Monday, February 28, 2011

Meronardo da Vinci

The world is her canvas...

Or in this case - the bathroom wall will suffice.

She prefers to work barefoot in tight quarters with a soapy medium.

She calls this masterpiece: "Timeout From The Inside"

She is also attributed with conceptualizing the helicopter, self-washing crib sheets, edible firecrackers, solar power, whining, the calculator, high-pitched screams and a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.

Meronardo da Vinci, ladies and gentlemen...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tiny Dancer

She spins and she sways...

To whatever song plays...

Without a care in the world...

And I'm sitting here wearing,
The weight of the world on my shoulders...

Maybe I should get a tutu.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thumbs Up!

Mommy hooked Meron up with a wash and a new hairdo tonight (this was the excitement of our sickly day)...

Pretty sure Meron approved of the work!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunshine... Heal Us!

The sickness has hit us here at Camp Hoffman. All of us. Poor Meron only made it to one day of school this week. So we all thought a quick walk in the sun might help us out...

Other than pneumonia in Ethiopia and RSV right when she came home - Meron has been ridiculously healthy. So this is all kinda new to us.

Her fever came back but was gone before bedtime.

Maybe that sunshiney wagon ride did help!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Slide Graduation

I mean... seriously? She's gonna have to graduate to the big girl slide soon because she just will not stop growing...

I love watching the joy something as simple as a 2 second trip down the slide brings her. Hunting feverishly for the adult equivalent...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grace Over Karma

I've been seeing this older interview with Bono get pushed around again recently on the interwebs and I finally took the time to read it. Good stuff.

Bono does a great job of advocating for grace over karma - but what I loved most was his response when asked if he thought Jesus as the Son of God was a bit farfecthed.

He said:

"No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says:

No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate."
And people say:
No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you.
And he goes:
No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah.
At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says:
Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this.
So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going:
OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here.
The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched."

Well said Bono. well said.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Help Send Glenn!

Last year was a great year for us as God continued to break our hearts for the nations. We were blessed to be able to prayerfully and financially support something like 15 different mission trips all over the globe including several in the USA.

With as much as we talk about the importance of being the hands and feet of Christ in all corners of the world - it wouldn't mean anything if we weren't putting action behind our talk.

And this year is looking like another one ripe with opportunities to support those willing to go out and spread the love. We've already supported a trip to Africa and 2 stateside trips - and are looking forward to the other chances we'll have to partner with people doing His work.

One of those chances is with our good friend Glenn. Glenn is a young guy in my ECHO Deeper bible study who has made a gigantic decision - he just graduated college and has decided to take part in the World Race - an 11 month mission trip that travels through 11 countries with not much more than a backpack and some serious faith in God.

That's Glenn in Guatemuala... he's the dude in the middle!

So here's where we come in and where I really need your help.
Glenn needs to raise $15,500 for this mission. As soon as he committed to this the challenges and attacks started. Those close to him weren't supporting like he hoped and even going as far as basically sabotaging his attempts. His confidence has been tested. But he has stayed faithful to what he feels God has asked him to do.

So if you believe in missions and you believe in this next generation coming behind us - would you consider helping Glenn out? You can go here for info on mailing in support funds or donate online here.

If you do choose to support Glenn - either financially or prayerfully or both - would you leave him a comment here that I can get to him? He'll be leaving on this incredible journey in July and I am sure any words of encouragement would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you guys so much for your tireless efforts on behalf of orphans and the least of His around the world. Means the world to us!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Runners Take Your Mark...

We run here at Camp Hoffman. As much as we can. Like - between Friday at 5:00 PM and Saturday at noon we had collectively logged 22 miles. And I spent a ton of time in high school on the track. Loved it.

So imagine the giddiness in my heart when Meron declared she wanted to get some running clothes and come running with us! I was pumped - and after church on Sunday we hit the track in her new gear.

She has definitely been watching us... she started it out with some stretches.

Then it was time to toe the line...

She even tucked down in like she was coming out of the blocks!

And BOOM! she was gone...

I was pretty surprised and impressed at her form...

She even started copping a little attitude... almost as if to say:

"Yeah - you think you're fast? Well I'm Ethiopian... Go on and brush ya shoulder off..."

We even did a few bleacher runs (her call - not mine)!

Bleachers almost always call for a rest at the top...

Afterwards she did a little cool down jog and stretched it out some more...

And of course she had to hit the water bottle - possibly her favorite part!

I've run a WHOLE LOT of 400s (one lap around the track). I've been on relays, gone to state meets, huge invitationals, indoor meets, etc. And I loved them all.

But none of them even came close to this single lap I got to run with my girl!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Super Duper Cute

The weather has been SO nice here in the ATL - it called for a skirt and lightweight sweater for church today. Meron was loving it...

She looked super duper cute.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How We Wait...

Camp Hoffman has been struggling with the wait for LH3. No doubt about it. We've prayed, we've been prayed for and we've prayed some more. And at times - we took our eyes off of God and focused only on the wait. And the frustration and stress and fear that came with it.

And what we've learned is this - that when you do that - when you take your eyes off of Him for a second - darkness will try to creep in. And this past week it definitely tried. We've had stress. We've had the wrong outlook. We let things creep in that on the surface looked good for our family but at the core.... were not.

This is how much satan hates adoption - we actually know the glorious outcome of it all and yet he still manages to make us struggle. That's just the truth of it all.

But things are looking up around here. Today on my long run I was spoken to through my iPod by none other than DMX with this prayer of his:

"I thank you Lord for my birth, and everythings thats followed.
I thank you Lord for today, and I will pray for tomorrow.
I thank you Lord for the love of my life and a friend.
I made a promise, and I'm lovin' my wife 'til the end.
I thank you Lord for your guidance, cause thats all that counts.
And right here, right NOW, Lord this is your house.
I thank you Lord for a dream that came true to light.
And I ask you to bless everybody in this room tonight.
I don't always do the right thing, and I ask you to forgive me.
Cause I need you here wit me, without you in my life it's empty.
I think back to how some people did me like, violence was the remedy.
And because I think of that now, I pray for my enemy.
Not because of what I'll do, but because they don't know.
There's somethin' better after here, but everybody, won't go.
So I ask you to forgive them, and we'll hope they see.
And I thank you for the love that, they've given to me.
I will not abuse it, nor will I lead them astray.
See, I love 'em like children, that I see everyday.
And I pray, no WE pray together, get us through the bad weather,
and we love you forever.
Let your thought, and my heart, go hand in hand.
I first thought, but to start, but I stand a man.
And for as long as I can, as long as you permit me.
Please give me, the strength I need to live.
Bare wit me.
That really got me thinking about how I was approaching this wait and how I was putting every ounce of my focus, attention and energy on it while letting all of the amazing glorious things God has done for me and my family fall by the wayside.

And - as luck would have it - right after this DMX prayer came a Steven Curtis Chapman song (yeah - I have some diverse musical tastes!) that said this:
"And I hear children's voices singing
Of a God who heals and rescues and restores
And I'm reminded... That every child in Africa is Yours..."
And that sealed the deal for me.

Tonight as we prayed we thanked God for all of the amazing stuff He has done in our lives and for all of the simple things we take for granted. And we acknowledged that He loves LH3 a lot more than we do. That He wants LH3 to be in a loving family WAY more than we do. And that His timing on this is what we are under and we are going to sit in faith and wait with joy for His timing to be perfect.

Oh we know we'll stumble and take our eyes off of Him while we stare at this wait - but our goal is to be aware of it and to beat it when it happens.

And if all else fails - I'll just keep staring at this girl - cuz she makes me smile a LOT.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It Gets No Better...

Mommy in one hand... Special treat from Christian Chicken in the other.

Meron was loving life!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Come On Spring...

Get here for good!

Meron - and her friends - and her bike...

are ready for you! (and us too)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And All Was Well...

Today was one of those days that just kinda suck. Ya know... unneeded and unwanted drama - busy at work - skipped lunch... just kinda all around sucky.

So I hit the trails to run it out but was still frustrated with it as I keyed the door and headed inside. Then I saw this:

And the smile started creeping back in. Weight was lifted. Joy was seen and heard. I listened to them finish the book and then listened again as Meron "read" it to us.

And then I got endless hugs and kisses from this cutie:

And all was well in my universe.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

She's Dead Set On It...

Meron is dead set on growing up. Like fast. Like right before our eyes.

Everything is all:

"I can do it, I can do it!"
Tonight she was helping me in the yard when she decided she wanted to climb up in the car and give me a terrifying glimpse in to the future.

I'm currently on Craigslist looking for a DeLorean... I am dead set against the future...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Do You Know What Joy Is?

I asked Meron that the other day while we were driving. She had been giggling and laughing and being basically Meron... when I thought about how someone had said to us before that JOY was the word they thought of when they thought of her.

She had NO IDEA what joy was. None. Couldn't even give me a guess.

But now she knows. It's what God put down in her heart and the thing that just bubbles out of her most of the time.

Don't get me wrong - there's the occasional joyless moment with her. But 99% of the time - it's joy.

And now she knows what it is and where it came from.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hello There Holy Spirit

Today - when we put Meron down for a quick nap - Laura called me into our room to listen to her on the monitor. Check it out below:

(sorry about the loud sound machine - it's kinda hard to hear... lower volume works best!)

She was singing this to herself over and over and over again:

"Forever, author of salvation.
He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave...
Forever, author of salvation.
He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave..
Forever, author of salvation.
He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave.."
It really made me think about something Laura had heard at a conference on adoption and orphan care recently. One of the breakout speakers was talking about the presence of the Holy Spirit in our children - and our responsibility as parents to recognize it and help cultivate it and create an environment for growth in that area.

As Christ followers - I don't think you can start too early. Meron has done and said so many things over the past 3 years that just scream "HOLY SPIRT." And we are trying so hard to stay aware of it and give her what she needs from us to grow up in that.

It's hard sometimes as we stand in awe - jaws dropped - of the blessing she is and the often-times amazingly divine connection she seems to have. But its our job to pick up our jaws and make sure we do EVERYTHING we can to capture that Holy Spirit in her heart at the youngest age possible. That's what I want for her more than anything. I pray for it every single night.

So we've started a reading program...

KIDDING! She can't read!

I think most kids know and get this anyways. It's us adults who can use the lesson...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

There Goes The Neighborhood

What's Meron stressing out about? A crop circle? An alien ship landing spot? A new method of landscaping?

Nope - that's the handy work of our awesome neighbors! While mommy was in Africa, Meron and I headed out to hang with Cooper and his brother and daddy. Well - get this motley crew together and fireworks of some sort are sure to come out.

We decided to fire up some of Cooper's daddy's leftover sparklers - you know - the BIG ones. Hey - who cares it was crazy dry out and ChemLawn had recently doused the lawn with chemicals.

A few sparks later and our neighbor's yard was on fire - burning nicely! A small drinking glass didn't do the trick but Cooper's mommy saved the day with some quick thinking and a fire extinguisher.

All's well that ends well. Everybody was safe and we ended up with a pretty funny story to share! Thanks Cooper, Dan, Reece and Kerry for a good time!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Follow The Big Kid

Meron absolutely LOVES our neighbor Cooper. I am pretty sure she'd follow him anywhere he went and do anything he did. And why not - he's the big kid.

Here's to hoping Cooper doesn't decide to jump off a bridge...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Process

So yesterday ya saw the "morning after" shot of the nighttime hairdo. Well here is what goes down to reach that point.

After dinner and bath - Mommy and Meron hit the big girl bed for some hair prep time.

Meron tries to be patient - but she wears her expressions pretty outwardly. It's a long process - BORING!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your hair!

Some of us have more endurance than others. It's okay - Mommy just keeps on working through the sleep!

Somehow - she always miraculously wakes up full of energy as time comes to do real shut-eye.

It's a long, tedious process - but one that is just chock full of love. I would completely stink at this - but I love nothing more than to watch it!