Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Skis to Snowboard = Soreness

Jason writing here.

I take pride in what is generally my ability to pick things up or catch onto things quickly. Especially things that are physical in nature. You know, things like sports.

So last night I ventured to Cataloochee ski area with a friend to try my hand at snowboarding. I've skied for years and have progressed to the point where I don't usually fall unless I'm pushing the limits. Maybe one or two light falls per skiing session would be average. In other words I'd forgotten what it was like to learn to ski, which for most people means spending more time eating snow than actually skiing. I'd forgotten what it was like to cover more ground falling that actually skiing down the slope. I see these people every time I go skiing but had lost all empathy for them because, "it's not that hard of a concept, right?"

In my arrogance, over-confidence and faded memory, I strapped the snowboard on, scoffed at the bunny hill, and headed straight for the lift that delivered me to the top of the mountain. I thought, "Snowboarding can't be that difficult - especially for a skier of my ability (arrogance). There's no reason to piddle around on the bunny hill...I'll just go to the top (over-confidence)."
My memory was restored quickly.

Cataloochee's longest slope from the top to the bottom, according to their website, is 1.4 miles. I figure I face-planted and back-flopped down about 1.39 of those miles on that first run. I felt pummeled and beat to a pulp by the time I made it to the bottom.
Humbled, but unwilling to give up so easily, I resorted to the beginners slope for 5-6 more tries. I think I was upright on the snowboard for probably a total of 200 yards all night.

The most embarrassing part event of the night, believe it or not, came not while I was snowboarding, but after I had abandoned the board and put my trusty skis on.
My friend and I were riding the lift that went to the 3/4 drop off point, which I mistakenly thought went to the top of the mountain. We were having nice conversation when in the middle of one of my sentences he just got off the lift?! You would have thought I would have noticed the lift didn't continue any further, but nope, not on this night. This is what happened in the following 2 seconds:

1. I thought, "Why did he get off here? Oh well, I'll just ride to the top and then catch up to him.
2. "Oh shoot, this lift doesn't go to the top..."
3. So I jumped off the lift that was already beginning to make the turn back toward the bottom of the mountain. I fell about 3 feet and found myself tangled in one of those bright orange safety fences they have at ski resorts.

The lift had to be stopped. My friend laughed in confusion. And the ski patrol guy had to help me get untangled from the fence and back on my feet. Yes, I was that guy that made the lift stop on this occasion.

So my status tonight, 24 hours later:

My birdie finger on my left hand is swollen and sore, my neck and back are painfully tight, my inner thighs are screaming, I've battled a headache off and on all day and my pride, confidence and belief in myself to be quick to learn are all shot.

Snowboarding's dumb...but that's not really the point.

My point is that in most hard circumstances there is a good lesson to take. This is no different. Whether it shows itself through compassion toward the foreigner who can't speak English or through understanding when someone doesn't know what you know or through patience for people...I want to have compassion, understanding and patience for the learning curve of others.

It was good for me to try something new last night and fail miserably. Because we humans, as we get older and more hungry for comfort, tend toward only doing and embracing those things we know are safe and those things at which we know we will succeed. Last night wasn't safe and I certainly didn't succeed...but I was reminded again of my own learning curve and challenged to not shy away from, but seek out opportunities to be stretched and to learn.

Sometime over this Christmas holiday try something you have never done or have been scared of or think you will fail at...it may not be fun, but it is good for your perspective...

"Let the wise add to their learning." Proverbs 1:5

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Latest

Sometimes it seems appropriate to lump all of the recent happenings into one big update. This is one of those times.

Walking by Faith. Because we are so sure you are checking the blog every day for an update {I humor myself}, we will tell you we haven't been silent just to build suspense. We haven't heard anything. There is an opportunity for us to go to India to learn more about an organization raising up orphans for God's glory, but we still wait to get the email or phone call to give clarity if this is our open door. This trip wouldn't be to necessarily find our daughter but to see India's children and learn more about this interesting organization.

Couple's Retreat. We made it back from a few days in the mountains with five other couples and Levi. Here are a few of our favorite pics.

Ski Rewards. Wednesday we went to the mountains to make a dream come true. Every day Jason visits the websites of the ski resorts in NC. And the day before yesterday he was there to check out the conditions for himself as he skiied down many slopes including a double black diamond.

Caroline's Promise. We have just awarded a grant to assist a family in bringing a little girl home from across the ocean. It is an amazing thing to be take part in. Next week we'll share a picture of the family and their incredible story. If you'd like to stay updated on what's going on, email me {ktegen@carolinespromise.net} and I'll add you to our monthly emails!

Return from Haiti. We've been slack at keeping you updated on Jason's brother Matt in Haiti and now, today, he returns for good after his year and a half long work. We'll share pictures of the welcome back party.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where's T?

Sometimes we play the game here at school of finding Levi among the students. They've all gone now for Christmas break, but we thought we'd let you in on the fun from just before they left. It's sort of like our own, personalized, version of Where's Waldo.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Enjoy some of our favorite November moments in pictures.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eight Months

Happy eight months, Levi T.

If you look closely you can see two little teeth peeking through those bottom gums!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ever since we shared the story of India and our little girl, we thought things would be silent for a long time as we waited, prayed and wondered. But in the time since we shared, things have not been quiet. Around Thanksgiving we thought we had found her then learned the little girl had a family in the process of adopting.

Since then bigger things seem to be happening which would bring us in direct contact with Indian orphanages. We appreciate you joining us in prayer as things begin to unfold in the coming weeks.

We will update as we can.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:5-6a

That was all a year and a half ago.

India requires parents to be 30. Jason just turned 27. The agencies we've looked at are temporarily closing their Indian adoptions.

Waiting is hard. Especially for an undefined time for a child of promise. Is this how Abraham felt when things looked so impossible and the promise came long before? When he was the only one who heard? Did he hear clearly? He must have wondered it. I hope he did because I have. Over and again.

But Hershey's Orphan Summit encouraged me that true faith is walking out what we believe even before we see it. That is the essence of faith, and that is why you are reading this post. Each post has been a step. I believe. We, Jason and I, believe. We invite you to believe with us as we wait and pray.

For her protection.

For her to know a family is waiting, wanting her.

And we are thankful that the time has not been completely silent. Often, in the mundane moments of life when my mind is caught up in mindless tasks, God whispers.


It's happened more than I can count. And often, when I am out, I see visible reminders. God has even given a name for her. A name, that turns out, is a very popular Indian name.

Today, I told Levi about his sister because, I believe. And I wait.

Thank you for waiting and believing with us.

The weeks and months that followed were incredible. I tried to believe it was just because India was in my head. Coincidences, I told myself. Like attending an International festival with the flag of India right in front of us as we walked up. Or like the conversation I was having with some girls when I looked up to see the flag of India hanging above us. Coincidences, you know.

But the “coincidences” turned into more.

I got a picture message at work one day of a man holding a little child. The child? Indian, it seemed. The man? The number? No clue, and he wouldn’t talk to me when I asked.

While reading my devotions, in Leviticus of all places, I distinctly thought I saw the word India. Now, I’m losing it, I thought. But India hadn’t even been on my mind that day. Then, again, it was as if India was written in the paragraph. But when I searched back through the letters, no India.

This was getting ridiculous. So I dismissed it.

Then, that night, something happened. Something more than thinking, more than coincidence and more than anything I could dismiss away.

{Up until this point you have been reading so excitedly.
These next words, I would think, might cause you
to question my sanity or at least my level of drama. But
remember with me that I serve the Creator of the Universe.
He’s incredible at writing stories.}

That night I picked up a book I was anxious to read: Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis. Between laundry and conversations, I soaked in the pages. It was about Russia and one man and life-change because of orphans.

I’d only made it two paragraphs in. The intro beckoned me to read more. But I wouldn’t be able to that night because something would stop me in my speed-reading tracks.

I had just read how the trip to Russia would forever change his life. Suddenly, in the clearest split second of my life, time stood still as five letters came up off of the page. Everything behind them blurred.

I n d i a

As quickly as they came, they went back into their assigned places. No, the word India wasn’t written on the page. God wrote it that night for me, and I gasped out loud when He did it. All I could manage was to stutter around to explain to Jason. How does one explain something so supernatural? Something only your eyes beheld? Something you know no one else could really believe unless they saw it themselves?

{To be concluded...or begun...tomorrow...}

Monday, November 15, 2010

I have trouble having confidence that I’ve heard God and not just myself. That was the case in 2009 and, really, still is the case most of the time.

Late one night I was awake reading a book about God speaking through visions and dreams. So discouraged with my inability to distinguish God’s voice, I begged God that night to help me. I begged for clarity. I begged for dreams. Actually, I asked for Him to speak to me in dreams, and I tacked on at the end of the prayer, “and please start tonight.” That last line started a more fervent time of prayer that ended with my utter assurance that God would give me a dream that very night. In that I was confident.

It was hard to go to sleep for the excitement. What would He say? I had specifically asked for a dream about the future, about kids, about adoption. Anything to give clarity to our future.

I woke around 3 a.m. No dream. After a trip to the bathroom and a walk back to bed I reminded God that there were several more hours of opportunity.

And then the dream came. One stripe of orange, one of white, one of green and one intricate circle in the middle. India. I’d rarely seen the flag before but that night in the dream it was as if I’d known it forever.

I supposed the dream meant we would adopt from there. All I knew was that my prayer had been answered. Answered with mystery but answered. I whispered prayers of sweet thankfulness.

Then, two weeks later another dream came. This time unsolicited and much clearer.

I stood in an orphanage that was on fire. Starring for an infinitely long time at a Greek Orthodox church in the distance, the workers asked me to stay with the children while the fire was controlled. As I stepped in the room, God called to me in the clearest voice:

“Look for her, she’s here.”

I just knew. No lack of confidence. No questioning if my voice or His. He meant a little Indian girl sat somewhere in that room. And she had been set apart for me. My eyes scanned the room. There were lots waiting. But I searched every face for her dark skin and beautiful brown eyes.

Then, as I stepped close to the door, I saw her. She was sitting with a child in her lap at what looked like an old cafeteria table. She had been looking at me the whole time waiting for me to lock eyes with her. Her hair was short and black and her face beautiful. But it was her eyes that I noted the most.

Her eyes said, “Finally, Mama. I’ve been waiting so long for you.” She was absolutely beaming.

And then as clearly as His voice spoke, I knew. She would be older than I ever thought we would adopt. She was seven or eight.

I stepped through the door, and I was awake.

The weeks and months that followed were incredible.

{To be continued tomorrow....}

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Walking by faith is a learned behavior. It doesn’t come naturally, at least in my experience. I’ve had more than my share of experiences to point me to trust God. When I was young I prayed for five little drowned kittens to come back to life. And one by one, they did. When I was struggling through the teen years, I prayed for a sign that, indeed, God could hear my whispered prayers. And my sign, minutes later, was a t-shirt worn by a grocery store clerk that read: “If you are looking for a sign from God, here it is.” A hand was signing I love you below those words.

And I have discovered in thirty years that





And just as mysteriously, He can hear my prayers even when they’re just whispers in my head. I’m baffled by it when I stop to think. But this beautiful mystery of prayer and power often has me apologizing to God for not valuing it more. After all I’ve seen. After all I know. My prayer-less-ness has to be a sin.

Jason and I have a pile of rocks in our bedroom. They are our visible reminders of the miracles we’ve personally seen God do as He “draws [us] to Himself.” The miracle of complete healing I experienced after eight years of sickness and medication. The miracle of us, Jason and Kelley. Because of the specific prayer I prayed one Valentine’s night, Jason’s life was different. “God, cause my future husband to get out of any bad relationships. Cause him to fall in love with you devoting himself fully before we meet.” That night, as I prayed, a 2 1/2 year relationship ended by phone for Jason. That summer God called him to full surrender and his senior year he grew and grew and loved God deeply. Then, we met. The awesome love of God who hears our whispers.

As I sit and think of these and COUNTLESS more, I am in awe of God and my faith swells. I see clearer through this “dark glass” and I trust more.

Yet after all I have seen, I still have trouble trusting at times. So as I sat at the orphan summit in Hershey, I was reminded of another prayer and another answer and another opportunity to walk by faith.

Let me begin in the Spring of 2009...

{Continued tomorrow...}

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Now

There is much to say after our first flight with a baby, first orphan summit, first trip to Hershey and other details of life at home, but it's Thursday and this has been a hard, busy week. For now, here's a highlight from the day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beginning November

Somehow it's November 5th already and I'm sitting at the computer at 5 a.m. Our morning will be filled with plane rides (Levi's first) to take us to our very first orphan summit. Already this week I've sat overwhelmed by the needs of children as I visited a children's shelter Tuesday. More of that story next post as well as some tidying up around here (our blog) to welcome Fall officially. But for now, we're aiming to be dedicated tweeters of the event so keep visiting.

You can check out the event at the link to the left.

We'll see you soon with lots of things to share.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ending October {Revised}

{Now with captions so they make sense. :}

Monday, October 25, 2010

Twenty Seven

Yesterday we celebrated twenty seven years of survival.

And as you can see, it's something to celebrate! Happy birthday, Jason!

{Pictures of the celebration to come.}

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday's Simple Thing

In our house sneezing causes laughter, sunlight causes sneezing and laughter causes...crying.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Sometimes I get so discouraged when I fail I forget that if at first I don't succeed I must try, try again.

And sometimes I think about the quote from Steve Deneff this summer: "My fear for you is not that you will fail doing something great. My fear is that you will succeed doing something too small."

Sometimes I want to take a class on just about every subject realizing I know so little about so much.

And sometimes I wish I could have known 10 years ago what I know now.

Sometimes I sneak into Levi's room to watch him sleep. I wish every needy, hungry, neglected child could lay there beside him clean, well fed and cherished.

And sometimes, by God's gracious leading, I quit dreaming and start acting.

Sometimes I take for granted the family I have.

And sometimes I hear stories of divorce and children never to be that wake me to my blessed state and break me for those without.

Sometimes I go through a whole day getting little accomplished.

And sometimes I realize spending time with family is accomplishing a lot. And that's where I've been these past few days. Accomplishing a lot. :)

{Misty, maybe you'll forgive me for posting this pic. :)}

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Half Birthday

Little T.,

Did you know you would open parts of our hearts we never knew family 009existed?  Have you known how our love for you has us daily in awe of God’s?  Can you understand that you make us laugh deeper and sweeter than we’ve ever laughed before?  Can you tell that we’d give anything, everything for you? 

Can you believe you’ve made it six months?  Have we given away the fact that we haven’t known what we’re doing?  Are you ready to do some big things?  We are!  And we’re right here loving every moment.  You are pure joy, and we give God incredible praise for you.

Your two Ts   IMG_9017

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday’s Simple Things On Sunday

Last Saturday we watched our van drive by filled with students, floaties and streamers.  It was homecoming at our school and every year the classes race on floats across a pond.  The Freshmen hadhomecoming

floaties, the Sophmores a boat, the Juniors an inflated air mattress and the Seniors barrels.  Turns out floaties are not effective for speed.  Especially when compared to a boat.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sixteen Minutes

Every once in a while you stumble onto something that reverberates deep inside and leaves a lasting impression.

This video is that.

Thank you, Tracy, for sharing.

And in this second part lies a high call for you, man or woman.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Webster’s Words: Dedication


noun \ˌde-di-ˈkā-shən\

1: an act or rite of dedicating to a divine being or to a sacred use  2: a devoting or setting aside for a particular purpose


One week ago tonight, in front of friends and family, we dedicated our baby to God’s kingdom work and made a covenant to do our very best to raise him in the full knowledge of God’s great love and sacrifice for him.


It was unconventional:  a local retreat center,  a Tuesday night, a cook out.  But it was incredibly meaningful.  And as the generations of Christ followers prayed over this little life, we were grateful for our heritage and so thankful to be entrusted with this boy.


And while talking about being thankful,


we are so thankful our little boy


{drum roll}


slept through the night last night!!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday's Simple Things

I've been wanting to reflect on simple things that bring joy, and Saturday
seems like a perfect time to start the weekly reflection.

This picture brings lots of smiles to the Tegen family. Since Grandma Tegen couldn't make it to Yosemite, Travis Tegen brought Yosemite to her. I laugh out loud every time I see it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Land of a Thousand Sleepless Sons

First off, kudos to those moms who keep blog posts coming, a spotless house and still manage to look polished. I am not that woman lest you find yourself here under false pretense. Yet somehow I feel drawn to those women thinking their superpowers will trickle through the pixels. There are moments I think it's working. Then I look at my kitchen sink. :)

Little five-month-old Levi is thriving. And Jason and I aren't doing so bad ourselves. Except at night. After getting up about ten times Tuesday night, Levi began sleep training. That means we let him fuss for a while to learn to fall asleep without constant coddling. That also means I creep into his room and watch inconspicuously while he cries a few minutes and looks toward the door. At five months he already knows how to manipulate. And he's so cute it's worked until our desperation overcame his pitiful bottom lip. We're giving it a week then we'll report back.

Until then and some other updates we'll be sharing later, enjoy with me this great picture and video. Have we mentioned we love adoption?!

Lightning Ahlers - My Adoption Story from The Ahlers Family on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today and Some Yesterdays

Today we ran from 6 a.m. to now, 9:30 p.m. 

We got this beauty that now sits beside the van.  Jason believes the manliness of a jeep makes up for what the van lacks.  I’m a huge jeep fan so I can’t argue.  There’s no seat belt in the back yet but by tomorrow I’m pretty sure one will appear so Levi can ride in style.


Today we also got the best news EVER.  Friends who are adopting and needed an absolute miracle in their court case got it.  Elated is not even the word!  God has been and is faithful as people cried out. 

Last week was the first week of school.  Welcoming back a full house, we had our first Frifest (Friday Festivity).  Tie-dye and a cookout for starters.  Tomorrow a slip-n-slide on the steepest hill on campus with water, soap and baby oil.  We’ll take pictures…but not of the broken appendages that are quite, quite possible.  ;O 

IMG_5239 IMG_5228

Jason added barber to his list of talents.  As if he’d need any more.  He’s good at just about everything…including cutting pineapple and making pigs in a blanket (which I needed for a shower today and he made singlehandedly!  Thank you, thank you!)


And for today, as embarrassing as it is, I owe an apology.  If you were driving a silver car compact car in Pendleton and pulled behind my mini-van in the bank parking lot, my attitude was rotten.  I’m sorry.  I did feel convicted when I threw the car into drive (which set the wipers and fluid into motion) and squealed out.  I took it out on you.  An hour of a crying baby broke me down, but needless to say, so sorry.  Next time I’ll just spin my head in circles and skip the wheelies.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mama Sloth and the Grumpy Cheetah

{Caution for this post-  Everything seems funnier at 2 a.m.}

If our lives were a cartoon,

this would have been last night’s show.

The camera zooms in on the ticking clock.  One thirty a.m.  You can see baby arms waving over the crib slats.  It’s time to eat…again.

Sleepy Mama Sloth cradles baby in the rocker of his dimly lit nursery.    Suddenly a black shadow emerges.  Mama Sloth’s face becomes alive with alarm and wobbly lines appear beside her brow (fear).  Cold sweat begins propelling itself from her body. 

A roach is visiting in the darkness.

    She grimaces and at lightning speed (for a sloth) does an exaggerated tiptoe to the next room to find a mammoth black shoe (or Daddy Cheetah’s favorite Chaco).  All with baby in tow.  Dropping baby into the crib, Mama begins a game of checker-like movements with the dark intruder, sweat still flying. 

Finally, the intruder scurries under the trash can lid.   Mama Sloth extends her pointer finger.  Up flies the lid.  Now hunched over, she cautiously searches.  The dark monster appears in a flash, Mama jumps and he scurries under the lip.  All too fast for Mama who’s shoe-filled hand falls limp beside her body.  She needs backup. 

Little arms flail in the background as the solemn march begins. 

Cautiously, politely, she nudges.  Daddy Cheetah’s eyes barely open to slits.  Mumbling and brow furrowing ensues. Then with a not-so-happy jerk of the covers, he’s up.   

In one swoop Daddy examines the lid, determines the dark monster to be lurking in the deep, ties up the bag and sweeps him out to the kitchen.  Mama Sloth has only managed to blink. 

Daddy Cheetah stalks down the hallway past the doorway muttering grumpy words while Mama still slumps over the can frightful the monster or his coodies got left behind.

As the camera fades Mama rocks baby while in the kitchen, under the glow of the sink light, the sneaky monster scratches and searches for a method of escape.  But Mama, though slow in speed, has impeccable hearing.

Double bagging him before slothing (you know, the walk of sloths) back to bed, Mama Sloth congratulates herself that, yes indeed, she has saved the night after all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Latest

As promised, the lessons from camp and the news from the 11th.

This summer I started seeking depth.  Friends have talked about amazing encounters with God.  Fresh waves of his spirit. 

I knew it.  There has to be more. 

More than wishing changes in my life.  More than reading about Acts kind of power.  More than mustering weak boldness.  So after prayer for more, I am entering the adventure of finding what I have been seeking.  An excerpt from my journal: 

This week I've found purpose and peace in a calling God placed in my DNA long ago. Following that I've been infused with a newfound boldness that is still being worked through me. Boldness to take God at His Word. Boldness to refuse to miss a day away from His Word. Boldness to speak the Truth in love.  Boldness to have confidence.

And last night the boldness turned to outrage. I felt like I saw decisions in someone else's life for what they were, compromise. God is not an auctioneer or market seller to be haggled down on the price He calls us to pay when we follow. We try to get by paying the lowest thinking we've made a deal but, really, we've forfeited the treasure.

This is what I know: 

God's Word stands firm. It's trustworthy. Useful for exhorting, correcting, teaching. We must be renewed by it daily or we start buying lies and being robbed of really living.

God's Spirit teaches the sweetest, deepest lessons. Peace can permeate every fiber of our being if we are walking fresh and humbled before God.

My body is a temple where God's spirit resides. How dare I not take care of it.

Satan's lies come with a glimmer of truth. That's why we buy into them. And Satan often fights in the opposite way of which God tries to work: "Kelley, you are worthless. You have no purpose." While God whispers, "In the fiber of your being I've given you burdens and callings. I set before you opportunities I created you to do. For this time, this place, with these gifts. And what you bring, no matter how little, is so pleasing to me. Let me use you for my namesake."

And what has been placed deep in my DNA is a heart for the underdog.  A heart that comes alive serving with compassion.  So when the opportunity was presented to work with an organization advocating for orphans, after my own God encounter, I agreed. 

Wednesday I sat across a table from a little girl named Caroline and her mom, the director of Caroline’s Promise North Carolina.  There I agreed to be a voice for children by working as director in South Carolina.  I couldn’t be more honored or excited as I’ve heard God say: “I set before you opportunities I created you to do.  For this time, this place, with these gifts.  And what you bring, no matter how little, is so pleasing to me.  Let me use you for my namesake.”


Friday, August 13, 2010

Fall Retreat

A new group, a new year and a new outlook. Here are our favorite snapshots from our RA (Resident Assistant) Retreat and preparation for the arrival of students..which was today! The fabulous 80s photo completed our welcome bulletin board with everything totally, awesomely 80s!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Breaking the Silence

California, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina:  we made the most of July and got some priorities reset in the process.  Wonderful things happened.  Some we’ll share below in pictures.  Some can’t be shared until a few meetings take place and things are official which should be around August 11.  ;)

July in Pictures


Our sweet son did these things:  laughed, started grabbing and holding things, rolled over, sat up (with help), started making raspberry noises and made two long road trips like a pro.




We made a full Azeri meal to surprise our friend in Michigan: Russian salads, plov (rice dish), toyuq (chicken) and even baklava!  It took ALL day!

2010 07 July CA trip (2) 193 

Jason made it to the top of Halfdome, again.  Surprising his family, he arrived the same time they did at the San Fran. airport to spend the week hiking with his dad and brother. 



On the friend front, one amazingly talented friend left for six months in China.  She left behind her Canon Rebel camera in exchange for our less flashy, less expensive Sony.  We love that kind of trade!  Now, to work the thing… 

I, Kelley, attended my first Blessingway.  Such a thoughtful tribute ushering my soon-to-be-mama friend into motherhood.  Hoping to host many in the future.Matt&Justine

Matt Tegen and Justine Iskat visited from Haiti and Pennsylvania.






Hortense Camp in South Georgia enriched every fiber of my being. Family, friends, the Word.  Pure goodness.  And a post full of thoughts that will be up soon.


But July flew by and now it’s August.  Our Fall RA retreat starts Friday.  Resident assistants start arriving today.  Shopping carts full of food come tomorrow.  Then time away at Mrs. Coleman’s beautiful mountain house.   Welcome August!   

Monday, July 12, 2010

Perspective, Please…

I’m having a hard time with this month of a bloggy break.  You can tell. ;)  Maybe because early morning hours are my best think time these days and maybe because I’m a pretty open book, I thought I’d share the challenges of the morning.

Our air went out Friday with no one to fix it until Monday.  End of the world, right?!  Until we were sitting at breakfast Saturday morning complaining.  Matt, just back from Haiti, coyly remarked, “Aw, that’s just too bad.”  The irony woke us up.  He’s been in 97 degree weather in his house for months.  That not saying the temp in the sun.  And it dawned on us:  people all around the world don’t have air conditioning.

So last night when a camp arrived to find out about the no air situation, one man was more than a little miffed.  I saw my American self in him and our sense of entitlement.  I wanted to share my recent epiphany but thought he might not appreciate the perspective as sweat dripped from his nose.

And just this morning as I’m polishing my nails against my shirt over the lesson learned about my entitlement, I’m sulking over the fact my 3 month old woke me repeatedly since 4 a.m. leaving me unable to sleep while he finally drifts off.  Then I read this from an incredible blog of a mom who just brought home a beautiful boy from Ethiopia:

I once heard an adoptive mom say, “I feel sad for families who don’t get to experience this.” It’s hard. It’s trying. But, it’s the gospel. It’s what we were made for. I wasn’t made for manicures, vacations or even the luxury of a good night’s sleep. I was made to store my treasures in heaven and to shine Jesus out of my heart. After just 2 weeks of the hard stuff, I can totally see why people keep growing their families through adoption, why foster care families continue to love by giving their hearts away and why orphan care ministry staff work for little to nothing. Loving with His love and living through His power is addictive…it’s powerful. And there’s no other way I would want to live.

Ouch, in a good way.  So next time I’m complaining, you have my permission to pass me some perspective, please.  It may sting at first but, oh, how much better I am for it.  

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Quick Note

DSC09186Just a quick update from the Tegen three.  We got all the bags packed then made it to Michigan, a wedding and back home.  It’s a quiet summer at home now, and we adore it.  Tonight Matt Tegen gets back from Haiti for a two week stay and next week the pace picks up again for us with a few miscellaneous trips here and there.

Master Levi slept through the night twice in Michigan but almost as if to warn us again raising our hopes has slept terribly the last three nights.  So tonight, July 9th, he moves to his own room.  We considered taking away one of his 20 earned Chucke E. Cheese visits but opted for the move instead. :)  He’s such a blessing of a baby.

Now to wash and rewash and rewash cloth diapers, work on our anniverary books from Picaboo, read the baby whisperer’s advice on establishing a sleep routine, cook some wholesome meals and read some awesome blogs.

Hope your July is going well!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Out of Focus

There's been silence here at Tegen Central because it's become apparent that it's high time for a little bloggy break. Amazing how so much time can be consumed perusing blogs, writing and rewriting posts mentally, planning pictures and documenting things just to record here. Three posts that were composed this week never made it to print, and I realized how much time they'd consumed. Honestly, right now my energy is needed elsewhere. So for the month of July things will be pretty quiet around here. By August priorities will hopefully be reset and allow for a few posts here and there. For now we'll leave you with some realities we're being confronted and challenged by. And I'll go get packing. We leave at 6 a.m. tomorrow for Michigan and somehow it's already 10:38 p.m.! : O

RADICAL from David Platt on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


{Accountability demands follow-up.  Below you’ll see how it went yesterday.  Looks like I’ve already got today’s list…and probably tomorrow’s!}

Yesterday was one of those days.  An I-don’t-feel-good, don’t-want-my-parents-to-leave, get-nothing-done kind of days.  Those are allowed.  But today is a new day and even though I, Kelley, wrote out today’s goals, I need more accountability than that to get moving.  So for today I will….

fav picGet 64 ounces of water down

Spend time with my maker

Ease back into exercise

Clean house

Write thank you notes (got started!)

Return some calls

Return that REALLY overdue book to the library

Enjoy the now instead of wishing for things ahead

Plan ahead, finally.  Get Father’s day gifts lined up

and…Read that book I’ve been working on for two months

Hope this can be inspiration for you, too, to finally get going…today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thoughts from the Operating Room

Wheeling a patient through double doors as their family cranes to get any last peek is bound to be emotional.  Levi waved bye, with some help, and Jason gave me our special hand signal that means “I love you with all my heart.”  I was wiping away tears while I still had use of my arms.  Soon they’d be strapped down and I’d have to ask the nurse to scratch my itchy nose, which she did, obligingly.

The angel/epidural man from nine weeks ago was my anesthesiologist which put my racing heart at greater ease.  Only twice had I ever been in an operating room.  Both still on my feet while taking a tour of hospitals in developing countries.  But yesterday from the flat of my back I had a new perspective and first impressions of the OR…some obviously under the influence. :)

or in haitiEverything looked so state-of-the-art. I confided to the staff how I wished the same technology for Haiti.  They all enthusiastically agree.  All the world was looking a little brighter by this point.

I thought how strange the background music sounded.  Blurring together it resembled trash can lids clanging.  “That means your medicine is working,” the nurse responded.

or lighting

I thought how beautiful the spotlights were.  So clean with all colors of brilliant light.  I was impressed and noted a set in my bathroom would be great for better makeup application.

I thought of meeting Jesus and breathed a prayer of thankfulness for forgiveness.  Peace came as I got excited about Heaven (should I have gone there yesterday).

I thought how much better it was to be on the ground in an operating room and not in the air on an airplane. 

As I fought to keep my eyes open, I knew sleep was overtaking me.  I covered my bases by apologizing in advance for anything that might come out of my mouth unknowingly, then looked straight into my nurse’s eyes and said, “I trust you.”  Maybe they get that a lot because she and the anesthesiologist responded simultaneously, “We’ll take good care of you.”  And for all I know, they did.

Surgery lasted about 45 minutes with the report that the gallbladder looked bad and needed to be out.  But my gallbladder, along with all talk of it, has come to an end.  And today I am recovering.  Thanks for joining me on this journey and for the prayers.  So glad to be on this side of surgery at home with family resting. 



Sunday, June 6, 2010

"It's Complicated"

Brian Regan says it best. He's talking about the phone company, but it (the video's first 20 secs.) could easily describe our dealings with bills from the hospital and insurance this past week. Thinking about this video has kept us smiling. How true it is...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eight Weeks

Saturday we shared this video with friends and family at a baby shower in Georgia. Thought some stopping by the blog might enjoy it too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The doctor walked in Monday and slapped a pamphlet down about laparoscopic surgery.
We exhaled. What had we expected from a surgeon?

That meant we had to ask questions and know what surgery meant. I got a little light-headed just looking at the diagram on the wall. We bulldozed ahead with questions anyway.

He made the surgery sound elective. I guess so if one wants to live with excruciating heartburn symptoms. We opted not and asked for "elective" surgery as soon as possible. Additionally, he gave two options: four small holes or one large one, a surgery he had only been trained for but never performed. We chose the former. :)

So, next week will be pre-op. June 10th will be extraction day. And June 11th...that will be the last day you ever have to hear about my gallbladder.

Friday, May 21, 2010



The phone rang yesterday with the call we’d been waiting for.  The news was no less than we’d expected.  Medicine won’t treat this.  Only surgery.  So Monday we come back from a trip to meet the surgeon for me, Kelley, and my dear ole gallbladder. 



Additionally, we looked into our boy’s eyes yesterday to see a miracle.  See anything different between his two eyes? 

We’ve been to the doctor, had tests, antibiotics and ointment for his right eye that’s been swollen and constantly green with goop.  We prayed over it, and it began to clear.  Then we got the call it was a certain bacteria that needed ointment so even though it was clearing we used the ointment.  It started getting worse.  Why, oh why, did we not trust God’s touch?  We stopped the ointment and prayed again with much repentance mixed in.  I sensed it would get worse before it got better.  It did. 

Wednesday it oozed all day and was more swollen.  “Thursday,” I asked God.  “Please touch it by Thursday or we’ll have to call the doctor again.”  Thursday morning we went through our normal routine.  It was halfway through the day when I looked down and realized his eye looked just like the other.  Goop gone, swelling down, redness gone.  Praise the Lord for His answers even when we mess up.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Webster's Words: Sludge

Pronunciation: \ˈsləj\ Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English slugge, perhaps alteration of slicche mud, slush; akin to Old High German slīh mire

Date: 15th century

2 : a muddy or slushy mass, deposit, or sediment: as a : precipitated solid matter produced by water and sewage treatment processes

That’s the verdict we got yesterday: sludge. Despite our lack of reporting in, the weeks have been full: magical concert in NC, wedding, camping trip, exercise, six week check-up, writing of summer goals, end-of-school party and doctor’s appointment. But it wasn’t the first appointment that gave the verdict we’re sharing today. The third appointment after the new patient one and blood work was an ultrasound of all things abdomen. And after a lot of uncomfortable prodding and breath-holding the verdict is… gallstones.


The technician literally said, “One of the three is blocking the duct and a lot of sludge has backed up.”


So today we wait for the phone to ring for the next steps…although we think we know where we’re headed. Ugh. We’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mom’s Day

We are who we are

100_9086 DSC01324

because of you. 

May the generations to come benefit from so rich a heritage.

levi 0012 (23)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

All Things G

This is Tegen Central and sort of like a spin off of NPR’s All Things Considered, this post highlights the biggest news from life last week all connected by the letter g.


Levi 1Grandparents.  After several weeks of help and time together, one set of grandparents left for home while the other set returned from a week of business in Nashville.  We have been so blessed by family who have watched our little one while we slept, changed him, rocked him through fussy spells, bought medicines, held him while we ran errands and loved on all of us.  Mom and Dad Harrell, Mom and Dad Tegen we are so thankful for you.    

Gifts.  A most precious gift was given to us Friday.  Tulips and a note sitting on our table explained the gift while the smell of Clorox wipes gave away the surprise:  three students cleaned our entire apartment while we were out to dinner.  That is a gift of epic proportion for a new mom!!  Sweet Amy, Megan and Emily, thank you a million times.

Glamour Shots.  Laurin McDowell is awesome with a CanonLevi & Mommy 2 camera.  Really though, we’re pretty sure she could even capture great shots with a disposable!  The girl has talent.  The photos she took this week speak for themselves.  Looking forward to next weeks shoot of the whole family!

G diapers.  He’s used a total of one gcloth in a gdiaper.  Pretty pitiful.  Who knew infants go through so many diapers in one day?!  Hopefully, when the changing slows down a bit, we’ll enter the cloth world.  For now we don’t have enough stock to last through a day and a half of changes so we’re enjoying the grandparent-supplied stash of disposables…maybe next month we can begin saving the planet one diaper at a time.

Grass.  Not sure how many times we’ve driven through the parkingtoro lot of Lowes and Home Depot for Jason to drool over the zero turn mowers.  Friday’s Craigslist postings intensified production in the salivary glands and yesterday a two hour drive made Jason the proud owner of a Toro mower.  His new part-time lawn business is ready to start full force.  

Graduation.  This coming week school will wind to a close and many of our friends/students will graduate.  Among those students is Jason’s mom who’ll be graduating with her master’s.  Pictures to come.


So for this week, that’s All Things G from Tegen Central.  Thanks for stopping by.