Saturday, March 17, 2018

On the Mend

Laura has been fighting a head cold, congestion kind of thing for like 2+ weeks, complete with sneezing, fatigue and cement in her sinuses!

We've all been avoiding her like the plague to keep it kinda quarantined to just her... and so far so good!

And we think she turned the corner and there is a light at the end of her sudafed-filled tunnel!

We're praying you're back at 100% ASAP Mommy!

Feel better!

Friday, March 16, 2018

What the...???

What on earth?

Temps reached the mid-60s yesterday... and are headed back to the upper 50s today.

But we woke up to this!

I feel ya Mebbie... that question of "Daddy, do I need a coat?" is super hard to answer this time of year!

Stay crazy, Colorado!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

YAY! Celebration Worthy...

Yep... we're excited! Why you might ask?

Today we learned it was official that we signed a ten year lease on the new property in Ethiopia that is going to allow us to expand the school and continue to add grades as the students progress!

And that is certainly celebration worthy!

When I look at this aerial photo of our humble little campus at Brighton Academy I can't help but be overwhelmed by all that God has done in those walls over two years.

So much love. So much learning. So much growth, joy, happiness, water and food!

And then... then we heard God say "GROW!"

We got scared again cuz... ya know... us of little faith.

But you CRAZY supporters said "We're in!" and so we started trying to see where we could grow. It's tough in Ethiopia... to find land. And we wanted to find land that would really allow expansion so we weren't doing this again in a couple years.

And today - I got a text from Nebiat - the director at Brighton Academy - that said:

"Brother... I've great news! We officially have a signed agreement on the new land!"
You guys... if you knew what it took to get here. What was overcome. How bad satan tried to stop it - even using some of His people to try and derail it.

I look back at all that God has done here at Brighton Academy and can't help but think He was just getting started!

This current campus will ALWAYS hold a super special place in my heart for all that it took to build and for all that has transpired here.

This is ALL HIM.

We've had some supplies and materials already delivered and our hope and desire is to live out the current lease at Brighton Academy and kick off the new school year in the fall in the new location.

There is much work to do to get where we want to be... but when I look at the reasons we're doing it...

ALL of these little faces that will get to keep progressing and keep learning at Brighton Academy... that work is SO WORTH IT!

Praise God... here we grow again!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Song and Dance Sisters

The church where the goofballs attend Awana had a talent show tonight and these two have been practicing for a while to take part in it!

They were going to both do separate things - but with some encouragement from us - they decided to combine their shows.

So while Meron sang a song, Mebbie did an awesome and creative dance to it!

They were both SUPER NERVOUS, but they pulled off a great show!

They even got a little interview in afterwards from the guy who was "hosting" it.

This was one proud daddy, that's for sure!

They also invited a handful of friends who came along to support them!

Way to go girls!

Sing and dance for your audience of One!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

100 Percent A Masterpiece

Meron cashed in one of her "Christmas Coupons from Daddy" last week for a song recording and video production!

We spent last week knocking it out - and this was the crew at our "wrap party" at Starbucks!

She decided to go with a cover of one of her favorite songs... "ORIGINAL" - check out the video and lyrics below:

Ohhhhh.... Yeah....

Everybody tries to put me in a box
Tell me to be different, to be something I'm not
But I don't wanna see a photocopy
When I'm staring in the mirror

I've got nothing to prove
I'm breaking all the rules
I'm not your typical
I'm original
Like Mona Lisa's smile
Like Elvis Presley's style
The first one of my kind
I'm original, original
I'm certified unique
100% a masterpiece
No, you can't copy me
I'm all original, original

Original (original, original)
Original (original, original)

I won't apologize
For drawing out the lines
I'm a strike of lightning and I won't strike twice
Crashing through the walls
Like a cannonball
Just watch me rockin' my way
Got nothing to prove
I'm breaking all the rules
I'm not your typical
I'm original
Original (original, original)
Original (original, original)

I'm one in a billion
I'm once in a lifetime

Ohhhhh.... Yeah....

I'm original
Like Mona Lisa's smile
Like Elvis Presley's style
The first one of my kind
I'm original, original
I'm certified unique
100% a masterpiece
No, you can't copy me
I'm all original, original

Original (Original)

I'm Original!

Way to go guys!

Daddy had a ton of fun hanging out with you guys and watching ya be creative!

You guys are each 100% PERFECT just the way God made you!

You're one in a billion... you're once in a lifetime!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Read-A-Saurus Rex

Man... I am LOVING how much this girl is LOVING to read!

I made a deal with her and told her if she read the books - we'd watch the movies... and she is taking me up on it!

I love that she is learning that the creative mind that God gave us beats a big screen version of a story every single time!

Looks like we're close to another movie night!

Never stop reading, Mebski Love!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shout Out to Phife

Meron and I were shooting a few pick up shots today as we try to wrap up her music video and we decided to give a little shout out to Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest by Meron rocking my favorite Phife shirt in the video!

I think she rocked it pretty well too!

At one point she asked me:

"Daddy - I know he was a rapper... and you really liked him... but who was Phife again?""
Perfect opportunity to school the next generation on the REAL HIP HOP that daddy grew up on!

I told her:
"Phife was only one of the dopest MCs to ever pick up a microphone... and daddy grew up listening to all of this music and rushing to the store to get their new releases..."
I could have gone on and on and on...

She contemplated it for a second... shook her head as if in full agreement and then said:
"This shirt is super comfortable..."
Well... we gotta start somewhere!

Represent, Represent!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

She's All Original

When ya look up the word "original" in the dictionary this is what ya find:

"[adj.] - created directly and personally by a particular artist; not a copy or imitation."
And there really should be a picture of the Meronator in there cuz this right here is her all day!

Spot on definition!

You hear that drum beat going off right now?

Listen closely... you hear it?

Of course you don't - cuz that's Meron's drummer and she walks to that beat all day long and is the only one who can hear it!

Meron... you stay being YOU girl and never, ever change that!

You inspire your daddy every single day with your willingness to be the YOU that was created directly and personally by the best Artist and Creator we've ever known!

You're certified unique... 100% a masterpiece!

Friday, March 9, 2018

FLASHBACK: Some Cool Kitties

This picture popped up on my timeline today on Facebook!

I couldn't get over how tiny they all seemed - it was 4 years ago today!

They may be like twice their size now - but one thing that hasn't changed is their swagger, their coolness, and their "cool kitties" status!

Stay cool but STOP growing, Goofballs!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bold Forgiveness

We are doing our best around this camp to try and raise some FIERCE and BOLD warriors for righteousness.

We spend a lot of time talking to the goofballs about standing up for whats right - recognizing wrongs - leaning on His discernment - and being quick to stand for others in need.

I pray a lot for the goofballs - that this gets rooted in their hearts - and that they become quick to recognize wrongs and quick to stand in defense of others who need it.

I almost always think about it in terms of helping others... not themselves.

That's why I was so proud of Meron when i got the call Monday afternoon from Laura after she had picked up the kids.

The long and short of it was this... a kid - in anger - had made some disparaging remarks about Meron in regards to her skin color.

But Meron has GOOD FRIENDS and not only did they recognize it as wrong - they told Meron about it and encouraged her and stood behind her when she went to an adult to report what had been said.

That's when Meron got another chance to discern wrong and stand up for it. The adult she told dismissed it and told her "he wasn't meaning it to be offensive."

WAIT... WHAT???!

Meron knew it was wrong... and so did we.

Back to the phone call... I shut my computer immediately - told Laura - who was driving at the moment - to turn around and meet me at the administration office.

Within 15 minutes our whole crew was in there backing Meron, explaining the offense and seeking some sort of resolution.

The leaders there agreed with us and assured us it would be addressed the very next day.

We trusted them... and waited to see how that went down.

While we absolutely believe in being bold advocates for what is right - we believe as strongly in being full of forgiveness when somebody recognizes the wrong and comes from a heartfelt place of apology and wanting to be better.

After work Tuesday - I got the breakdown of how the administration addressed this and worked towards resolution.

By the end of the day - the young boy who had said the disparaging remarks had apologized through tears to Meron and even wrote her a letter saying how sorry he was.

"To Meron:

I'm super sorry for being mean to you yesterday, so I wanted to write you an apology letter.

Sorry. I hope this makes it up to you."
He included a picture he had drawn of her and him.

I thought it was a truly genuine apology.

And if i was proud of Meron for being bold the day before - I was bursting at the seams with what the Principal told us.

"He barely even had the apology out of his mouth and Meron said:
'I forgive you.'"

My girl. THAT is also what we want to be as a family.. and it isn't always easy.

And then... the adult who had been dismissive had an amazing response.

They humbled themselves to take a real look at why they reacted how they did and came face to face with some harsh realities about awareness and understanding. They also sent us the most kind and sincere email seeking forgiveness - and of course we forgive them.

One of the strongest things they shared with us was this:
"I am so grateful to have been able to use this situation as a learning experience for me as a teacher and as a human being, as well!"
Wow. We LOVED this person very much before all of this and this amazing display of humility and love has only increased our love.

Here's the deal... RACISM STILL SUCKS. It always will.

And I think some people might think we are too vocal about race issues in America... to those folks I say "hush your face."

Because from intentional blackface wearing church elders to naively dismissive children influencers - it is everywhere - and we will NEVER stop being vocal about it. I will ALWAYS shout about it.

Our only goal is honor and glorify God while we're running this race on earth - and sometimes that means wading in to the rougher, tougher areas.

If we hadn't been willing... if Meron hadn't been bold enough to speak and our crew hadn't been strong enough to step up in grace and faith - we would have never gotten to experience the joy of the second day!

Yes... racism sucks. If ya see it, hear it or experience it... SAY SOMETHING. Address it.

And ya might end up with a success story like this!

Stay bold and stay forgiving Meron!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Cashing In!

Somebody has been BUSY cashing in some of her Christmas Coupons from me!

Next one up: Record a song and a video!

We've already kicked it off and should wrap the shooting this weekend with some outside shots.

Stay tuned...

Meron music video coming soon!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Like In Opia!

This dude is goofball to the core!

The other night he was asked to put his toys away when he said:

"I can do it like Opia. I can put my toys away like the do in Opia!"
And he proceeded to balance his container of superheros on his head as he navigated the basement towards his room - much like he has seen people in Ethiopia do.

Habesha goofball - through and through!

Always embrace your heritage, Z-Dogg!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Summer, Harry and Sid

Today was "Dress as a character from a book" day at school for the goofballs!

And in true goofball fashion - they waited until Sunday at like 5:30 to start thinking about it - but I think they pulled it off well!

Meron went as Summer from the book "Wonder" which her class just finished and she has watched the movie like 4 times!

Mebbie has been a READ-A-SAURUS lately and has been burning through some Harry Potter books!

She decided to go as Harry Potter... or "Mary Potter" as she was calling herself!

And then there was Z-Dogg!

Dude doesn't read... so what to do... ???

Mommy nailed it with the "Sid the Science Kid" approach and Zechie was digging it!

Way to bring the books to life, goofballs!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

He Chose Us For This

Some days - God just presses on me exactly what it is that He chose me and Laura for... and today was one of those days.

I think God digs the creativity, the fun, the photos, the blogs, the music, the passion for church done right, the goofiness and the seriousness... but what He CHOSE us for was to be the parents to this crew.

He chose for us to be made parents by Brighton and his 76 days.

He chose us to have our hearts mended by this precious creation of His...

The dose of Meron He prescribed has lifetime refills and we're so thankful for it.

He chose for us to be blinded by the smile that this girl radiates on a daily basis.

He chose us to help steer Mebbie towards Him and in the process - grow closer to Him ourselves.

He chose us to be the recipients of the love, passion for life, faith, perseverance and strength that this little guy displays!

His faithfulness to us and remembrance of our desires for a son came to life in this little Z-Dogg and the weight of that is not lost on us.

Days like today - I see my little crew - and I think about how undeserving of all of this I am.

And I thank HIM for the choices He made for us in spite of the choices we've made.

Thankful to be chosen for this...

Saturday, March 3, 2018


All three of the goofballs have been taking some self-defense classes at school this past week!

They have been very ready to demonstrate their defensive stances, what to do if somebody touches or grabs them and how to yell out:


At the TOP of their lungs!

Mebbie looks like a Wakandan Warrior ready to take you out!

Meron has been keee-yawing so hard and so much she said her sides are sore!

And Z-Dogg just looks straight up maniacal... like crazy...


Keee-Yaw, Goofballs! KEEE-YAW!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Who's the Wise Guy?

Tonight - somebody transitioned from wild little maniac to sophisticated wise young man with the addition of his glasses!

I was so happy for him as I watched him see things in a whole new light... he said:

"Daddy... I am so happy. Things look so much better..."

As a lifelong vision-impaired daddy...

I feel ya homie... I feel ya!

I am so excited to see how it affects his world!

And just to make sure his alter-ego CRAZY MAN was still around...

We ran a test... HE'S STILL THERE!

Enjoy your new views, Z-Dogg!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Daddy's Girl

I headed out for a later, longer run tonight and knew it was gonna rub up against bedtimes.

Who do you think was texting me the whole time and standing there waiting for me when I got back home?

This girl right here!

She is a big 'ole daddy's girl for sure!

And even though she was sleepy and the bed was calling - she was right there - opening the door for me when I pulled up out front.

Her love for me is palpable, deep and true... and something I don't deserve - but I'll take it anyway!

Meron... thank you for the way you love me, girl!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Our Vision

So... it feels like the vision dragons attacked our crew all at once - as Laura, Z-Dogg and myself have all visited the eye doctor in the last 48 hours and each walked out with a prescription for some vision corrections!

And Laura lucked out and got hers first (just needed for close up computer work)!

Seriously though...

How freaking adorable is she?

She is rocking those glasses in the cutest way possible!

I can assure you that Z-Dogg will bring the cuteness, but I will not be able to rock them with the awesome confidence they do!

Mine come with years of bitter memories of wearing glasses that were at least 2.5 feet thick.

I will certainly be exploring other options here soon... but for now - we rock the spectacles 'round here!

Here's to looking super cute (and hot!) while being able to see!