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!

Monday, February 25, 2019

We Got Something Brewing!


We're excited and almost ready to fully announce a little initiative we want to try out!

If it ends up being doable and successful - you could be helping moms earn a wage, a student eat two meals a day and get water... all the while drinking some delicious coffee from the best coffee place on earth!


Looks good, doesn't it?

Trust us... it is!


So stay tuned for the announcement and a sign up form coming super soon (by end of week).

We're looking for 25 people to jump in with us - to give us real feedback - and hopefully advocate with us as well!

How much do YOU love coffee?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Little One On One


Man... any time I get the impromptu chance to go shoot some hoops and even play a little one on one with this gorgeous princess...

I Jump on it!

Today we got to squeeze in an hour or so of time on the court... and I LOVED it!

And trust me - there's no "gimmees" out there with me - she worked hard and earned every basket she made - and she made quite a few!

She has absolutely fallen head over heels in love with this sport this year... carrying her ball around, dribbling, working HARD on her crossover...

So fun to watch her embrace something and work to be better!



And yesterday - while I was home on "sick Meron duty" - she ended up having one of her better games of the year!

Laura was texting me with the play-by-play the whole time and captured a short video of her in action to share too.

Do what you love, Mebbie... keep hooping!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Influenza Go Away-za


Somebody was out of school sick yesterday and woke up this morning feeling pretty darned poopy.

And given that we have received TWO emails from the school regarding flu "outbreaks" - we decided to get her in this morning and get her checked out because she and I were scheduled to head to the mountains on Sunday for an adventure.

One nose swab later and the verdict was in:

Influenza Type A


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

This diagnosis had us feeling all sorts of ways...

The mountain excursion was cancelled (re-scheduled though!) and we hunkered down to try and heal.


This one spent the gross majority of the day just like this - and it was so needed!

I'm feeling a bit under the weather too (please no flu, please no flu, please no flu...) so I stayed home on "Monitor Meron" duty.


And these goofballs took advantage of the need to get outta the house and went and spent a fun dinner out with Mommy.

Here's to better days tomorrow and fast healing!

Get outta here flu! Nobody invited you!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Very Impressive Person (V.I.P.)


Laura got this picture texted to her from Mebbie's teacher today... and we were like

WHAT?!?!

Come to find out they pick a "Very Impressive Person" in her class and yesterday it was Mebbie!

While we are always impressed by mebbie - we're also her parents - so it's pretty cool when we see other's recognizing her awesomeness!

Way to go Mebbie - you're ALWAYS a V.I.P. to us!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

$127 and I Don't Know Why...


The girls had been gone about 3 days when the message came into me via Facebook...

There was a sense of urgency as I read it...


I learned my lesson early on when leading teams to Africa to not try and get in the way of the Holy Spirit - no matter what your other instincts may be trying to tell you.

And that's what I told them!


This thing on their heart... they just HAD to move on it!

I loved their humble, selfless obedience!

I told them I'd do whatever I could to help them out - and I'd contact the girls as soon as I could and fill them in!

So I waited until they were awake to let them know about this story that was unfolding...


I told them everything via Facetime.

I explained my own experiences with what I call "divine interruptions" - things God brings to us that we never could have planned for or put on our itinerary - and told the girls to be looking for areas the Holy Spirit may be leading them - and to definitely be praying!

I suggested they share it with the whole team and get everybody praying too - cuz discernment on a timeline can be scary sometimes!

And then we disconnected and they were off!


The next few days the girls got busy doing what they were doing there...

Serving others...


And loving kids!

And every time we'd chat at the end of a day - I'd ask about the $127 - and the answer was always the same... "We're not sure yet!"

But then Thursday came - and that night I had a pretty teary-eyed Facetime with my crew of ladies.

The girls had gone to an orphanage that day - home of one of the sweetest Brighton Academy students you'd ever meet - and she had given them a tour of where she lives.

And it WRECKED the girls.

(no pictures from here - but we wouldn't post them even if we had them because... DIGNITY)

So many emotions and feelings and thoughts for the girls... so much of their own lives being reflected back at them - so many heart tugs...

I was in tears on Facetime with them... for them... and as we talked - they felt like they knew what God wanted them to do with that $127.

The charity club at Brighton Academy has been wanting to do something with the girls from this orphanage - especially because a few of our own live there.

The girls felt like they were supposed to give that $127 as seed money for the charity club to start up their work at the orphanage.

Divine interruption indeed... see... the visit to this orphanage wasn't even on their week's itinerary. It wasn't planned... totally impromptu.

But man... isn't that just like God, though?

We can plan and plan and plan... even to be "His hands and feet" and all He needs is our willingness and He will direct us where to be.

I am so grateful for the self-less, generous person who heard Him and reached out in obedience. They didn't need an answer to why - just wanted to obey Him.

I messaged them what the girls decided... and they said:

I am beyond words thankful that He continues to give me a ring-side seat to His work. It's incredible what can be done when we get out of the way and hand Him our willingness.

Continually blows my mind.

$127... and now we know why!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bedtime...


Or as Z-Dogg may know it as.... "Time to deploy stall tactics!"

His cuteness makes it work too!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Thirst For Home


We were driving to the gym for some basketball when Mebbie said:

"Daddy... I read a new book today from our class library... I really liked it... it reminded me of ME."
She had my attention immediately.

She said the book was called "A Thirst For Home" and she explained that it was:
"about a little girl who was born in Ethiopia... but her mom had to put her up for adoption - like me - and she moved to America and would look into puddles and see reflections of her memories from back in Ethiopia..."
Whew...

Deep stuff for anybody to process - let alone a 10 year old!

But anybody who knows Mebbie knows she ain't no regular 10 year old!

When we got to the gym - she helped me look up the book - I told her the picture on the front even looked a little like her!

She smiled and said "I know... I thought so too!"

Look man... it's not lost on me that I am not at all qualified for this. Zero experience to lead a beautiful princess like this, a daughter of a Heavenly King - through the tough things in life.

So I took a deep breath and said a silent prayer... "God... you got this, right?"

He does... He always does.


I told Mebbie I thought this was great and I was so glad she had read that book... and she was beaming.

I asked her how she felt - how it made her feel - and did she have any questions or anything she wanted to talk about... that I may not have answers but that I am ALWAYS willing to talk with her about anything - and that her story is glorious and beautiful.

She thought for a second... and then she said:
"Well... one thing I thought about a lot while reading it was that I was thankful for my brothers and sister. For Brighton and Zechie and Meron... because they have stories like mine - with adoption and Ethiopia - and I can relate to them so much..."
Oh my heart... I simply do not deserve the presence of this God-breathed beauty, this mature and loving and empathetic beautiful Queen in my life.

But holy moly am I thankful for her.

As quickly as we were on the topic - we were off - when she tossed me the basketball and said:
"Wanna play some one on one?"
I would have played ANYTHING to spend time with her right then.

We transitioned from orphanages, adoption, poverty and race to dribbling, free throws, pivot foot and jump shots in like 2 seconds.

And we may have been hooping - and she was laughing and smiling and darn near taking me to the basket - but my mind was busy thanking God... for His love, His presence, His words, His arms around my daughters...

Like I said... I don't deserve this.

But I'm certainly thankful for every piece of it!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Good Company


Meron and Mebbie were in some super good company on their recent trip to Ethiopia!

We're still recovering and processing stories - and we fully plan on sharing them here - but this one was easy to share!

What a great opportunity to travel to Ethiopia at an age when it really meant something to them - and to have their Granny along with them!

I know they loved it!

Thanks Granny - for sharing this incredible experience with them!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Such an Amazing Experience...


A week from being back - with jet-lag SLOWLY disappearing - these two beauties sat down this afternoon to start working on their thank you cards to all the folks who helped them go on this trip this year!

About an hour into it - Meron yells for me to come out there and says:

"There's something on your desk... open it with Mommy..."
So I head over to my desk...


To find this Thank You Card sitting there addressed to me and Laura.


Opened it up to read the sweetest message from our big girl on behalf of her and her sister.


Not that I for a second questioned the weight of this trip for the girls - but man - it has surely had a visible impact on their lives.

And look at her... Ethiopia looks SO SO GOOD on her!

No thanks needed, sweet girls - it was a blessing and privilege to watch you guys thrive!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Love from My Mini Me!


This girl right here... MAN!

She brings me so much joy, so much love, so much inspiration and encouragement.

She's such a little daddy's girl - and has been her whole life.

Good or bad - she's picked up a lot of my traits - and I see so much of me in her on many occasions (geesh - I'm sorry girl!).

Her willingness to stand for what's right is strong... her love for her people is fierce...

She's a force to be reckoned with!


This past Thursday - Valentine's Day - she wrote me this note and it came sliding under the bathroom door while I was getting ready for work.


I love this SO MUCH!

When she was a little baby - if I ever asked her how much she loved me - she would always respond with "BIG MUCH!"

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that she remembers this and she referenced it!


Meron... I stand in awe - as your daddy - of your ability to love big, stand strong in the face of many challenges and continue to be a girl chasing after her Heavenly Father on a daily basis.

I will always and forever have your back, you beautiful girl, you!

Daddy loves you BIG MUCH, girl!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Creative and Generous Friend!


Man... not only do we have some of the most creative friends around - they are also some of the most generous!

Our friend Shannon paints as part of her art therapy - to work through some of the very challenging hurdles she has been confronted with in life...

And we love her work!

So we were super stoked to get a package from her with paintings for each of the goofballs!


I absolutely love the colors and look and message she gave to each of the gang!


They were incredibly fitting for each goofball...


and we can't wait to get them hung up in their rooms!

Shannon has been such a selfless, relentless, generous supporter of Brighton Their World over the years - even supporting people she doesn't even know for trips through her artwork... and we couldn't be more grateful for people like her in our lives!

You honor Him so well, Shannon - thank you for the love you've showered on our crew time and time again!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

These Two


Man... these two right here...

Jet lag is starting to wear off and we're having such great conversations about their time in Ethiopia.

Still processing all that God did - with stories yet to come hopefully...

So grateful for their lives!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Friends Like This


The girls were in Ethiopia when the package came for them - and the sender of it was bummed that it didn't get here before they left... but ya know what?

I think the timing was PERFECT.

Recovering from jet lag and the emotional and spiritual heaviness of their trip - they opened this package to find the most awesome hand-lettered cards and a handmade bracelet - made especially for them.

The card to Mebbie read:

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10

Oh, what a handiwork God did in creating you! Our wonderful creator has big plans for you and your big smile. Your story is a beautiful thing which God has planned in advance for good - no, not just good - GREAT things!

Who you are - who you are meant to be - is God's jeweled princess, beloved and cared for!
Uh... WOW!... Just WOW...


And the Meronator got a card too... and it said:
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." - 1 Peter 4:10

What wonderful gifts you have been given! You will move mountains in the name of Christ and for His kingdom with your voice, your passion and your bravery.

Who you are meant to be us gloriously wonderful - the daughter of the Almighty King! A true princess!
I mean... seriously?

Who does this? Who takes the time to hand-letter a card, make gorgeous bracelets and most of all - speak incredible words of truth and encouragement over kids who aren't even theirs?

Our friends - that's who.

We are humbled beyond belief by the effort of these friends. We certainly don't deserve this but we are so, so grateful for it.

I hope and pray you have people in your world like this - people who care, who selflessly put in effort to make it know that they see you, they know who you are and they believe in you.

I know for me - I was encouraged to e better in this space for sure.

Thank you seems tiny... but thank you friends - for seeing our girls in the light of truth He built them in!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Forever Goofy

















No words even needed...

Dude is FOREVER goofy!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Positive Call Home


Today was first day back at school for the girls after their trip.

Playing catch up with their class... slowed way down from jet lag and the emotional weight of the trip they just finished... excited to share with friends...

But what does Meron go and do?

Get recognized by her teacher as a student not goofing off and paying attention in class.

She earned what they call a "Positive Call Home" where her teacher calls us - and with Meron standing right there to hear - basically tells us all kinds of amazing and good things about our girl!

Then she sent us an email with this adorable picture of the Meronator and a quick note that said:

"Love this girl!!!! So blessed to have her in my class!!
Wow...

I gotta say it - what a HUGE DIFFERENCE we have seen with her second semester teachers and how she is getting on in class.

Seriously, Mrs. H. - we are blessed to have YOU in Meron's world! Thank you so much for the way you love on and guide our girl through these rough years of growing up!

It matters - and we see you and how intentional you are!

And Meron!!! Girl... on a day that you could have EASILY been excused for fatigue, lack of attention, no focus, etc...

You CHOSE to be different than that!

I see you too, girl - and the incredible choices you're making!

Mommy and Daddy love ya girl - and we are super dooper proud of you!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Putting In The Work


Last week Z-Dogg put in a pretty miserable effort on his spelling test - walked out with a measly 50% on there...

I was determined to make this week different!

So what's that mess up there ya ask?

Oh that's the daily effort (sometimes 2x a day) that Zechie was putting in for this new week's spelling words.

We were determined.

He wrote them out - multiple times - spelling them as he went.

Then he'd come to me - we'd do a drill - and he'd be off to re-write any words he missed.


Then... Friday morning after breakfast - the day of the test - we did a little PRE-TEST at home!

Honestly - he didn't nail it... and I was nervous.

The whole walk to school we went over the ones he missed - we worked on the sounds - the words that were "-ai" and the words that were "-ay"

We prayed it up - and we let it rip!


So at 3:25 PM - when I walked up to get him - guess who was SUPER DOOPER STOKED?

You got it - Z-Dogg got a 100% on his spelling test!


He was so so so excited to tell me all about it - how he almost got "paint" wrong but then remembered me stressing the "T" sound at the end.

He was super proud... and he should be!

Help a kid learn to spell - and you'll see just how darn confusing the English language is!

Way to work hard and see that payoff, Z-Dogg!