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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I have the cutest nieces ever.

Mallory (1-year-old next week!) and Leah (3-years-old in July)

and I'm excited to have another cutie in a few weeks.  Poleak and Malout are having a baby girl!

Love love love, Jewel

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blessed on Easter Weekend

On the afternoon of Good Friday, twin sis Jessie and I went over to our friend Kellie's house to play hang out, play games, and evidently eat carrots.  Kellie is one of Jessie's classmates in the social work program.  We are graduating on Saturday, and Kellie already has a house and a job already.  Way to go Kellie!  I already know my post-grad plans, but I'm still trying to figure the 'how' and the 'where' parts of the immediate future.

Friday night was wonderful for three reasons. 1) I have been craving an Arby's regular roast beef, and I finally got one.  2) I saw the new Tyler Perry movie, Madea's Big Happy Family, in theaters and it was really funny. 3) I went with Jessie, Janna, and Jessa - three people I adore.  Madea is a popular pick whenever us four J's have girls night.

Since Grandmom's critical health problems this summer, Jessie has been cleaning her house every weekend and because Jessie is soon leaving for the Philippines then to grad school in New York, I am inheriting the job.  I value this opportunity for two reason: 1) It is paid, and 2) I will be spending an extra two hours with Grandmom every week.  On Saturday, Jessie trained me.  Grandmom isn't a hard lady, but she wants everything done in a certain way - every object has it's place, and her homemade cleaner has a strict recipe.  I'll be shadowing Jessie for one more week, and then I'm on my own!

In the last two or three years, my family has developed a new tradition. [By the way, my family is big on tradition, which will become interesting once one or two daughters begin celebrating the holidays in far away countries.]  Older sis Joni and bro-in-law Jeff attend a church that has Saturday evening services. So, on the Saturday evening before Easter, we attend Geist Christian Church together.  Afterwards, we returned home, we watched the babies open their Easter baskets, we ate dinner, we took naps on the floor, we played Rage, and we ate ice cream.

Sunday was a really awesome day.  Our morning Easter service was very powerful and the Spirit was really moving.  I enjoyed good fellowship with dear dear friends after the service [see below] and a quiet afternoon of reflection after a wonderful meal with my family.

I am back at school now and preparing for my last four days on campus before graduation.  Sad. Sad. Sad.

Love love love, Jewel

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Thankful today that He is risen!

Man hung Him on the cross and laid Him in the tomb, but the grave could not overcome Him and He walked out alive!  I serve a risen Savior!!  My God is alive.
Thankful and blessed, Jewel

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Beginning of the End

The end has finally begun.  I have both anxiously anticipated and dreaded what will happen in the next two weeks.  Sometime after 10am on Saturday, April 30, I will be walking across a platform in a ghastly black robe to receive a simple piece of a paper - a diploma.  That piece paper represents many things. It represents things learned, papers written, research presented, and hours and hours of work.  It represents tears of frustration and stress, and the joy of finally realizing what I want to do with my life and what God is calling me to do/be. That paper means that four years of disciplined study has come to an end and I am graduating. Yesterday, I attended my last chapel.  I attended my last class. Looking at the weather, I may have spent my last afternoon reading in the hammock outside.

Graduating - it's both a happy and a sad circumstance.  [That's normal right?]  I am excited to be finally finished with school and classes and coursework, and excited about the prepared and empowered feeling that I have to [with God's grace] fulfill my purpose and follow His will.  However, I am so so so sad to say goodbyes to friends and professors, and to the place that has become home for four years.



Hanging out

Christmas parties

Rebash parties

Ice skating

Energy drinks




Ugly Dress Parties

Missions trips

 Girls' weekends

Spring break

Going to the park

Haunted corn mazes and hayrides

Celebrating birthdays

Game nights


How do I cope?
Love love love, Jewel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sweet Blessedness

I am blessed... so so so blessed. In my senior capstone class this semester, one of the assignments was to craft a personal mission statement.  One of the lines in my personal mission statement reads, " direct attention to God's love and powerful activity in the world..." and part of that is accomplished by helping others (and myself) to recognize how blessed we are. I am blessed... so so so blessed.

Part One of a list that is to be continued::
1. In so many perspectives I am "poor", but on a world-wide scale, I am so indescribably wealthy. When and where that benefits His Kingdom, I am grateful. Did you know only 8% [EIGHT PERCENT!] of people in the world eat 3 meals a day?!

2. I was born into a Christian family. As a child, I heard about Jesus and I had Christian role models. My heart breaks for those who have chosen another way, but especially for those who know no other way. We believe so deeply what we were taught as truth from birth and it is a difficult decision to believe something otherwise, especially a way of life that is contrary to culture. What a gift of love that God placed me right where I am. He is good... so so so good. Please pray with me for the Buddhists in Cambodia and for others who were born into families of other faiths.

3. I can read. I feel so blessed that I can read the Living Word and meet God in Scripture. So many cannot read, and so many do not have a copy of God's Word in their language.

4. Technology. There are a few people many many many miles away that are very special to me, and various forms of technology have allowed us to stay connected and involved in each other’s lives. No, it isn't the most wonderful circumstance, but praise Jesus for Skype, email, Facebook, and telephones.

5. People who pray.  God's awesome power is released when His people pray.  As you are faithful in prayer, Jesus moves mountains and raises valleys, He heals and He provides. THANK YOU!

6. I am thankful that Yahweh, our God, is a personal and relational God. I recently had a great conversation with an old friend who asked me how I can feel so excited and at-peace about living in "a country like Cambodia." I had the opportunity to share with him the story of how the God, who had spoken to Abram (Genesis 12:1) and to Joshua (Joshua 1:9) came and spoke to me and asked me to go. Then I got to share with my friend the incredible miracle that God is still talking and by His grace, I am still listening. It is not a stagnant, commanding dictatorship, but a love relationship.

I am blessed... so so so blessed .The more I open my eyes and my heart, the more I realized how blessed I am.  In the last few months, I have been beginning each morning with the prayer, "Lord, reveal Yourself to me today and help me to be always conscious of you."  He is faithful. I am blessed... so so so blessed.
Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Summer Bucket List

For a number of reasons, this summer will be new and different.  As of April 30th, I will be a college graduate.  For the first summer in eight years, I will not be traveling overseas and thus far I have no plans of traveling farther than about sixty miles.  I am engaged and in addition to a wedding, future planning now includes balancing [hopefully] two work schedules, making a budget, and saving money for food, water, and electricity.

For maybe eight or ten days of my life, I have lived at home as an only child.  I have a twin sister so I am not accustomed to ever being alone; HOWEVER, this summer Jessie will be spending seven weeks in the Philippines, and only only three weeks after returning home, she will move to New York to start grad school.  Being the only child [by "child" I mean "person other than Mom and Dad"] at home will be an interesting experience... I don't know if that will aid in successfully completing the following points on my bucket list, or if it will become more difficult.

  1. Spend much time with family and friends - especially my nieces and the women at church who offer so much wisdom and encouragement - before I make the big move to Cambodia.
  2. Exercise at least twice a week - I was really disciplined in this area last summer - even going to the gym at 6:30am before work at 9 - and I intend on continuing the discipline.
  3. Run a 5k race for a good cause
  4. Volunteer regularly - Where? I don't know yet.
  5. Grow a vegetable garden - I envision equipping Cambodian pastors and others to use gardens as a sustainable means of income generation and I must start by training myself, and I'm so excited! Any advice or instruction??
  6. Learn something new every week - How to grow a garden, how to emboss my wedding invitations, how to cook khmer food...
  7. Start a walking/exercising club - If my work schedule would permit it, I would love to join other women from my church to walk together in the morning(s).
  8. Join a Bible study - This semester, I have been leading two Bibles studies, but school will soon be over and I am really going to miss studying the Word with my sisters in Christ.
  9. Read at least one book each week - In the last four years I have accumulated 1-2 shelves of books that I have never read! Pleasure reading is like food for the soul. Laying out by the pool with a good book? Yes, please!!
  10. Lose weight - I bought the perfect wedding dress three days ago and I won't mind paying for alterations IF it means the dress is too big in a few months.
  11. Spend a significant amount of time writing - "Writing a book" is on my bucket list, not pleasure in being published, just have the pride and satisfaction of leaving a legacy in written form 
  12. To be continued...

Since I won't be returning to school in the Fall, I'm not sure how to define "summer."  I have an on-campus office job through August, and I am applying at a daycare that I hope will employ through the summer and keep me during the next school year.  TENTATIVE plans are to return to Cambodia with my husband in June 2012 and attend a six-month discipleship training school to prepare us for long-term ministry with YWAM.  Trusting God... we'll see!

Love love love, Jewel

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I said "Yes!" to the dress!!

At 1:00 on Saturday, twin sis Jessie and I met Loren at McConn coffee shop, then we got in a borrowed mini van (THANK YOU Henrys!! It was so wonderful to be able to ride together and only buy gas for 1 van instead of 2 cars!!!)  We picked up Janna and Jessa, then my mom, then drove an hour to sister Joni's house in the Indy-area.

Unfortunately, my fifth bridesmaid, Stephanie, was unable to join us this weekend, and I missed her very much.  Loren is graduating with me in 3 weeks and moving to LA.  Jessie is going to the Philippines for 7 weeks, and will only be home a short time before moving to NY - so I was lucky to get 4/5 together before those girls go separate ways.

We looked around at two dress stores before my appointment at David's Bridal.  I had fully prepared myself to allow Jessie, Joni, Janna, Loren, and Stephanie to choose any dress they like in the same color and material; HOWEVER, and I am blessed with wonderful bridesmaids that all liked the same dress! Actually, the dress we chose was everyone's second favorite, but they knew it was my favorite and insisted that it's my wedding and my choice.  I'm totally not used to this!!

Jessie, Joni, myself, and Jessa
Loren, Mom, and Janna
The girls convinced me to look at bridal gowns since we were already there and the store would be open a while longer.  We made an appointment for 40 minutes later, and walked across the parking lot to Panera Bread, where we ate dinner outside (beautiful day!) and chatted.

After dinner, we walked back and I picked out 4 or 5 dresses.  The first dress that I tried on was my dream dress from the David's magazine; however, I didn't feel so dreamy wearing it.  It was one size too large and it looked better on the model than on me. I wanted to give up. I was sure that it would take hours and I was already a little tired, but I agreed to try on another. I liked the second dress better, but didn't love it. I liked the third dress better, but it still wasn't right. We agreed that it was too big, so Jessie went to find it in a smaller size. She brought back a similar dress in a smaller size and it was aboslutely, wonderfully perfect (and she takes pride in picking it out.)

I knew it was the dress that I simply must wear to walk down the aisle and meet my groom. I can't wait for him to see me wearing it (but not a day before the wedding!)  When I decided that it was the perfect dress, I had not yet looked at the price tag. When the attendant was putting my information into the computer and writing the bill, I still had neglected to look at the price tag.  Realizing this, I started holding my breath. After plane tickets and visa expenses, my wedding budget is small.  Praise the Lord, the dress was more than 50% reduced AND well below my budget!!! I feel like I bride now... I'm just missing the groom!

Afterwards, we walked across the parking lot again to Coldstone Creamery and celebrated with ice cream. It was an incredible day.  I am grateful for the time spent with Mom, my sisters, my bridesmaids, and my friends.  Love them!  Thank you Jesus for overwhelming me with blessings and your loving-goodness!

Love love love,
Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol to be

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Japan is hit again

Please continue to pray for Japan as they were hit only 30 minutes ago (local time: 11:30pm) by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, triggering powerful tsunami warnings. So sad.  Read Psalm 46 below.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Praying for Japan, Jewel

Monday, April 04, 2011

Joshua 24

Since hearing a sermon on Joshua 24 last week, my thoughts have been nearly consumed with messages and reminders of God's faithfulness.  Our God is good - so so so good.  In Joshua 24, Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says..." and Joshua continues to share a message with the Israelites, reminding them what God had done.  Joshua reminds God's people of His covenant with their ancestor, Abraham; how God split the Red Sea and brought the Israelites from captivity in Egypt; how He provided for them in the Wilderness; how He gave them victory over their enemies, saying, "You did not do it with your own sword and bow;" how He gave them possession of their enemies land, etc.

Verse 13 reads: "So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant."

Everyday, the sun rises and I take it for granted. Everyday, I have the strength to get out of bed and walk and I never think differently.  Everyday, I have the opportunity to read the Bible - a book that men gave their lives to make accessible to common people - and I have not been grateful enough for their work.

If I wrote a chapter on how God has proven faithful in my life, Psalm 103:1-5 would be a suitable introduction:

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

I would write about how God opened the door to Honduras when the door to Mexico was closed. I would write about how God always places the right people in my life at the right time. I would write about how He healed Grandmom. I would write about how God provided the opportunity for me to go to Africa. I would write about how He has provided financially so that I could attend a private Christian school k-12, and a wonderful Christian university. I could write pages and pages...

In conclusion, Joshua calls the Israelites to "fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness."  How could I do any less?
Love love love, Jewel

Friday, April 01, 2011

April Fools: Friday's Fave Five

1. Osaka Sunrise

2. Summer
It's coming.  The weather might not be getting warmer, and it may have snowed two days ago, but summer is coming! Only 30 more days.  I don't have exciting plans to go places; I have exciting plans to stay, to spend time with people, to exercise, to earn and save money for my impending future, to read, and to run.

3. Joshua 24

In the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Joshua, Joshua recounts God’s great works on Israel’s behalf. God has a history of being faithful. God is as faithful as the sunrise and sunset.  In this twenty-third chapter of my life, I have spent much time this week recounting God's faithful, provision, guidance, and protection in my life.

4. Truett Cathy
In 2003, Indiana Wesleyan University established the World Changers Society to recognize role models who have exemplified the concept of world changers and whose lives can serve as an inspiration to future generations. Each year a World Changers Convocation is held at IWU to induct a new member into the Society and celebrate his or her accomplishments. A life-size bronze bust of each inductee is placed on permanent display in the Society of World Changers Hall of Honor located in the rotunda of our library.
This S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, was inducted and the service was both inspiring and memorable.  Cathy turned 90 only 2 weeks ago, and his life and business exemplify hard work, humility and biblical principles. He is a member of First Baptist Church and has taught the same Sunday School class (7th grade boys) for more than fifty years. Cathy and his wife have also lived in the same humble home for more than fifty years. Among other comments worthy of mention, Cathy said during his speech that he was "privilege to live during the Great Depression." An incredible man and a true inspiration. Thank you IWU for recognizing Truett Cathy and inviting him to share with us.

5. "Twin baby boys have a conversation"

I hope everyone had a great week and has a blessed weekend! Log on at Living to Tell the Story and share your own Friday's Fave. Five!
Love love love, Jewel