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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!

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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.