Monday, May 25, 2009

Days with Elnur

He's here from Michigan, and we're making the most of every minute.

Day 1
Pick-up at the airport
Lunch with Jason's brothers at the mall
Grand tour of home
Mountain drive and a picnic
Drive through exclusive community
Off-roading courtesy of the Tegen family van
Trek into risky territory
Guy entertainment
Dessert over a 150 foot drop

Day 2
Sleeping in
Luggage, finally!
Tegen lunch and birthday party for younger brother Travis- 20!
Manly exercise- Jason on foot, Elnur on bike
Homemade everything- Central Asian dishes
(Mimosa salad, Stolichny, Toyuq kebob and Baklava!)
Friends from previous Central Asian trips

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A few years ago I sat with friends as they came up with name after enticingly-vague-name for Lifetime movie titles. You know the ones like The People Next Door, Soul Survivor, or The Empty Grave. Actually, I think ours were catchier. I mean, theirs were catchier. All I had to offer that day was one lousy title: The Unwritten Letter. And I've thought of that title a lot lately because somewhere in my head a letter has been in composition for a while. It's something I never said, and it's gone unsaid for nearly two years.

So last night it all came out. Written then printed then placed inside a stamped envelope. Now if I can only find the courage to take it to the post office. Why is it so hard to say what needs to be said?

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Trouble with White Flags

Over ten years ago a mentor gave me a green bookmark that I can still picture. She gave it to encourage me and reassure me- God's will must be supreme, and God is trustworthy. How do we forget and question that so quickly? Sometimes Jason and I really get the fact that this life is not all about us, but often we relapse into life through the Tegen lens. And that has been a struggle lately (at least for one of us).

Not that we are facing any illness or career move or urgent need. We are simply being asked to wait. Could anything be worse than that word, really? Lately the three-year-old is coming out in me, Kelley. I'd just like to stand in a corner, stomp my feet, and whine until something happens in relation to one specific prayer. Revealing, right?! And as that thought has come to mind I've had to fall out (literally) before God because it's not about me or Jason. In the surrendering, again and again, the poem from that bookmark has come:

I know not by what methods rare
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blessed.
-Eliza M. Hickok

So here I am in the middle of hard, freeing surrender. It's a difficult thing to be broken of our will, our timing and all. This stubborn three-year-old is slowly learning through discipline though. Like a little kid I really do want boundaries even if I cry and pout during the process. And I've done my share. Can't say it's all out either. But I'm trusting and know if He sees fit, after all my mess, He will His way, on His time, with His answer. And to that I must surrender.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

We suppose character qualities are instilled at a young age. At least ours were. And we are so thankful for the qualities God taught our parents that they imparted to us. Generosity, thankfulness, responsibility, modesty, honesty, respect... The list could go on.

With inspiration from Edible Arrangements, strawberry bouquets and quality time were our gifts for our mothers and grandmothers. (Mom Harrell, this weekend!) Fun to pick, to make and to deliver!!

We love you! Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

An Overview in Sixty Seconds

All Along by Remedy Drive. Great song you're listening to now!
Breaking down. We were stranded in Clemson last week for about 30 minutes.
China- Where one of our students is spending the coming year.
Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer. Great reading thus far.
Exercise. Four miles a day for Jason. Not so much for Kelley.
Fun couple pics! First time in four years- Thanks Laurin!
Goodbye to students. Thursday was graduation.
How to Cook Everything- A book recommended to us that we'll be reading soon because the cafeteria has closed.
India- Where one of our students is going this summer.
Junk. What the counter outside our apartment is covered with and a sore spot for Kelley.
Kas. Kelley's Aunt Kas has been in the hospital. Her mom is there with her, and we are hoping to visit them next weekend.
License. Hooray Jovi (one of our freshmen)!
Mother's day is around the corner, and we're planning to make fresh strawberry bouquets!
New York. We're taking a road trip this June!
Outer in North Carolina's outer banks. Road trip there in July to be with our friends Travis, Amanda and Norah.
Ping pong tournaments in the lobby.
Quiet. Blessed quietness that will permeate this building on Sunday.
Reunion. Last weekend Kelley spend some quality time with her mom and her cousin.
Strawberries are in, and we'll be picking a lot!
Teacher Jason. Such a good teacher that his student, Jovi, passed her driving test.
Umbrellas. It's been raining a lot lately and filling up the local lakes!
Visitor. We are so excited because our friend from overseas who lives in MI is coming to visit this month!
Wreck. This week Jason was in one! Though not his fault and no one was hurt, we are so bummed because it happened in his mom's van and did some real damage!
Xterra. That's our other car that's in the shop.
Young boys. Kelley loves her job!
Zany times with cousins on Kelley's Georgia trip last weekend.