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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Raya Nicole Stuller

Here is baby Raya in all her beauty!!

Look at those huge feet she got from Daddy!!

Finally going home with Mom & Dad (Sunday; 4 days old)

Isn't she beautiful??

Me with the little girl on Friday.

My twin sister with baby Raya.

Choosing Thomas -- Inside a familys decision to let their son live, if only for a brief time

Life is Beautiful…

Life is Sacred…

Life is Precious...

Life is Fragile.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday's Fave. Five!

Happy “Friday’s Fave Five” blog, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.
Drum roll….

1) Baby Raya Nicole!
My good friends Phil & Steph had their baby girl on Wednesday night. She weighed 6lbs. 10oz. (now at 6lbs. 4oz.) and is 20 inches long. Isn't she beautiful? I love her long dark hair!

Phil & Steph were supposed to move to the Chicago area this summer, but circumstances changed and I'm so glad they are still in Marion so I can know Raya during her early days of life! Her parents are very good friends of mine, and I already love Raya very much. It will be sad to see them move in a few months. =(
More pictures to come very soon!

2) Brown County, Indiana!
Again, I just returned from family vacation. This week, my sister Joni, bro-in-law Jeff, and niece Leah joined us. We rented this cabin in the hills of Brown County for Tuesday and Wednesday night. We enjoyed spending lots of time in the cabin, playing games at the table. We played Dominoes, In A Pickle, Nirtz, and Phase 10. We also enjoyed eating 2 meals out, grilling in, visiting a few "old country" shops, driving through Brown County State Park, and snacking on salt water taffy and a variety of fudge.

3) Nertz! This is a game my sister learned in the Philippines, and my family has played hours & hours of Nertz this summer. It is a game that requires skill in quick reaction, awareness of cards being played simultaneously, and counting. My brother and I reign undefeated!
Simple Instructions:: Nertz can be played in teams of 2 or individually. Each player or team uses their own deck of cards in a solitaire–style competition and the object of each hand is to try to be the first team to call out “Nertz” by getting rid of their 13-card pile. The Lake (common area) is used by all players to score points by playing on piles in a suited order and increasing numeric sequence; the River (personal area) is used like the tableau piles in Solitaire in which you may only build down by alternating colors. The way to receive points during a hand is to play cards in to the common area. Each card a team plays into the common area is worth 1 point; also, each card remaining in a team's Nertz pile is worth -2 points. A game is usually played to a designated score like 100 or 150 points.

4) Aunt Sue's Tea Room
I love this "ladies" restaraunt at 225 W. Spencer Ave (Marion), set in a charmingly restored vintage house by the river. The food, tea, service, and atmosphere is wonderful! I have been there 3 or 4 times, and I always order "The Queen's Tea" ($10.95): Choice of 1 of 35 tea options, scones (with devonshire cream and lemon curd), fresh fruit, assorted finger sandwiches, desserts, soup, and/or salad. It's wonderful, I love going! Check it out at:

5) I like that today is Friday! Returning to work (& the gym) after having been on vacation for 3 days really makes it feel like a Monday and I'm so glad it isn't! I enjoyed a special lunch with my sister and a friend, and her 4-yr-old daughter at Aunt Sue's this afternoon, and tonight I will enjoy scrapbooking with a few ladies at church, and a Starbucks run halfway through! My sister and I have plans to visit good friends tomorrow night (haven't visited with them in a few weeks), and I really need to tackle packing for college since I move in on Monday!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ford Family Reunion

Saturday afternoon I left with Jessie (twin sister) and Mom and Grandmom and we drove 2.5 hours to Ohio for Grandmom's family reunion. We stayed in a lovely Comfort Suites Hotel attached to a small mall, where Jessie and I spent an hour or two. Jessie bought these shoes that I really love. Initially, I didn't care for them, but just as she tried them on, I decided that I wanted them and didn't want her to have them! HA. Well, she bought them and I got 3 headbands.

Sunday morning after the classic continental breakfast, we met my uncle Andy, aunt Nancy and cousin Laura in the church parking lot before going inside together. Inside we met my Grandmom's brother and sister-in-law (Uncle Joe & Aunt Jane). The service was definitely different than what we were used to. It was very informal, and I was pretty embarrassed when the pastor called out a few different people during his sermon. I really love my church, and I'm ready to change the subject.

I counted 39 of us together that met in Uncle Joe and Aunt Jane's backyard for the semi-annual Ford reunion in small-town Rosewood, Ohio (click HERE to see how small-town!) By the end of the evening, I knew everyone by name, and that is about as familiar as I am with at least 30 of my kin.
This year after our late lunch, Uncle Joe had a little bit of structure and I soon realized everyone (with the exception of a few kids) was sitting in a circle and we were going to tell stories! By "we" and by "stories" I mean that there are 7 of us cousins who had traveled the world during the summer, and our supporters wanted to hear our testimonies.

Below: Amos [who is a son of my mom's cousin; & wife Amy] sharing about their time in Turkey. To the right of Amy is Peter [son of Mom's cousin;], who just returned from 1 year in Bolivia, and is returning again next week. Peter's story is a little different because he is the director of a youth orchestra and choir program at a Jesuit Mission School.

And here is Abigail telling us about living and teaching in China. Next to Abigail is Mom's cousin (Uncle Dan), who has 11 children. Eleven; 6 biological and 5 adopted. On either side of his son David is Patrick and Betsy, adopted as young babies from Haiti. I remember when they were itsy-bitsy and were afraid of walking on grass because they had never seen it before!
This couple in the distance is Uncle Andy and Aunt Nancy, my mom's brother and wife. I was glad they brought a cousin, because we are Grandmom's only grandchildren and the other 20 in our generation are Joe & Jane's grandchildren, and unfamiliar with our side of the family.
Here's my sista Jessie, next to Aunt Jane and Uncle Joe:
And last: My dear Grandmom [w/ Mexican blanket] and her younger sister Wilma.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pick the Perp

I'm too busy to write a blog because I'm nearly addicted to this new game I found earlier this evening. It's called "Pick the Perp" and that is exactly the purpose of the game. I'm actually quite awful, but it's keeping me entertained as I sit in this cold Comfort Suites room in Piqua, OH. Family reunion tomorrow. =] Check out and enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

This is my first official “Friday’s Fave Five” blog, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story. I’m excited about it, because who wouldn’t like to write about the things they love? Now there is an official day to do just that – Friday! I intend to continue participating in this event, so every 5 things will apply to THAT week.
Drum roll….

1) Skype
If you have been a faithful (or maybe even semi-regular) follower of my blog, you know that in May/June, I took my 2nd trip to Cambodia. I have many friends there, and a few in particular that I care very much about. Skype allows me to call Chamnol, Vandy, Tess, Greg, and others quite cheaply. On Monday, I was able to talk to my friend Leak in Cambodia, so Skype is definitely one of my favorite things this week!

2) The Rec & Wellness Center
I've been going to the gym about 6:45am for the past few weeks. Exercising isn't something I necessarily enjoy, but it is the perfect start to a day! I'm motivated, energized, and rejuvenated! I have about a 90+ minute routine, and I get about 20-30mins of hardcore praying done while I'm running or on the elliptical. Plus, I have already lost 1 pant size!

3) Quaker Mini Delights - Caramel Streusel
I just discovered these this morning, and evidently they have been in the house for awhile, because unfortunately, there are only 2 bags left in the box. [It will be written on the next grocery list, I promise!] At only 90 calories, it may become written into the routine between the gym and the office!

4) Leah Marie Sedberry (Can I choose something NOT material?)
My niece. My sister (not the mom, the other sister) babysit Leah today while her parents went to a funeral. I took the afternoon off so I could spend some time with her, but soon after I got home to play with the little girl, I was called away to do some grocery shopping. I enjoy the 30 minutes I was with her. I can't believe how "on the move" she has become since she has learned to crawl and pull herself up quite efficiently.

5) Free To Be Me by Francesca Battestelli
I heard it on the radio a few weeks ago, and I've been internally replaying it since! I love the lyrics and the melody. Mmm.
Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me

Thursday, August 20, 2009

As promised, those flying photos!

Here are those pictures I'm known for!!
It's a way to put a person in a picture, show a beautiful landscape/background, and not be boring!

Years ago on Christmas Day at my cousins' in Ohio

Pride in the beautiful wall my sister & I just painted!

With my girls on a road in Cambodia

With those same girls I love at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Hannah, Ashton, Loren and Angela jumping in!

My sister on Daytona Beach; I love her shadow!

Showing off the beautiful landscape in the Dominican Republic

Pastor Arun, Pastor Vandy, and Chamnol making a good attempt at Angkor Wat! This picture is one of my favorites; makes me so happy!

Enjoy the carribean sun in the Dominican Republic

The picture that initiated this post! Taken in Mackinaw City

Andrew jumping in; makes me laugh!

Continue following my blog and I'm sure you will see more (esp. as I travel)!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mackinaw Island 3: The Grand Hotel

Last week, my sister, parents, and I went on a short 3-day vacation to Mackinaw City, and we visited the island on the 2nd day. After our horse-drawn carriage tour around the island and through Mackinaw State Park, we were dropped off at the Grand Hotel. It was quite the extravangant experience, and a little more classy than anything I have ever known! Entrance into the hotel was $10 alone! We toured a small art gallery while we waited for the upstairs dinning hall to open. The buffet was $30/adult and my stomach had a hard time digesting the price, but my parents kept convincing me, "It's ok.. it's vacation!" I don't know.. I kept thinking about my friends in Kratie [Cambodia], and the treat it was when I took them to U-Hong Restaraunt. *4 of us ate for $15.*

Delicious salad sprinkled with walnuts, pecans, and almonds! (I love nuts!)

Jessie's 1st plate (the roastbeef was a little too pink!)

My sister's dessert plate. I had raspberry cheesecake & the best oatmeal/raisen cookies ever!

Fabulous 60s fine-class dining!

and a beautiful bathroom!

After all the excitement of dinner and the carriage tour, it was time to relax!

Mom and I sat in 2 of the 75 rocking chairs along this lengthy covered porch,

while Jessie and Dad played a rousing game of life-size chess

After this we went outside, and enjoyed the scenery and beautiful weather.

We played bocce ball

and croquet!

Then perused the flower gardens!

Despite my angry feelings at the start of the cold and bitter morning, it was a fabulous day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I LOVE old textbooks!

So, I just learned recently how to post "for sales" on Half is associated with Ebay, and is strictly for books, music, movies, and video games. To avoid the overpriced campus bookstore, my sister and I have bought a few used textbooks from, but just this week we posted our own used textbooks. Our mom is a nursing professor, so she too has a plethora of textbooks no longer needed. What a blessing, because nursing textbooks are quite costly! We have sold 8 books in 4 days and made $299.56! Unfortunately, I realize this can't be a year-round business, because textbooks are really only sought after between semesters.
If you're interested in supporting my ministry in Cambodia, I will gladly accept any new or gently worn books. =)

Make that: 15 books in 6 days, and making: $534,03!
I'm finally in the profit margin!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

a "foreign" celebration

During the 6 weeks I spent in Cambodia this May/June, I was able to attend the wedding of the sister of one of my best friends [Vandy]. I can probably say that it was the most intercultural experience I have ever had, and I loved it! I can't wait for my next khmer wedding. =) I wonder if my sisters will be willing to wear THIS in my wedding.

Cambodian weddings are long and intricate affairs that consist of multiple ceremonies. It is a grand affair, full of color and festivity, as well as steeped in tradition. Musicians play throughout the day on traditional instruments, and the couple is dressed like royalty. The bridal party may change their outfits and hair several times in one day; and if the wedding were a weeklong affair, a color of dress would be established each day and the guests would be expected to dress only in that color. It can last from as short as one morning to as long as three days and nights, depending on the financial situation and social status of the bride and groom’s families. The wedding I attended was only a one-day affair, but it was an entire day as we were fed 3 meals.

Nary and Srey Leak were so kind to help me try on traditional khmer dresses. Every woman will wear a similar dress to Khmer weddings. Also, woman always change between morning and evening ceremonies [to fancy things up,] but I found only 1 dress, so I remained in this lavender dress.
Here you see Tess and I participating in the traditional hair cutting ceremony. To prepare the bride and groom for their life as a married couple, their hair is symbolically cut, representing a fresh start to their new relationship together as husband and wife. The parents, relatives, and friends take turns to symbolically cut the bride and groom's hair and give blessings and well-wishes.
Now Tess and I have had our hair and makeup professionally done at the neighbors house! I wish I had gotten pictures of this process! The bride's family hired an entire beauty salon to set up shop in the neighbor's home, and every [female] guest is traditionally expected to be professionally done up quite extravagently. I got a lot of attention for being the only "whitey" at the wedding, especially while getting my make-up done.

Srey Mum and I on our way to the hotel to change clothes after being "done up." Isn't she gorgeous??

Resie, Tess, and I during dinner. [[Resie was my host a missionary at the Bible College, and I also lived for 2 weeks with Tess in Kratie.]] Dinner was rather extravagent with 9 courses. I had much fun at the table with 7 of my favorite Cambodian people, all complimenting me on looking "Srey Khmer" (Cambodian woman) and trying to teach me how to eat the many different foods.

Chita, Tess, Srey Roath, and myself at the end of the night. I had met Srey Roath a week before, but she was completely different between the church/classroom atmosphere, and the wedding celebration! She convinced me to join her in just 1 traditional dance, but I had so much fun that we all danced for 3 more hours!

One of my favorite things at this wedding was the bride's mother's "num kom s'det khieu" [or sticky rice cake with mung bean.] It really looks terrible, [some might say snot, but I prefer a thicky, cloudy, white jello] and is usually wrapped in moist banana leaves. I don't know how else to explain it, but here are a few pictures::

My stomach says "YES PLEASE!!"