Monday, November 19, 2018

Mebbie Strong

Ya know what you're looking at in that photo up there?

That's "Mebbie Strong" right there, people!

I love this girl's fierce tenacity and warriorship.

She came up to me tonight and told me about an interaction she had last week on the playground.

A young white girl walked up to her at recess and said:

"Hey Mebbie... did you know that Nike disrespects the military and the flag?"
Mebbie - not being one to back down - decided to lean in instead and engaged with this girl - who she definitely considers a friend.

She explained WHY Colin Kaepernick and others are peacefully protesting and that it was never disrespectful at all - that certain members of the media, leadership and the general public want to make it out to be but it's not.

And then she asked her friend:
"Did you know he lost his job for standing strong for what he believes in?"
She said her friend seemed a bit stunned and just responded with,
"Oh... no I didn't. I just think it's disrespectful because that's just what my mom told me."
See... what's going on at home makes its way to the playground - every time.

The good AND the bad.

The positive in all of this?

Mebbie and I had about 20 minutes of GREAT conversation that was able to help equip her for future playground discussions!

We talked about the disproportionate stats around police brutality and race, we talked about stereotypes and biases, we talked about why that little girl came right up to HER and not somebody else...

We talked about Colin Kaepernick consulting with the military to see what was the best way to go about executing a peaceful protest and we talked about others in sports who were backing him and supporting the causes he believed in.

We talked about Jemel Roberson as a very recent example of bias and snap judgement against young black men that ends in DEATH.

We talked about her brother - a young black male on the come up - and how I pray every day for his future.

We talked about righteous indignation and what that means for us and what it meant to Jesus.

We also talked about where our family stands and the "friends" we've lost because of that.

Her wheels were turning - I could see it - when she said:
"I'm gonna give her more of the background now that I know more."
And this daddy was BEAMING with pride.

Ya know what Mebbie does EXCEPTIONALLY WELL too?

She delivers "Mebbie Strong" with so much love, so much empathy, so much compassion...

It looks like the above picture and you can't help but feel her bright light shining even as you receive her hard truths!

Mebbie - you keep doing what God built you to do girl... speak TRUTH in LOVE... and know that this daddy ALWAYS has your back!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Just One Of My Reasons

This little guy I'm holding right here?

He's just ONE of the reasons we stand where we stand (and kneel where we kneel).

And hear me - I don't expect everybody to understand and I don't fault you if you don't.

If you don't lay down at night and wake up in the morning thinking about how to raise a young black man in a country that has repeatedly stated and shown that the value of his life is less than his white peers... if you don't lose sleep and tears over that kind of mess...

Then I don't expect you to get it.

I got friends who don't get it.

Family who doesn't understand.

I've watched churches and schools not get it.

I've seen business and entire communities not understanding...

But see... I hold the reasons for my support super close to my heart.

Like I said - You don't have to understand... and I don't think any less if you don't.

But when you attack the man, the mission and the method from a place of inability to relate... ya speak way louder about yourself than anything else.

Proudly standing, kneeling and fighting for what's right until we see the change my kids - and millions of others across this country - deserve.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

You Are Like a Warrior Mommy...

I am telling you - and this isn't parental bias either - little humans like Mebbie don't come along every day.

They just don't... and they are super special.

I got home from my freezing cold run tonight and found this fairly long letter written out on the counter.

I could tell by the look on Laura's face it was something special and good - and she said "Go ahead.. read it..."

So I did...

It said:

Dear Mommy,

I just want you to know that you are an amazing superstar! You make me smile every day. You are a super mommy! You save the day!

Even the small things like hugging me or saying how my day was. Also, you let me do your hair and give me feedback on my homework. I don't know what I would do without you.

Most kids don't know how hard their moms work. You are by far the best mommy in the world! Also, you are like a warrior mommy. You take trips to Ethiopia and you are one of the most brave people I have met. You drove to the hospital when your elbow was broken!

You have made a huge impact on my life. You teach me how to be kind, caring and helpful. And... you are a super math mommy! You do math on Brighton Academy work and you help with our math homework!

For these reasons and more I think you are the best mommy on earth!

I asked Mebbie what made her want to write this out and she said:
"Well - I saw Mommy vacuuming while we were just hanging out and watching TV and it made me think about how hard she works for us..."
Mebbie - I KNOW you touched your mommy's heart DEEPLY tonight with this letter!

As a guy who LOVES to write and hopes to always be able to be open, authentic, transparent and real... DADDY IS IMPRESSED!

Never, ever lose your heart and spirit Mebbie - you are a special gift to this fallen world!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Mommy Snuggles

Mommy snuggles... this little dude loves them the most!

Your mommy loves ya Z-Dogg!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Got Coffee?

Okay... so you love coffee, right?


You REALLY love coffee from Ethiopia, right?

And on top of that - you LOVE helping kids eat a nutritious holiday celebration meal... right?

Well guess what... YOU'RE IN LUCK!

We can help you do both!

Brighton Their World is kicking off their annual Christmas meal fundraiser this week... and as usual - nerves kicked in - we even tossed around not doing it - the mouths at the school have doubled since our last meal... but what's that say about my faith in our God?

So - we're all the way in and we're believing it's gonna get fully funded. We are doubling the number of people we are feeding - up to 1100 students, staff and family members!

The meal costs $4 per head and will be served in January to all Brighton Academy families and staff... so between now and then we need to raise $4,400!


I know... right? Here ya go... for every $100 donation we will send you a bag of this fantastic Ethiopian coffee we got from a roaster in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Who knows - we may toss a few other things in there too...

Wanna partner up with us? It's super easy!

Just go to our Brighton Their World PayPal page and enter your donation amount. In the notes to seller type "Christmas".
And that's it! For every $100 we'll get a bag of these incredible Ethiopian Coffee beans out the door to you ASAP.

Even "Sleepy Z-Dogg" got in on the action!

So don't wonder where you're getting your coffee from this month - cuz we've got your back!
Just go to our Brighton Their World PayPal page and enter your donation amount. In the notes to seller type "Christmas".
Let's drink coffee and feed some kids and their families!

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Homework... Library Style!

Our crew has always been pretty darn good at doing their homework... with as much as they got going on - they kinda have to!

But today Laura decided to try a new tactic - and right after picking them up at school they drove straight to our local library to camp out and do their homework.

And they LOVED it!

Z-Dogg pointed at his head and then tapped his temple while saying:

"It was so much easier to concentrate there..."
They all got all their work done and had time to walk around and each pick out a book to check out!

And Laura even checked out this massive reading program for Zechie.. a literal suitcase full of reading help!

Guys... Aunt Wendy the Librarian would be super proud!

We gotta remember this great resource exists right down the road from us!

Local library for the win!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

He Makes Beautiful Things...

Our God knows how to make some incredibly beautiful things...

there is no doubt about it!

And those mountain are pretty nice looking too!

Meron - you are a BEAUTIFUL daughter of THE King!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Me and My Homie

God is so sovereign... so in control.

When He breathed life into me 45 years ago this past Friday... and then - 38 years later - ON THE SAME DAY - decided to breathe life into Z-Dogg...

He knew exactly what He was doing!

And what an amazing gift He gave me.

We both LOVE the fact that we share the same birthday - that God had foreseen our lives together and gave us this day to share.

I love this little dude with every fiber of my being... and I am so thankful for the gift of his life and the gift that he is to me.

Being a daddy to Z-Dogg is one of my truest joys in life!

Lord... hold him close and keep him safe so that we can celebrate a bunch more birthdays together!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Smiley Faces, Hearts and World Adoption Day

I know I'm a hair late to this - but I had to process it a bit.

World Adoption Day was this past Friday (November 9th) - a day set aside to celebrate family and raise awareness for adoption.

And anybody who knows me knows I am ALL about that!

But the movement calls for folks to rally on social media with a smiley face drawn on their hand and to spread awareness through that and a hash tag.

And that had me feeling some sort of way...

Because if I'm honest - the smiley face is just a piece of the bigger picture.

In reality... it kinda starts right here.

Adoption starts with loss. With trauma. With pain.

With tears. With lost identity and hard questions.

It starts with separation...

It starts with HEARTBREAK.

And as much as we like to romanticize it and make it seem like love fixes it all... the fact is - it doesn't always work that way.

Matter of fact...

It rarely works that way.

What comes next is definitely loving...

And talking. And sharing. And crying.

And praying. And understanding. And listening. And trusting.

And learning. And unlearning. And growing. And strengthening.

And eventually... maybe... some HEALING.

And then... THEN comes some smiley faces!

And laughter. And joy. And hugging.

And loving. And continual learning. And more trusting.

And answers. And comfort. And found identities.

And SMILEY FACES galore!

See... I KNOW my kids' stories.

I know them well... and they're not ALL smiles.

And I have far too many friends who said "Okay, God..." and jumped in only to find themselves walking really hard, really painful, really challenging paths for me to be able to reduce the awareness and celebration to a single SMILEY FACE.

Nope - I think it is ALL THREE things that make up the awareness we need to be pushing.

The brokenness, the healing and the eventual redemption that can lead to smiles.

I've always said - from day one - that God intended for us to be with our original families - but a fallen world full of fallen circumstances often gets in the way of that... and that's where God steps in with His solution.

Adoption to me is God's Holy and Redeeming Solution to a fallen world's problematic transgressions.

I know this much for sure... it hasn't always been easy around here - it certainly hasn't always been smiles... but to know He is smack in the middle of it with us has been nothing short of amazing and He has grown us ALL in the process.

ADOPTION... hard, painful, overwhelming at times... but SO SO worth it!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Pop, Pop Goes The Ankle... The Ankle

I was about two thirds of the way up the Incline (a steep set of steps I like to scoot up)... when my phone rang.

"Laura Hoffman Is Calling"

She never calls when I'm on the Incline... we text a lot but she never calls... kinda freaked me out!

A quick phone call later and then she sends me this picture up there of Meron looking pitiful!

She had been at a Gymnastics Birthday Party and had jacked up ankle pretty bad and even heard a "Pop!"

Now they were at an urgent care and that sucker was looking pretty swollen and they were going to X-Ray it to rule out any breaks or fractures (we hoped!)

About 2 hours after arriving she headed out with a professionally wrapped, slightly sprained ankle with NO BREAKS!

Woo Hoo!

So now we elevate, rest, miss one week of P.E. at school and start bearing weight on it tomorrow to get her back in the game!

She had to miss a church event tonight where she was supposed to be working the Family Movie Night - and she was bummed - but we're all pretty grateful right now for no breaks!

So tonight - she chills in the guest room to avoid the steps as we all say some prayers of praise and thanks for things like "sprains only!"

Heal up quick big girl!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Seven and Sixteen

Super busy day and I may have caught a little of what Meron was wrestling with - but I couldn't let the day end without wishing a SUPER HAPPY BIRTHDAY to this guy!

Happy 7th Birthday, Z-Dogg!

And it's not just Z-Dogg's birthday today... it's also our anniversary!

Sixteen years of putting up with me!

Laura deserves some sort of award for that!

More to come on all that God decided to pack into November 9th - but for now... I go sleep!

Thankful for both of these blessings in my life!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

And... She's Back!

The Meronator has been under the weather the last few days.

Fever, dizziness, chills, body aches...

But a couple days of straight sleeping... and she is almost all the way back!

The house just isn't the same when Meron isn't feeling great... so welcome back to the land of the living girl!

Rock on with your goofy, healthy self, Meron!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Always In Her Corner...

This girl right here man...

She's one of the strongest humans I know!

She's had some interactions with a classmate who has chosen to reference the "N-Word" among some other things... and we told her to just stay away from him.

So what's she do?

She jumps in and stands up for one of her friends when the same kid starts mocking her friend for her religion.

Mebbie just can't handle standing idly by and watching people be hurt by others.

I love that about her!

And one thing she knows for sure is that her daddy is crazy!

... crazy about his love for her!

... crazy about standing up for what's right!

... crazy about always having his girls' backs!

And she knows I am ALWAYS gonna be in her corner!

No matter what...

These are tough times in our country... there's no doubt about it.

And it's given us all kinds of opportunities to RISE ABOVE the wack, ignorant, stupid, weak, cowardly folks around us and turn what they meant to harm us into strength instead!

We are stronger than so much that gets thrown at us... and we're stronger than racism for sure!

Mebbie - keep on standing for what's right girl - daddy will ALWAYS have your back!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Things We Do...

It was 2.5 hours of baking... another 2 hours of making and squeezing cream cheese icing out of a piping bag...

But I had committed to a "surprise cake" for her birthday - so surprise cake she was gonna get!

And when she saw it for the first time - her face said it all...

The things we do are worth it!

She was so excited to know what it was... and the giant puppy paw with the teal trim fit her to a T!

Did I lose sleep over it? Sure...

Did I give myself carpal tunnel squeezing the icing out? Almost...

Was it worth it? Man... I'd do it again 500x over to see her smile like she was!

Later on - when out of earshot of her "cool friends" - she pulled me aside and said "Daddy - thank you so much for making me this cake!"

And my heart melted and she locked in a custom cake for next year too!

Always do the things for them because trust me... they are ALWAYS worth it!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Our Friend Viv...

We've had some poopy people interactions in our move to Colorado.

Some real poopy ones.

But I wanna tell you about a not-so-poopy one. I wanna tell ya about an awesome one.

I wanna tell ya about our friend Viv who we met here at Starbucks.

That's Viv right there...

At first - she was simply making our coffee for us. And let's be honest - Whole30 has destroyed fancy schmancy sugary coffee for us - so Viv was basically pouring us our Venti Iced Coffees, black with no sweetener - and serving 'em up with a smile.

But quickly it became more than a smile. It became:

"Hey Tymm!" or "Hi there Laura!" when we walked in the door.

It became questions about the kids and simple talks about simple things in life.

It became handwritten notes on our cups encouraging us to have a great day.

It became our order waiting for us at the register cuz she knew us well.

It turned in to Viv and Laura grabbing coffee (the irony is not lost here) to talk about life.

It looked like the "dad of daughters" in me feeling compelled to lean across the counter one day and tell her "Hey... our family loves you and if you ever need ANYTHING from us - we're right here!"

And then... this past Saturday night - it looked like this:

Laura got that text message from Viv the night before Baptism Sunday was gonna happen!


And so after crawling down in that baptismal with me to dunk our Z-Dogg in His name... Laura stayed down there...

She grabbed Viv in a hug and spoke real, true words over her about His love for her...

About Him moving in her...

About Him having incredible plans for her life and how He was already using her...

About how she she was glorifying Him...

And then she dunked her!

Woo Hoo!

And man - what an awesome, holy and special thing to be invited to be part of!

Later that night - we went by Starbucks because we knew Viv was working and we just wanted to share our excitement and happiness for her again!

And we needed a new "family picture" with her cuz we voted and we all agreed - she's an honorary member of Camp Hoffman now people!

Viv - our family is thankful for your life and super grateful that God saw it fit for our paths to cross!

And we're super thankful that you see your position at Starbucks as way more than just pouring a coffee! Your ministry is obvious and it's big!

Keep on being the YOU that you are!

Everybody needs a Viv...