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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Still Remembering 2009...

As I said in a previous post (Remembering 2009), I have been reviewing the incredible memories, the life-changing moments, the glorious victories and the miserable defeats, the people that came and the people that went, and how it all brought me to where I am at the beginning of 2010. I encourage you to do the same.
I spent the last few days at my sister's house, watching Baby Face, so on New Years Eve, this is only my 2nd post in the series of 2009 memories. But here are a few more::

3. In May, while I was in Cambodia, my grandmom (who is so very very dear to me) got very very very sick. At eighty-years-old, she isn't as strong as she used to be, but she has always been independent, and she has been healthy (since she was my grandmom at least.)
I was three weeks into my six week trip, and made my first phone call home. Dad answered, we talked for a couple minutes, and then he told me Mom wasn't home because she was at the hospital with Grandmom. He was Grandmom was in the ICU but getting better... I was promptly devastated (like I said, Grandmom is always well and she means the world to me) and asked to talk with twin sis, Jessie, who had just returned a week early from the Philippines.
I wanted to ask her all about the Philippines and tell her all about Cambodia, but unfortunately it took me too many minutes to calm down and be assured that many people were praying, and Grandmom would still be there when I returned.
I didn't want to leave Cambodia, but I wanted to be no where else except beside my sick little Grandmom's bed in the Intensive Care Unit. The next day I found myself with a 104 fever, nausea, aching, exhaustion, etc., I was pretty sure that I was only sick with worry, but doctor tests a week later proved otherwise.
Anyways, three weeks later, Grandmom was improving when I returned to America six weeks after her emergency trip to the hospital. The last three weeks in Cambodia taught me a lot about trusting God with the care of my loved ones, because there was absolutely nothing I could do from the other side of the globe. It stretched me.. it broke me.. it gave me a better idea of life in Cambodia, with family and friends in the States.
I'm glad to have it behind me!!

4. Although I lost some friends to disagreements or moving away, I gained some lifers, six in particular: Aimee, Loren, Ashton, Hannah, Angela, and Zoey.

These are the girls that I spent three weeks with in Cambodia (and also hours of preparation before and meals and chats since,) and we had some life-changing experiences together. We have laughed together, cried together, slept together. It's been real - real fun, real interesting, real exciting, real awkward, real hot, and real beautiful. I love them and couldn't imagine 2009 without them!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Remembering 2009...

2009 was a good year! Looking back upon the events of 2009, this post will be the first of a short series to review the incredible memories, the life-changing moments, the glorious victories and the miserable defeats, the people that came and the people that went, and how it all brought me to where I am at the beginning of 2010. I encourage you to do the same.

First, I had an immense wound immensely healed. I would like to say that this is especially thanks to one person, but because I know he wouldn't accept any credit for himself, rather he would attribute it to God and to my own strength, I won't mention his name. He has been a huge huge huge blessing in my life, and I really don't know what I would have done in Fall 2008 and early Winter and Spring 2009 without him.
After a big, nasty bump in the road we call life, my life found it's purpose, and again had strength, joy, and peace in knowing God, knowing what I meant to God, and knowing that God is there. Thank you! [You know who you are!]
This passage pretty much basically sums up PERFECTLY the utter lostness, the abundant love, and the great faithfulness:

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him...

Lamentations 3:19-25

Second, I watched my niece grow from this --- to this!

From 6 months to 18 months!
It's been exciting to see Leah grow teeth, grow hair, learn to sit, to walk, to crawl, to eat, to smile, to cackle... and now she's out of the spitting up stage [for good I think!], and for that I am grateful! Baby Face, Aunt Jewel loves you so much!!
I love how you smile all the time!
I love how you eat so much and make such a mess!
I love how much you love Gramps and Grams!
I love your chubby fingers!
I can't wait to spend the next three days with you!

PS: You are right, it was God and my own strength, but it was YOU that helped me discover those two things!

Nekru Chariya

My dear friend Chariya is pregnant and due very soon. Please pray for a safe delivery and also for their financial needs for the said delivery. Please pray for the whole family's readiness for the arrival of the baby, as Pastor Arun [husband] is now busy preparing for his class lessons in January, and as they juggle a new son and their 1-year-old adopted son Ruben [Ben Ben].

Arun and Chariya live in Cambodia, and recently accepted positions as teachers at the Wesleyan Bible Institute. I've taught many English lessons alongside Arun and Chariya in their churches in Kampong Speu and Siem Reap.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve traditions..

Merry Christmas to everyone! I'm a little sad, because soon, the Christmas posts will be ended. Anyways..
Every Christmas Eve we go to my aunt's house to celebrate with my dad's family. Lots of food and cousins and pictures and dogs. Mom always gives cheeseballs and crackers, Dad gives coupons for car washes, sister always makes deviled eggs, and the night ends in an agreed, "we should do this more often," but despite the fact that five of the six siblings are within five miles of each other [yes, FIVE], we only gather two or three times a year.
Then Mom, Dad, twin sister [Jessie], and I return home and Jessie and I open new pajamas, and we watch a Christmas movie. We used to put out milk and cookies [although I'm pretty sure neither Jessie nor I actually believed in Santa.]

After Dad and I brutally beat Mom and Jessie in two games of euchre, tonight's movie of choice: A Christmas Story
A Tribute to the Original, Traditional, One-Hundred-Percent, Red-Blooded, Two-Fisted, All-American Christmas...
CLASSIC. [Sidenote: You know what else is classic? Ribbon candy!] I can't believe two of my four roommates haven't seen it! I love it, and my know my parents do also, but they are snoring through it as we speak...
"My kid brother had not eaten voluntarily in over three years," and, "Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl."
Which brings me to this: What is the worst gift you have ever received, and have you actually ever had soap put in your mouth?

Anyways, here are three pictures from tonight. Who would have thought that the world's cutest 18-month-old little girl would be the party's biggest star? And she is the biggest ham!

Her new favorite game: Feeding Aunt Jewel with her chubby little baby fingers. Chex, Cheerios, and Gold Fish never tasted so good!

Me, niece, and twin sis. LOVE them!

Leah was NOT happy when those bows lost their stickiness and fell off her head!

A second sidenote (and you can have this one for free!): Men of a Certain Age. Seen the previews? They say it is riveting, revolutionary, bittersweet, and has a certain charm of its own. I'm intrigued.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Saga of Baby Jack and the Christmas Tree

Yesterday I watched my friends' son Jack. We had so much fun. He is like the best baby ever! Love love love him!

This is how the photo shoot started...
lured by the pretty "toys" on the spinning Christmas tree

He liked the cat. The cat didn't like him.
I like him. I don't really like the cat.


He love love loved the bell!

"J" is for...
Baby Jack and Aunt Jewel!

Shiny bow!

Look at that handsome baby face!

Lady killer!

The perfect baby's-hand-sized bow!

And this is how it ended...
back in "Aunt Jewel's" lap

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas presents!

What is second to buying people gifts and third to seeing them open those gifts?

Wrapping them!!

I love love loove it!

I'm finishing my shopping tomorrow.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cards

If you haven't yet received a Christmas card from the J Reed family, consider yourself to have done so now!

I ordered 50 of these puppies for FREE from SeeHere Photo Sharing. Well, I should admit that I did pay $3.15 for shipping. But what a deal, right?! Thanks to my blogger friend Sarah (who married a missionary and has THE most beautiful wee one Josefine) for leaking news of the sweet deal.

bro-in-law Jeff, sis Joni, neice Leah (baby face), twin sis Jessie, and myself myself and twin sis Jessie:

Merry Christmas!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Sur s'dai bon noel!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday's Fave Five - Christmas vay-cay-tion!

Today feels so much better than last Friday!! Wednesday I took my last exam, and today is my second day of a long Christmas vacation. It feels so so so good!

Happy “Friday’s Fave Five” blog, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story. Click on the linky to see what 5 things other bloggers are love love loving this week!

1. The Magicians Nephew
Remember HERE when I shared my plans for Christmas break? I said that there were 9+ books that I wanted to read over break? I did it. I read my first Christmas-break-book in two days. CS Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series. I've read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe maybe twice for book reports, and I read the last book in the series, The Last Battle, for Basic Christian Doctrine this semester, and I love love loved it so much that I borrowed the entire series and it's on my list for Christmas break!

2. Cambodia 2009
It's a cd! Ashton (far right) made a mix cd from a variety of songs that are either memories of, or significant to, our trip to Cambodia in May. There are 3 songs from our blind and deaf karaoke game (PS: If you don't know what this is ASK ME, it's wonderful!), a song from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, which we all watched on the plane to CAM, and quoted all the time! Some Khmer songs, and Sara Grove's I Saw What I Saw, which sums up perfectly our trip! <-- Pictured with me are Loren and Ashton, whom I love love love, and are now both BLOGGERS! Yay!

3. Being Home
And here are some things I like love about being home! I moved from a twin-sized-top-bunk to my own QUEEN sized bed! We have TV! I can lay on the couch without moving books and pens and bags, and fighting my suitmates for space! I left my alarm clock at school. Washing and drying my laundry doesn't require quarters! Our house is FILLED with Christmas decorations. Etc. Etc. Etc.

4. New Moon
I finally saw New Moon just last night! It wasn't quite as good as the first of the Twilight Saga, but sequels rarely are. In fact, the week my roommates and I first rented Twilight, I think we watched it eight times in one week. Seriously. Loove it! Team Jacob anyone? WOW! :)

5. Christmas shopping
Shortly after finishing this blog, I'm going to get dressed and start my Christmas shopping! Yes. I said start. Thanks for not judging me!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Finals Scream

IWU started a new unofficial tradition this year. At 12:00 midnight, students all over campus opened their windows and SCREAMED. We screamed long and loud, with everything we had. The event lasted five minutes, then windows were closed, and studying continued.

I loved love loved it! It was great.

One student expressed himself on the event forum and said: "So dumb, please do not make that a tradition. Why are we yelling because of stress from finals - imagine if the town screamed for what they go through that puts them to the brink, real terrible stress... This is not is suitable way to express our stress."

My response is this: He sounds stress. He must not have screamed!

I take my first final at 2:00 and I'm ready!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Channy's Wedding

On Saturday my friend Channy was married. She's Cambodian and married a missionary intern from Washington State. Channy and I are close friends, and I don't know Jeff well, but I know that she is IN LOVE and I'm so happy for her! I wish I could have been there to celebrate with them, but I was able to speak with Channy on the phone earlier in the week and that was so so so special for both of us! Eeeh, I love her and miss her so much! <----- This is a picture of Channa, Channy, and I from this past summer, and these are pictures of her wedding from 12 December 2009::

Bride and Groom

Pastor Titus, Pastor Greg [aka: Baby Bird], and Pastor Vandy

Typical nice restaurant in Cambodia; waiters always bring many drinks to the table and you are charged for the empty cans and bottles

Channy and Jeff cutting the wedding cake that Jeff's parents brought from America. (I don't know how that worked out!)

Channy's sisters Chamraun (blue) and one of my bff's Channa (white)

Flower girls Hannah and Aleeyah, with Esher following behind

Channy and Jeff's parents pouring the sand for the unity bowl

the foot-washing ceremony

Parents: Rev. and Mrs. Kong Kimsan
(Kimsan is the Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church in Cambodia)

Expressing their appreciation to all

Walking down the aisle - Channy and Pa