Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Future Project Manager


Man... I absolutely love this girl's energy and willingness to take on so much!

Between church and school and choir and sports... the girl juggles a lot.

And last night she got SERIOUS about her time management!


She built a "morning time pre-school schedule" to help her stick to it and get done what she needed to get done!

So far - two days in - she is killing it - and has even built in time to get that bed made (a historical challenging thing for her!).

I love that she also allowed some time to watch a little TV (probably a cooking show) before school... hey - if she gets it all done - she earned it!


Tonight I was trying to encourage her in how awesome she was doing and told her that if she did this stuff for 21 days... it'd become a habit!

That seemed daunting to her... but not to me!

See... I know this girl... and when she puts her mind to something - she just kills it!

She can come be a project manager for me ANY TIME!

Way to make a plan and stick to it, Meron!

Monday, March 18, 2019

She's Back!


When Z-Dogg got home from school today - he was SUPER STOKED to see that Mebbie was up and about and feeling way better!


Mebbie is Zechie's road dawg and his absolute favorite playmate.

She ALWAYS takes the time to play with him and she lets her creativity run wild with him...

Which he LOVES!

When he saw she was feeling better and ready to play he looked at Laura and said:

"Yay! Mebbie's back!"
Yep... she is!


And I'm pretty sure that the feelings were mutual!

They spent the evening playing Barbies and all seemed right with the universe again!

Welcome back to the land of the living, Mebski Love!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Even While Sick...


Mister Influenza is trying his best to take out another member of Camp Hoffman!

But we're getting pretty good at battling him - and Mebbie has been forcing herself to rest for the last 2 days and is starting to feel a little better!

Take that, sucka virus!


But look at this girl...

Even when there are headaches, fevers, nagging coughs and some body aches... her smile persists!

I love that she can never contain the joy that is inside her!

Feel better soon Mebbie - flu ain't no match for you!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Little Warrior


This girl here... she's my mini-me. All day long...

She's bold, she's confident and she's willing... and raising that mixture to seek discernment as it runs into situation after situation after situation in life that all need to be addressed is CHALLENGING!

Super challenging!

One of the things that happened to me when I let the Holy Spirit into my heart - was the vengeful me changed.

I had lived 30+ years of my life as a very vengeful person. If I was wronged - or somebody I cared about was wronged - it was ON.

Retaliation was my first thought with no seeking of discernment at all.

But as Jesus took hold of my heart - I started noticing how He was replacing vengeance with forgiveness.

It was the biggest proof to me and those who really knew me that there had been a true change in me.

But feel me - even to this day - it ain't easy.

Today I had an interaction with somebody who... well - truthfully - I'm just not a fan of.

This person attacked my family, drug us through the mud, set us up, turned people against us and jealously lied on us - all with a plastic smile on the whole time.

That plastic smile was still there today - as they purposefully placed themselves in my world again... and yet I surprised even myself with my reaction.

I was calm.

I was peaceful.

I was civil.

I was also on flu meds - but hey let's give Jesus the credit - not the meds!


But let's get back to my warrior here!

As I parent her and walk through life by her side - I relate SO MUCH to her desire to go after every single wrong.

It's hard to discern when to move and when not to.

But my baby girl is doing an amazing job of standing for what's right!

She's honing her methods - and we don't always get 'em right - but we grow and learn and keep going - standing for what HE would.

But her look here - is pretty much how I feel as I re-evaluate today's interaction with that individual.

I feel like I only have one response like today's in me.

So hear me... don't do that again.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ides of March with My Homie


Today was the first day since the flu attacked me that I felt like I could function!

And since the girls were headed out for a "girlie dinner out" - my homie Z-DOgg and I got to chill!

And get this... my mans had a gift card from Chick-Fil-A and he INSISTED on buying me dinner!

what, what WHAT?


I told him he did not have to but he said:

"You buy me dinner all the time - I just wanna buy yours for you!"

I do not deserve the gift that this little dude is!

He swiped his card and everything... he was so proud of himself!

And I was super proud of him too!


We had a great time hanging out... like we always do!

Thanks for the love Zechie... your heart was showing tonight!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba


Okay - so we hardly EVER have snacks or sweets in the house. We like to make it somewhat harder to indulge in those by not keeping 'em on hand.

But with the bomb cyclone headed our way - Laura picked up a few indulgences to have on hand for the crew.

I swear to you - when Meron saw the Cheetohs Puffs - she literally lifted them over her head, marched through the kitchen and started belting out the beginning of "Circle of Life" for all to hear...

"Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba"
("Here comes a lion, Father")


Tell me she doesn't look like Rafiki lifting up Simba on Pride Rock!


This girl's sense of humor keeps me cracking up daily!

I KNOW she found joy in her cheesy poof consumption... but enjoy them now Meron...

Cuz the bomb cyclone is gone and the cheesy poofs go with it!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bombs Over Colorado


So... yesterday it was like 61 degrees with a beautiful blue sky... the kind of day you'd pay a tax for... but "hold on" says the weather man cuz we got a BOMB CYCLONE coming our way!

Wait... WHAT?!?!?!

That's right... just your regular run of the mill bomb cyclone headed into town. You know, blizzard conditions, hurricane force winds, etc., etc., etc.

But what the heck is a bomb cyclone?

A bomb cyclone happens when there's a rapid pressure drop, with a decrease of at least 24 millibars (which measures atmospheric pressure) over 24 hours known as bombogenesis. This storm has dropped 33 millibars since Tuesday morning and continues to strengthen.

And it's apparently a serious thing... like a true life threatening storm.

School cancelled WAY early yesterday for today and tomorrow.

My work closed down today and tomorrow.

The city of Colorado Springs shut down.

People are stranded everywhere... and even the rescuers are being rescued.

They recorded 97 mph wind gusts!

This thing is real.


And if you know us... we're not really "sit around the house" kinda people.

And with me down and out on Day 2 of the flu (i hate you, flu)... the task was left to Laura to entertain the goofballs.

She survived - but here's what she looked like afterwards!

Real talk though - lots of prayers for those affected in any way by this storm... it's pretty gnarly...

This bombogenesis was bombtastic!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Buddy Bench


Hanging with my buddy at the Buddy Bench!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hands Off!


While the phenomenon is bizarre to us... the solution is simple really...

Just DON'T touch their hair!

I mean... I know it's like a known "thing" and we had experienced it before - but lately it's gotten outta control!

An utterly strange fascination with touching the kids' hair.

People desiring to literally put their hands in it.

Sometimes they ask... most of the time they don't wait for an answer and just head right in to the hair.

WEIRDOS.

And we as a family... are done with it.

Wanna touch her hair? Don't be surprised when you get that finger wag from Mebbie.

We've empowered all three of them - the owners of the heads that the hair is attached to - to simply say "NO!"


From teachers, to classmates, to church volunteers... everybody seems dead-set on getting a handful of their hair.

Picked Z-Dogg up from Sunday School the other day and saw the helper in the classroom literally pulling, stretching, flattening, squeezing and pushing his hair all over like it was some sort of human hairy head stress ball.

What on earth?

Talking over the weekend and today about how they don't have to allow ANYBODY to touch their hair and Zechie said:

"Good... cuz that hurted my head when she was doing that..."
So watch out now... cuz we've given them plenty of responses ranging from "NO!" to:

"Okay - can I have your credit score?" or,

"Sure - what's your ATM pin number?" or,

"After you tell me how far in debt you are..."

And many others... I mean - you wanna rub your hands in their personal space - they're gonna come in yours too.


So... the best way to avoid this look from Meron?

Keep your hands out of her hair.

The three of them summed it up best when asked how they felt about it:
"It's super weird and makes me feel like some kind of freak or something..."

"It's just odd. I don't ever ask to touch anybody's hair. The thought never crosses my mind..."

"You work so hard at helping me do my hair and I want them to stop messing it up."
From the mouths of the hair owners... let's respect that!

Compliment their hair with your eyes and mouths... not your hands!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

My Heartbeat(s)


Captured these two heartbeats of mine this weekend while we were watching basketball games GALORE!


Caught my other heartbeat at the line... she hit both baskets!

That fourth heartbeat was somewhere climbing around under bleachers... no picture to show!

Grateful for each one of these precious beaters of my heart!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Season Finale


Today was the last game of the basketball season for all 3 goofballs... and we managed to get them to their games on time AND both be present to watch them all!

And Meron's game even went into OT to break a tie!

These guys went out with a bang too... with each of them scoring multiple times today and helping their teams to a victory.

I've absolutely loved watching them grow in their love for and understanding of this sport!

Now we take a break and catch our breath as we get ready for soccer season and competitive volleyball to kick in!

Way to play, guys!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Girl Power!


They're strong, they're fierce, they're dedicated to their causes, they're loving, they're caring and they are not to be messed with!

They are the women in my life!

And on this International Women's Day - I am celebrating everything about them and all of the other strong and dedicated women out there!

The world would be a not-so-good place without the women we have in it!

Ladies... I am grateful for you today and every day!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Love Does


Man... I am super duper stoked about this right here!

See - Meron is taking part in a pretty intense leadership program at our church - designed to help her grow in her relationship with God while developing her leadership skills and giving her exposure to what it takes to make the local church run.

She's been so gung-ho about it... it's been really cool to watch.

Tonight - she jumped into her first "daily devotion" as she read chapter one of "Love Does for Kids" by Bob Goff... and I am loving that I get to do it with her!


She jumped right in with the same amount of energy she has had for this entire program!

Chapter 1 was about mistakes and how they can NOT pull us further away from God and His love.

What an excellent lesson we ALL need to learn!


This ain't no joke either... there were study questions that went right along with it and they are expected to journal out their answers.


There's just no way I could be more proud of this girl right here.

It was such a privilege and blessing to sit down with her - pray over the study and over her and over what God might wanna say to her during this time of growing and learning and seeking Him.

Stay strong and keep chasing Him, Meron!

And never, ever, ever forget...

You are a product of His love!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Yay Z


Not to be confused with Jay Z... the rapper - "Yay Z!" is what we're all shouting out when Z-Dogg scores a 100% on his spelling test!

Lately he's been seeing the fruits of his labor... working hard all week on his words and taking pre-tests... and BOOM!

Dude is becoming a speller!

Way to rock it, Z-Dogg! Yay Z!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Globetrotter Hair


She insisted on wearing the Globetrotter headband when we went and watched them perform the other night!

I think she rocked it well!

Looking good Meron... Globetrotter style!

Institutionalized Perfection


(This a fictional short story based entirely on true circumstances...)

I came in to the "transitional home" (a fancy word for an orphanage) when I was fairly young - like a year and a half. It wasn't home... and was never intended to be. But things can take time and I ended up being there for a while. Too long really.

But I was cared for. Some might even say I was loved. I had food regularly. I got bathed. I even had "sunshine time" when the weather allowed it. And while I didn't smile much... I was as happy as I guessed I could be. I missed the fields of coffee, smelling the nature and the beans and feeling the sun - but at least here I was fed. And that was good. Real good.

And then there were the visitors. These people came. Sometimes in matching shirts and usually with white skin. They were always smiling and laughing and picking me and my friends up. And every now and then - one of my friends would get all dressed up... the nannies would be bubbly and excited and then a few of those people would come - and my friend would leave with them. I never saw any of those friends again. Ever.

But those friends seemed happy to go and it started to make sense to me. If I could just be the best me I could be - maybe one of those happy, smiling visitors would take me home too. If I could just be... PERFECT.

And that's how it all started for me. My obsession with perfection. At first it was just really clean clothes. Look a certain way - cleaner than my friends - and these visitors would love on me. Then it became eating - staying super neat with my food, clean and proper - best manners ever! I think the older lady in the blue sweatshirt is smiling right at me!

How could I be even better? I stopped wetting myself at night. Like... completely stopped overnight. And if the nannies thought that was incredible - what would these visitors think!? I became an incredible helper - never needing any assistance in almost anything. I didn't think about myself much - but that's okay - because look how perfect I looked!

Then... one day it happened. The nannies got me the nicest, cleanest outfit out. It had a big, goofy collar - but I could make it look good. I could make it look PERFECT! And then some guy came in. He was by himself - not with a group. He played with all of us - me and my friends - but the nannies let it slip... they said "Papa" in a language I understood. My heart jumped and my stomach fluttered... did this mean what I thought it did?

The man stayed a bit longer but then said his goodbyes. To me... to my friends. And he wasn't taking me with him. Had I not been good enough? Perfect enough? I tried not to look sad... but I was. That night in my bed I told myself I would work harder at being perfect.

Months later - when the kind woman came and took me on the big airplane with her - I saw the man again... but this time it was different. He was smiling and motioning for me to come to him... I ran to him and he picked me up and hugged me. He said something in my ear that I didn't understand but I did know this... it felt right. I even let a little smile come out.

There was another little girl who looked like me and she loved me so much. Now SHE made me smile a lot! She was funny and crazy and she got in trouble a lot... but not me. Because I continued to try and be the most perfect person I could.

I made my bed. I lined up my shoes (they gave me LOTS of shoes!). I ate everything they asked me to. I took baths and played nice. I quickly learned their language and did my best to never have any issues! I did good in school. Made lots of friends and the teachers liked me!

PERFECT!

A few years later - they brought home a little boy. I had a little brother! I was the best big sister possible. I played with him and helped take care of him.

PERFECT!

PERFECT!

PERFECT!

Then... one night... it happened. I was in my room alone because my big sister was sick. I couldn't fall asleep because I'm not used to falling asleep alone and I was worried about my sister anyways. So I did it. I pulled out the device we played games on and I sent my sister a get well message.

Both my mom and dad came to check on me. They said I should be asleep because it was pretty far past my bedtime and that I shouldn't be on that device that late anyway. When they left the room... I cried. Had I just messed everything up? Was this it? What was morning going to look like? My heart sank deep and I was afraid.

The next morning my dad smiled at me and said the same thing he always does... "Hey girl... how'd you sleep?"

I could barely look at him as I said "Okay..." I think he knew I had failed at being perfect and he was just buying time until he could get rid of me. That's what I thought.

My mom was being so nice too as she kissed me and headed out the door to to take my brother to a doctor's appointment. My big sister was resting from being sick so it was just me and daddy - he was going to take me to school... or was he? I didn't know what to do - so I slipped a note on to his desk. He said I could watch TV earlier - but I couldn't. So i just sat on the couch pretending to read a book... that's more perfect than TV anyways... right?

I saw my dad walk into his office and open the note... his shoulders shuddered a little bit as he read it.

"Dear daddy... please forgive me from last night. I was dreading this morning because I thought you would be mad at me or something from last night.

There is just one thing I don't understand... why are you being so loving to me? You're being so kind to me even though I did something I wasn't supposed to do last night. You still seem to love me so much.

I hope you know I love you. Please forgive me.

Your very sorry daughter."
There was a tear on his cheek and now mine too... oh man... crying isn't perfect. But I couldn't stop. He was coming towards me - and he didn't say anything - he just hugged me.

We walked to school that day... just me and my daddy.

I'm smiling again because he told me some good stuff about love, what unconditional means, what deeds mean and how he doesn't love me because of that - he just loves ME.

And I feel lighter today. Lighter than I have in almost 7 years.

Because I don't have to try to be perfect anymore.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Memory By Mail


I got an alert that a package had been delivered from USPS and was on our front porch today.

Check out what was out there!

Granny had sent the girls each a framed set of pics from their recent trip to Ethiopia!

They LOVE them!


They were so stoked to show me when I got home from work today... and we've already picked out a spot to hang them right outside their bedroom!

Thanks Granny... not only for being part of making the memories - but helping to preserve them too!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Speaking Louder Than Most


Have you guys met my friend Jeffrey?

If you haven't - you need to...

Because Jeffrey is AWESOME!

He's got a heart for people - for justice, equality, love, empathy, compassion, inclusion...


And he's got a couple incredible siblings who are molded just like him!


Aren't they a beautiful bunch of kids?

Oh... and I almost forgot... Jeffrey uses a wheelchair and is non-verbal.

It's easy to forget though - cuz Jeffrey gets around like none other. He and his dad have completed insane amounts of races together! Honestly - they're superstars in that space!

And as far as speaking up? This kid does it louder and more often than most!

Check this out...

At the beginning of February - I kicked off a "Black History Month" series where I was just researching and sharing awesome unsung black heroes I was discovering.

Shortly after posting the first few - I got a message from Jeffrey's mom that said:

"I was wondering if you have your Black History Month series images in an easy to email format? I thought it would be cool for Jeffrey to share some of these awesome people from history with his class daily to “enhance” their standard curriculum for the month which oddly only includes 2 African Americans (MLK Jr and Jackie Robinson—which both amazing men, but seriously there are MANY more incredible folks to learn about!)

The software for JARVIS will let me input the image file as the picture that is displayed (basically in a box representing a button or icon available for selection) then when Jeffrey holds his gaze long enough on any one image icon (his pages usually have two to four choices displayed at one time) then JARVIS will read whatever text we want.

As I was doing the curriculum for school - and the main influence for Black History Month being MLK Jr. - it made me keep thinking about his famous quote about continuing progress no matter what (if you can not march then walk, if you can not walk then crawl etc) and that really got me to thinking about Jeffrey and the kind of kid he is.

He is the kind of kid who wants people to speak up for what is right, and if he - a non verbal kid from Wisconsin - can embrace King's message and teach people to use THEIR voices to speak up then how awesome would that be?

This kid can't even talk - but he is going to push for progress however he can -- if you can not walk then crawl, ok sure; how about if you can not talk then use your computer generated speech device?"
I was floored at the request - humbled he'd wanna use my content - and 100% down to make it happen!


So I started daily sending his mom the copy and images - and she started loading them up in his JARVIS tool to share with his classroom!


Here's what it looked like on the screen - and better yet - give the video below a whirl to hear it in action!


Pretty stinking cool - isn't it?


I was just so moved by this kid - shouting louder than most people I know about amazing black folks from history we should all know more about!

I just had to know more about this incredible system he's using - and when I asked his mom about it she shared this:
"Here is the link to the augmentative computer that Jeffrey uses - an i15+ with eye gaze technology that runs Communicator 5 software.

Due to cerebral palsy using communication devices that require the user to touch a screen or hit a switch don't work well for him -- he *can hit switches, it's just really hard for him to control his arms/hands purposefully to activate them.

For many years, prior to getting Jarvis, we communicated only through asking questions that could be answered with a "yes" or "no" response because Jeffrey will intentionally turn his head to answer (to his left is "yes," to his right is "no").

With his device being gaze controlled he just needs to look at icons on the screen, then hold his gaze for a predetermined length of time (3.4 seconds, which doesn't sound like much until you are staring at an icon on a computer screen without blinking or shifting your gaze at all).

He has had Jarvis for about a year and a half, and is finding that having a voice is a really big deal-because he knows what it's like to not have one at all. "
Is this kid coupled with this technology not the most amazing combination ever?


And if that wasn't enough - as I was wrapping up the month - I decided to share out mini-bios on my four kids - definitely four brown heroes of my own...

I didn't send them to Jeffrey and his mom at first cuz - ya know - they're just my kids and all...

But what do they do?

They share them anyways!

So humbled by their efforts - their love - and their willingness to be a voice.


Jeffrey... you and your family have amazed, impressed and humbled me for years as you've supported Brighton Their World and been all around awesome forces of good in the world.

You never cease to amaze me with the heart and spirit and love you display regularly.

Thank you for being a model for ALL OF US on how to speak up and use the platform God has given us!

Go ahead... try to speak louder than Jeffrey... I double dog dare ya!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Unleashed!


What's that you ask?

Cousin It?

A Sasquatch?

Tymm's beard gone wild?

How 'bout none of the above?


That's just Meron unleashing that gorgeous hair of hers for her basketball game today!


I absolutely LOVE when she brings her hair out like that... it matches her personality perfectly!

Way to bring your A GAME, Meron!

Friday, March 1, 2019

How You Doin'?


Oh you know... just welcoming in March with a little tub soak and hair treatment!

You know how we do!

Welcome to 2019, March!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

76 Days...


This showed up in the mail today.

No words... just humbled.

Thank you, Shannon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

On The Mend


Somebody is seeing the light at the end of the flu-tunnel!

She made it through about 3/4 of a day of school today - and even though she was pretty wiped out tonight - she was excited to be back with friends and her teachers that she loves so much.

Welcome back to the land of the living, girl!

Way to kick flu's butt, Meron!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mebba-Lamma-Ding-Dong


Our friend Tony recently posted this picture of Mebbie that he took back in 2012 for a Brighton Their World promo...

What What WHAT???

And I couldn't help but think about that picture this morning when I walked out on the front porch with THIS big girl!


Good grief this girl is growing up... and what a beautiful, shining, glowing, radiant, loving, empathetic and compassionate soul she is!

Meron was still on flu quarantine and Z-Dogg and mommy were off at a doctor's appointment - so I got to walk this beauty to school all by myself.

I am so impressed with who she is - how she leans into God on a daily basis - and who she is growing into.

And I cannot believe I get to be her daddy.

I see you Mebbie... and I LOVE you!