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


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.'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!