow me every single day.

Thank you God... for this medicine I could have never found anywhere else - but through You.

I love you, Meron!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good Morning to You Too... and Here's a 15 Yard Penalty!


This was the good morning look I got the other day...

2 seconds before he lowered that awesome little dome of hair and led with his head while trying to tackle me.

Me thinks somebody has been watching too much Bengals Football.

You Burfict me again little man... it's timeout for ya!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Friends


Meron woke up at 7:00 am this morning counting down the hours until her "best friend forever" was coming over to the house for an afternoon hang out session.

Man... there couldn't have been a better day for me to look outside and see these two hanging out on the porch... laughing, smiling, singing, playing together...

Kids just get it. They just do. They're so much better at life in general than us adults are.

For some - probably for a lot - this was just another 3-day weekend. Last one before Spring Break, right?

But for this house - this is a big deal weekend.

We've spent a lot of time talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream, his fight, the challenges he was up against. How much has changed since then... and how little has changed too.

Our kids get that MLK Jr. is one of the reasons our family can be like it is and walk around without prejudice and ugliness.

So we lift him up this weekend. We pray about him. Prayers of gratitude and prayers for the future of our country and world as the dreams he had have made progress but have so far to go still.

Check out the goofballs below in the video - quoting Dr. King and some of his famous words - and also issuing us a challenge to put some action behind our words...



Thank you for Dreaming, Martin Luther King, Jr. Your dreams have afforded us our dreams... and we're forever grateful.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wiped Out


I feel ya girls... that game wiped me out too.

Stupid fumble.

Meron - thanks for sitting and watching every minute and every play with me!

Here's to next year...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Blessed, I Am


Tonight - Mommy went out with her friends who wanted to celebrate some cool movement with some upcoming Brighton Their World stuff.

That means I got to hang with my favorite posse on the planet.

Dinner.

Baths.

Cleaning the kitchen with the help of Meron (some awesome conversation).

Applying band-aid to Mebbie's thumb.

Every task... a complete blessing.

I don't deserve the love these guys pour out on me...

But I'll take it!

Friday, January 15, 2016

We LOVE Fridays!


For maybe the first time in my career - i don't wake up dreading work on Mondays - cuz I get to go do work for a great organization with a meaningful purpose.

However...

That doesn't mean we don't still LOVE Fridays!

It's chill out night almost every time... by design!


Popcorn popped.

Raisinets bought.

Movie selected.

And everybody together.


Don't go changing Friday... we love you just the way you are!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cherished Time


Awesome first half of the school year and great report cards meant I got to spend breakfast before school at Dunkin Donuts with just me and these two cuties...

Time I will cherish forever!

Keep up the amazing work girls... SHINE BRIGHT!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Rub A Dub Dub


One goofball in the tub.


This guy is forever silly... even at late night bath time.


Keep your head above water Z-Dogg and stay GOOFY!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Character Builder of the Quarter


We got the email one night from Mebbie's teacher saying:

"You guys are coming to the assembly tomorrow, right? Mebbie is getting THREE awards! We never give out three awards!"
Uh... HECK YEAH we'll be there!

Seeing our humble little Mebski Love walk up to accept awards (only ONE in each grade got 'em!) in Art, Music and the biggie... Character Builder of the Quarter - just about brought tears to my eyes.

Every time one of the goofballs accomplishes something big - I am reminded of all they have overcome to be where they are.

And I am reminded of just how BIG and LOVING and CARING our God is...


The stuff they read about Mebbie before giving her the Character Builder award was just great... and so Mebbie! Her awesome teacher sent it to us so we could save it - here's what they said:
Mebbie is a good example of a quiet leader. She is kind and considerate to her classmates and other people. Mebbie is always eager to help others. She always puts others before herself. Mebbie always is aware of others around her and makes sure no one feels left out.

She goes out of her way to be kind to others or make them feel special. Mebbie is one of the kindest most thoughtful students in First Grade.

She is just overall amazing and greatly deserves to be Character Builder of the Quarter for First Grade.
Okay... I may be partial cuz - ya know - she's part of the family - but I couldn't agree more with all of this!


Mebrate... you are one amazing little girl and your whole entire family is SO PROUD OF YOU!

Keeping shining for Him, Mebbie. Keep shining...

Monday, January 11, 2016

What Breaks Your Heart?


You don't have to be around me very long to know what breaks my heart.

The state of today's hip-hop... right? Heartbreaking.

Kidding. Well, kind of...

But seriously - I think I've probably made it clear on this blog and everywhere else over the last 8 years or so. It all started with that little dude up there and his short but DEEP life...

Two Sunday's ago Andy Stanley delivered a sermon that rocked our worlds.

Because even broken hearts can get stagnant and be in need of some breaking again...

And then that week - at our small group - we asked the question, "what breaks our hearts?"

And I really put some thought to it...


Orphans for sure. No doubt.

But over the years - it's become more than that.

As we dug our heels in and tried to get involved however we could... I started to realize it was the unbalanced resources in the world that helped create circumstances ripe for orphans.

That breaks my heart.


And busted up families and circumstances that that make adoption a viable solution... that breaks my heart too.

Hear me here - I absolutely ADORE my family and how God pieced us together... but I don't believe it's what He had in mind for families. The ripping apart of them.

Nope. Not at all.

I mean - I am beyond grateful that He modeled the very solution of adoption and that it exists - because if I really dig deep - I think the busted up family is what really breaks my heart.

And God knew that these busted up families - broken up for many different reasons - would need a solution - and adoption fills those gaps. But man... it shouldn't have to.

I hate the breaking up of families.

Maybe it's because of my own family growing up and what I saw and continue to see when a family breaks apart and doesn't place Christ as the focus.

Maybe it's the fact that there is no mom or dad in my own picture that has so furiously driven me to be determined to be better than that... that absence. To love and support. To walk through the hard stuff with care and compassion. To always talk it out and to choose my words so carefully in our house.

And to simply give our family absolutely everything I got.


Whatever the root cause of it all is... I think it's these kids all over the world - who just need to be LOVED - that really breaks my heart.

And it's been broken anew lately.

And the cool thing about a re-breaking of your heart is you can dive in with some learned experiences and adjust how ya get involved.

We pray regularly for that wisdom and discernment from Him in the areas He has focused us in to...


These guys right here are my lifeline. They keep me energized, alive and motivated.

And they pray pretty darn regularly some prayers of thanks - they say "Thank you God for giving me a family..."

That prayer gut punches me every time and is never lost on me.

Family is so important.

So... what is breaking your heart these days?