Wednesday, December 30, 2009

27 Week Update

After finishing the semester, time with visiting friends, a whirlwind trip to Haiti, Christmas with both families and a New Year's eve party, we were thankful this past week was quiet. In all the festivities we still managed a few new milestones on the baby front. If you're the ultra-conservative, prego-moms-must-be-uber-careful type, skip over a few of these.

Blessed Ankles. Whether the heat or diet or travel, I experienced leg and ankle swelling for the first time ever from the trip to Haiti. Every day since I've looked down to see my lovely ankles back in view and am thankful. How I take things for granted until they're gone!

Diaper Dimes. Dad Harrell's coin collecting has turned into a beautiful thing especially since all the silver ones are now going in a jar for Baby Tegen's cloth diapers. When we last counted and rolled there were almost enough to pay for ALL the diapers we'll need!


Luv from Tubs.
Christmas day a dear, organized cousin brought four full storage tubs of baby clothes! They had everything: burp clothes, clothes, shoes, socks, hats. Thank you Misty, Sheldon and Jacob! You'll be proud we even brought back a few Georgia Bulldog things!

Mountain Hike.
Maybe a 1 1/2 mile hike in the mountains isn't impressive for a six month pregnant woman, but scaling down the other side through ice, snow and tree branches surely must be. When the way down was a complete ice block, we opted (at Husband's suggestion) to hike/slide/bushwhack down the side to a passable trail. Adrenaline and memories!

Clean slate. The baby room is finally clean and ready to be transformed. Already it contains a borrowed swing, stack of 0-3 mo. clothes, like-new stroller, carseat and diaper bag. Curtains and a dresser are on the way.

Our Bob.
Jason set his sights on THE ULTIMATE jogging stroller. At almost $400 it was hard to consider we'd have one even though we planned to make it our only stroller for everything. Yesterday, while perusing Craigslist, we saw one for almost half the price. So for a practically brand new stroller, we couldn't pass it up. We've both stopped by the baby room often just to peak at it and push it around in a few circles.

Sugar and Sessions.
With the blood sugar test and bloodwork out of the way, we're heading Tuesday for childbirth classes. No more bliss from ignorance. We're about to find out what we're in for. I'm sure we'll have pictures or tweets. For some reason I'm expecting it to be either really comical or really sobering. We shall see Tuesday night.

So for the end of the second trimester everything seems right on target. Including the bubble. ;) See you Tuesday!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An early Christmas present for Kelley!

This day was bound to come. So after 4 months of much enjoyed manliness, the beard came off today. At least Kelley doesn't have to kiss a bush anymore!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Haiti

Shocked. Overwhelmed. Humbled. Saddened. Broken. Confused. Angry. Moved. Unmoved. Challenged. Selfish. Undeserving. Numb. Speechless.

These words most accurately describe the last five days. There are what feel like many more emotions that are hard/impossible to describe at this point. I've seen and experienced the ultra-poor of Thailand, Mexico, Azerbaijan and Zambia. And now Haiti.

As we walked through the dusty streets and passed the incredibly insufficient housing, I may as well have been on a different planet than Central, SC. There isn't one paved road in the town we were in. No one has running water or electricity in their homes. Infrastructure is almost non-existent. And the poverty/life standard is just numbing.

Little naked children wander around the salt flat, where the poorer live, bellies swollen from malnutrition. A similar quality of life as the mangy goats and chickens that dig around in the dirt and trash trying to survive. Living what would appear to be a life-sentence to that place. And we didn't even see the poorest.

I think the part of me that is most troubling is the unmoved part. The deeply saddened but paralyzed part. I am a man of hope. Because of Jesus there is hope for the hopeless. But I'm just so taken aback and shell-shocked by what my eyes have seen as reality again this week.

Who am I to zip in on a plane, live what is luxury to them while I'm there, then zip back home to comfortable "Me-land"? WHO AM I?

One average day of my life would seem to have more wealth, health, opportunity, food, and comfort than what a 26-year-old on La Gonave, Haiti would have ever experienced even one day.

There is hope. A church that honors Jesus brings hope and is present there. Education is on the rise. Compassion International is present bringing vital sponsorships. Foreigners have given up life elsewhere to bring change and hope. But I am not going to lie; hope was very hard for me to see on the street level of the average day in Haiti.

This trip was a needed reality shock for me. Oh, the trivial things that I so arrogantly complain about out loud or silently; the misconstrued understanding of following God I often live! That I could ever lose perspective (I do often) on how much I have in this world is unspeakable. That I would miss God's heart on so many levels.

Father, change my unmoved, hardened heart. Do not let me be so overwhelmed with what I've seen that I do nothing, change nothing. Do not let me forget the poor, the discouraged, the lonely, or the hopeless. Let my anger be righteous anger. Save me from my wicked indifference and apathy. Help me to know how to live in my wealth and opportunity in the way that is most honoring to You. Rid me of myself. Help me to see as you see. Amen.


Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

Luke 6:20-22

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tonight in Haiti

It's just past 5 p.m. and still warm enough to make my hands sweat while I type. Behind me, on the back porch, are voices praying in Creole and singing familiar tunes with different words. Jason is out with his brother exploring the town's water supply. Life is still happening all around as motorbikes buzz by, people are talking in the distance and work is being done at the hospital to help a doctor who was hit by a motorbike. I am just sitting taking it all in refusing to fear the mosquitoes flying by (malaria has been bad this year).

We can't give commentary much about the trip because we honestly don't know how to piece the thoughts together to make sense. It's all a bit overwhelming. Seeing 50+ kids today at the orphanage enjoy fruit snacks, candy canes and soccer balls brought us joy. Seeing a poorly equipped hospital and many sick people sobered us. There are what seems like a thousand thoughts firing off in our minds and hearts. So I guess this update is just to let you know we are very much alive down here in Haiti. We have so many pictures and details to share later this weekend.

For now I'd encourage you to check out Katie's latest post.

Until the end of the week!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In Haiti!

From today's email to our parents:

We landed then got on a SMALL plane and were flown over by a missions pilot. We landed right beside the water by small huts on a dirt strip. Wow...it's rural. When we got here the team had a late lunch with us.

We were so exhausted we fell asleep for two hours and just woke up. It's so hot here in the day. Very different from freezing in ATL. Tomorrow morning we go to an early, early church service (think 7 a.m.) then they have a Christmas party for the team tomorrow night and we are going to walk to the market with Matt.

We're safe and excited to be here!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Latest, Latest Post

We were driving to see The Blind Side with a friend late last night when one of us made the confession. No Friday update. So...many days belated, here it is.

Marathon. Probably doesn't need to be stated but running a full distance marathon is no joke! Four months of intensive, time consuming training (with this specific race in mind) and years of more recreational jogging (no specific race in mind) all culminated with me standing at a start line in 39 degree weather underneath the Olympic circles in downtown Atlanta.

As the 1000 runners gathered, I felt encouraged. For months I'd been training and hadn't found more than a handful of people who had run or were training for a marathon. More often than not, people's reaction were something to the effect of, "You're running how far?! Why???" But then, on Thanksgiving morning 2009, I was surrounded by a huge crowd that understood the hard work I'd put in and what drives a man or woman to run a race that legen says the original runner DIED doing!

So at 7:30am the gun sounded and we were off. My friend Steven and I wanted to take the first few miles fairly slow. But when I crossed the 1st mile marker and looked at my watch, it said 9:17. I thought, "Oh no sir! You trained way too hard to run this pace." So I took off...and ran the next 20 miles at around a 7:20/mile pace! Tactically, I ran a great race passing hundreds of runners over the course of the race. At mile 21, my 7:20/mile pace quickly faded to more of a 9:30-9:45/mile pace:(

Physically I've never been in the place where my legs were depleted. With four years of college cross country under the belt and four more of recreational running since then, I'm well aware that running is far more mental than physical. So it's always been about the mental toughness and battle. And miles 21-26 were definitely mental. But physically, I've never felt what I felt during those miles.

Short of two "Johnny-on-the-spot" stops and four 8-10 second walks through the water stations (practically, how do you drink a cup of water while running???), I completed the entire marathon without stopping or walking! The final result was more than I'd hoped:

- 100th overall out of over 1,000 who started the race
- 19th overall out of over 100 in my age division
- Beat by only 11 women :)
- Official net time was 3:28:30, which breaks down to a 7:58/mile pace

Plans for a half marathon in Clemson, SC are already set for early 2010. And yes, I'll definitely do the full marathon again. Probably sooner rather than later!

23 Weeks. Things seem to be accelerating this week: Jason saw him kicking and just this morning Baby Tegen had the hiccups; we registered; I'm looking more rounded; we are scheduled for childbirth classes. All in about a week! We got good reports at the doctor and clearance to fly {gulp}. And next Wednesday will be viability day. He could survive with intensive medical care!

*This picture was taken at week 22 on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Thanks Alicia! I'm poking more than this for any of you comparing prego bellies out there. But what have we learned about that?!!

All is well. Curtains are picked out with some other nursery decor planning underway. More on that around Christmas.


Haiti. We've not given any updates on Jason's brother in Haiti. The word on the street is that he's doing well. We say that because between sparse emails we hear through others of his adventures. The latest has been intense language in the capitol. Not the most enjoyable, we understand. But next week we'll hear in person because next Saturday at the crack-of-dawn we'll be on a plane down. So excited to be going. To see Matt and what he's doing. To see kids at the local orphanage! Not so excited about the plane ride. So if you are awakened from sleep next Saturday morning around dawn or after, pretty sure God is wanting you to pray for us on that plane. One will be a six seater. Nail biting will ensue. We thank you in advance for prayer and look forward to sharing lots of pictures when we get back the following week!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stay Tuned...

We've absolutely had no intention of being absent so long from the
blog or leaving you hanging about the marathon. We wanted Jason to
have a chance to give a full report but life and Thanksgiving and
an out-of-commission computer have postponed it all.

So Friday. That's what we're promising. Friday there will be lots
of pics as well as many updates. Until then!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Girl Named Katie

Today we were at an adoption fair.  It’s no secret deep down in both our hearts is a growing longing to love a kid who has no one.  It’s getting stronger even with a baby kicking in my belly.  And today in one of my many blog reading sessions (I should be doing dishes or mingling outside my door, I know…) I ran across a picture that compelled me to read all about it.

katieandgirls

Just wanted to share it with you.  You can read it here.  The story comes from the blog of this 21-year-old girl in Uganda. 

I am in awe.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts at the Half

1.  Pregnancy brings out the good neighbor in women.  So much sharing of clothes, accessories and advice is heartwarming and a definite blessing on the wallet!

2.  Under no circumstances should pregnancy bellies ever be compared.  It leads to moments of tears for being too big and worry for being too small.  Just be and let baby do the same.

3.  Boy names are harder to decide on than girls.  That’s probably just a matter of opinion, but tomorrow we’ll begin our third book of baby names nevertheless!

4.  Even if a food craving or cranky spell isn’t related to pregnancy, it’s fun to have that to fall back on.  

5.  Despite neigh-sayers, we’ll attempt cloth diapering.  That means grandparents will attempt cloth diapering once again too! ;)  Right now gDiapers with cloth inserts are the front runners.

6.  If you’re feeling kicks because the baby is squished into your jeans, throw out the rubber bands and embrace the beauty of big-as-a-barn maternity banded pants.  I may wear these the rest of my life!

7.  Just what is the purpose of shoes for newborns?

8.  Round ligament pain mentioned once in my maternity book deserves a much bigger spot.  “Discomfort in the abdomen” doesn’t adequately describe it.

9.    Dear fruit,   To tell you plainly, I’m in love with you.  If somehow all of the pineapples, strawberries and oranges and cranberries of this world could meet at my door every morning the world would be a happier place for Jason and all freshmen residents in this building. 

10.  The baby bump has a mind of it’s own.  One day it’s noticeable, the next it’s vanished.  These were taken four days apart at 19 1/2 then 20 weeks.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

No longer an IT…

He’ll be a frisbee throwin’, bacon cheeseburger eatin’, camping, hiking, wrestlin’, football playin’, Jesus lovin’, marathon running manly man!

Our predictions were right…and today the ultrasound confirmed that we have a coke-can sized little boy!  We’re told he’s right in the 50th percentile for his size/development and all vitals are looking great!  We have no idea how the doctor saw kidneys, lungs, etc…but she said they’re all there and in good working order :)

Below is a picture that’s a stretch to see even with labeled parts, but we’re taking their word for it.

Praise God for His good gifts!Sleeping Baby Tegen

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tomorrow

In less than twenty-four hours

by this time tomorrow

the questions can hopefully stop

and have answers.

Pink or blue?

Here’s how you voted:

Boy 31%
Girl 47%
Not Sure 5%
Twins 15%

Looks like we’ll all be surprised.  As much kicking as it’s been doing we should get some kind of glimpse.

See you here tomorrow with news!

Monday, November 2, 2009

This Means War

There’s a new enemy in our house.  The conflict started weeks ago but escalated to full-scale war tonight. 

Unlike the battle between two beta fish that happened last night in our student lobby while an entertained crowd of freshies looked on*, this is a battle with total lack of compassion for the animals involved.  And that’s hard to come by especially for Kelley. 

Our nemesis?   Sierra Exif JPEG

If you recognize this picture, we’re sorry.  You’ve probably had to deal with them and their grotesque, white, crawling family. 

After losing countless bags of rice and finding them in our recently cooked batch…

IT WAS OVER!  DSC00372

If the spray didn’t kill them, throwing every opened thing away and washing down everything closed (including the entire cabinet) should do it.

And if they come back we’ve decided the whole cabinet is going.  So if you see this cabinet on Craigslist consider yourself warned and the cabinet cursed.  But one thing is certain, we will not tolerate this kind of infiltration, especially not in rice that we’ve half eaten when we discover the sickening reality. 

It’s war.  And we’re winning!!         

*Don’t call the animal cops.  We can’t give names, but we’re just as disgusted as you.  Buying two fish just to see if they’d really fight to the death?  Really!?  Spare yourself the eternal wondering.  They do.  We flushed one this morning.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Twenty-Six

DSC00366 Twenty-six years ago I was 3 and 1/2.  The only prayers I could muster were, “God is good, God is great…”  Certainly nothing remotely in the sphere of “Jesus, I’ll need a husband some day, and you know I like the blonde-haired type with broad shoulders and a great jaw line.”  Yet lo and behold a little boy was born in South Carolina with exactly that in his DNA and so much more.  Here’s a limited twenty to give an idea…1.  A love for sports  2.  Tolerance for a woman who doesn’t “get” things athletic  3.  Genes for organization  4.  Ability to confront issues in a non-DSC00370confrontational way  5.  Incredible wit  6.  Sensitive spirit 7.  Great money sense  8. House helper!!  9.  Great cook  10.  Good with words  11.  Life of the party  12.  Leader  13.  Musically talented  14.  Decisive  15.   Creatively thoughtful  16.  Super fit  17.  Funny noise maker 18.  Nature lover  19.  Takes nothing too seriously  20.  Love for life       

Happy birthday, Jason Tegen!  So glad we found some things you’d been wanting for a long while!  Thanks for waiting!   

1024091337

Monday, October 19, 2009

Retreating

Friday, Saturday and Sunday we got away with our RAs. Besides a total downpour with a ruined cookout and some carsickness from mountain roads, the weekend was everything we'd hoped. Here's a glimpse of the fun! Thank you so much Mr. and Mrs. Bowyer for use of the cabin and recreation center!

Friday, October 16, 2009

16 Weeks

How far along? 16 weeks                                                     Total weight gain/loss: 8 1/2 lbs. gained
Maternity clothes? Just on the verge of unbuttoned, rubber-banded pants
Sleep: At least eight hours every night!  Woohoo!                      Best moment this week: Mama’s pound cake! (See weight gain and below commentary)                                                      Movement: Yes, I know it to be true even if my doctor thinks otherwise!  There’s a creature in there, and it’s active! 
Food cravings: Still no rhyme or reason.  All on different occasions:  Sour gummy worms, pickles, pound cake, pound cake (thus the 4 1/2 lb. increase in 3 weeks!)  Got it under control now…a.k.a. No more pound cake.                                                                                 Gender: Kelley, boy.  Jason, boy. Grateful for either.                 Labor Signs: -
Belly Button in or out? Ahh.  I see crevices inside my button I’ve never seen before.  It’s not looking good. 
What I miss:  Laying on my stomach without discomfort.
What I am looking forward to: Girl or boy?  Decorating the nursery.
Weekly Wisdom: Pound cake has its name for a reason.   
Picture:  We’ll have to post one soon…maybe with our RA retreat photos.  We leave this afternoon!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lessons in Writing

Eleven blogs have found their way into my Google Reader and one made a huge difference in my entire day yesterday.  The post was all about practical ways to be a lifelong learner.  My heartbeat!  Just where to start, what to read, how to invest my time?!  I easily get overwhelmed to a standstill.  Yesterday’s thoughts revolved around one particularly:  Read quality.  Think classics, textbooks, journals, articles, historical fiction, etc.  I read none of those.  In fact, I read little at all.  I’m reminded of it every time I type a post.  I want need to be well read. 

So I took the challenge and in my favorite get-to-the-point style, here are some books I’ve been disappointed with recently and some I’ve been intrigued enough with to make a priority for October reading.

T1.  How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  I love the cookbook for the variety and thorough explanations, but Wednesday night I served coffee cake “muffins” to some students.  They were voted biscuits instead of the melt-in-your-mouth muffins I’d hoped they’d be.  Way to fail me, cookbook!  esther

R2.  Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore.  Just  started this study with three other women last night, and I’m beyond excited!  First study with Beth ever, but it seems to be just what I’ve needed.

]3.  The End of Reason by Ravi Zacharias.  It’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year, unread.  I’m diving in this month!

Three Cups of Tea_Mech.indd]4. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.  Picked this one up in stores more times than I can count but never bought or read it. 

R5.  One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda.  My friend knows the author and let me borrow this a week ago.  All she had to say was orphans and India in the same sentence, and I begged to borrow it.  Challenging material about living on purpose and raising kids to do the same!

T6.  The Weekly Curriculum:  52 Complete Preschool Themes by Barbara Backer.  Not at all what I was hoping.  Could be better titled The Weak Curriculum

These aren’t classics or textbooks, but they’re a start!  Any quality reading you’ve enjoyed recently?  I’d love to hear.  Maybe those could begin my November/December list!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

13 Weeks

It’s almost finished!  The first trimester with all of it’s night sickness, indigestion and weird food cravings.  Two unknown trimesters remain. Minus the sickness, it’s only just begun or so I hear.  So borrowing from a few fun blogs here are some questions that might make the 13 week recap a little more entertaining and direct.

How far along? 13 weeks and one day
Total weight gain/loss: 4 pounds up
Maternity clothes? Not really…just looking chunkier in my old ones
Sleep: The fatigue is diminishing, but I still enjoy an afternoon nap when I can swing it.  At night, ask my bladder.
Best moment this week:  Drooling through Babies ‘R Us with Jason.  Movement: No, yes?!  Not sure what it feels like but thought I felt something funny one night this week. 
Food cravings: Dr. Pepper (terrible, right?!), no chocolate (a true miracle since I used to be a chocoholic), and Japanese.  Really still no rhyme or reason to cravings.  They are new every morning.     Gender: Guesses- Kelley (Boy!!!)  Jason (Boy!?)
Labor Signs: Not talking about that away from the context of the word epidural
Belly Button in or out? In and defying it to change from that position.
What I miss: Sleeping without two/three bathroom trips per night
What I am looking forward to: November 5th when we’ll finally know boy or girl
Weekly Wisdom: Don’t buy the first infant car seat you see!  There will always be better down the road.
Milestones: A few people saying:  “You look pregnant today.”  Should I smile or cry in response to that?!                                            Pictures:  Finally, a glimpse of our little one.  This is an 11 to 12 week old, so our babe should be a wee bit bigger.  Still makes us shake our heads in amazement.

DSC00331DSC00329

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nanny-Locks and Keys

Monday I heard these words:  “I wocked bof doors.”  And with an innocent, wide-eyed nod of pride he added, “I did.”  We were on the back porch having a picnic.  My keys, phone and bobby pins were inside.  Every crevice of the house- sealed tight.  Thankfully the pasta and applesauce on the boys’ plates bought me time.  While they munched, I paced.  Surely the next door neighbor would be home soon for her boys’ naps.  One thing was certain though:  Maggie, her dog, wasn’t keen on me trying their door to slip in and use the phone.  The growling and motionless tail gave it away.  Bless Maggie’s poor, scary soul.  With that option scratched I hoped the boys’ dad would come by for his occasional lunch at home or maybe the neighbor two doors down would happen to be home from work.  All options after that included dragging two blonde boys from house to house in search of a kind, compassionate stranger to let us make a long distance call.  I was dreading those options even though I knew their cuteness could win almost anyone over.  

To my complete relief ten minutes later as we were heading to check out “two-doors-down neighbor,” the most amazing sight pulled into view.  It was a lunch at home day!  As dad got out of the car I told him our situation without telling on the culprit.  But beaming with pride the prankster declared, “I did it!  I did!” 

Nothing like the honesty of a two-year-old!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Small Huge Things

1.  West of the Salt Flat.  Every time we see Matt Tegen’s blue Ford truck sitting empty we’re reminded of the new reality:  DSC03012He’s officially started his year of work in Haiti!  Emails tell us he’s arrived safely to the island with all of his equipment and already becoming acclimated to cold water showers, rickety boat rides and no- electricity-nights.  Now for preparing meals, teaching computers, learning Creole, blazing heat, etc.  You can read more about Matt (Jason’s oldest brother) and his work in Haiti at his website.  We’ll have updates coming periodically to Tegen Central.

2.  Answers from Heaven.  She called me weeks ago and her story made me fall to my knees.  She’s my cousin who’s living in ATL, and she’s always been the most loyal friend even when I haven’t!  My heart broke when she told me of her desperate need for a new place DSC00071to live, a new job, a renter for another house in AL and clear direction to stay in ATL or go back to AL. She’s been through so much and come so far.  My words and prayers with her were: “God, You have promised You do not fail.  You have to answer!!  Your child needs Your provision.”  Her call two nights ago is still making my heart rejoice.  A new assistant manager job is almost hers.  A sweet couple has an affordable apartment to rent.  A family member wants to rent the house in AL.  Each one is a complete miracle!  And we know enough of God to think He’s not finished.  This is our God.  How good He is!!

3. Baby Central.  Two ladies this week generously gave clothes for the coming months of pregnancy.  Tops and blue-banded pants having maternity clothesus scratching our head at the transformation that will be taking place over six more months.  Already we’re seeing my waist expand but are relieved I haven’t started the marshmallow stage yet.  Marshmallow stage= the time in pregnancy when your hips, arms and face get involved in the fun.  That Arby’s run last night probably won’t do much to ward it off, but, hey, Doctor said to eat what my body says it needs.  Enter roast beef and curly fries!   The weigh-in at the appointment this week will tell the facts.  

In addition to the thoughtful gifts of clothing, we’ll have a chance to work/shop at a huge kid’s consignment sale this week.  Hopefully we’ll find some needed items!  So proud, we even have a detailed list of what we’ll be scanning the isles for!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life Between the Highlights

Thursday morning at 7 am we were driving home to GA. It’s sad I never realize how much family life I’m missing until I’m home.

DSC00310 I grew up with three girl cousins two of which were my inseparable playmates/friends growing up.  The older two have married and settled into family life.  We were all present to celebrate the events in each others weddings.  I even got to be at the hospital when Misty’s baby was born.  But this weekend my sweet little cousin Brooke, the youngest of the three, got married.  She was always my comic relief.  Always animated and full of fun, Brooke would memorize long movie quotes with me and act them out for anyone in earshot.  She’d make ridiculously embarrassing homemade films with me, endure torture from me and her older sister and drool right along with me over Marlin Brando in his younger years.

DSC00314

This weekend watching her walk down the isle, seeing the commemoration of her father who died tragically when we were young, and seeing her become Mrs. Deverger made me realize I am tired of missing the life between the highlights in my family’s lives.  Sure we’re there for the weddings and babies and big events, but I miss the little events that knit us together when we were younger. 

So needless to say I soaked up every moment with family this weekend and made a commitment in my heart to be more involved, more intentional in loving and living life with those I love most! DSC00315

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Confessions Continued

Yesterday, while ironing no less, I was surprised by the fresh fragrance coming from the clothes as they warmed under the iron.  Even hanging them up I could still smell it.  And, even if only because my smeller has become more sensitive, I made a decision.  I think Tide is worth it!  Even if I’m buying into a sales pitch and the $4 bottle works just as well, that fresh, clean smell means something to me right now…  Enough though I’ll have to search out other uses for that borax, washing soda and vinegar!  I can still feel good about myself.  There’s always the coupon option!!  I’ve even found an expert  to learn from! 

So the confession here:  Jason was right.  The clothes feel cleaner and smell a whole lot fresher.  Sometimes modern day conveniences are worth the price tag!  At least to us right now.  Maybe when diaper prices come into the picture we’ll reevaluate. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Highest Power

In many parts of Central Asia (where we once lived), it’s expected a couple will have kids by their first anniversary.  And the pressure to do so can be intense!

I read a story recently about a couple at their wits end.  It had been a year of marriage with no children.  Shamed and desperate, they turned to the only power they knew:  a witch doctor.  After thirty minutes of chanting, an egg on the belly and some potion, the couple was sent away with promises a baby could be expected by the end of the month.  And that’s exactly what happened.  I was alarmed and saddened in my reading.  For almost a year Jason and I have been praying about children.  “Adoption or biological first, God?”  We were full of joy and peace believing His timing and answer is perfect and as excited at the hope of adoption as even having our own.  So we prayed, gave our hopes to God and waited.  (We got insight on adoption but didn’t, and couldn’t in many cases, move forward with anything.  So we’ve tucked away the promises (and dreams) in our hearts as we wait to see their fulfillment!) 

The day I read that story about the couple in Central Asia I said in my heart to God:  “We accept your answer, regardless!  You are all powerful and we will not turn aside for help from any lesser power.  You are trustworthy and good and with you all things are possible.  We want your will.”  Not even one week later I took a test and gasped at the two lines that stared back.  All without chants or eggs, simply by prayer and petition and power from the Highest Source.  Let Him be praised!

Yesterday, after a month of waiting and almost exploding from the news we’d kept in, we went to a doctor for confirmation.  And this was the picture we saw accompanied by the most beautiful heart beat we have EVER heard:

Baby Tegen 

Our sweet Baby Tegen!  He/she is 8 weeks and 3 days along meaning we’ll find out if this little inch worm is boy or girl in November and see their face sometime around March 31, 2010! 

What a miracle!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confessions of a Wannabe Granola

A month ago I made a double batch of homemade laundry detergent.  I even taught some students how to make it.  Then I organized it with all the ingredients ready for the next batch and labeled the container with the recipe for quick replicating.  So proud of myself especially for not paying for Tide and being so domestic.  Until today!!  You had to know bad news was coming.

laundry

My soon-to-be marathon runner husband informed me his running clothes are not smelling mountain fresh after washing.  Really, he never bought into the idea of homemade detergent.  The kicker:  he’s been “borrowing” other detergents in the laundry room.  Watch out RAs….been noticing a lighter bottle?!  There’s reason for that!  Nurse Herron, we’ll have to buy you a whole new bottle I’m told.

So to my dismay I’ll be crawling into Wal-mart tomorrow to pick up not one but two bottles of laundry detergent.  *Sigh* 

And even though that’ll look like the white flag of surrender, I’m still holding out hope.  Thinking I’ll tweak the recipe and fill the new laundry bottle when it’s empty! ;)  Not sure if that’s defiance or ingenuity!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Updates

It’s probably obvious things are back in full swing since we’ve been absent for almost two weeks from our blog.  From RA retreat to move-in today it’s been one big, exciting shuffle.  Even now I’m half typing, half listening for people right outside our door who may have questions.  And between keys that don’t work, the need for hammers, bed pegs, and 100+ students moving in, it’s been busy.  So here are a few quick updates from the last two weeks.

subi1.  New Ride.  We got Jason’s dream- a 2003 Subaru Forrester that’s a five speed.  Lessons for Kelley are going well.  We figure only one night’s practice with whip-lash wasn’t too bad.

DSC001052.     New look. Some redecorating is giving us a fresh start on the home front. It’s a much needed change.  Amazing how something as simple as de-cluttering each room and rearranging has made a world of relaxation difference!

3.  New lessons.  When planning for a session the other day Kelley decided to multi-task.  She started running dish water and went out to the office for a few minutes to type up notes.  Forty-five minutes later a man from maintenance came by.  Financial Aid down below our apartment was complaining of water running through their ceiling down their walls.  It was everywhere!  She’s forgiven herself, finally, and learning a multi-tasking list should never include running water.

4.  New crew.  We couldn’t be more excited about the team in our building.  Feels good to start a new year with these great people!  All in this picture will be working in our building directly with us and our students!  DSC00250

So there are a few of the many things going on in the last two weeks.  Stop by again soon.  We promise even though we’ve just started the busy season we’ll be here, often.  Hope you will too!  And there are some posts coming you won’t want to miss, if we do say so ourselves!

 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Joy Complete

On our way to the mountains last Friday we listened to a woman talk about losing her husband in a diving accident.  Her pain was still so fresh and the subsequent story of her prayers in her hotel room so clear in this truth: trust in Christ brings the deepest, sweetest peace even in the midst of terrible tragedy. 

It consumed our thoughts even as we checked out the new, A-MAZE-ING Chick-fil-a of Clemson.  That night the story and message found it’s way into our fireside chat with Steven Groves (a former/returning RA).   And Sunday, after the story had left my mind, it came back because of a song.

Six months ago I did some deep, earnest praying myself.  I was tormented by a lack of purpose that had haunted me for months.  So I set in my mind one night to pray until I heard something.  Anything.  When praying and crying for hours yielded nothing, I went to bed in a bigger mess than I’d started.  Then, right before sleep, I heard these words whispered deep inside of me:  “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.”  In disbelief I questioned whether it had been God’s voice or my own mind trying to comfort itself. 

Ten hours later sitting in church I plopped my Bible open in the middle of worship.  If it was God, I would find exactly where he referred to himself as he had the night before.  I found it:

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  Revelation 21:6-7 (NIV)

And just as I was reading those words, the song rang out all around me:  “All who are thirsty, all who are weak…” and, mildly put, I experienced the deepest, sweetest peace from Jesus that morning.

So this past Sunday my mind linked the recent story of tragic loss, that song and my own story into one, and I felt to share it with you.  Maybe in hopes of encouraging you or sharing my most recent joy or pointing you to who has answers.  Whatever the reason, I hope you are encouraged today, wherever the day may take you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Circus

After a five month lull of reporting, this is an epic comeback.  The experiences chronicled here are not for weak stomachs.

Monday was fine:  library as normal and circus books (since that’s the IT theme this week) complete with Dr. Seuss’s awesome If I ran the Circus.  Tuesday- great, Wednesday- off, Thursday- oh my.  Didn’t 100_8960 see it coming.  The little guy loves Mom.  Somewhere deep inside his DNA fireworks went off then the clock struck two and consequently departure for Mom has gotten tougher.  Thursday she hugged and kissed and left, and Little Guy cried:  crocodile, poochie-lip, no-end-in-sight kind of tears.  Such a massive torrent of tears that choking and gagging ensued and then (gulp) vomiting.  And to spare Little Guy any embarrassment, I’ll simply say it was everywhere and was unmistakably the scariest thing I’ve ever done in working with kids.  So glad to report he made a complete recovery when Mom pulled back in to comfort and help wipe up the Nile of tears and chocolate milk (use your imagination).   DSC00088      

  To improve the ratings for the week, Friday the circus came to town (or garage as was the case).   Egg balancing, disappearing children tricks (email if you need instructions), spoon races, tiger tamer, and high wire acts were all part of the show.  And no tears today DSC00096except those shed over not wanting the circus to end!  Not too bad a comeback from the sadness of Thursday I think.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nothing changed. Everything changed.

Humbled. Unworthy. Honored. Empowered.  Walking with Jesus often materializes to a series of decisions, lines drawn in the sand.  Some are so small you don’t even think of them as decisions at all; others are huge, bigger than you can imagine.  Jason

Monday night a significant line was drawn for me.  As men & women who’ve had hands laid on them laid hands on me, I felt the heritage of generations who have faithfully walked with God and gone on to be with him, the power and incredible beauty of the calling, and somehow I crossed a line. 

Today I am the same man I was the day before yesterday, but my ordination yesterday was an affirmation and renewal of the beautiful new life God has given me and my commitment to follow and humbly serve him as he continues the good work.  The level of accountability is higher.  The freshness of the mission is clear.  The mystery of God desiring me to be a part of his story is overwhelming.

Praise be to him who loved me long before I ever thought of him.  

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I’ve been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Journey South

So in spite of MapQuest's estimate of 12 hours, it took us 18 to get from Upstate New York to the Outer Banks.  But to give ourselves some 0627091445credit, we learned to never, ever take back roads if you have any time frame for arrival at all; and three hours of the trip were spent on back roads hunting down the elusive Amish.  Not really elusive, just hard find on the east side of Lancaster amongst all the ridiculous tourist trap stuff.  (I guess by driving hours out of the way to see them includes us in those I just bashed.)  Contrary to our naivety, the Amish do not live by major intersections or 7elevens and there is NOTDSC00030 a sign  that says, “Welcome to Amish country” with fields being plowed by  literal horse-power behind the sign.  We finally found some real Amish; they’re in the beautiful, rolling hills outside and in between all the built up hoop-la of the towns. 

Some observations/questions from Pennsylvania Dutch country:

1. The air has a very distinct and invasive smell of cow dung.  2. It seemed almost a mockery how modernized and dollar-driven it has become when the driving “site” to be seen is the simple and separatist lifestyle of the Amish.  They must feel so invaded.  3. Who pays over $1000 for a quilt???  4. Their homemade bread is wonderful…but expensive.  5. We saw no “work DSC00026smarter, not harder” bumper stickers.  6. Can anyone really visit Intercourse, PA without a snicker and picture by the sign?  7. Do horse and buggy’s have insurance?  8. We’ve never seen so many mules and so few horses and donkeys (for those slower ones of you…mules are the offspring of a donkey and a horse).  9. Wi-Fi in Amish country just doesn’t seem right.  9b. Do Amish teens secretly have facebook accounts?  10. Is all that corn (and I mean ALOOOOTT of corn) really planted by hand?

Enough of that.  We then took HWY 13 through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia…finally to arrive at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge where we had to pay the $12 toll!!  By this time it was so dark we couldn’t even enjoy it.  We were impressed though by the construction:  probably 10 miles of bridge and tunnel. 

Just before midnight we welcomed the site of Nags Head, NC where we pulled in and crashed…18 hours later. 

Southern Take on a Northern State

 IMG_5433 The deep south has always been home and like camp folklore we grew up on stories of the dreaded north complete with stereotypes of disgruntled northerners.  Somehow we thought New Yorkers would definitely fit the mold.  But to our surprise, whether to be attributed to the beautiful St. Lawrence River many live on or the amazing 70 degree weather, we found these New Yorkers cheerfully hospitable.  So gracious, in fact, they’d put many a southerner to shame!  0627091856

And who said we eat so wonderfully terrible in the south with our homecookin’?  New Yorkers aren’t so different.  Anyone ever heard of poutine (french fries covered in cheese and brown gravy) or Jdrecks subs (half a cup of mayo per sub) or the ice cream shops located every two miles?!  Northerners have their own secret indulgences we see.  And we so enjoyed them too! 

Thank you McGrath family for totally taking us in like your own and giving northerners a very good name!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

If You Ever Take a Trip

DSC00024

If you ever take a trip, and your trip will be of length

DSC00014We offer here suggestions to give fortitude and strength

Make bladders a priority and hydrate really well

Walk around and limit munchies or your feet will surely swellDSC00025

Take lots of funny pictures to commemorate the trek

Feel better in just knowing everyone’s a wreck

Make a space for comfy sleeping and let drivers take their turns

DSC00018The driver plus a buddy ensures fewer crash-and- burns

If you’re needing snacks and coffee, better stop before 11

Coffee frosties just won’t cut it, and no Starbucks till almost 7!

So if you ever take a trip, and you travel with your friends

Keep a happy, cheerful outlook.  On this the trip depends! 0625090558 Looking forward to some sleep then the sites of Upstate New York and Canada.