Thursday, October 18, 2018

I'll Keep It Warm For You, Daddy!

Fall break means no school tomorrow which means I told Z-Dogg he could stay up to watch the rest of the football game tonight.

"Okay Daddy! I'll keep your spot on the couch warm for you!" he declared.

Here's how I found him!

Zechie - I'll admit... you did a GREAT job keeping my seat warm, homie!

Next time we work on keeping our eyes open!

Sweet dreams, Z-Dogg!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bump the Set and Spike to Rest...

Somebody wrapped up their volleyball season this past week!

And while I ain't gonna lie... a reprieve from the hustling of getting everybody where they need to be is super nice...

I'm gonna miss watching her on the court!

She seemed to jump leaps and bounds this year - as did most of the girls on her team and the teams they played against!

Meron's serve has gotten SOLID and there were actual extended volleys - it was getting real out there!

She has definitely expressed an interest in getting involved in some more competitive play - so there may be some more league stuff on the horizon.

But for now... we rest!

Way to kill it out there this season Meron!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Daddy... Can I Sleep Like This?

He wandered into the living room - clearly employing STALL TACTICS - and asked:

"Uh... Daddy... Can I sleep like this?"

First off, little man... I see your attempts at stalling the inevitable.

Well-played homie... WELL-PLAYED!

And secondly... sure ya big goofball... go for it!

Sleep goofy, Z-Dogg... SLEEP GOOFY!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Chad's Neighbor... Niger!

Last week Mebbie was super stoked for the opportunity to stand in front of her class and share a little bit about Brighton Their World!

Her teacher had offered for her class to write encouraging letters to the students at Brighton Academy and Mebbie was proud to stand up and share about how we got there.

But satan absolutely hates when we glorify God through our lives and our stories - so he decided to come to Mebbie's class that day and disrupt like only he can.

After the presentation - the map of Africa was still up when a kid in class started laughing and telling everybody to "Look at the country beside Chad."

In case your geography is hazy - that country is NIGER. He was then laughing loudly and saying "I'm just thinking about something that's really funny."

Two days pass... and Mebbie finds herself in a group with this same student - and he brings it up again to the entire group and said again that "it was so funny..." and other students asked him "whats funny?" and that's when he said (while laughing):

"It's a word that's offensive to people who look like Mebbie..."

Uh.... no.

And not just no... but HELL NO!

We addressed this quickly with the school - and tonight I asked Mebbie if she wanted to share this story - if for anything to help people be aware that racism sucks and is super dumb - and to help educate folks.

With a beaming smile, she said "YES!"

So - since our classroom racist was all about the country of Niger (which he was mispronouncing in his teeny tiny itty bitty misinformed head) - let's start there with some facts!

  • Niger is a country located to the west of Chad between the Saharan and Sub-Saharan region on the continent of Africa.

  • Niger covers a land area of almost 490,000 sq mi, making it the largest country in West Africa.

  • Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert.

  • The capital city is Niamey, located in Niger’s southwest corner.

  • The economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials, especially uranium ore.

  • Since independence, Nigerians have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule. After the military coup in 2010, Niger became a democratic, multi-party state. A majority of the population lives in rural areas, and have little access to advanced education.

  • Niger faces serious challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, the poor educational level and the poverty of its people, the lack of infrastructure, the poor health care, and the environmental degradation.

  • The official language is French.

"But wait... there's more!" Mebbie says as she points out where Ethiopia is in proximity to Niger.
  • Humans have lived in what is now Niger from the earliest times.

  • In the 19th century, contact with Europe began when the first European explorers explored the area searching for the mouth of the Niger River.

  • The country is named after the Niger River.

  • The cuisine of Niger takes after many traditional African cuisines, and a significant amount of spices are used in dishes. Grilled meat, seasonal vegetables, salads and various sauces are some of the foods consumed.

  • Horse racing, camel racing and sorro wrestling are some of the traditional sports in Niger that were firmly entrenched in their culture. Sorro Wrestling is known as the “King of Sports” in the country.

  • The W National Park is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a “W”. The park includes areas of the three countries Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, and is governed by the three governments. The park is known for its large mammals, including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotami, African leopards, West African lions, serval and warthogs.
So how's that for some information on the great country of Niger?

And guess what silly classroom racist? NONE of this is offensive to people who look like Mebbie.

Not a single piece of it.

You're confusing "Niger" with a stupid, little, demeaning, belittling, degrading, ugly, hurtful and mean-spirited word you have in your head because you don't quite know how to spell just yet.

But this time - you picked the wrong little girl in the wrong family as the target of your hate.

So let's recap...

Racism is super dumb.

So don't be a dummy!

It's also super ugly, super mean and super gross too.

And racism sucks. Always.

So try really hard to not be a racist, okay?

And if ya work towards that - we'll all be smiling... and remember...

Niger is a beautiful country in Africa and it's not offensive to Mebbie AT ALL!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

He Makes Beautiful Things

Holy moly... this girl is growing up so fast!

And it struck me - as she posed for me in the skate park with the awesome mountains in the background...

Man... He makes beautiful things!

Meron - you are one gorgeous little girl - both inside and out - and I am beyond grateful for the divine gift of being your daddy!

He certainly does make beautiful things!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mountain Mover

This girl is gonna do something crazy in her life... I can just feel it.

She's gonna leverage that unstoppable force known as "JESUS" in her to move some mountains!

Mebbie... keep dreaming... keep staring those mountains down and daring to move 'em...

And know that Daddy will FOREVER have your back!

Mebski Love the Mountain Mover!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Connected Kids, Expanded Worlds

Man - one of the greatest joys I have personally seen over the last 8 years or so of Brighton Their World is the opportunity to connect kids here in America with kids in Ethiopia - through simple and encouraging notes and letters - and watching the world views on both sides of the globe open WAY up!

It's the coolest!

Today... Zechie's teacher invited us into her classroom to share a bit about Brighton Academy and Ethiopia!

And after about 15 minutes of information and a bunch of questions from 1st graders... the whole class got to write notes to students at Brighton Academy...

Z-Dogg jumped right in! He was so proud and excited to have us in his class!

His classmates jumped right in too!

And some even went all out with their drawings!

I loved seeing Zechie beaming with pride about the school, about where he was born and about his friends helping out!

So thankful for his awesome teacher and her willingness to embrace this classroom friendship!

She is helping plant the seeds of a totally different worldview for these kids... and that is ALWAYS good!

Heres to global friendships and eyes open to a planet that is way bigger than just us!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Chilly Nights

When chilly nights sneak up on us around here... and I'm talking like below freezing kind of chilly...

There's only one thing to do...

Throw on the giant sized onesies and bust some gangsta poses!

And it helps to mean mug the camera SUPER HARD!

It's also perfectly acceptable to bust out some more "Beastie" bboy and bgirl poses!

Keeping a serious face, though?

Whole different story!

Stay warm guys... and stay dope, fresh and fly!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

One of My Heroes

Can I tell you about one of my very favorite super heroes ever?

He's larger than life - this guy...

And he keeps me constantly smiling!

He has a gigantic heart for his people and compassion and empathy for others!

He's my little homie... and I love him to death!!

Stay super Z-Dogg... you are a hero we need!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Beauty X Three

Even when taking silly selfies...

Their beauty knows no end!

I thank God every single day for the gifts He so graciously gave me in these three lives that I absolutely do not deserve.

Day in day out - they light up my life!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Good Gracious...

You guys... come on!

I mean seriously...

Good Gracious!

I promise you it was just like 2 or 3 weeks ago when she was hanging off my chest in one of those Baby Bjorn baby dangler thingies...


Okay... maybe it wasn't... but it seems like it!

And now - in like a blink of an eye - my baby girl is growing up into this beautiful young lady.

Meron - God made you in His image to do amazing and wonderful things and I just can't wait to see what they are!

And you may be growing up quick... but hear me...

You'll ALWAYS be daddy's baby girl!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Hidden Figure

Okay, okay - obnoxious bragging dad moment.

But it's my blog... so deal with it! (smile...)

Mebbie knocked a school project outta the park last week!

The assignment was to read a book and then write a report and build a visual presentation and be ready to present it at the school as parents walked around to all of the students.

There was a lot of Captain Underpants and Harry Potter presentations going on... but not Mebbie.

She chose to read "Hidden Figures" and report on that important piece of history!

This girl makes me more proud every single day!

Her presentation was excellent - and Laura and I hung back and listened from a distance several times as she presented it to other parents.

Hearing her say "These women overcame many challenges including being judged and treated poorly because of the color of their skin" literally had us in tears.

Mebbie - your heart for equality and passion for justice is something to behold.

I know you know this girl - but you can be ANYTHING you want to be. You were built in HIS image and He has got seriously huge plans for you.

We can't wait to see what they are!

We're super proud of you, Mebski Love!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Maturity, Responsibility and Ownership

I was awakened by a sound in our office around 5:00 AM Friday morning - about 90 minutes before the alarms were scheduled to go off.

When I went into check it out - this is what I found.

But first - a little back story:

The night before - right before bedtime- Meron had JUST STARTED a slide presentation that was due Friday. It wasn't her best work - but it was done.... OR SO WE THOUGHT.

After she was in bed - we found the rubric the teacher handed out for the project in Meron's folder. She was nowhere NEAR doing what the rubric called for.

Frustrated, I pulled the "angry dad" move and went to her bed to admonish her lack of responsibility and maturity and told her maybe a terrible grade on this would help her understand she needs to start earlier, work harder, etc...
Okay - snap back to 5:00 AM and I'm all like:

"Meron - what on earth are you doing?"

And she said:

"I set my alarm to get up early to try and fix this presentation I didn't do good on..."

And my heart was both beaming with pride for the maturity, ownership and responsibility she was showing and at the same time - crushed for how harsh I had been with her.

So - sleepy or not - I sat down at my desk that faces her (she was sitting across from me at Laura's computer) and I proceeded to lend a hand where I could for the next 60 minutes or so... from proofreading to finding facts and photos - I didn't say anything - I just took her direction and helped her out.

As we were wrapping up and putting the final touches on a MUCH BETTER presentation that adhered to the rubric - my inbox dinged and I got the above message from her.

I looked up at her - sitting 2 feet away from me - and she was beaming - smiling from ear to ear - and said:

"Thank you, Daddy!"

And all I could think was - "I do NOT deserve the gift of this child..."

I was super convicted in my parenting for sure - and this precious gift from Him allowed me an opportunity to redeem that - and I am grateful beyond words for it.

Meron - I see your hard work, your maturity, responsibility and ownership - and I couldn't be more proud of you, girl.

Daddy LOVES you!

Friday, October 5, 2018

That Glow...

This girl right here... I mean...

Goodness gracious.

She somehow manages to find a way to make even the gorgeous sunset during the "magic hour" of lighting look more beautiful!

Her glow is all the Jesus in her... that's for sure.

Stay smiling Mebbie - the world needs it!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Face Time With Z-Dogg