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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Wedding Planning

Up until now, wedding planning has just been  *stressful*and *overwhelming* [read Confessions of Wedding Planning HERE;] however, just recently, weeks and weeks into the process, I'm starting to actually ENJOY this once-in-a-lifetime experience called 'wedding planning.'  A number of factors could have flipped the switch from fearful to fanciful.

#1) I've made PROGRESS! [Progress is a beautiful thing!] I have met with my photographer and contacted my cake person. I officially reserved the ceremony and reception site, and chose the officiant. My gown and a number of bridesmaids dresses are hanging in my closet.  The 'save-the-dates' arrived on Saturday and a guest list has been drafted. ETC!

#2) I'm feeling very optimistic about Titus' visa being approved SOON.  All our documents have been approved stateside and Titus has a very short to-do list before he can officially schedule the big event - his interview at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh. I cannot cannot cannot wait to see my future-groom!

#3) Thanks to my sweet friend Andrea, I have a new addiction to a website called Pinterest and I am flooded with wedding inspiration.  I have even created my own board of inspiration for wedding ideas - everything from flowers to centerpieces to cakes to photography to food to guestbooks and more!

Brooch Boquet - I'm in love with this idea!
*Wish me luck* finding cheap and gorgeous bronze brooches!

In the midst of discussion with my cake baker/designer now...

20 stores later and still looking for THE perfect bridesmaid shoe...

My small branch collection is growing, but is FAR from sufficient!

So anxious to see the flowergirl dresses and ringbearer barong that my friends are bringing home from Cambodia!

Love love love,
the future Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Best Twin Sister

On Sunday afternoon, I left my TWIN SISTER and BESTESSST FRIEND in Churchville, New York and I drove 8 hours home to GC, IN [read more about NY trip HERE.]  One of THE HARDEST things I have ever done.  She makes me brave. She encourages and supports me. When I'm crying, she stops the tears.  She keeps me organized and focused.  She pushes me when she knows I am capable, and she steps in to assist when she knows I'm not.  I would have never "gotten back on the horse" if it weren't for her, and without her, I would have probably failed pre-calculus.  She practically got me 2 of my 3 present jobs and she picked out my wedding dress (that's how much I love her!)  She's not quite as touchy-feely as I am, but I know she loves me dearly.

How am I going to live without her?

Yes, I suppose there's Skype... and texting... and even snail mail (I LOVE SNAIL MAIL!), but we know that doesn't replace even compare to experiencing life together.  And really, I know she doesn't want to receive a text every time something "text-worthy" happens in my life.

I'm already planning to visit her in the next few weeks, once Titus has arrived from Cambodia.  [I'm thinking my sister would like to meet my fiancĂ© before he becomes my husband.]  She will be home for my wedding in October.  She will finish grad school next May, and then she will move home for a few months.

But things will never be the same.

I'll be married.  My husband won't replace my best twin sister, but things will be different - an exciting different, but a hard to accept different... because I know she's next.  In the next one to two years, she will be the new wife.

Without the example of my little sister, I would not be the woman I am today and I know THAT won't change.  She makes me want to be a better sister, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, friend, girlfriend, student, worker, etc., and she shows me how to be. I'm proud of her - proud of what she has accomplished, proud of what she is striving for, and proud of who she is becoming.  She will be an awesome social worker, wife, mother, and neighbor.

I know it.

As I write this, I'm hiding my tears behind my computer.  "You're crying and smiling." - that's what my gravedigger friends would say [again.]

That's the kind of best twin sister I have.

I love you Jessie!

Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blogging from New York...

Thursday morning Jessie, Mom, Dad, and I left home and drove to Rochester, New York.  It should have only taken 8.5 hours but it took almost 10 after road construction and passing a bad accident.  Praise the Lord we had a safe and uneventful trip!  I rode with Dad the entire way and stayed awake every mile. Mom, Jessie, and I came to Rochester for Spring Break and I slept every mile. Every time I closed my eyes to sleep, Dad opened his mouth (or the GPS fell off the dash!) but I suppose that was okay.

My sister has chosen to attend grad school here in Rochester (actually, that's why we are here, and why we came during Spring Break.)  We spent all of today moving her things into and arranging her apartment.  She's living in a house with 4 other girls from her grad school, so I'm excited for her about that.  Although I'm not pleased with her for leaving me...

Titus and I have friends that live in Rochester, and I was looking forward to seeing them while we are here; however, they left for Cambodia only a few hours before we left for Rochester. Sad. :(  I'm looking forward to seeing them (Phalkun & Janell) in a few weeks when we come again to visit Jessie.  I think she would like to officially meet Titus before the wedding. ;)

We went to dinner tonight with one of Jessie's new housemates and her parents.  Margie seems really nice; if I were Jessie, I would really be excited to live with/get to know her!  After dinner, we went to the mall and I got a 50%-off bathing suit for my honeymoon (I guess that means I finally made the decision to go to the beach for our honeymoon!)

Tomorrow our plans are to stock Jessie's kitchen, finish arranging Jessie's room, maybe visit Lake Ontario, return to the mall, look for bridesmaids' shoes, and have our last family game night.  I really am very excited for Jessie to start a new journey, but I will be very very sad to leave her in New York. :(  Next time Jessie is home, it will be for my wedding and things will be different (a good different, but a hard different.)

On a side note, THANK YOU to those who have been praying for my grandmom. She had her eye removed last Thursday, and was admitted to the hospital a few days later with complications. She had acute renal failure, but has miraculously recovered (she's done that three times now!)  It was so so so hard to leave her in the hospital and come to New York, and my heart has been blessed by messages from church friends/family that have visited her while we have been away. When Mom, Dad, and I return to Indiana on Sunday evening, we are hoping to bring Grandmom home with us!

Love love love, Jewel

Friday, July 08, 2011

Baby Fever

After watching these two little ones [sweet Jacky and little Levi] last night and this morning, I'm feeling a little Baby Fever [NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH BEIBER FEVER]

Maybe this time next year in two years. ;)

So, after dropping the boys off with Mrs. Momma and arriving at my office, I connected to the MGH nursery and browsed the sweet little newborns of Marion.

Handsome LITTLE MAN!


Sleeping Beauty


Sweet Little Boy

You may or may not find me browsing through the baby clothes during my lunch break today...

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Decision to Trust

I have been worried for some time about how Titus and I are not only going to raise enough support to live in Cambodia, but how we are even going to earn enough to live on our own in the States.
After five weeks of searching and submitting thirty-five (35!) applications, I finally found a job that pays only minimum wage, but offers 40 hours a week. For the most part, I have been content where I am.

That is... until I got a call two weeks ago regarding my application to be a waitress at Bob Evans. What a perfect opportunity! I had no intentions of quitting work at the cemetery, but working an evening and weekend shift at Bob Evans and adding $$$ to our savings. I had two great interviews, and I was asked to schedule a third interview. After the second interview, I was confident that I would get the job; I even memorized the menu!

Then on the morning of interview #3, I woke up feeling incredibly stressed and overwhelmed. Something wasn't right. I opened my Bible to have my devotions and my reading of the day from Proverbs was Proverbs 3:5,6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

The job I have now at the cemetery is only temporary, and I have been so worried/stressed/anxious about finding another job when this job ends in September. On the morning of interview #3, I realized that I don’t trust God to provide another job [even though He was faithful to provide this job, just when I needed it!]

So I prayed and [somehow] worked up the guts to call and cancel my third interview.

Maybe God provided this restaurant job opportunity now to test me – to see if I still have faith in His provision; to see if I will still be faithful to be involved in the ministry now, or if I am too concerned about the future.

I have been selfish to think that NOW is only a time to prepare for a future of ministry and being used. God is requiring so much more of me NOW. I have been too blind to see that, because I have been looking at me and my own needs. While my intentions have been good – to prepare myself for a strong future ministry – the result has been what I believe is not the direction that God wants me to be walking in.

I believe He will provide (both now and later,) but I can’t honestly say that my belief has completely transformed the way that I am thinking and making decisions. If I trust that God will provide a job later, why am I worrying about finding one now? So I still have some fear and hesitations.

I am not going to get a second job; instead, I am going to look for places where I can be used by God.   Please pray that my belief in God’s provision will help me to make better decisions and worry less.

Love love love, Jewel

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Freedom & Independence Day

I had so so so much fun this weekend celebrating Independence Day with family and friends, and enjoying three days away from the office.  Do I have any pictures to prove it? No. How L.A.M.E.!

I came home to Jessie cooking dinner on Friday after work. We watched almost two hours of TV before going to the campgrounds and spending the evening with friends, walking around the campgrounds and sitting around a campfire. Some friends were so kind to let Jessie and I sleep in their camper.

In the morning, we joined the same friends around the campfire for biscuits and gravy. I bought a few things at Goodwill at the 50%-off sale, and the afternoon was committed to yard work and getting a pretty awful sunburn. I started reading Slumdog Millionaire (the book!) and floated in the pool until dinner. Our family from Ohio arrived just before dinner, and we enjoyed a [delicous!] traditional Independence Day meal - burgers on the grill, pasta salad, fruit salad, corn casserole, sweet tea, etc. (No corn on the cob = SAD FACE.) Mom spoiled us with homemade ice cream and I fell asleep on the couch shortly after that.

Sunday morning, we talked about the consequences in Genesis 3 during Sunday School, and I cuddled sleepy babies in the nursing. After church, I took my cousin (who is transferring to IWU this Fall) on a tour of a campus.  We had chicken noodles and mashed potatoes for lunch, and spent the afternoon in the pool. Everyone gathered around the table to play Nirtz until dinner, and we had another good meal.  Jessie and I joined our campfire and biscuit and gravy friends for a large private display of fireworks on Sunday night, where memories continued to be made.

I slept until the beautiful hour of 9:45 on Monday morning (3 extra hours!) and talked with my handsome fiancĂ© on Skype for an hour. Jessie and I rode our bikes and joined our campfire and biscuit and gravy friends at the Gas City parade and afterwards went to the Gas City Park for elephant ears. I spent the afternoon looking through old pictures that I'm clearing off my computer, and rode my bike to Grandmom's for leftovers. When it was approaching dusk, Jessie, Mom and I joined our campfire and biscuit and gravy friends (whom I love dearly!) and a crowd of other church people for more fireworks.  At the fireworks show, I cuddled Craig and Anna's sleepy baby bean.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." [Galatians 5:1 NIV]

"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." [2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT]

Love love love, Jewel

Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday's Fave Five: July 1st!

Log on at Living to Tell the Story and share your own Friday's Fave. Five!

1. Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman
Since hearing this song for the first time on Monday, I have had to repeatedly remind myself of it's message, especially while I am in the office.

You're picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today.
Matching up socks, sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away.
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips, head out the door.
While I may not know you I bet I know you wonder sometimes "Does it matter at all?"
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you.

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Well maybe you're sitting in math class; maybe you're on a mission in the Congo
Maybe you're working at the office, singing along with the radio
Maybe you're dining at a five star restaurant or feeding orphans in Myanmar
Anywhere and everywhere you are, whatever you do it all matters
So do what you do and don't ever forget to do...

Read the rest of the lyrics HERE. ♥ ♥ ♥

2. Proverbs 3:5,6
"Trust God with your whole heart; do not be a rebel and try to determine what is right or best according to your own insight and understanding. Whenever you make a decision, listen for God's voice, and He will show you which path to take." [Jewel's edit]

This verse both encouraged and challenged me this week in unbelievable ways.  ‎Thank you Lord, for leading. Give me the strength to be obedient. ♥ ♥ ♥

3. Spanish

Spanish. There's something about it that makes me feel warm and capable. Maybe it's the pride I feel when I am able to understand and speak a language that I have worked so endlessly hard to learn. My determination has allowed me to build relationships with a nation of people, to whom I would otherwise be mute. I studied Spanish in the classroom for almost six years, but my real teachers were friends like Pablo, Miguel, Carlos, Abuelo, Geovanni, and others that I have met as I have traveled to Mexico, Honduras, the DR, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico. On Monday, the fam. and I celebrated Aunt Holly's *0th birthday at La Casa Grande; I had a good conversation with our waiter and got free birthday ice cream. It's funny how much people appreciate you speaking their language! ♥ ♥ ♥

4. Swimming - For the first time in 2011, I dipped myself in our pool last night.  It was a beautiful beautiful beautiful day and all morning and afternoon, all I could think about was getting in the pool after work.  Although the sun was nearly set before I got in, the water was still warm and refreshing.  It was just what I needed after a stressful day in the office. THANK YOU JESUS!  I'm looking forward to a pool party and grilling out with family on Saturday evening. [Picture of Carson; credit to Holly Hoffman, family friend] ♥ ♥ ♥

5. Sweet memories of a happy place
Earlier this week I got a comment on my blog from Beth at three20 - a hot young Christian girl in Puerto Rico who lives at the camp where I visited last summer with our youth group.  I have been reminded of so many good memories there...
This view was only 30 feet from my back door! I found that umbrella bench to be a beautiful and holy place as I met with God there during my morning devotions. I remembered His Word as I heard the waves crashing onto the shore as I slept at night.  Happy happy memories. *Dreaming of going to Puerto Rico for my honeymoon.* ♥ ♥ ♥

Love love love, Jewel