Please click the pictures to visit my other blogs:
Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Thursday, December 14, 2006


So I was thinking, and here are my thoughts. I tend to ramble, but stick with me.
Through our lives people learn the message of the Gospel. If what we say and what we do don't match up, we create confusion and cause people to reject the message.
Could a Christ who impatiently snapped at a waiter- someone who is likely tired from working for hours on her feet- then turn around and say to her, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."? Could a Christ who made a sarcastic remark about someone's taste in clothes be credible when he said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."?
Our lives are the message. The Gospel message is about transformation- the transformation of our lives by the life of Christ within us. Do our lives reflect the grace, truth, and love we have received through Christ? Or do they reveal that we haven't allowed the Spirit of Christ to transform us into His image so that only He shines through?
Jesus is the light of the world, but as His followers we are also described in the same way saying "You are the light of the world". Christ says, "Let your light shine". We to enable the light to shine. Once we lose connection with the source of Light (Christ), our light grows increasingly weak. To shine, we need to let Christ lift us out of the valley of ourselves and our own efforts and set us back on the Rock.
Christ is saying, "Remember who the Light is. Let me shine through you." A city on a hill cannot be hidden. The hill is Jesus, we are just the city. There is nothing about us that raises us higher than other people. Everything we are as the light of the world comes from our being set on the hill.
We are to be a holy nation, a people belonging to God, who declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. Is our desire for proclaiming our faith motivated by a desire to be the light of the world? Or has it been the result of fear?
There has also developed a "macho Christian" attitude in our world. What started out as a desire to be bold for Christ is now promoting an arrogant attitude. It is like the parable Jesus told of the man who was forgiven a huge debt he could never repay, but then he went out and beat up another man who owed him practically nothing. Once we've been forgiven, we forget that the only difference between "us" and "them" is grace.
Sometimes we have the idea that wearing and displaying these messages of our faith is the sum total of what it means to be a witness, instead of recognizing that we ourselves are that witness.
I think we have also shifted our focus to what we are against rather than what we are for. If my focus is solely on not sinning, then I am also not going to accomplish anything for Christ's kingdom, and I may keep on sinning anyways. Jesus went from the glory of Heaven to a sinful world. His love for us caused Him to take extreme measures. We must do the same thing, motivated by the same love.
And another thing... today, many of us are tempted to make teh Christian faith into something that sounds appealing to people's self-interests, as if it's merely a self-help method. Yet this approach ignores the reality of our need to die to ourselves and take up our cross daily in order to follow Christ. If following Christ wasn't satisfying, would you still do it anyways?
In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. None of us has life in ourselves. All of us- the saved and the sinners- are equal in our need for God. There is no one righteous, not even one.
We will start being effective when we stop trying to change other people and instead change ourselves. To shine, you have to fill yourself with Christ, first by emptying yourself.
Remember-- your life is the message.

I think that is enough for today.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

mommy post

Here are 2 of the 7:

Kadie bug has finally finished her pizza

Connor: "Uh huh! Uh huh!!"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

100 things I'm thankful for

100 things I am thankful for:
the upcoming opportunity to go to Ecuador
the friendly strangers that make a bad day just a little better
how great my brother-in-law is
my beautiful car
God's timing
my memories with and of Ryan
the warm and sunny days
getting to know Evan
my mom's support in my call to missions
a Christian education
David and Michele and all they have done over the years
becoming such good friends with Haley and Jamaica
my friendship with Anna
the joys of Christmas
Phil and Stephanie

jokes that are not even funny, but make you laugh
free tuition at IWU

my previous expierences in Atlanta, Mexico, Honduras, and the DR
a coat

expression in art
the seventh day of creation
papu's smile

a mom and dad that love me

airplanes that go soo fast
my friends that are always there for me
a queen sized bed

family traditions
fun on the weekends
the songs that make me happy
shows like oprah that inspire me
my health
the little blessings
God's Word
shoes (and multiple pairs at that)

the feeling of unity on an athletic team
my little sister
and my big sister

a good sense of accomplishment after writing a big paper, or finishing a long test
the morning news
my Grandma's long life and every moment I get to spend with her
a washer and dryer
the good people that do good things
the medicine that is healing my father
God's calling on my life
Reed family reunions on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve
God's abounding love
God's forgiveness

email that allows me to keep in touch with those i wouldnt be able to otherwise
my friendship with Jordan, Jessica, and Angel
missionaries like Tim and Tiffany who surrender their lives to serve God
God's providence in opening the door to Honduras
being healed of acute cerebelym ataxia
church softball in the summertime
blue skies

waking up and realizing you still have an abundance of time to sleep
the cross
and the empty tomb
the soldiers serving our country on foreign land and at home
good movies
the teacher who taught me how to read
kids like Ashton
kids that know the Pledge of Allegiance
hooded sweatshirts

a lack of spiders in my surrounding environment

childhood memories, especially ones that stick in your mind for no apparent reason
disposable diapers
people who ask to just go out for coffee
Jack Johnson and Stephen Speaks
time to just sit around
old friends I never talk to anymore, but I know they still remember me
answered prayers
eternity in Heaven
shade trees in the summer
the Pacific Ocean
and the Atlantic Ocean
beautiful voices like Lycia and Dr. Paul
meeting someone new for the first time that you know you will like
having all the five senses
the sun when it comes out
a toilet that allows me to flush the paper
how funerals and weddings can bring a family together like nothing else
Spring Break
guessing games
free samples
the arrows that show you which way to insert the batteries
people who use their turn signals
those little plastic things on the ends of your shoelaces
the vertical scroll bar
roadside rest areas
yellow and white road line dividers

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DR memories

Remember when Nichole lost her passport in Miami?
Remember when the flight attendant spilled my water and I changed out of my jeans still in my seat and still on the plane
Remember how many Cambodian feather games went over the roof at the White's house?
Remember on the way to Puerto Plato when we found a large spider in the van, and Jamaica jumped on Josh's lap? Also remember Wilton taking those pictures of me with his phone?
Remember when the dog in Pancho Mateo "attacked" that guy?
Remember watching in astonishment the water truck come to Chi Chi Gua?
Remember giving away the clothes and helping dress the naked kids?
Remember when 2 men fought over a pair of pants?
Remember when Jessie blew a kiss at Jamaica and some hombre in a truck thought it was for him?
Remember how long highs and lows took?
Remember the 1st night when Ty was afraid to sleep on the roof?
Remember when I chased a cow down the road?
Remember asking Rafael 120 questions about nothing?
Remember when I thought I could kill the spider..........?
Remember sitting in the dirt to make bracelets?
Remember the parachute game?
Remember when Jessie, Megan, Nichole, and Emily got lost?
Remember the chubby kid at the metal crafter's house?
Remember when Andres climbed the coco tree?
Remember teaching Rafael how to count to 10 in english?
Remember when I cried in the shower?
Remember fighting over the backwards window seats?
Jamaica, remember when we jumped on the tires with Andres?
Remember when Ty broke one of the chairs at breakfast?
Remember running and jumping onto our mattresses before bed?
Remember playing eye spy but all we ever saw was sugar cane?
Remember Brian's yellow hat?
Remember when I was the only one that cried when we left Pancho Mateo the 1st time? AND NO ONE CARED!!! =<
Remember the annoying goida instrument?
Remember how afraid Eduardo was of Jessie's puppet, Eduardo?
Remember Feodi's sweet song?
Remember how long Francis' tongue was?
Remember my Papu's fish face?
Remember when Frankie told everyone I would cry when I left?
Remember pouring water into the kids' mouths?
Remember little baby Riley?
Remember the kids climbing through the windows?
Remember our really long game of Phase 10 on the roof?
Remember when the chicos carried me across the court in Pancho Mateo?
Remember church in Chi Chi Gua? The amazing soloist? Communion? The foot washing?
Remember how LOUD IT WAS???
Remember when the beam fell down on Megan's head?
Remember passing Pancho Mateo on the loooong drive to take Isaac home? Remember our kids running out into the street with their arms open waiting for us to stop?
Remember the girl who took like 5 necklaces in Chi Chi Gua?
Remember how big Alfredo was?
Remember when that girl ate Jamaica's bubbles?
Remember the spear game?
Remember the well? And the rain? And the woman in the white dress?
Remember when I touched that donkey.. uck.
Remember the boy with the pony tail in Negro Melo?
Remember Elijah's curly hair?
Remember when Jessie threw water on that girl?
Remember when Megan was always right and knew everything?
Nichole, remember wherever we went I made you take a picture of me jumping in the air?
Remember Brian and Bethany's Canadian neighbor man?
Remember climbing the roof?
Remember when that hombre gave us records to fan ourselves?
Remember when the kids took off their shirts and fanned us?
Remember the green dress?
Remember Tiffany's multiple facial expressions?
Remember throwing the vall from down the street up onto the roof? Remember how horrible Rafael was, and how Andres laughed?
Remember when Steven cut his head?
Remember Mike's laugh and "stoked and a half"?
Remember the dancing lessons?
Remember the ice cream? And popping our collars?
Remember the horse hot dogs?
Remember the line at the bathroom at 3am that next morning?
Remember when Ruben fixed up Tiffany's foot at the beach?
Remember when there were ants in our sandwiches and we went to the pastery?
Remember when I bought 20 popsicles?
Remember Adam's gilligan hat?
Remember playing the Cambodian game with the shoe shiner kids? Remember when their boss came and they all ran away?
Remember all the sand dollars?
Remember writing our names in the sand?
Remember taking pictures of our mouths in the van?
Jamaica, remember walking barefoot in the street?
Tyrone, remember that talk??
Remember taking out everyones braids?
Remember when Mike killed that spider in the bathroom downstairs?
Remember how sick Jessie was on dia 9?
Remember when I scared Jamie into thinking we were going to crash?
Remember Luca and the star fruit?
Remember Jamie's pig?
Remember my most embarassing moment in Ruben's bedroom?
Remember the woman that looked like Nichole's grandma?
Remember singing Queremos Darte Gloria to Mercedes?
Remember Rafael had a dog named Jessie?
Remember caballitos?
Remember trying to teach Rafael kemps, but he just kept cheating?
Remember the games Rafael and Rafaelito?
Remember that God is in Africa?
Remember when I DIDN'T get to ride Rafael's motocicleta?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

the only thing that hurts worse than saying goodbye

The only thing that hurts worse than saying goodbye is not having the chance to say it. It’s been a pretty hard few days. I’m walking slower, I am unable to sleep, but God has given me strength. My help comes from the Lord. The Lord is carrying me through. God is good, and His love endures forever.
Ryan’s favorite color was green. Green is the color of life and growth. It doesn’t seem right to move on when Ryan is done with it all. No more birthdays, no more laughing, no more jokes, no more music, and no more McDonalds. It will get easier, but it will never be the same. Nothing loved is ever truly lost. His memories are all I have left, and I'm so thankful for every one. Ryan will continue to live on in my heart.
Grief is all to often accompanied by guilt. I’m feeling regret for all the things left unsaid. He always seemed the cheerful one, if only I heard his desperate cry. I never knew. Faces hide as much as they reveal, and things aren't always what they seem. I should have told him how much I cared.

I am so proud to have been Ryan’s friend. He sent this to me just days before his death:
We are Friends, I got your back, You got mine, I'll help you out anytime! To see you hurt, To see you cry, Makes me weep, And wanna die. And if you agree, To never fight, It wouldn't matter, Whos wrong or right. If a broken heart, Needs a mend, I'll be right there, Till the end. If your cheeks are wet, From drops of tears, Don't worry, Let go of your fears. Hand in hand, Love is sent, We'll be friends, Till the end!!!!
Ryan Nolan, ya goof, we will be friends, until the end.

I lift my eyes up
Unto the mountains
Where does my help come from??
My help comes from you
Maker of heaven
Creater of the earth

Oh how I need you Lord
You are my only hope
You are my only prayer
So i will wait for you
To come and rescue me
To come and give me life


Tell the ones you love just how much you care. Never hold a grudge and always forgive.

To Ryan:
Because by what you imparted
In our short time together
Will last in my heart
Forever and ever.
Feel peace that your love continues on
What was given and taught to me, will be given and taught to mine
Cause you live on in me even after you have gone.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

no one knows what to say

♥Ryan Nolan Dean♥
March 15, 1991 - October 31, 2006

We had just talked and everything seemed ok.
Death never gets any easier. Three months ago when Brice was killed I attempted grieving on my own, and it was very difficult. Now, even surrounded by a group that cares, I am overcome with so many emotions. It doesn't seem real that he is gone. Ryan is gone, he is really gone. I want to be happy, but I do not want to move on. Each new day is a blessing. Take nothing for granted and let those who mean the most to you know how you feel. Keep your friends close, and your memories even closer, because one day that may be all you have left. No one deserves this. Soon life will move on, and although that will be nice, it doesn't seem right.

No one knows what to say to help the healing process, so alot of people havn't said anything. It's just not my personality to say "No, I'm not ok." *A shoulder to cry on* was lame and cliche before yesterday. No one can say anything to make the hurt go away, but the embraces mean so much. My true friends are the ones with my tears on their shirts, and in their hair. Thank you for the calls, the prayers, the notes on my windshield, and the shoulders.

I remember one time we were having a bonfire at the Dean's and Ryan helped smear chocolate cupcakes all over my newly waxed and detailed car. I was so ticked off and war began. I went to his room in hopes of embarassing footage. I found a Michael Jackson cassette, a princess Jasmine bath towel, and a pink-haired troll doll. Another time a few of us were at Wal-Mart and he just didn't care at all about embarassing us. He was talking way loud, and started dancing in the aisles. Whether there was 1 or 2 or 3 people in my tiny backseat Ryan always made himself comfy, and we were way squished. Online he always started a conversation with lyrics from one of my favorite songs. *Cause [you're] all that I see and [you're] all that I need and I'm out of my league once again.* Ryan made me laugh so hard and so loud.

I always had a good time with Ryan and I trust that He is having a good time now. Our God is gracious, and merciful. His love is unending and his forgiveness is abounding.

Psalm 119:76 ~ May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
Psalm 121 ~ I lift my eyes up to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.

I love you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jewel explains it all

My apologies for the extreme length of the two previous entries, and for the length of time between these entries and now. As long as it takes you to read my entry, it takes me quite a bit longer to brain-up and write. I'm a busy girl. Deal.

I'm 18 now and it has been within just the past few years that I have really started to think for myself. My parents and friends have their own opinions, beliefs, and thoughts, and in growing up I have been forced to make my own. Some I have rationalized and kept for my own, others I have thrown out. There are a few people in my life that I can turn to for advice but ultimately it is up to my own judgment to make the best decisions.

I hate racism. Probably only my closest friends know how true this is. What makes anyone superior to anyone else? Pride leads to the downfall. I've seen racism and discrimination of other sorts ruin relationships. To discriminate socially is to make a distinction between people on the basis of class or category without a regard to individual merit. It is not solely an act of exclusion, it is a simple thought of distinction. Social equality should prevail, all of mankind deserve the same status of approval. Looking around me I see racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic and age-related discrimination. It's ugly. Stereotypes, ideas about members of particular groups, are such awful things. Many will fight to prove me wrong, but generalized behaviors and attributes have nothing to do with genetics, I'm sorry, it's culture and it's environment. What does that have to do with race? All tall people are not phenomenal basketball players, and all African Americans are not violent. I thrive on love and acceptance and in a few short years I will be the minority. I have felt a call to move away from my home, to a foreign land, and love the people.

On another note, I really have no interest at all in politics. I am registered to vote, but whether I will take advantage of this opportunity or not, I have yet to decide. I am quite aware that back in the day women fought for the right to vote. I just find it hard to believe that my 1 vote will make a difference. I do have a concerns with certain political issues like the US/Mexican border, but its not enough motivation to vote. I havn't done the research and without the appropriate facts and information I believe it's not right to take a stand and vote.

The last random subject in this random blog - twinship. I love my sister to death, but my individuality means alot to me as well. I put alot of value in my name because to some people, thats all they see different. If you can't get my name right, you don't know who I am, and that hurts, alot actually. The Reed twins are two different people. Please do not assume if Jessie is good at math, then I must be too; if I can sing well, then Jessie must too. I love being a twin, but it is not who I am, it is just what I am. Thank you :)

And to end this on a lighter note.. MMM BOP!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

poor and hungry, abandoned and neglected - sympathy, compassion, and humility

In most nations faced with war and AIDS, a significant number of the young population is orphaned, which is a major humanitarian crisis. "Orphan" is a word that usually evokes sympathy and compassion in our culture (the Western World) but is a dreaded label that means hardship, pain and shame in other countries.

Sympathy means 'sharing feelings'. Compassion means 'suffering with'. But can we really 'share feelings' or 'suffer with' someone whose grief or suffering we can observe from only a distance? In a film or in a picture? Can we actually feel sympathy or compassion for the children in Zambia who have been abandoned because their parents were taken by AIDS. What about the woman in Niger whose husband was tortured and slaughtered, whose sons have been burned alive, whose daughters have been raped and kidnapped as spoils of war, whose village and farms have been burned to the ground? Can we actually feel sympathy or compassion for the man in Russia or China or Saudi Arabia who, simply for his beliefs or ethnic extraction has been imprisoned, tortured and starved every day of his adult life with no end or hope in sight, and for no conceivable purpose?

Having seen first-hand experience of excruciating pain in various hurting villages around the world I cannot pretend that I 'share the feelings' or 'suffer with' others whom I have seen in obvious ache and discomfort, or those that face such anguish, physical or mental, every day of their lives. I give money to charities, but it is not out of guilt, nor is it out of sympathy or compassion, if I am honest with myself. What then do I feel for others in their varying times of misfortune?

Humility, the modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance. Humility is lowliness, meekness, submissiveness. Humility is a lack of pride that keeps one grounded, it keeps us connected to the rest of life on Earth. Our society has lost our groundedness, our love of all other life for its own sake. We have retreated into our disconnected worlds, hiding from the unimaginable terror of today. It is this disconnection, not lack of sympathy or compassion, that allows man to subject others to, and to ignore the plight of others who fall victim to, suffering.

Probably most if not all who read this blog are familiar with the song, "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Even a good number of people who weren't brought up in church know it. Perhaps you were brought up in a Christian home, as I was, and like myself, you sang that warm and assuring little chorus in Sunday School nearly every Sunday. ("Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.") It's cliche, but that word precious has gotten to me. Precious means- cherished, valuable, or cute.

I really couldn't put it into better words, so here you go:
Hear the Cries of the African Children (a poem by Richman Syabbamba)
Hear the cries of the African children
Poor and hungry, abandoned and neglected
Listen to the cries of the African continent
The earth quickly swallows mothers and fathers
Death rapidly claims parents and guardians
Hear the cries of the African children

Africa has become a troubled continent
HIV and AIDS is pulling many into the earth
Every single day crowds gather to mourn for their departed loved ones
I hear people wailing, I see them weeping
Mothers and fathers mourn the deaths of their sons and daughters
Young men and young women mourn the deaths of their parents
Widows and widowers are left miserable and destitute
Death orphans many day after day

Born fatherless in poverty and squalor
My early childhood was all about sickness, sadness and loneliness
Now I have to put up with hunger, starvation and hard labour,
My mother the only person I counted on passed on
The world may be against me but I will press on
Press on to ward off the cares of this life

Memories of my parents are all I was left with
They passed away before I could barely know them
I try to think, I try to recollect
But the memories are hazy and distorted
There is no trace, no photograph
And no estate to claim
Gone! It's gone! It's all gone!

I have no father, no mother, no brothers and no sisters
My future was dim if not bleak
The world seemed to be closing in on me
I roamed and wandered everywhere
Fear and hopelessness loomed everywhere
But thank God for World Hope International Zambia
It's true God is the Father of the Fatherless
He has become the Light of Hope for my life

and I Became the Object of His Love
(a song by Richman Syabbamba)

I came into this world one day
A helpless little child
I rested in my mother's arms
But only for a little while
I never saw my father
My mother went to be with God
And I became an orphan
Just at one

I became the object of His love
I found the favor of the King above
Made His face to shine on me
Gave me job within my heart
He gave me peace of mind
I became the object of His love
I found the favor of the King above
I became the object of His love
And that's the beauty, the wonder of it all

Wandering from home to home
Searching for a place called home
Looking for the looks of love
But I never could find love
The streets became my dwelling
Until I found the love of Christ
The passion fo God's people
For a young street child

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Inspired by: Jabulani Africa (Rejoice Africa), and Bayete Inkosi (King of Kings).

I sort of rambled this blog. Expect to read more on this topic.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

a racial barrier, a social barrier, and a gender barrier.

John 4:1-42(click to read passage)

Three things about this woman seem to put her at a disadvantage. First, she is a Samaritan. Second, she is guilty of sexual immorality, and third, she is a woman. She hides her shame by coming to the well during the hot part of the day when nobody else would be around. Jesus, however, is waiting for her. He meets her, and He calls out to her.

Samaritans are both a religious and an ethnic group. I am no scholar, I am no theologian, I am hardly knowledgeable in this area, but I do know the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans is a broken one. Long story short a large group of Jews were taken as captives by Assyria. Mixing ethnic populations of captured nations (the Jews) had been instituted by an earlier Assyrian king to diminish chances of rebellion among conquered people. This resulted in the formation of a hybrid race, who came to be known as the Samaritans. Thus the Jews not taken into captivity regarded this new race of Samaritans as mongrels or half-breeds and were not regarded as Jewish. I would compare this relationship to the feuding between street gangs in LA or New York. Jesus is a Jew, this woman is a Samaritan, and according to custom, they shall not associate.
The “woman at the well” is a woman whose sins are apparent. Mixed up with a wrong crowd, this poor woman from Samaria has quite a reputation. In Bible days, husbands divorced their wives, wives did not divorce their husbands. If this woman was married and divorced five times, then five men divorced her. How must she feel about herself?? And the man she is now living with is not her husband. She isn’t even married this time, but just living with (or sleeping with) a man, perhaps another woman’s husband. It appears as if the men of Sychar are quite corrupt in their own ways, but this woman is looked down upon in society due to her way of sinful living.
The third thing which puts the “woman at the well” at a disadvantage is the simple fact that she is a woman. According the John the disciples do not appear to be shocked because they find Jesus talking to this Samaritan woman because she is a Samaritan, or because she is sinful (which they probably are unaware of), but simply because she is a woman. The Jews were inclined to hold a very demeaning view of women, and it appears the disciples (THE DISCIPLES) seem to embrace this view as well. They cannot fathom why Jesus would be “wasting His time” talking to a woman.
Jesus broke the boundaries placed by society. Jesus came into the world (1 Tim. 1:15), He did not become of the world. He didn't/doesn't care who you are, He knows you need His love. Jesus didn't just tell us to "go into all the world and preach the gosple" (Matt 28:19), He did it too! Jesus, among many other titles, was a missionary. Thus this story is of interest to me. The love of Jesus is for people of every race, class, and gender.
And I continue on... John chapter 4 verse 4 says that "Now He [Jesus] had to go through Samaria." Jews often bypassed Samaria, the land of the Samaritans. Politically, Samaria was not a distinct region, but its culture and religion were definitely distinct from that of Israel. Jesus 'had to go through Samaria' because He knew there was a lost soul, a woman rejected by many, but cared for my God. He went into foreign land for 1 person, 1 person very unlike Himself. And continue reading to see that this woman returns to Sychar and says to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" )vs 28). And what happens?? Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony. The disciples (THE DISCIPLES) return from the very same town (Sychar) with no followers, zero. But wait, weren't the disciples the closest followers of Jesus? If the people of Sychar were ripe and ready to be sown, why didn't the disciples see that and bring them to Jesus?
Like I said, I am no scholar, I am no theologian, I am hardly knowledgeable. I've done a little research, listened in Bible class some, and thought alot. More to come on other topics.