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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Early Monday morning Jessie and I drove to our sister's house in Fishers to stay and watch our niece for two days. She is a super cute baby and I love her mucho, but.. she spits up all the time. Like.. all the time. Jessie started to notice that she spits up the most for me, so after I fed her, Jessie would burp her.. and she would spit less. It's really gross, but I let it slide usually because she is super cute, and I love holding her, and she is just a baby. As Jessie and I were leaving last night, Leah was kissing my face and she spit up. Orange. Smelly. On my face. It's a little funnier today, but won't ever be as funny for me as it was for Jessie and Joni. She is a funny baby... and I love her mucho.
Here is a video of Leah in her jumperoo. She loves this thing! She is getting so big, and can finally reach the floor on her own!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


These are the Richardsons; they live caddy-corner to my house.  They have had A LOT of lots every Christmas, as long as I can remember; but every year they add more.  This year, the only thing that I think is new is the snowman in the outhouse next to the garage.  Do you see him.. on the far left?  Their son and daughter-in-law recently moved next door, and they are in co-hoots for Christmas lights.  It's quite ridiculous actually!  This year my family only had an outdoor lit nativity displayed, and the traditional garland, ribbon, and outdoor porch lights remained in the closet.  This Christmas, 2 Colony Way lived vicariously through the Richardsons! 

This is a similar picture, edited some to emphasize the intense glow...

Christmas Around the World

This is the first year that I truly pondered Christmas across the world.  Within a twenty-four hour period, Christians all over the world celebrated the birth of Christ in a variety of ways.  I am again humbled to remember that I am the daughter of a God who has 6 1/2 billion children, yet He intimately cares for me.  I also have begun to wonder what Christmas and other traditions will be like when I too am a missionary on foreign soil.

This is a picture of a white Christmas in Aruba 
- where two friends from highschool, Derek and Kim, spent their holiday

This is a picture of Christmas in Sudan, where my friend Jennifer is a missionary under Iris Ministries.  Their main ministry is similar to an orphanage, but is more like a village of small homes filled with family units of 10-15 children and a mama.

This is a picture on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem

Finally, this is a picture of my friend Nun in Honduras, celebrating with a very large extended family of aunts, uncles, and many cousins.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WOWIE! Christmas break feels so good!

WOWIE. Christmas break feels so good. Mmm. Love it!  I have alot to write about, but I'll start with this: Christmas cookies!!  I've actually done this twice, I passed 6 hours in my kitchen on Christmas Eve baking my Dulce de Tres Leches cake, Reesie's Piecies cookies, and baking and icing sugar cookies.  But on Monday, I had Ashton and Elli over to help!  Elli wasn't as interested, but did join us for icing the first batch of sugar cookies.  Ashton was hilarious.. and I couldn't keep his hands out of the dough (oh well!).  Ashton's birthday is 12.21 and Elli's is 12.29, so they had a birthday party at the church on Friday.  I cannot believe Ashton is 7 now.. then there are days when I'm like.. "Little dude, when did you grow up??"

Here they are with sprinkles on a plate.. I mean the cookies they beautifully decorated!!
These kids are so cute.. I love them!

Also, here is the dulce de tres leches cake.  It's a Spanish cake that I learned how to make this summer while traveling with Geovanni & Christine, and George & Sheree.  I have made it for two family gatherings, and Spanish class, and it's been very popular!  So.. I guess it's "what I do now" and I may consider making another for a New Years Eve party. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Christmas Home Tour

Just a couple Christmas decorations around our house...

Tree in the family room - filled with red, white, and blue stars and antique ornaments

Traditional fireplace mantle with stockings for Jeff, Joni, Leah, Jessie, Jewel, Mom, and Dad.

Navity on the curio cabinet in the kitchen

A hand-crafted tree made by Jessie for 4H

I love this cute little bell tree!

Traditional Christmas wreath on the front door

Navity scene on the record player in the living room

Our childhood tree in the dining room

A red Martha Stewart wreath in the dining room

Two Joy towels in the kitchen 
(my mom is Joy, so we have alot of 'Joy' Christmas decorations)

Rotating Christmas tree in the living room

A small portion of the snowmen collection

No Scrooge's here!

For more click here

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Very Brady Christmas

hmmm... I've never seen this movie.

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.

Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vacation! Vacation!

WOWIE. Christmas break feels so good. Mmm. Love it! There is just something about being home... and not in class! One night, I slept 14 hours! My family's reaction: Don't you have a headache?!? I felt like a million bucks! Friday evening Jessie and I went to FIshers to babysit my niece Leah while Jeff & Joni were at her law firm's Christmas party, then Saturday night they brought her to our house, while they went to a banquet. So I had quality Leah time all weekend!

I have already worked 3 full days in the office. There has been alot to do, but it is so much more relaxed (than when the students are around.) I took today off so that I could start my Christmas shopping. I had plans to go to Ft. Wayne with Jessie, and my friends Andrea and Krista, but Mother Nature had other plans, and the roads are pretty slick - so we will try again tomorrow. Today.. my intentions are to read a book, finish my Christmas list, clean my room, do some laundry... and maybe go to the gym after lunch.

Did you see the finale of The Biggest Loser last night? It was incredible. The 16 contestants lost between 20% and 45% of their body weight! Everyone looked so good. I can't wait until season 7 premiers on January 6th. The preview looked really good - it's going to be an interesting season! Also, LOST premieres on January 21st. Wowie.. I've been waiting for Lost to return since May! Unfortunately season 5 returns without my favorite character.. Jin Soo Kwon. How terrible. However, in a flashforward at the conclusion of season 4, Sun Kwon is seen with a baby.. so I am excited about that.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Forget those other babies!!!

My niece should be on a Hallmark Christmas card!!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I have the MGH nursery bookmarked on my computer.  I love looking at the precious new babies being born in Marion.  Here are 3 cute kiddos and the link.  Also as we approach Christmas, and I think about my niece that will be almost six-months-old on Christmas, I've been thinking a lot about Jesus as a baby... wowee!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cansada del camino

Next week is finals week. Typically the week before finals is known as "dead week" because homework is limited, and the majority of class time is a review of the semester's materials. That hasn't been the case for me. My first class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was canceled all week because we are to instead, meet with the professor individual for oral tests. So that was blessing. I had a test on Tuesday, a group paper due Thursday, and a portfolio due today for Dr. Jolly (which he decided TODAY to allow us to keep for finals-review). Finally, here I sit in the foreign language lab, waiting to take a Spanish oral exam. Then I'm done for the day! Of course that only means that I will likely be in my room at my desk the entirety of the night. My hardest day of finals is conveniently Monday. I also have a paper due Tuesday that I haven’t started (for obvious reasons.)
I’m tired. I’m anxiously awaiting the rest that Christmas break will bountifully provide. Whew.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Blue Pumpkin

I was surprised to find a link to The Blue Restaurant, a small interesting restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I say interesting, because I'm not sure how else to describe it. Finally, there are pictures! We went one evening and I felt like I was in another world.. definitely not Cambodia. I remember feeling very cool (but not cold). Everything was sterile white, almost like a dream. They had a small selection of American food. I tried the spaghetti.. and didn't like it. Along the wall, on the large overstuffed "couches" was a gang of fashionable Korean women on Macbooks, browsing facebook. It was like a weird dream...

PS: The blue pumpkin? What does that even mean?

Cambodia 2009!!

Next May I am leading a team of 7 girls to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for 3.5 weeks.  I have had difficulty communicating with the missionaries, so no details are confirmed, but I can assume this trip will be much like my trip to Cambodia last year.  We will be teaching English in various schools, working with the 7 students at the Bible College, and visiting small churches in the villages where the Bible College alumni are now pastors.  I have never had the opportunity to return to the same location on a missions trip, so I am really looking forward to returning and seeing familiar faces, and worshipping again in the same churches.
I am still very nervous about all the responsibility of being the team leader, but I feel like I have a really good group of girls... and we're going to use our strengths to cover each other's weaknesses.  I am really anxious to begin weekly meetings as a team, and getting to know the girls.  I believe there are 3 freshman, 3 sophomores, and 1 senior, and no one knows each other!
I just got an email this afternoon from Julia in the World Impact office (the missions organization at IWU) and she that an IWU film crew is requesting to follow our team through Cambodia, and create a movie.  I think their main purpose is to raise the awareness of missions, and Cambodia was likely chosen for it's unique culture, Buddhist traditions, and possibly for sex trafficking being a huge issue, yet so overlooked.  That will definitely add an interesting... something interesting to our trip!

This was one of our last nights in Cambodia.  We treated our new Khmer friends to s'mores, and they treated us to baluts (fertilized duck egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell.)  Notice we are using forks to hold our marshmallows over the fire HAHA.

This is a good group of guys at The Blue Pumpkin, a restaurant in Siem Reap.  From L to R: Missionary Tim Gallant, Pastor Vandy, Cheret our van driver, and Pastor Chamnol. 

This is the wedding party at Pastor Mandyt's wedding.  I can tell you that Pastor Mandyt (the groom) is in the suit in the middle, and his parents are on either side of him.  Khmer weddings are very different.. very strange.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm thankful.

Thanksgiving was good!  I woke up feeling a little funny, and had stomach cramps most of the afternoon, but that didn't keep me from eating everything I wanted!  (The sweet potatoes were the best.)  Wednesday afternoon Jessie, my parents, Grandmom, and I drove 4 hours to my uncle Andy's house in Ohio.   My aunt Nancy's father's health has been decaying, so her brother and sister, and their spouses traveled from DC, to join their parents.  So altogether, there were fifteen gathered around two tables on Thursday.  Because I wasn't feeling well, I missed the Macy's parade (which is my favorite Thanksgiving tradition), and because of homework, I missed three good football games.  I wasn't surprised to see Tennessee beat the Lions 47-10, and I was glad to see the Eagles beat the Cardinals!!  I'm definitely a Colts fan, but Eagles are choice #2 (living out Granddad's legacy.)  Friday I DID go to Wal-Mart around 4:30 and the crowds were so dead, I didn't even have to wait in line to checkout!  Last night I put in a new Christmas cd, then Jessie, Mom, and I put up one Christmas tree!  Hopefully soon Dad will fix the lights on the tower so we can display our star at 30' high.  I would like to see more decorated before I return to school Sunday night, but I do have five essays to revise and print for my Advanced Writing portfolio.  I only have one week of classes before finals.  Yikes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Living Open Handedly

Last week in Thursday evening chapel, a student shared about a tradition called "the saddest Christmas party ever" at a small Christian college in Atlanta where a friend of hers attends.  The idea is that you find what means the most to you, and you give it away.  She shared the testimony of a guy who has never known his real father, and felt compelled to give away the only "piece of his father" he had ever received - a letter.  We also watched a video testimony of three more students, a girl who was struggling to realize her true beauty in Christ gave away all her make-up and cut her hair very short.  Another girl gave away a significant portion of her clothes.  The third student, a guy, gave away every picture, letter, and gift that reminded him of his fiance.  They were compelling stories.  Though I'm still waiting on God to help me realize what it is that I'm holding in clenched fists, I committed myself to surrendering it.  Just something to think about...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ten Honest Things

"If you choose to accept this mission, you will tell ten honest things about yourself and than tag seven others.  This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."


1) I am terrified of spiders, almost irrationally.  It's ridiculous.  Almost 3 years ago, I had a top 5 life experience in the Dominican Republic, and I have on multiple occasions considered returning, but immediately begin to reconsider because of all the tarantulas there.

2) I LOVE House -the medical drama.  Yesterday, I admit, I watched 6 episodes.  That is NOT normal.. but when I find 45 minutes, I watch House.

3) I don't enjoy driving with others in the car.  It's too much pressure to be behind the wheel and be responsible for safely transporting others.

4) I babysit a lot, and I do have favorites, but I do try to not make it obvious.

I know... my sister's car is cooler than mine, but my little black Cobalt is perfect for ME.  Yes, of course I wish it had automatic windows and locks.. but I manage without.

6) In May I am leading an IWU World Impact missions team to Cambodia, then I'm staying for two extra weeks (51/2 weeks) to continue teaching English and I'm really nervous.

7) Yes, of course there have been other guys, but I have had a crush on the same guy for maaaybe.. almost 8 years.

8) I'm lame.  It's ok.  I like to get to bed before 11:30 at night and if it's after 12:30, I'm really upset with myself.

9) I used to never ever ever want to go to Asia... what was I thinking??

10) When I tell you I'm praying for you... I really am.

TO WHOM I AM PASSING THIS AWARD: I don't know which of my blog fans is "up" for doing one of these just now. So - - - - if you're a blogger, and you're reading this, and it strikes your fancy, consider yourself tagged, copy the award to your blog, link back to me, and post ten honest things about yourself.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jayden Adriel Tejeda

Pray for Jayden, born very premature to my friends Gerson and Betsy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good weekend!

Friday night I went out with friends and had so much fun! I feel like it was a really great weekend. Most of us have been attending the same Bible study last year and this year, but Phil, Jay, and Gabby just came last week. We met at 7:00 and went bowling. We played two games for $3 which was awesome. I think only Dan broke 100, but we had alot of fun. Then we went to Steak & Shake, where Phil & Stephanie joined us. Then we played Spoons in the student center until almost 1:00AM. I love these guys and I always have so much fun when I am with them! It's a good group of friends. Pastor Phil & Stephanie are moving to Illinois sometime between April and July, and we will miss them very much, but I know that our group will remain close. Enough of that! Here are some pictures of the night!!

Pastor Phil & Stephanie Stuller (or PP & SS) 

Mitch & Casey - We just realized on Friday that Mitch & I were on the same indoor soccer team last semester. I was trying to think of another Mitch I knew.. and I realized it is THIS MITCH!  Of course I only played two games.. but we knew each other before September 09!



All of us! (minus Jessie who took the picture =[ ) I wish we could have figured out an effective way to get a good photo of all of us. =/

Paul W & Gabby

Paul G. & Jessie - Supposedly the two smartest people in our group, aside from Phil S.

Phil & Jay

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Elephant & Pumpkin

Here I pictures I recently received from George & Sheree Wuertz, the missionaries to Ecuador that I nannied for this summer.  Daniel the elephant turned 2 while I was with them in July, and Nathan is almost 7 months old now!  They are cute little boys!  I hoped I would see them again before they return next Spring, but a trip to Indiana is no longer in the schedule.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Burglar asleep

I just received this update from a Rolitess, a Filipino missionary I met in Kratie, Cambodia. She is an English teacher under World Hope International, and partners with Pastors Vandy and Chamnol. Kratie was my favorite province in Cambodia. Anyways.. its a pretty interesting story, and you should read!

Pastor Chamnol (Tito) & I at Freedom Hotel in Seam Reap, CAM - May 2008

Rolitess Galam

(as written by Tess::)
There’s a burglary incident in the Church and in the School weeks ago.

It happened on Saturday night while the Pastors were having dinner in my house. At that time, our dog (shrek) stayed in my house too. Lukru Titus noticed that his camera and CD player were missing. They searched more if there’s any other thing. The funny thing was, they found the burglar sleeping inside the Parsonage new bathroom! They found out that he was also drunk so they just let him sleep until the police came and arrested him. They brought him in the police station. He confessed that he didn’t find any money inside that’s why he just got the valuable things. The Pastors wanted to know if he’s also responsible on the previous case – (the church lost the offering money last time) but he honestly said this was his first time to steal. The next morning, the parents came to talk with the Pastors and asking to release their son and guaranteeing that it will never happen again. We gave the pardon and gave the burglar a second chance, he was really so ashamed and promised to change. I hope we could do a follow up on him.

This event proves that God has really an eye for the anointed ones including security on their possessions and resting place. This is my first time to witness a burglar asleep while stealing.. It was a wonderful testimony the next day as we had our worship! Amazing God! I think the angels were really at work at that time. Good work!