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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Gift of Sleep

Have I told you that I have the gift of sleep? It's true.

We go on car trips and I can be asleep before we are out of town or on the interstate. I am also known to fall asleep in Indiana and not wake up until at least Tennessee. I have even slept on a pool table twice, and once without a pillow. Occasionally I catch myself asleep at breakfast in the cafeteria, scrambled eggs slipping off my fork, eyes watching. I can sleep with the lights on, with a movie playing, or people chattering. I can sleep on floors and in strangers' beds. Just this afternoon I sat on the edge of some landscaping between classes to enjoy the beautiful weather; I found myself asleep in the grass a few minutes later.

(This wouldn't surprise my family.)

But I did something else this afternoon that I have never done.

I slept through a test. No, not like I took a power nap and forgot to set an alarm, or accidentally fell asleep in the grass and woke up too late, but I slept WHILE I was taking the test.

I propped my elbow on the table, rested my chin in my palm, and fell asleep somewhere between questions 40 and 45.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Busy Busy Busy.

This is some of what I've been studying:
and it's might also be what I become before Wednesday gets here!

As the end of the semester approaches, I'm finally feeling the weight of taking 17 credit hours. I had Forensics test today, and I have an Urban and Rural Development quiz tomorrow, and a Jerusalem and Its People FINAL EXAM tomorrow. I either studied at my desk or in my bed all weekend. I even set my alarm for 8am on Saturday morning to start studying. Study study study. I'm also working on final group projects for two development classes. Between dinner on Friday and bed on Saturday, I took only three breaks aside from lunch and dinner. On Friday night I watched Win a Date With Tad Hamilton and on Saturday I watched Twilight: New Moon for the second time. I was surprised at how CLEAN the first movie was, and of course I loved the second movie too. :)

In the last two or three weeks I have been impressing myself with how much I really can get accomplished if I sit down, eliminate all distractions, and don't quit until it was finished. In the process of preparing for my Jerusalem final exam, I have re-read the entire textbook. Partly for the purposes of studying, but mainly because apparently I was supposed to take notes while I read it throughout the semester, and I never did that. So now I must re-read it and take notes and turn those in before the exam tomorrow.

Yuck yuck yuck!

Can I remind myself?

30 days until summer vacation
37 days until Mozambique
116 days until Cambodia

My enthusiasm ----->

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday: International Treasures

Today I am joining Greg at Greg's General Store for Thankful Thursday. I'm thankful for these international treasures:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Pastor Paroath is a young faithful pastor in the Cambodian province of Kampong Chhnang, and HERE is a post ("picture diary" rather) of the short yet influential time I spent with him in May.

If you didn't read it, it's pretty quick, and mostly pictures anyways. I failed to mention in the entry how impressed I am with Paroath's ministry, and how amazed I am with Paroath. He is strong. He is happy. He faithfully and joyfully carries a testimony of God's goodness. And his children LOVE to learn English! I'm anxious to reconnect with him this summer and see what God has done in his life in the past year, to hear what the children have learned, and especially to see this: [!!!]

A place of worship
and a classroom for English:
Ptr. Paroath at the entrance

Missionary Greg Fernandez inside

A side view of the church

My girls fell in love with Paroath's children and his heart for ministry, so we decided together that we wanted to do something to support him. We decided to cut back drastically on our living expenses and the 7 of us shared 1 large room at each hotel we stayed in. We also made more humble decisions when choosing restaurants and menus. At the end of the trip, we gave about 1/3 of the building project costs, and then were able to send over the rest later in the summer.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My name in the sand...

How sweet is my friend Tonja for thinking of me and writing my name in the sand on her exotic Hawaiian vacation to Maui last week.

Ka'anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Thank you Tonja, you encouraged me today!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Enduring relevance..

Reflections from The Divine Conspiracy:
(The 400-page book that I FINALLY finished)

I think we finally have to say that Jesus' enduring relevance is based on His ability to speak to, to heal and to empower the individual human condition. He matters because of what He brought and what He still brings to us as ordinary human beings, living our ordinary lives and coping daily with our surroundings. He promises wholeness for our lives. In sharing our weakness, He gives us strength and imparts through His companionship a life that has the quality of eternity. He comes where we are, and He brings us the life we hunger for. "Life was in Him, life that made sense of human existence" (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God's life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus.

The flunk-outs and drop-outs and burned-outs. The broke and the broken. The drug heads and the divorced. The HIV positive and the herpes-ridden. The brain-damaged and the incurably ill. The barren and the pregnant too many times or at the wrong time. The over-employed, the underemployed, the unemployed. The unemployable. The swindled, the shoved-aside, the replaced. The lonely, the incompetent, and the stupid...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What I learned from an entire night with 11 and 12-year-olds...

I'm a brave girl. Friday night I chaperoned our fifth/sixth grade ministry's all-nighter at the church. We started with free time, had worship and a service, pizza, Guitar Hero, 1am dodgeball, etc. We had 33 kids and just enough helpers.

Thank you to the youth group for leading us in worship. It was really really good. Really. They have all matured a lot and I was very impressed! During the time of worship, as we were singing

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I realized that I had underestimated the kids. I had underestimated how deep they were, how much they could understand spiritual things, how spiritual they could be.

God, thank you for using children to teach us.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thoughts from early morning...

Today I am joining Greg at Greg's General Store for Thankful Thursday.

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that, even while I sleep, God is working. Some mornings it is more evident than others, but I can always recognize His work if I seek it. Even with only 5.5 hours of sleep, God gave me rest and energy for a new day of serving Him. He was also preparing a new day, and I joined a small group of students for a 6:30 prayer walk, I met with the Creator God in the crisp morning air.

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus.

I am thankful that God meets us in the stillness and the quiet. I am thankful that I can quiet my heart, and disconnect myself from the people, the noise, and the busyness surrounding me, and connect my spirit with God.

In the quiet
In the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored

I am thankful for Spring. Truly truly truly I am thankful for Spring. For me, God's sovereignty is so evident in the blue skies and green grass, and in the budding flowers and chirping birds. It's almost as if when the plants return to life, so does the campus. There is a whole new attitude when it's beautiful outside -- a good one!

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
[Psalm 19:1,2 NLT]

Be thankful today.

EDIT: Apparently today is only Wednesday, HA, so I'm just really on top of things. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cheli had her baby and Shrek had his puppies!

One of my very closest friends, Alex, has a new niece!
Brittany Ramirez joins big brother Brian and parents Victor and Iraceli. Alex and I took Brian to go visit her yesterday and she is so so so precious. Look at all that angel hair and those angel lips!
I love her!
Cheli looked great and said labor lasted only 3.5 hours. 3.5 hours! For someone who hasn't been in labor, three-and-a-half hours sure sounds like a long time, but I know it's rather quick considering. Brittany was having issues with low blood sugar, and it is maintained now but they're going to stay an extra day in the hospital and go home on Wednesday. We brought Victor some "comid autntica" from the tienda because I don't think he could stand another meal from the hospital. HA!

Bom bom bom.. there's more! Shrek's girlfriend had 5 puppies! Shrek is my main mutt in Cambodia and lives with my friends Vandy and Tess on the campus of the Bible college. They will go to pick out a male and a female this afternoon and allow me to choose which I will keep - 'keep' as in 'Ask them to raise him until I return to a well-trained puppy!' Who knows when I'll see pictures, but I'm sure they will be handsome like their papa! Only 129 more days!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Follow You

Three of my favorite things are combined in this video::
1. Leeland
2. Brandon Heath
3. Cambodia

So so so good!

[In the 1970s, 2 million citizens of Cambodia were brutally killed by the Khmer Rouge. In 2009, Leeland and Brandon Heath spent a week in Cambodia with Food For the Hungry ( Through Christian love, God continues to bring healing to this nation in amazing ways. For more information, visit]

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs You have supplied.
When I was dead You gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow You into the homes that are broken.
Follow You into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy,
God, follow You into the World.

Use my hands, use my feet
To make Your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until Your work is done
'Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross Your blood was she'd
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow You into the homes that are broken.
Follow You into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy
God, follow You into the World.

I give all myself.
I give all myself
I give all myself... to You.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

An early riser with good intentions..

When am I up at 7:00 when my classes don't start until 12:05?

Because on the last day of Spring Break...
...I was only on page 50!

Fifty of four hundred. So, here I am. My book reflection on the Divine Conspiracy isn't due until Thursday but it's a big book... and I'm only on page fifty. Ughhh...

I drug an entire backpack full of homework twenty hours to Texas only to read fifty pages.
Good intentions. That's what they were. Kinda like now..

I woke up five hours early to read the Divine Conspiracy and instead here I am.. blogging.. and talking to a friend in Cambodia.

I'll get it done. I promise.

PS: I wish those seven hair-ties and five bobby-pins that I found in my bed last night had been more hours in the day.. or dollars.. or shots of caffeine that I would have conserved and enjoyed slooowly.

More on that slowly after I finish the last 350 pages of my book.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Ending a good week...

We went to Downtown Aquarium in Houston yesterday. I love love love aquariums and this one was pretty good and only $9.95! The tanks full of tropical fish are always my favorite. I'm a liiittle jealous of my sister who has seen all these little guys while snorkeling in the Philippines.

Bethany, myself, and twin sis Jessie outside posting with only one of two sharks in the whole aquarium. That's right. There was only one other shark inside! A little disappointing, but a great time anyways!

Downtown Houston was exciting but I don't think I'll ever be a big city kind of girl! Five lanes of one-way traffic? No thank you!

Today was our last day and it wasn't the most beautiful. I actually wore jeans to the beach and a sweatshirt that I only took off for pictures. I got some sun between clouds on the patio this morning, and it was really warm but wasn't long-lived.

Our street was unusually busier all night with these two bad boys (and company) below. Apparently the city is making it's final preparations for the big Spring Break rush in two weeks, and apparently also there is an ordinance that forbids construction on the beach between the hours of 6am and 6pm because they work from 6pm to 6am. Yes, that's right. Alllll night long.
Fortunately, I have the gift of sleep. Yes, that's right. I have the gift of sleep. I can sleep anywhere at any time. So the noise that kept others awake until late at night and woke them up early in the morning, went unnoticed to me after I fell asleep before 11.

We're waking up at 5:30 tomorrow to leave by 6 and make good time before stopping for a hotel in the evening and finishing the twenty-hour trip in the morning. Again, I anticipate sleeping at least twelve of the twenty hours. Hopefully I can get lots of textbook-reading finished before getting too queasy.

I hope Indiana is warm!!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Woke up at 6:35 this morning to run across the street and watch the sun rise on the beach at 6:40. Whoa baby! It was beautiful! I even saw the peak of a dolphin's tail fin -- numerous times! Jessie didn't believe that I had seen dolphins; when she saw the dolphins, I made her apologize for not believing me, but for some reason she still doesn't think that I saw any!

The beauty of the sunrise. It got me thinking.

Locals. How many times have they seen this? How many times have they slept through it? How many times have they ignored the beautiful scene just across the street? It's probably ordinary to them.

How many times do we do the same thing? How many times does God gloriously reveal Himself in beautiful ways and we simply walk past, ignoring what may seem ordinary only because we don't acknowledge the true extraordinary beauty? Imagine.

Pictures cannot do it justice
A prize for whoever can read and translate what I wrote in the sand!

How the colors changed when I put my camera on sunset instead of sunrise

Fly like eagle.. into the sea..

Trying to keep warm in the morning breeze!

Please pray pray pray!!

Please join me in praying for my friend Jade, whom I have written about before. She's been in Uganda since mid-January working towards the adoption of her son Samuel. Here is her blog: In Awe of Your Grace (READ IT!) and HERE I wrote about how her dad was gloriously saved in Uganda one Sunday afternoon and HERE is another blog I wrote about Jade after she found her son.

Jade writes this:
Friday at 2pm (6am EST) we will get our ruling! We desperately need to you believe with us that he will give us the correct ruling, a ruling that the US Embassy will be happy with. This will be another miracle! It honestly feels like all the odds are against us of our ruling being right the first time. We would be the first American’s to get the correct wording by this judge if he does it for us. I am believing with all my heart that he will give us a ruling that the Embassy is happy with. Praise God in advance for what He is going to do Friday! May every word our judge writes for us in our ruling be God inspired! The bigger the mountain the more praise God will get when he CRUSHES it! May we be the first American’s to get the proper ruling by this judge since all this controversy! Amen! Amen! Amen!

Thank you for your prayers! Look what God has done! Please cheerfully claim our AWESOME ruling Friday! It is going to happen and the Lord will get all the glory! May the Lord defeat the devil! He will NOT delay this process! Amen!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Balcony, Bikes, and Bargain-Hunting

Today was a beautiful day. I laid on the balcony for about an hour and read a book textbook. We had leftover spaghetti for lunch and watched Wife Swap and then borrowed the condo's bicycles and rode for over an hour up and down the coast. The breeze was a little chilly, but the view was beautiful. We took occasional stops where the sand was deep and soft, or to read memorials and take pictures. We definitely looked like vacationers in our shorts and t-shirts with our cameras, while the locals sped-walk past in their jackets and sock hats. We stopped at Bargain Beachwear, a souvenir shop advertising sunglasses two for $5 and t-shirts three for $10. It was your typical beach souvenir store, full of raunchy bumper-stickers, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and key chains. I was looking for a bargain on some sweet new shades and an FBI shirt or hat for a friend, and I didn't get either (of course only the junky and raunchy souvenirs are anything like three for $10 or two for $5), but I did get something else -- two something elses actually -- skirts for Africa. Yes, cute frumpy missionary dresses for my trip to Mozambique in something like 64 days (sixty-four). They're... interesting.. and strangely perfect. They are below the knee, cool and breezy, reversible, will match a few different shirts, AND AND AND two for $18. Yes! What a bargain!

Here are a few of the pictures so far::

Yesterday's rough waters

Bethany, Jessie, and I on our first floor patio

Palm tree!!

Flagship Hotel built on ocean pier, destroyed by Hurricane Ike

Jessie on our bike ride

Houses in Galveston

More to come tomorrow!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Blogging from the Balcony

As I write this, I'm sitting on a second-story ocean-side balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It was a rainy night so this morning I woke up to the lull of huge waves crashing into the long pier, made from only large boulders. After a full spaghetti dinner and a strawberry crepe with ice cream for dessert, I slept twelve hours.

This is vacation.
Twin sis Jessie, suitemate Bethany, and myself

The drive was eighteen hours and we made it about eleven hours before we stopped for a hotel in Grenada, Mississippi. I'm pretty sure that I slept at least eleven or twelve of the eighteen hours. We did well for four ladies and a GPS! We drove through New Rome, Grenada, Brazil, Cairo, Haiti, and at least three more international cities that I can't remember... world travelers between central Indiana and SE Texas! The drive was pretty uneventful with the exception of the ol' semis honking game. I lost track between evening day one and morning day two, but I think I probably got fifteen or twenty to honk.
Have I mentioned that we're in Galveston, Texas? We're right on the coast of Galveston Island, and the beach is just across the street. It's supposed to rain off-and-on this afternoon, so in a few minutes we're going to get in the car and explore the island. We have already seen many buildings still sitting in remains from Hurricane Ike (Sep '08) damage.
Sidenote: This note was written from my balcony and posted from the parking lot of the neighboring Econolodge Hotel. Yesterday we went to IHOP for dessert and free wifi (mostly for the free wifi), but one can't have IHOP everyday.
More later!

Love love love,