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!!

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!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

All Is (Silently) Well!

My three roses are back home...

Three of my favorite human beings are back in place!

This past week - I looked at Z-Dogg during dinner one night and said, "Dude... it's so quiet around here without the ladies!"

And while jet-lag has put a damper on any loud parties around here tonight...

The fact remains that... my ladies are home!

And sure... they may be passed out on the couches and chairs... but they're here!

They had an amazing week and I couldn't be any more proud them - but I am one happy dude tonight - thanking God for delivering them back here safely!

Welcome home, ladies!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Malcolm, Harriet, Martin, Maya and Frederick

It's Black History Month - what are you doing to learn more about awesome black folks throughout history?

In our camp - we're honoring Black History Month by going out of our way to seek out and learn about amazing black folks who have done amazing things and yet - never got much recognition.

And Z-Dogg is down to represent the big names in history on his shirt!

Check us out on Facebook or Instagram as we try to share a few details about a new person every day this month.

So many amazing black people who have done and are doing incredible things.

Thankful to celebrate them all!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Long and Emotional Day

These two had a long and emotional day today...

And it caught up with them!

I had a tear-filled Face-time session witht hem tonight - and really, really, really wished I was there to hug them

They're processing some tough stuff - and God is doing some serious shaping and molding of them.

I'm so proud of them. This dad is BEAMING with pride.

More to come once I get my head wrapped around their day - but for now - I celebrate their lives... their stories...

They are such an incredible gift to me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Technology Grateful

When we're used to spending every day together in some form or fashion - you come to realize just how much ya miss your people when they're gone!

Thankful tonight for technology that allows us to stay in touch, pray with each other and see those smiling faces I adore!

Daddy misses ya ladies!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Her Happy Place...

I've talked so much about Meron and Mebbie and the work they're doing over at Brighton Academy and the joy on their faces...

But I cannot forget about this lady right here!

Laura is absolutely in her zone... in her happy place!

Hugging on the kids we have come to know so well over the past few years at Brighton Academy!

I know how much joy this brings her... it's like we have 500 kids of our own and we're seeing them grow up right before our eyes!

And getting to be there with her mom again - I know that brings joy to her too!

At home - we spend like every waking moment worrying about these kids, working for them, trying to make sure sponsorships are there, funds are there, the school has all it needs, etc.

It's heavy, nonstop work. We are blessed and privileged to do it - but it's heavy and nonstop.

No furloughs. No time off. No vacations. No rest or recovery time...

But the visits in country? That's where the payoff is - and I see it in Laura's smile, her face, her joy...

I'm so grateful for you, Laura, and the work you do... enjoy those hugs! You deserve them!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Three Generations!

This picture is just insane to me.

Almost ten years ago now - we threw together a quick business plan, articles of incorporation and a logo - and launched our little grassroots nonprofit to try and make a dent in the space of nutrition and orphan prevention.

Never in a million years would we have thought that it would turn into a top-notch school named after our son - providing two meals a day, water and an excellent education to almost 500 students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


But God knew.

And now - this week - three generations are at the school - serving together!

Three generations - each impacted at different seasons of life - by a land and people we have come to love so much.

You guys... only God writes these kinds of stories.

I'm posting this here after sharing it on social too because I never, ever wanna forget His goodness.

Grateful for where we've come.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

No Small Load!

Look... my man may SEEM tiny to ya.

And he does to me sometimes too...

But that was before this past Friday and Saturday...

When I pushed his butt for a bunch of miles, a couple different times!

Z-Dogg hasn't been in the B.O.B. in like YEARS - but with mommy gone - if I wanted to get some miles in... Well - desperate times call for desperate measures!

Dude was an absolute trooper - even when I was STRUGGLING on some of the serious uphills!

But we made it - and I am pretty sure he had a blast too!

Thanks for the super workout, Z-Dogg!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Our Babies Are Home!

"Our babies are home!"

That's what the post said after Laura and the girls had landed and were waiting patiently in the line for visas.

And it kinda took my breath away... cuz wow - what a Holy journey He has allowed us to b part of!

You guys... adoption ain't easy. And while I'd never pretend to be some kind of expert in trauma or painful life stuff - I do know that Laura and I work hard to walk through the real stuff with our kids.

The hard stuff.

The scary stuff.

The stuff we'd rather not even think about

But the stuff we owe it to our gorgeous gifts to address.

I think God intended for families to stay intact... I really do.

But then... well - fallen world and all... comes along and brings with it pain, death, destruction, trauma, separation, etc... breaking up families as God intended them to be.

Bu then - God being God - I feel like He looked the fallen world in the face and said,

"I see your fallen state of affairs, your brokeness, destruction and pain... and I raise you one pathway to redemption called..."


And we have been beyond blessed and privileged to sit in the midst of it and see how He redeems... time and time again.

And today... by His mercy and grace alone - our babies are home!

I hate I am not there with them - but I am so so so excited for them.

And then - just to make sure we stay grounded in the goofiness that encapsulates us - Laura sent me this picture of Meron going all the way in with the hotel robe and slippers.

And I laughed til I cried... because His fingerprints are all over this whole thing.

Nature... nurture... pain... redemption... growth... love...

Meron and Mebbie are exactly where He wants them.

And I am forever grateful for the life changing experience He has given us.

God... the stories You write are untouchable in their greatness... thank you.

Friday, February 1, 2019

They're Off!

The day FINALLY came and this morning I dropped my ladies off at the airport for their trip to Brighton Academy!

I prayed for them at the airport... and while my heart is torn between excitement about some time with Z-Dogg and the desire to be there with them - I couldn't be more proud of who they are and what they are off to do!

I cannot wait to hear the stories of what he does over the next 9 days!

Your lights are shining, ladies!