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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Waiting on my prince

Five months ago today, I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, sitting on a rock below this waterfall, talking about life, love, and the future.  I was there with my best friend, Romdenh Chamnol. That day, December 26, 2010, my best friend became my fiance.

I couldn't have dreamed of anything more beautiful.

We're getting married!!!

Despite the miles, the oceans, and the continents that stand between us, our story continues as we talk on Skype and Facebook, making plans for our future together.  I cannot wait!!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Tuesday night I got an email from US immigration and Titus' fiance visa has finally been approved!  I went to bed on cloud 9 and woke up feeling like the morning after my proposal.  So so so excited. Yesterday, I had a worship party in my heart ALL DAY. The visa approval means we are progress to stage two - Titus going to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh for an interview.  That's a big prayer request.

Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Please please please begin praying for the visa interview, which will allow my prince to travel to my homeland - where the next chapter of our story will begin.
Waiting on my prince,
the soon-to-be Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I miss her

My sister is in the Philippines.

Building relationships
Going to the beach
Teaching and preaching
Living like Jesus
and apparently eating Taco Bell!

Meanwhile, I'm at home with my parents... looking for a job... reading books... waiting for my prince charming to arrive from Cambodia and marry me... and missing her!  Do you want to read her blog? It's HERE.

Love love love, Jewel

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Life is full of beauty..."

I had such an awesome weekend!  Friday was the most beautiful day that I have seen since 2011 started in Indiana.  After cleaning my Grandmom's house Friday morning and having a platter of veggies for lunch, I went outside with my sunglasses, a bottle of lemonade, and a good book.  I sat there for two hours and it was the most beautiful thing.  I heard the birds singing. I saw the biggest furriest black and yellow bumblebee EVER.  I felt the wind blow across my face.  I watched the clouds swim through the bluest-blue sky and I watched the grass dance in the breeze.  I walked to the postoffice with mi mama, and along the way, I smelled blooming flowers, freshly-cut grass, burning trash, and burgers cooking in a grill. I was reminded:

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” ~Ashley Smith

Saturday morning, I joined some teens and sponsors from our youth group and we rode our bikes along the Cardinal Greenway.  From Gas City Park down the Sweetser Switch Trail and back, I rode 26 miles.  The Greenway was beautiful!  The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze, and the wildflowers were in full bloom.  When I wasn't singing silly songs with the 7th and 8th graders, I was praising the Lord in my heart - praising Him for a beautiful day and a life of many blessings.  I must admit: I seriously cannot believe I made it back. [In the picture above, I am in the bright yellow T on the far left. Thank you Rebecky for letting me borrow such an awesome purple bike - I loved the basket and the "#1 MOM" lisence plate!]

After a quick shower and a short-lived moment of exhaustion, I got in the car with mi mama and drove an hour to attend the wedding of my dear friend Jenny Campbell and her prince, Juan Ernesto.  The wedding was outside, and with every turn, seeing the darkening of the clouds, I prayed, "Lord, withhold the rain!" (Amos 4:7). It was my first outside wedding, and my first wedding in the rain. Despite the rain, it was a beautiful ceremony.  Jenny looked so so so happy, and I was happy for her.

In 159 days, I'll be walking down the aisle in my ivory dress, and I'll be so so so happy.  Rain or sunshine, it will be a beautiful day. ♥♥♥
Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tired Feet and a Blessed Heart

Last Saturday, I spent my day volunteering with Stamp Out Hunger - an annual food drive in our city sponsored by the National Assocation of Letter Carriers.  For an hour, I followed a mailtruck and picked up donations of food that people had left by their mailboxes.  However the real fun was from 10:00 to 5:00, when I was at St. Martin's Community Center organizing the donated food into boxes.  A few of the volunteers came from my church, Brookhaven Wesleyan, and others came from two or three other churches in our community. There was also a group of volunteers from the Salvation Army.

A man named Shawn came with the Salvation Army and is temporarily staying in their homeless shelter.  I really enjoyed working beside Shawn and I was blessed by his company and encouragement. He is from Los Angeles and since May of 2010, he has been walking across the country "meeting people, hearing their stories, and serving America."  The more we talked, the more I realized how both intelligent and wise he was.

I hope I never forget Saturday's experience.
Now, after that encouraging post, I must get something off my chest. An angry mother called our office this morning and said she wanted to speak to a "live human being." I wanted to ask her, "And what do you think I am??" Apparently a computer-generated response system. She then asked if there were any real people in. I wanted to say, "No, I am sorry, it's the middle of May and it's lunchtime; we are fresh out of human beings." Instead, I called her 'honey' and transferred her to someone who loves dealing with angry parents. ♥

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Laura Story: Blessings

Since I heard this song a few weeks ago, it has been a blessing to me. Listen or read the lyrics below.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bloom Where You are Planted!

I have been thinking a lot about this whole job search thing and I can't stop remembering the phrase,

"Bloom where you are planted."
I am so so so anxious to return to Cambodia and to continue our ministry there, but God has directed otherwise and I trust that He has a marvelous plan for the time that Titus and I will spend learning, laughing, and loving together in the States. As I wrote this note, there is conflict in Cambodia - it's not a physical battle, but certainly a mental, emotional, and spiritual battle - and I am wondering if God is trying to protect me, to protect us (Titus and I).
If I am hired as a server at Cracker Barrel, that is my mission field.  If I am hired by a local day care, that is my mission field.  If I am hired as a Starbucks barista, that is my mission field.  Wherever I go, I pray that by God's grace, I will bloom there.  So I continue looking for job opportunities and I continue applying.  I believe that my God is Sovereign (Isaiah 45:9) - that He has complete authority - and I trust that He is directing my job search.
Love love love, Jewel

Monday, May 09, 2011

Thoughts on Monday morning

I have a hard time complaining about so much rain rain rain when I remember the Japan tsunami, tornados in the South, the flooding Mississippi River, and other recent natural devastations. I might not enjoy soggy pant legs, but by God's grace, I know my home and my family has been fortunate. I am grateful.

Today's goal: Buy toothpaste. Since Jessie took my toothpaste to the Philippines, I have gone through my stash of travel-sized toothpaste tubes and I am currently sharing a tube with my parents, although not sharing a bathroom. An annoying inconvenience that I can easily take care of if I can get to the store.

I have been slowly and gradually unpacking from college and cleaning my room - organizing, trashing, and donating - for over a week now. Last night after church and an ice cream sundae with friends Janna and Jessa, I made huge progress in my room. While putting things away, I found our old N64 Nintendo and I set it up later in the evening and played a races in Mario Kart.  So many childhood memories still packed away in drawers and closets. ♥♥♥

That's all I have for now.

Love love love, Jewel

Friday, May 06, 2011

So... now what?

I may not know all the details of my future, I may not even know what I am doing as of September 1st, but I know that my God has a plan and He has always been faithful to guide me and to reveal His plan to me in His timing. I currently have a part-time job on campus - the same job that I have had since I graduated from high school - but I can only remain there until the students return for the Fall semester.

So I am looking for another job - part-time or full-time. Titus and I are applying to work with YWAM for long-term ministry in Cambodia. The first step is attending a Discipleship Training School. So if we are accepted and all our funds come in, we will start classes in Louisville, Kentucky in September 2012. [AND I AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT.]  There is also the option to start in March 2012, but we have decided to enjoy the summer as a newly married and adjusting couple before we make that commitment.

I want a job where I can love people and I can spend time in prayer. If that means cleaning a church, that would be awesome. If it means holding babies, that would be even greater. I have applied to be a server, a secretary, a barista, and a daycare worker and I am still looking. Right now as I am waiting and preparing for the mission field, I have no idea what God's intentions are for me but I am praying and trusting that He will open and close the right doors, leading me to His will.  This summer is both a time of much excitement and much questioning, and that's all I have to say about it now. :)

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Word for the Underclassmen: What I Wish I had Known/Done Earlier...

I have finally graduated and my college career is over for good.  When I was told, "Enjoy it; it will go by fast," I thought, "Yeah right, four years is a long time."  I admit - it went by fast.  I really cannot even believe it.  I vividly remember moving in as a freshman, meeting my roommate, going to my first class, and starting my job on campus.  Now it's four years later and I have learned so so so much.  There are certainly things that I wish I had done or known earlier, and I would regret it if I didn't pass on a few words of advice to my friends who are still in college or are preparing to start this Fall. So, here's to you!

Campus Activities and Involvement:
- Try everything at least once - Crema, Exalt, FNL, prayer walks, the homecoming parade, basketball games, soccer games, etc.
- Look into student organizations that interest you - Business as Mission, WCF, etc.
- If you loved NSO, apply to be an NSO leader.
- Participate in the Finals Midnight Scream.
- Mentor a child through the Marion Boys and Girls Club.
- When the weather is nice, don't stay inside.

Interaction and Relationships:
- Interact with your professors outside of the classroom. Your professors are an incredible resource and will completely change your entire college experience [for the better] if you let them.
- Don't spend hours chatting on facebook when you can be chatting at McConn or by the fountain.
- You will find community on IWU's campus when you look for it.
- Don't be too busy, bored, or conceited to listen when people are imparting words of wisdom. Listen when people are talking!!

Classes and Books:
- Never buy brand new textbooks and never buy without comparing prices. I have saved $100's by purchasing my books on Ebay and Amazon.
- Sometimes you can get by simply skimming or not reading a book... sometimes you cannot!  Figure it out.
- The Bible is the most important book you can read. It offers incredible amounts of wisdom and insight.
- World Civ with Mark Smith is the way to go!
- If you can, take the following classes:
   * Basic Christian Doctrine (Chris Bounds)
   * Christian Spirituality and Experiencing God (Jim Lo)
   * CS Lewis (Charles Bressler)
   * Inductive Bible Study (Steve Lennox!!)
- For INT majors, take more Biblical literature classes than what is required. If you plan to be a missionary, you must know Scripture and know it well.
Don't be stupid and save all your research and projects until the end of the semester or just before it's due.

Other: (These may be what I would emphasize the most!)
- Realize that your education is a huge investment into your future, but realize also that your grades and performance do not define who you are.  Who you are becoming is worth more than your diploma.
- Make a college bucket list and re-evaluate it at the beginning of every semester.  Four years will pass quickly, and you will never get to experience anything like college ever again.
- Take pictures of everything.
- If you have an idea or a dream, share it with someone and pursue it!
- Your legacy is more in who you are than in what you do.
- Above all, God is faithful. Seek His will and trust Him.

Love love love, Jewel