Monday, December 31, 2012

December in Pictures

We had no snow on our drive back yesterday much to my parents' delight. Mountains and snow and South Georgia flat-landers don't mix so well. So, for their sakes, we enjoyed the cold drizzle as we drove away from the crowds and back home. 

Here are a few pictures from this month and our time away at the cabin. Look carefully, there's a hint of something we'll get to explain this evening, finally! :) For now, enjoy what we can share...

Our Merry Christmas Apartments tree

Levi's first Santa photo from the Faculty Christmas Drop-In. We're not big Santa advocates...but enjoyed some fun and a present that night.

The Residence Life Staff's Tacky Sweater Christmas Party

A Christmas photo for a very special someone...

Levi's new crib. Instead of transitioning to a toddler bed, we decided to make the most of his tiny bedroom with a loft bed. But when I couldn't sleep for fear he'd fall, Jason added an extension to double the height and we were all, finally, happy sleepers. We laugh often at how absurd it looks. ;) 

Training in not being a fair-weather runner.

The Gilberts who stayed with us the few days before Christmas.

Of all the gifts Levi's special one was a new Henry train to replace the one we lost. We was so excited!

Brunch at the cabin

Learning to play poo, as Levi calls it, with Papa and the easier-to-aim end of the pool stick.

Legos with MiMi

Waiting on pancakes with Nana, Papa and the uncles.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Christmas morning Levi did find the baby in the manger. He ran excited to tell us and obviously relieved that his whole manger scene was finally complete. For all of December he was troubled that there was no Jesus. 

The days before and after that morning have been full. First with four little ones four and under, then with last minute gifts, and now, with family. It is our third time in six years celebrating a new tradition of giving the gift of time to our families. A day or so after Christmas we all ride up to the mountains and spend a few days in a cabin together. This year we all split the costs and found a great getaway for two nights. Tomorrow we return and hopefully find a little snow has fallen during the night to add to the scenery on our drive home. But snow or no, we won't leave without our traditional trip to the best pancake house in the world (in my very humble, limited pancake-house-sampling opinion). 

I've been taking lots of pictures to share in the coming days and I'll make sure to include a few of any snow we might manage to find tomorrow. :) Everyone is asleep now, some snoring, so I'm heading to join them. Thanks for stopping by. More pictures and words to come soon. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

They've Arrived

All has been silent for a long time. Mary and Joseph finally arrived a few days ago after making the trek through our home being kicked accidentally across the floor by giants in the night, munching on Ritz crackers to give energy, scaling our kitchen cabinets to find a much-needed watering hole, rappelling down the cabinets and finally arriving to less than grand accommodations. 

Tomorrow morning we'll get up to see if Jesus is finally here...and then we'll celebrate! Blessings to you all in your celebrations with family and friends! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wise Words and Fraser Firs

Last weekend a tree was cut by each Tegen family. For the first time we had a chance to drive to the mountains to cut our very own fir tree. Every other year we drive ten minutes down the road and examine pre-cut firs or cut a pine. This year's tree is barely taller than Levi...but it fills the house with that fresh fir  smell and looks great with colored lights, a star that has seen better days and some Jesse tree ornaments

An hour and a half after getting home Jason and Levi were taking well-deserved naps, and I headed with Team India to Charleston. After finding on Facebook that the lady we worked with in India was in the states, I asked if she'd be in our area. The girls and I considered four hours to be "in our area" and booked a hotel with flyer miles to see her speak at a Sunday morning service. We got there Saturday evening and had the whole evening to hang out together. While in India on an uneventful evening we'd tried to play a game of hotel sardines and failed miserably getting caught by hotel staff and making us and them laugh hysterically. But the hotel in Charleston was a lot bigger...and we seized the opportunity. Our brilliant hiding places were-- behind the coke machine, under a table in a conference room, and, my favorite, the trash can. We're totally crazy, I know. :)

The amazing thing about Sh*mpa speaking in Charleston was that the church was fifteen minutes from the beach. We initially planned to see the sunrise but didn't quite make it so we just spent some time in the cold water before heading to the church. 

And after driving four hours, getting little sleep, visiting the ocean and waiting to hear Sh*mpa, Teapot as she calls herself, we were anything but disappointed. As a woman who has endured trials and witnessed miracle after miracle, we soaked up every one of her wise words. I marveled at how our May trip to India, that God so directed, is still bearing fruit. 

So many of the things she shared had me wondering how I could soak all of it up and share adequately with others so the lessons wouldn't stop with meThis little bulleted list is my best attempt to paraphrase some of the goodness though I know without context it's a far cry from the original.

From December 2, 2012 with Sh*mpa:

- Too many of us focus on always doing. Just be with the Lord instead of trying to do. Your being will spill over to your doing

- Instead of criticism, pray blessing over those in leadership.

- Instead of always asking God to touch you, reach out and touch him.

- God is the same miracle-working God as in the Bible...we will see miracles and maybe more-so because Jesus has gone back to the Father's right hand.

- Anyone can prophesy...the main difference is if the prophecy is coming from God and His love. 

- Too many people seek God for his gifts when they should seek the giver. The gifts will follow. 

She spoke with both head and heart knowledge and with real honesty. Every time I hear her I am refreshed by her perspective. She shares about the incredible work she gets to take part in and she always reminds us-- we are little people called to be little people filled with radical love. Jesus was so good to remind us of that call to humility and teach us so much from this little Teapot in Charleston! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Cartoon Series: Introducing

I asked Jason if I could share this...because it was too embarrassing at the time not to be redeemed with a retelling when it actually could be funny. For as often as he says I'm a cartoon character, he has his own animated way of being funny.

From two weeks ago:

We both were interested in hearing some Indie Folk musicians coming to our campus a few weeks ago so we planned to go and stand at the back for a few minutes with Levi. But when Jason's parents stopped by and offered to keep Levi for a bit, we jumped at the chance for a thirty minute, free date. Walking over Jason talked about his intense craving for a Bojangles chicken biscuit (random, since it's something he's rarely ever had) or for anything that might be the perfect mix of protein and carbs. He was hungry. We agreed he could go find food after our thirty minute getaway. 

On our way to the concert we spotted a propped door to a room located just beside where the band was playing. Going through the open door meant we wouldn't have to walk up a hill to the building's front doors and down the stairs to the concert. It was a welcomed shortcut. 

Slowly we walked through the door we assumed full of extra musical paraphernalia but instead of finding cords and amps and lights, the room was lined on one side with silver serving dishes full of food that the band had either just finished or that they would be enjoying after the concert. I eyed Jason with a hurry-up-so-you-won't-be-tempted look. Rushing through to the hallway I turned back to see Jason lifting a silver lid. He'd glanced too long. Like Edmund and his turkish delight from the White witch, the food got him. Jason quickly scooped up a roll and began filling it with a thick slice of ham with two bites already missing when he made it to me. Walking into the hallway I heard a familiar voice and recognized it as the head chef. Turning around in a panicked whisper I said, hide the biscuit...  But, it was too late. Jason's stuffed cheek would've given him away anyway. The chef looked at us and said, hello, when Jason whipped the ham-filled biscuit from his back and smiled. He and Jason exchanged laughs while I booked it out of the awkwardness.

After finishing the last of his snack, we slipped in the back row. By the first song's end Jason was already deciding the music of the evening wasn't much to his liking but agreed to stay through two more songs with me. The good news is that his stomach was satisfied which meant no need to go buy food :)