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

Monday, August 25, 2008

"friendly company"

Last night, while innocently enjoying two friends' company and watching a good movie, THIS HAPPENED. As unappreciated as it was, it was quite weak in impressiveness. Revenge wouldn't even be worth our efforts...

Counting down the hours..

Today is Monday, which means I move to IWU tomorrow.  I've gotten alot of packing done this weekend, but I feel there are still many chores to be accomplished.  Yet the bigger chore will be the actual move-in-process and making my room truly feel like home - something I really really need to survive the first few weeks of the semester.  I'm rooming with Traci Morgan this year.  We have gone to camp together for years, but have only been acquaintances UNTIL NOW.. dun dun dun.  I went in potluck, which means you don't request a roommate you only fill out these personality-based surveys, and the housing people match two compatible roommates.  I think it's going to be really good, but I am still nervous.  I've done this before, but things are different this time.  Anyways, this is a picture of my roommate Traci with her TWIN Staci.  Crazy.. I know!  I'm feeling ok about my classes and I really like my schedule.  I am taking Spanish, New Testament, Advanced Writing, Essentials of Non-Profit Management, and Linguistics/Cross-Cultural Communication.  I start at 8:55 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and finish at 2:10.  On Tuesday and Thursday I have a 9:25 class, and New Testament on Tuesday nights with Charlie Alcock.  I haven't requested my work schedule yet, but I should have primary scheduling - which means, because I worked throughout the summer, I should get the hours I want.  I'm anxious to have my room set up.  I'm debating purchasing a futon, but the only color available in my price-range is BLACK and I'm more of an earth-tones girl.  Look forward to seeing pictures of my room next weekend. =) 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

cute Cute CUTE!

It's late and I'm tired, but I wanted to post quick.  This is my new favorite picture of my niece.  Aunt Jewel loves Leah Marie!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You who sit down in the High God's presence...

This Scripture has really touched my heart in this moment of my life and it is definitely worth your reading.  I am actually going to try to memorize it in this version.

(The Message)

You who sit down in the High God's presence,
spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothingnot wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Let me tell you why I haven't been blogging...

1)) On Monday morning I returned to work after having taken a full month off (between family camp & Kansas). While I was away our offices experienced a complete make-over. The space not only needed an update, but additional offices for additional faculty and staff. So (not without errors) it's done. After cleaning everything (you would think if it's new it should be clean.. not always the case,) we have begun moving boxes and boxes and boxes and piles into their proper places. Yesterday I opened the cabinets only to find they were empty -- no not the empty shelves you would expect, but there were no shelves. Dear maintenance, we are going to need those back like TODAY! I have also accomplished a great deal of spring cleaning -- and you would not imagine the boxes and boxes and piles of old junk that has accumulated in the supply closets in five years. We also discovered the silly men who built the new offices evidently forgot to install AIR CONDITIONING in one room. I mean.. that's a big deal!

2)) Our family is preparing for a rummage sale Friday and Saturday morning.  So many things.. so little desire to keep them.  We have clothes and furniture and books and movies and lamps and a computer and an electric piano and baskets and candles and gizmos and gadgets and oodles of things.  Jessie and Mom have put hours into cleaning and pricing and organizing and there is still great work to be done.  Jessie doesn't think it's fair that she has put so many hours into the rummage, and we are splitting a great portion of the profits.  I have an equally strong argument against taxes.  Nonetheless... it happens.  All the money from the rummage will be used to support our mission trips next summer.  Wish us luck at 7am on Friday and Saturday!

3)) I will be moving onto campus next Tuesday afternoon, the 26th and I actually have not yet unpacked from IWU since April 25th.  You might think it would make it easier -- just move it all back!  OOOOH if only it were that easy.  It needs to be gone through and sorted, because many things will be replaced or simply will not be returning.  I need to make a list.  Wow.

4)) My cousin got married last Saturday evening in Ohio.  We left Friday morning for some extra family time, in addition to the rehearsal dinner and helping to prepare food for a family brunch Saturday morning/afternoon.  It really is deserving of a full blog, but I simply don't have the time.  Quick summary: Grandmom spent many hours sewing her dress from scratch and finished it only hours before the wedding.  David and Amber's cake-topper was a pair of Link and Zelda action figures.

5)) After returning home at 12:30AM on Sunday, my mother and I had to prepare for a 12:30PM Reed-family reunion at our house Sunday afternoon.  After making two cakes, and preparing a multitude of other things.. it was a good time.  Everyone took turns holding my niece - but she loved me the most. =)  I love that little girl!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Two of My Favorite People!

I have a couple favorites but these two are in my top 5...


& Leah Marie

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Zero for Two

(Names changed for the protection of the innocent.. or to avoid mere embarrassment)

We will call this family the R4 family.  The R4 family is a mom, a dad, and 1 set of twin girls, in addition to a grandma.  The R4 family traveled out of town one weekend, and spent Friday night in a hotel.  The father, J1, was laying on the bed watching television while the girls were preparing to go out for the evening.  J1 often complains of indescribable (& occasionally unreasonable) pain in his back and legs.  In his master bed at home, J1 situates himself with 3 pillows and is able to sleep somewhat comfortably.  The R4 family also brought a grandma (we will call her JA1), who was staying in a second hotel room with one of the twins, J4.  There were 2 beds, each with 2 pillows, in 2 rooms, equalling  8 pillows.  JA1, who brought her own therapeutic pillow, willing donated her 2 pillows to the efforts to keep J1 happy and comfortable.  The following conversation took place between J1, J2 (the mother), and J3, after J2 returned to their hotel room with JA1's 2 pillow.

J2: J1 here are two more pillows.
J1: I only need three pillows.
J3: Yes and one plus two equals three.
J1: Well there are two in my bed.
J2 (the wife): You don't want to sleep with your wife?  She needs a pillow.
J1: Oh, I thought she would sleep with J4.
J3: Hello? ...I'm J3.
J1: Darn.. you two look so much alike!

Ouch J1, you're zero for two!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Photo Journey..

Here are just a few more pictures from my trip through Kansas.... or "the Wesleyan missionary adventure" as George referred to it.

This is the house where George grew up with 9 other siblings. George's brother described his family as: "Farmers that have never farmed." His father said "I'm kind of hillbilly." This house has alot of character.

Geovanni & Christine's 3.5-yr-old daughter, Jael - what a cutie. She has her moments, as do most 3-yr-olds, but she really is a sweetheart!

This is Grandpa Dale (Sheree's grandfather) whom we lived with 3 nights in Table Rock, Missouri.  I remind you of the conversation with Abuela about baby Nathan.

This is just a monkey we found on the dock at the lake. He looks alot like George Wuertz, the missionary to Racar, Ecuador.  Thank you George and Sheree for everything you did to make my trip so good.  You're the model family of what I hope to do and be.

This is Kiara Sofia Saltos-Lehrian, my goddaughter, and I on August 11 - the day we flew to Kansas City. Only Kiara and her sister, Jael, slept on the plane, so we hung out while their parents napped the whole afternoon. She is a beautiful little girl, and I look forward to watching her grow and sending her gifts!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The wellspring

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

1 month pictures

My niece, Leah, had her one-month pictures taken and I couldn't help but post 3 of my favorites.  Click HERE for more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Does this mean you?

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care - then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirit friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage, forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2:1-4

“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service; not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’”
Romans 15:1,2

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No matter how it is said.. this is it - the end of the road.

Another aeroplane
Another sunny place
I’m lucky, I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I’ve got to go home
"Home" by Michael Buble

I've seen enough to say that I know
that this old world is not my home...
I am ready to go home
I'm packing my bags and I'm hitting the road
I'm packing my bags and I'm hitting the road
Yes, I'm gonna run, I'm gonna run for my home
To stand in the sight of the Living God
That's where I'm longing to be
"Home" by Shawn McDonald

Well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
"Home" by Chris Daughtry

No matter how it is said.. this is it - the end of the road.  It's been a good trip, a great experience.  I have met so many wonderful people (Mark & Marcelle, the Rothfusses, Frank & Marvia, Jerry & Michelle, Dr. Arlo, Wayne & Juanita, Ron & Bev, Pastor Dave, Sheralyn, Aunt Sherry, Melanie, Dale & Norma, Terry & his wife, Nick & Stephanie, George's parents, Pastor Bob, Rick Hawthorne, the Conley's...)  I have been challenged, and stretched out of my comfort zone.  I have traveled.  I have been exhausted.  I have learned alot about myself.  I have entered many new sanctuaries of worship.  I have served.  I have seen a new side of missions - the home side, the support side, the life of furlough.  I have loved aspects, and not enjoyed others.  I have ridden in more mini-vans than I could count.  Though I am sad to leave, I am ready to be home, in my bed, my bathroom, my kitchen, my closet, my family.

To sum up the last few days..
After leaving Lakin (muy flat!) we traveled almost 4 hours to Philipsburg.  Angela (Dr. Arlo's wife) drove us halfway, and Geovanni really loves hospitable people and he took advantage of her generosity in the van and kept 3 spanish worship cds, and every piece of food he could find.  Pastor Rick then met us, and took us to his home.  Rick and Sheralyn have 4 children - Rachel (16), Abbey (14), Ben (13) and John (10).  The kids kept us very well entertained, and one afternoon I woke up from a short nap on the couch in a pile of barbies and barbie horses.  Rick pastors a very very small church, but the people I met were some of my favorites.  Friday was Geovanni's birthday, and we had an amazing meal at Ron and Bev's, then spent the evening on their 4-wheelers.  I hadn't been on a 4-wheeler since probably 4th or 5th grade, so it was alot of fun.  I honestly was worried for my life when I was riding with Abby, and strangely calm riding with John, who kept it below 16mph.  Yesterday afternoon after going to Pizza Hut and touring their local "Wal-Mart" (more like little Big Lots), Wayne & Juanita, and Ron & Bev drove us to Concordia, where we met Dwane & Rita and 2 others at Trappers restaurant.  When we walked in I thought the only options on the menu would be deer, duck, raccoon, varmin.. but it was very nice!  We stayed the night in a hotel so we could be close to the church, and arrive for the 8am service.  Tonight we are staying in another basement.. and the Ecuador-travelers of the Concordia area are coming for a cook-out at 6. 

PS: I have never seen a sunflower field before.. until I came to Kansas.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Your love is extravagant; Your friendship, it is intimate.

Your Love is Extravagant by Casting Crowns
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel I'm moving to the rhythm of Your grace
Your fragrance is
intoxicating in the secret place
Cause Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ there's a love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel I'm moving to the rhythm of Your grace
Your fragrance is
intoxicating in the secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ there's a love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend
Spread wide in the arms of Christ there's a love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate

HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE the Father has lavished on us, 
that we should be called CHILDREN OF GOD! 
1 John 3:1 Y

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thanks Dr. Arlo

Well it appears as if I have allergies. I have had allergic reactions t unknown things, but never seasonal allergies. Yesterday we toured Jerry and Melissa’s farm, and I probably encountered some nasty weed or environmental curse there, because yesterday evening I was miserable. My eye(s) are cherry red, swollen, gooey, watering, and painful. I really had a hard time sleeping last night, but made it up this afternoon with an 8-hour nap. We left this morning for Lakin, KS and are now in the home of Mark and Marcelle Hammel. Upon seeing me, Marcelle called their family doctor immediately, and I had an appointment 10 minutes later. Their daughter, Maloree, and I are ironically friends! She was a counselor at Fairmount camp last summer, then we worked security together at Orlando ’07. I saw her at the convention and I was like.. crazy! So anyways, she took me to see Dr. Arlo (who I also met at the conference 2 weeks ago) so I felt very blessed. He prescribed Xyzal allergy pills, $80 eye drops, Benadryl, and Ibuprofen. After sleeping the day away, and applying cold washcloths, the pain has decreased some. Everyone went to church, so I’m resting on the couch. I've slept 9 hours this afternoon. AMAZING! It’s not fun to be this miserable in someone else’s house, states away from my own home, but I am very comfortable here.

Mark and Marcelle Hamel

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

THIS is Kansas.

Nothing more...

...nothing less.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In the middle of the middle of nowhere..

...and I need a pharmacy.

update (as of 9:00AM, Wednesday):: I'm miserable and ready to come home.



After having taken a shower, and given no other options, what do you do when you realize someone else has used your towel?  Do you use your own towel, still damp from someone else, or do you use their towel, still hanging dry?


Monday, August 04, 2008

On the road again!

baby Nathan

We celebrated Daniel’s birthday on Saturday, unfortunately the hottest day of the year in Kansas City. I played one game of volleyball with Geovanni and George, and mostly George’s siblings, and it was very warm. Geo and Christine went out on the town with George and Sheree, so I watched Kiara and Jael for the evening. Kiara went to bed early, but I was Jael’s boss for quite a few hours. Nick and Stephanie were watching Stephanie’s 3-year-old niece and five-year-old nephew, and Jael wanted ALL the toys, but luckily Kyle and Kali’s personalities aren’t as strong as Jael’s, so it went surprisingly well. I fell asleep in bed with Jael when I put her down, then colored until Kiara woke up hungry around 11:30. Geovanni said I am the first person to put Jael to bed (besides mami and papi.)
Yesterday was our first Sunday service in a church (due to the conference last Sunday.) Geovanni and Christine did a 5-minute dealio in 2 services at Heartland Christian Fellowship. I sat through the same service twice, but enjoyed it both times. Four of five songs were new. The pastor was away, but recorded a 8-10 minute introduction video for their new series on LOVE. Then a missionary couple (raising support) shared about their heart’s desire to go to Mongolia. For Daniel and Nathan’s convenience, Sheree did not attend the first service and it was widely assumed that I was George’s spouse (even by those who know Sheree - but have not seen her recently.) When Sheree did come, it was widely thought that I was Sheree's sister. At least 12 people have told me we look ‘so very much alike.’
Yesterday afternoon we traveled 3.5 hours to Manhattan, Kansas to the Wuertz’s home church - Westview Community Church. Jael did not like that her parents were on stage and she was not allowed, so we spent the service in the nursery. We stayed 1.5 hours after service for desserts and socializing. Everyone gathered around Geo, Chrisitne, George and Sheree to pray, and it really was a touching moment for everyone - especially the four. Then we stayed the evening with Jeremiah, D.C. and baby Uriah. We have become quite accustomed to an irregular eating schedule, for example: breakfast at 8, lunch at 3, and dinner at 10; or breakfast at 10, lunch at 12, and dinner at 4:30. It was another late night, and we started Transformers around 10:45, and only Geo stayed awake. The Saltos do not have an alarm clock, so routine goes that I wake them every morning, and often return to bed, then Geo wakes me up later.
This morning we returned to Westview to have breakfast with Pastor Bob and his wife. They then counseled Geovanni and Christine in regards to an issue in Nueva Vida Iglesia Wesleyana in Racar. I decided that Pastor Bob is amazing, and his church is very well discipled. After about 1.5 hours the church staff came to pray over the Wuertzs and the Saltos, and when I said I was from “IWU”, Indiana, one of the pastors (Rick Hawthone) got very excited because we realized that he and my father were very good friends growing up. I called my father to tell him, but he wasn’t as enthused as Rick or myself. Whatever… party pooper! We talked less than 2.5 minutes and he was bored and ready to hang up. Thanks Dad, miss you too!
We said sad goodbyes to George, Sheree and Nathan, then a nice, deep-voiced man drove us halfway (2.5 hours) to Colby, where we met Pastor Gene, who then drove us another 2.5 hours to his house in Colby. I have also decided that I really like Gene, and his wife Joy. Gene reminds me of my uncle, Andy, for whatever reason. We are staying in their house for 2 relaxing days, and I expect we will have fun. Tonight there was a group of 20ish over for a cookout and the weather was gorgeous! Earlier today it was up to 109, but it was a very comfortable 85 outside tonight. The people in Colby (those at tonight's cookout) have been the friendliest people I have thus far encountered in Kansas. Everyone has been so great, but these people.. 10 out of 10!
As I sit here I am watching Herby in Spanish with English subtitles. It's the best way to learn! It's storming now which will hopefully cool the temperature for tomorrow, because plans are to visit Lance and Melissa's farm, then possibly go to the community pool. Our trip is nearing an end, but we still have many places to go. Seven days, and 4 or 5 more cities! Which means 4 or 5 more families, 4 or 5 more churches, 4 or 5 more houses, 4 or 5 more car rides... Always an adventure! I’m anxious to see the new places, but I am also very content resting in one home. I have had an amazing time with Geo, Christine, the girls, George, Sheree, and the boys; and I will be very sad to leave. I hope to return again to Ecuador next summer.
As for now….. dos horas!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hillbillies, Churches, and Mansions.

After another long drive we have finally returned to the casa of Nick and Stephanie, George’s brother and sister-in-law in Oakland Parks, Kansas City. Which means I have my own room, but we all share a bathroom. This afternoon we visited George’s parents where he grew up in a small country house with 9 siblings. It was a very hot hot day. We thought it would be fun to roam the pastures by foot and find the baby cows. It wasn’t that much fun, and I don’t remember seeing more than one cow (a black cow named Obama), but I can’t complain.  Everything we had for lunch (the salad, potatoes, carrots, green-beans, meat..) was grown in their garden.  Lester, George’s father, was very friendly. As we were walking the land he said, “I’m kind of a hillbilly” pointing to his push-mower, which was protected from the weather by a rather large bucket, and I couldn’t argue with him, it was a very “hillbilly” thing to do, but life looks fun for them.  Nick said his dad is a farmer that doesn't farm.
Yesterday was our first real speaking engagement, aside from the Kansas district of the Wesleyan church convention. Christine and I spent the afternoon making 3 tres leches cakes, which ended up looking rather unprofessional, but tasted amazing. They asked me to share a short testimony about my experience in Ecuador. I basically spoke completely unprepared, but a few people were very receptive. Our purpose in traveling and speaking is to gain prayer support, encourage supporters to GO, and raise financial support for George and Sheree to make a 4-year commitment, as well as financial support to build a community center on the church’s new lot in Racar. The building will be used to meet many of society’s needs in Racar (ie: computer classes, English classes..), hoping to not only raise a strong future generation for Christ, but solve some problems of today (ie: alcoholism, lack of education, weak familial support..)
We spent the evening with a family who spent a week or two in Ecuador almost 3 years ago. Mrs. Conley’s father prepared a “Hispanic” meal, thinking it would be a nice treat to have food from the homeland, but.. it really wasn’t Ecuadorian style food - a nice gesture though. The house was gorgeous, very unfinished, but truly a dream-house. Nick, Stephanie and I spent the majority of the evening at a table just us, which was nice - getting aside for awhile.
Tomorrow is Daniel’s birthday party. We’re going to a nice park for pizza and cake, and hopefully shade. 40 people are expected to come, so it should be a lot of fun. I’m hoping Jael is well-rested and entertained, and remains tranquil when Daniel receives lots of toys and gifts, and she receives none.
I really want to share a little conversation that took place between Abuela & Dale (Sheree’s grandparents in Missouri) just before we left Wednesday. Setting: Abuela, Dale, and myself watching the updated stock statistics on the TV in the living room, Nathan sitting with Abuela.
Abuela: Nathan you really are a good little boy..
Dale: Not like Daniel.
Abuela: I think Nathan has gas.
(Nathan begins to cry)
Abuela (10 seconds later..): Oh hush! Your mommy better come soon to stop this cryin.
Dale: He needs his diaper changed.
Abuela: Oh you hush too you don’t know what he wants..
Dale: You said he was poopy.
Abuela (stern look at Dale & Nathan): Now I said he had gas!!
Dale: Oh… bahahaha
Yea.. it was good times. I miss those two and their antics; their cold, dark, creepy basement; and their lake.

Aside from an abundance of Spanish lessons, these things I am learning in Kansas:

-Do not give your children everything that they want, and do not allow your child to continually have their own way. You will be their only friend, because no one will want to treat your child the way that you do, no one wants to hear them whine, and no one wants to give them everything.

-When I told people about this trip and they responded “Kansas!? In July!?”, they meant to say: “It’s REALLY HOT.. you should consider North Dakota or Vermont.”