Friday, August 31, 2018

The Most Beautifullest Thing(s) In The World


I was headed up my favorite hill for a run tonight when Laura texted me these pics and it just struck me...

I have the most beautiful family!

Or to quote Keith Murray from back in the day:

"No matter what race creed colour him or her,
I comes cleaner than Jeru, and Damage an amateur...

The most beautifullest thing in this world, is just like that!!"
I did nothing to deserve this beauty in my life - but I am thankful He gifted me with it!


And this girl has the title of "most beautifullest of all!"

Super thankful for this crew and the beauty they shine around for Him!

Your beauty shines bright guys... inside and out!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ingenuity


I love this girl right here for SO MANY reasons!

She's cute. Her smile is amazing. She's caring. She's compassionate. She's loving.

And she's funny!

Tonight was her first soccer practice - and she was telling me all about this balance drill they had to do where they put the ball on their head and walked down the field.

She said:

"I stuck that ball up there and pushed my two puffs in and it stayed perfectly - I was able to RUN down the field!"
I couldn't stop laughing at her - while it may have defeated the point of gaining and practicing balance - her ingenuity was awesome!

I love you, Mebski Love... stay silly!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sisters in Silliness


These two right here man...

They aren't just sisters. They are the best of friends too...

And they're goofy as the day is long!

Stay crazy, girls!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Big Hair and a Scowl


I said "Z-Dogg... gimmee a smile so I can get a picture of that dope hair..."

And this is what I got!

His TOUGH GUY persona


Ain't nobody messing with you on the playground, tough guy!

Stay macho, Z-Dogg!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Unpleasantly Rough - Cruel or Severe

Last week I got a message via Facebook Messenger that stated that my online persona was harsh.

The writer was quick to clear up that they weren't calling ME harsh - but rather they were posing the question of this:

"Why are you and Laura seeming to be approaching these discussions in a way that reads harshly online?"
Oh... I gotcha. WE'RE not harsh people - we just play them online. Cool...

I asked some clarifying questions - was this one time or all the time? - they let me know they felt they had seen this attitude of ours in several places.

I was headed out of town for a few days and I tried to push it out of my mind - but it kinda nagged at me the whole time. Were we really these harsh people?

I had looked up the word "harsh" to get it's true meaning - cuz everybody who knows me knows i am a word geek... and it said "unpleasantly rough" and "cruel or severe."

Wow.

And Laura in this? Well she was just ticked.

Today I decided to respond - basically saying "Hey - opinions are opinions... they're subjective and I have never heard this from anybody else but was willing to take it at face value and ya know - maybe dig in to see if anybody else felt that way - but that their conversations online didn't need to look like mine and really probably shouldn't if they felt I was harsh."

This was met with the response of "you're losing your influence and you have significant influence over a large audience" along with an insinuation that we may not be glorifying God through our actions and words and then my personal passively aggressive favorite:
"It may not seem like it right now, but we are really for you and Laura..."
Oh... geesh. What does against us look like?

The irony of all of this though... is this:

A little under a year ago the sender of this message had reached out to us - asking for prayer. Seems they had come under attack by their church for some of their social media posts they were making that were advocating for racial justice and equality. They had decided to shut down their Facebook account in the face of this and were asking us for prayers.

I didn't call them weak or cowardly. I didn't question their allegiance to that cause or cast doubt on their approach and how it would impact their network.

Instead... I just prayed for them. And not just me.. Laura did too and the goofballs even recorded a prayer for them and we sent it to try and encourage them.

And then - in early June - the last I had heard from them - they sent me a message to let me know their situation had changed and they were about 7 weeks away from being able to use their voice in social media again - and even said:
"It's going to be nice not to have to look over my shoulder or feel like I have to think and think and think about how my post can be misconstrued or how it might be pro- or anti- this or that or who. CANNOT WAIT."
And yet here they sat - a little over 7 weeks later - telling ME that my posts were being misconstrued or seen as harsh... driving me to look over my shoulder and think about how my posts were being received, etc., etc., etc...

Yeah... I was a combination of dumbfounded, confused, shocked and hurt.

So why post this? Well - a couple reasons...

One - I write to process and I record everything here on our blog. Helps me to read back through things in our life to see where we were and what we were walking through. So there's that.

Two - I ABSOLUTELY LOVE recording times when God shows up to encourage His people - especially in the face of adversity or conflict - when we may be seriously questioning our own selves.

And today He was busy.

As this weighed on our minds today and we tried to respond and get past it - Not one, Not two, Not three, Not four... but FIVE different individuals - on their own with zero awareness of this situation - reached out to us to offer encouragement, seek advice or input from us or to just let us know they were with us in this fight for justice.

And I smiled... because I saw what He was doing and how He was doing it.

And so we stand encouraged.

As I looked back over the prayers I had sent to them when they were walking through their own struggle - I came across this that I had said:
"As a devoted follower of God - it's almost a given that at times you're going to find yourself on the opposite side of those you thought represented you. Don't worry...

Your Savior has already been there and done that. You're in good company."
Tonight - I am choosing to heed my own words from then - and stand strong in His name!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mini Advocate In Training

For as long as I can remember, Z-Dogg has had a passion in his heart for Brighton Their World.

He has always shown a real heart-connection to his brother Brighton - to the point of getting real choked up when he talks about him.

This Sunday - he got to put that passion to work as he was asked to come up and share about the "heartwork" he and his family does with Brighton Their World!

I am so proud of him!

What a tough and often scary thing to do - but he knocked it out the park!

Way to go Z-Dogg... I bet your brother Brighton was smiling down on ya the whole time!

Never stop using your voice, little homie!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

More Than a Teacher...

Sometimes you luck out and get a teacher who ends up being so much more than just a "teacher" - they are a friend, a mentor, an advocate and a cheerleader.

That's exactly what we got when Meron lucked out and got Mrs. R. last year.

As we wrapped up the first few weeks of school this year - we recognized some things that were super challenging for Meron. And as we chatted with Meron to understand her pain and hurt around it - we decided to reach out to her teacher from last year and see if she had any wise words for us.

She had WAY more than just words for us.

Saturday she picked Meron up and they went out for some frozen yogurt and some girl time.

What kind of teacher invests this deeply?

We were floored by her willingness to help us out - she clearly LOVES her students and cares way deeper than just whether they walk away learning to read, write and do math.

She cares about their hearts as well.

She brought Meron a journal and gave her some great direction on dealing with some of her current challenges.

Later on - she sent us an email with some amazingly encouraging words that included:

"We also talked about how to be a good friend to ourselves, and how to be mindful of our own worth as a friend and to know the qualities we look for in friends so that we’re best able to identify when friendships are healthy or not.

I encouraged her to make a list of the qualities that make someone a good friend so that she can refer to that and hold herself accountable to the types of friendships she allows in her life.

I reminded her that it is 100% okay to have LOTS of friends, and that I myself don’t have a ‘best friend’ anymore because I have several friends I’m very close to.

My hope is that she is able to spread her love and light where it is most able to shine and be appreciated, because she is simply amazing, and she deserves to be treated with the same love and respect and concern that she shows to others.

PLEASE keep me posted on how she's doing. I know this is such a challenging season, but she is well prepared and supported to face these tricky situations. If you need me, please don't hesitate o call or text!"
I mean... seriously... what did we do to deserve such a gift of a teacher?

Mrs. R. - we can't tell you enough how much we appreciate you, your heart and your obvious love for our little girl. She's going to be just fine and you're a big reason why!

Thank you for going so far above and beyond for our girl!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Big Hair For The Win

Big Hair, Don't Care!

I absolutely love my little homie and his head of hair!

I live vicariously through his dope little afro... if I could rock one to match the beard you best bet I would!

Stay dope, little homie... STAY DOPE

Thursday, August 23, 2018

My Plyo Posse


While Laura was out running the streets with Meron and her friends - this crew came with me to the field for a rainy day workout full of sprints, squats, lunges and plyometrics!


And while it may have rained on us pretty hard - there was no shortage of goofiness to go around!

Thanks guys... for making exercise FUN!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I Can Make It


"I can make it!" she declared.

"I can make it til the end of this dance show..."

With 45 minutes left to go - this was her state of awareness.

Don't fight the Sandman, Meron... he always wins!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

They Run These Streets


No... like they LITERALLY run these streets!

Almost every night.

And now they're picking up friends to go too and we've even have people message and say "My kids wanna come!"

And I LOVE it...

"Life's a game but it's not fair,
I break the rules so I don't care,
So I keep doin' my own thing,
Walkin' tall against the rain,
Victory's within the mile,
Almost there, don't give up now,
Only thing that's on my mind,
Is who's gon' run this town tonight..."
Keep running things, ladies!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Puzzling


Somebody was super stoked about her first puzzle she completed (well - first one that wasn't wood and made up of like 8 pieces...)

I tried to lend a hand at one point - but I ain't gonna lie - all those little dots in the background ALL LOOKED THE SAME!


Mebbie - way to stick with it and knock that thing out!

I'm on the hunt for our next one - it's gotta be bigger and harder - cuz this girl is getting good at 'em!

Never stop solving puzzles, girl... NEVER!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Making It Habit


With as much as we talk about running, go running, sign up for races and generally just have running conversations around here - you'd think EVERYBODY in this camp was down with the sport.

But that just ain't the case!

Meron is definitely not the world's biggest fan of running.

But Laura has devised a plan and she is committed to sticking it out with Meron while we transform her into a lover of the run!


They are moving into week #2 of a Galloway approach to running - it's a walk/run method that has them covering 2 miles each time they're out!

And Meron has already stepped it up a bit with an increase in her running time.

Get it girl!


Not only is she learning how important exercise is to our well-being... but she also gets to spend some quality time with this goofy creation while running through the neighborhood!


I love how dedicated to this Laura is. We're approaching it as a "must do" regardless of the weather.

We want our girl to look at running as a joyful thing when it comes up. we're not quite there yet - but we told her the old "it takes 21 days to make something a habit thing" and we're shooting for it to become just that!

Meron - we have the utmost faith in ya girl - get your run on!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

There She Goes Again...


An old classic hip-hop group that I was a big fan of back in the day was called Pharcyde and they had a hit called "Passin' Me By"

I love that tune.

One of the lines that I have always sung to the girls is:

"There she goes again, the dopest Ethiopian..."
They just smile and think their daddy si nutty cuz... well... if the shoe fits wear it, ya know?


But today Laura found this head wrap laying around and slapped it on Mebbie - and GOOD LORD - she was looking all kinds of beautiful!

Dopest Ethiopian for sure... and I couldn't stop singing it to her!

Mebbie - you represent the beauty of your country so well girl - He made you gorgeous!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Childhood Firsts!


Man... childhood and the simple joys... I love watching 'em play out!

Tonight - Mebski Love is having her very first sleepover at our house with one of her awesome friends.

Mommy grilled out - they ate - played outside - drew everywhere with chalk - bounced basketballs around - and now they're downstairs snuggled up watching a movie with a snack.

That's JOY right there!

The simple, simple fun things of childhood!

And Mebbie was SOOOO excited about it. Her face has been radiating all night long!

Cling to the joy ya find guys - childhood is FULL of it!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Teacher Love


We realize the school year basically JUST started - but once again - we're feeling like God went before us and we landed some super duper dope teachers AGAIN!

Need some proof?

Check out this little envelope that came home in Z-Dogg's backpack yesterday.

It was the most precious little gift from his 1st grade teacher!


She wrote the nicest note - telling us about Zechie's first week and highlighting his achievements and personality!

I mean... REALLY?

She impressed the heck out of Laura and me with this - this would be no small undertaking to do this for her whole class!


And she even sent home a printed photo of Z-Dogg from his first day.

I mean... talk about intentional!

I know she is young and early in her career - but she is setting herself up to be one heck of a teacher - that's for sure!

I love teachers. I love their dedication, their love for our kids and what they represent... the FUTURE.

Here's to being committed to praying for ALL of them this year as they do this work for next to nothing... but full of passion.

Thank you so much teachers - for all you do!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

He Writes the Best Stories


Our God writes the absolute best stories... believe that.

And sometimes - they're so incredible that they're almost impossible to believe.

Well - check this one out.

You guys remember Z-Dogg when he was living at the orphanage in Ethiopia... right?

There was an older girl who lived there too - she was maybe 15 or 16 at the time.

Her name was Feven.


Feven LOVED her some Zechariah - and she cared for him and loved on him a LOT!

We have a bunch of pictures of her carrying him around and just really making him think he was the king of the world!


Then - in 2013 - Z-Dogg came home... you guys know this crazy man now!


Well - around that same time - Feven was adopted and made her way to the States.

She stayed in touch via social media - checking in on Zechie and seeing how he was doing from time to time.

Pretty freaking cool and small world-ish, huh?

Wait... it gets better.

Feven recently reached out to us to ask us a question...


"What would it take for me to sponsor a student at Brighton Academy for a year?" she asked.

What, what, what?

If God ain't all about some full-circle redemption stories - I dunno who is!

Feven... your heart for kids, for your country and for God has just FLOORED us.

We are so humbled you would choose to be part of what God is doing at Brighton Academy... and you - more than most - probably recognize the impact you are having on a student!

Wanna partner with Brighton Academy like Feven did and help send a student to school?

It's EASY - just fill out this form letting us know or reach out to Tymm or Laura and we'll fill ya in!

And remember - it just takes a LITTLE to change a LOT!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Celebrating 7 Years of Mebski Love!


7 years ago today I stood amidst a crowd at the top of the escalators in the ATL airport.

I was holding the hand of a little 3 year old big sister Meron who was dying to hug her little sister - and I was the owner of a daddy heart longing to see his family all under one roof.

Then - in the middle of a bunch of other arriving passengers - Laura and Mebrate appeared coming towards us.

AND ALL WAS GOOD!

You can check that video out below - we love to watch it every single "Mebbie Day" and cry and laugh and just give God thanks for bringing us all together.



If you know us or have been following along on these crazy journeys - you know we celebrate these days BIG TIME!

And the kids LOVE IT!

So tonight we found ourselves at Mebbie's choice of Olive Garden to celebrate seven years of our beautiful girl being home with us!

One thing we always do is go around the table and everybody shares something they love about the person we're celebrating.

Mommy said she had so many things but that she loved watching Mebbie with her friends - that she loved her friends so well and was such a good friend to them.

Z-Dogg shared that he loved how nice Mebbie was always was to him and how she played with him.

Meron shared an awesome one... she said, "I love that she is almost always smiling - and has a really pretty smile!"

Then it was my turn... and I thought I had it - but as I always do when I feel the Holy Spirit lingering around - I got choked up.

This girl's life, her heart, her story... there is SO MUCH JESUS tied up in it.

It can be overwhelming!

I finally pulled it together and said that like mommy - there were a billion things I loved about Mebbie - but one thing that stood way out was how much empathy she has for others.

Her God-given ability to really feel the feelings of others and be there for them... it's remarkable to watch.


Mebbie... know this girl...

You are an absolute gift to this family!

And not just this family girl... but the entire world!

Your story is hard and painful at times - but you wear it, tell it and share it well girl!

You bring honor and glory to God in the way you choose to live your life - and you bring joy to your family by just being here.

Happy Mebbie Day sweet girl - here's to many, many more celebrations of it!

Monday, August 13, 2018

This Weirdo


Browsing through my SD card tonight and I came across this goofy picture of a goofball!

I don't even remember taking this - and i have no idea what she was doing but i know this - it gave me a good chuckle!

Always embrace your inner weirdo, girl!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Great Things Come in Small Packages...


He may drive his sisters nuts.

He may challenge his mommy and daddy and everything they thought they knew about parenting.

He may pull perfectly fine teeth out of his head to use as currency.

He may do a lot of crazy stuff... but this I know:

He was built for GREATNESS!

I have been thinking and praying so much lately about the potential God breathed into each of our goofball's lives - and the huge burden (and privilege) of parenting them towards that.

I believe with every fiber in my being that Z-Dogg - just like both of his sisters - is destined for greatness.

His love... his heart for others... his sensitive side... his creativity... his sense of humor...

They're all ingredients that God put in him when He made him!


Zechie... you just focus on keeping it chill, flexing those muscles and talents He gave you and pointing yourself straight towards Him.

And if you keep doing that... the world will find out soon enough that:

Some of the best things ever come in small packages!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Can't Stop Her


The shirt says it all, baby girl!

And your daddy believes that 100%!

Just like your big sister - God has put in you something super special for His purposes and His will in this world!

You have a deep, deep empathy for others - a strong connection to Jesus and the Holy Spirit - a heart that desires peace and love and an unmatched ability to draw everybody - kids and adults alike - into your place of joyfulness.

Your love for Jesus and desire to bring Him honor and glory every day inspires me regularly.

God wasn't at all random when He decided to place your beautiful soul and spirit in our family.

He has charged me with being daddy to one of His most beautiful creations - and it's not a task I take lightly!

Girl... I have your back always and forever in whatever endeavors He decides to send you on.

Rise and Shine for HIM, Mebbie!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Change Agent


Meron... today mommy and I went and saw a new movie.

It was about an ordinary guy who did some pretty extraordinary stuff.

God put something in Ron Stallworth that screamed "Racism sucks and so does the KKK!" and led him to do some pretty cool infiltration of a major hate group.

And it got me thinking.

I think God built you to be a change agent too.

When he built the "Meron-Mold" He added a healthy dose of confidence, tossed in copious amounts of boldness and coated it all with a layer of desire for justice.

And out came you, girl!

I left that theater with the Holy Spirit really impressing on me that we need to embrace that in you - that something bigger than any of us exists there.

That God put you right here - with us - for something He has planned for you.

And I promise to keep focused on this Meron - to help you grow in to whatever it is He has planned for you.

And to always have your back.

I love what Ron Stallworth says in the foreword to his book:

"If one black man, aided by a bevy of good, decent, dedicated, open- and liberal-minded white folks can succeed in prevailing over a group of white racists by making them look like the ignorant fools they truly are, then imagine what a nation of like-minded individuals can accomplish!"
You'll always have me and mommy in your corner girl... and remember - God built ya for something amazing!

Go change the world, Meron!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

These Eyes...


"These eyes, are crying,
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they're never gonna see another one like I had with you..."

These eyes have also seen three days of school and whole30!

We're dazed and spent - but we know Tiger's Blood is coming!

We got this guys... we GOT THIS!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

D%#! You, Day Two!


Day two is in the books!

Day two of school.

Day two of family Whole30.

Add in an hour of post-school swimming and here's what ya get:

THREE SLEEPY GOOFBALLS!

We kicked off another family Whole30 to coincide with the first day of school cuz we spent the summer like Humpty Hump... "Eating What We Like!"

And the first few days of cold turkey sugar removal ALWAYS kick your butt but the payoff is so worth it!

Hang in there homies... it only gets better!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Oh - Back to School - Back to School


While I feel like it was WAY TOO EARLY - there was nothing I could do to slow it down - and the goofballs headed out the door this morning for their first day of school!


First up... the new 5th Grader!

She was super stoked to be in the "big grade on campus" and I know she is gonna go have an awesome year like she has every year!


Then there was our 4th grader!

She was so excited to go love on her new teacher and meet new people - I can't wait to see how she spreads her light around this year!


And finally... we have ourselves a FIRST GRADER!

My man was super stoked to be out of kindergarten and making his way up the elementary ladder!


Of course we had to have a little fun and stage me and mommy laughing at 'em as they headed off leaving summer behind!


But in all honesty - these guys were super excited to be headed back and I can't wait to watch 'em go stretch and grow and shine!

Here's to an awesome new school year, goofballs!

Monday, August 6, 2018

'Twas the Day Before First Day...


Dear Goofballs ~

After we met all your teachers and dropped all your supplies off and made sure everything was squared away for your first day of school tomorrow - I spent some time in prayer for all three of you throughout the rest of the day.

I prayed that God would continue to pull you guys close - and really impress upon you that yes - math and social studies are important. That of course - reading and English and science are things we should learn about. That spelling matters and penmanship is important too.

But more than all of that - He cares so much more about WHO you are and HOW you reflect Him than WHAT it is that you know.

Math can always be learned (well... that common core has me questioning that...). Spelling can be memorized and reading can be exercised.

But really developing the YOU that He made you to be is something that doesn't happen in a classroom with a whiteboard and textbooks.

It happens by trusting the Holy Spirit He put in you and leaning on it - at all times - even while you're learning long division, spelling complex words and reading big chapter books.

And especially while you're interacting with your teachers, the school administration and your classmates.

Go be that bright light for Him guys - SHINE SUPER BRIGHT!

And know this... your daddy has your back ALWAYS in everything you guys do - and I will be praying for you guys regularly this whole year!

You are a gift to me and mommy... a gift we have been sharing with the world for years and won't stop sharing now.

Keep shining guys!

Love always,