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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wants and Haves

Yesterday, I had a painful realization that I have been wanting too much and I have not been giving enough consideration or reflection to what I already have. None of the things that I want are bad, but I am guilty of being ungrateful for what I do have.

Praise the Lord, I woke up with a thankful spirit, and I believe that is due to going to bed with a thankful heart, and praying a prayer of thankfulness. So, since yesterday evening, I have been desperately trying to erase the wants in my mind and engraving a list of haves on my heart. Here are just a few:

- I want more sleep ……………. I have a soft bed, air-conditioning, and warm blankets that allow me to sleep well each night. I also have a dad who gets worried when I don’t wake up with my 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd alarm; the same dad makes me coffee every morning before work. ♥♥♥
- I want a better job ……………. I have a good job that offers me 40 hrs/wk, with people who ask about my life and make me laugh – people I have really enjoyed getting to know. ♥♥♥

- I want more time with Jessie before she moves to New York for one year ……………. I have two more weeks, and I am going to take advantage of every day with her. ♥♥♥

- I want Grandmom to be cancer-free and healthy ……………. I have a God who is Father and Healer, and has faithfully brought Grandmom through much sickness, hospitalization, and therapy in the last two years. ♥♥♥

- I want my fiancĂ© beside me ……………. I have confidence that God will open the way for Titus to come to America in a few weeks. ♥♥♥

- I want a vacation ……………. I have a 3-day-weekend with a list of fun, stress-free activities planned, including: camping with friends, sitting by the fire, time with family from Ohio, a 50%-off sale at Goodwill, reading a book, watching fireworks, grilling out and swimming, and sleeping in. ♥♥♥

As I post this, I am on my way to lunch. I have leftover chicken salad and a bowl of fruit; a blanket for a sunny picnic in the soft, green grass; my Bible, journal, highlighter, and pen. My sister is on her way to Kokomo Beach, where she will relax in the lazy river, and get her tan on. However, tomorrow, she will be at home, writing a paper for grad. school, and I will be receiving a big paycheck (and saving it for a luxurious honeymoon. ♥♥♥)

Love love love, Jewel

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Fave Five: Pretty Things

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

1. Earrings from the Philippines - My sister brought me back these super cute purple pearl earrings from the Philippines this week. ♥ ♥ ♥

2. Bracelet from the Philippines - Another filipino souvenir from my sister. I love love love this. It's brass and has these awesome little teal gems on it to create beautiful flower designs. ♥ ♥ ♥

3. Noodle Bowl from Goodwill - I bought this ceramic "ying yang" bowl and matching spoon at Goodwill for super cheap. Love it!  It will be perfect for rice and noodles. ♥ ♥ ♥

4. Hand-powered Mixer from Grandmom - Thank you to my Grandmom for supporting the baking needs of my future husband and I. ♥ ♥ ♥

5. Sacred Influence - This book by Gary Thomas is so so so good.  Seriously.  It's about how God uses wives to shape the souls of their husbands. Quote: "A woman who commits herself to God and who learns to act with his wisdom is a fully empowered woman who is embarking on an exciting and life-changing journey."  And that's only in the introduction!   ♥ ♥ ♥

Love love love, Jewel

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TODAY's Blessings

Yesterday afternoon I found myself overwhelmed by "His new blessings every morning." It was such a good day! I went to bed feeling blessed, loved, grateful, etc. I am reminded of xonghan song that I learned in Mozambique last summer. The lyrics are translated,
Even if my mother leaves me, Jesus is still treating me well.
Even if my health leaves me, Jesus is still treating me well.
Even if my goats leave me, Jesus is still treating me well.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
And I think of my own life. Grandmom may have cancer, but my Sovereign God is Father and Healer.  Finances may not always be sufficient, but God always provides. My fiance may be on the other side of this big planet, but by God's grace, we will soon be reunited. Etc. Etc. Etc. ♥♥♥

♥ Jessie is home! Yesterday afternoon my twin sister flew into Indianapolis after seven long weeks in the Philippines [long for me, short for her.] It was so so so good to see her. I could have hugged her all afternoon in the food court at the airport, but I think she had enough was anxious to see if her luggage had followed her. HA! I am definitely looking forward to the next three weeks with her before she moves to New York for one year, and everything changes. ♥

♥ Yesterday morning in Central Indiana, the clouds were dark and heavy, and rain poured upon the land. Often times we refer to the "storms of life" has difficult, dark, and depressing circumstances [and I can understand the metaphor,] but I love storms [the "weather kind!"] We have certainly had a fair number of storms this season, and I am so glad to have a picture perfect storm-watching window in my office. Storms make me feel little. They give me energy. They remind me of God's power. Thank you Jesus for your protecting hand on Mom and Grandmom as they traveled through heavy rain and flooded streets.  ♥

♥ I received two very special pieces of mail yesterday: A note from the National Visa Center regarding the stateside approval of Titus' fiance visa petition, and a letter from my bff and penpal, Loren. The note from the visa center informed us that our information has been forwarded to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh Cambodia, and Titus will be contacted within a week with instructions to schedule his interview. Loren wrote to me about her new job in Houston, and although Texas is much much farther than Cincinnati, I am super excited for her. Loren and I graduated together, went to Cambodia together, walked to Wal-Mart in a blizzard together, etc. etc. etc. and I know she will be awesome as a live-in foster mom for babies and young children down in Texas. ♥

♥ I have begun the search for an apartment, which is really exciting!! I looked at two last Saturday; both were itty bitty [affordable] one room apartments, each with a list of pros and cons. I have one super ideal prospect, and I am praying that the current tenant finds a job elsewhere, making the cottage available. I am grateful for friends who have given leads on spaces for rent, and offered old knives, tvs, etc., and even bedrooms! ♥

♥ My job in the cemetery might usually be boring, always too quiet, and pay only minimum wage, but as I get to know my co-workers, I like it more and more. I attended my first staff meeting this morning with all the area NSW staff. There were presentations on finances, conduct, performance, vacations, etc... weird "grown-up job" sorts of things. We were even taught how to use a fire extinguisher. My position is only temporary, but my intentions are to "wow" them into keeping me until I have to voluntarily leave for Discipleship Training School and eventually Cambodia! ♥

Ok, that's all for now! I encourage you to sit and think of all the ways God is blessing you today. It truly is a life-changing [perspective-changing at least!] habit.

Love Love Love,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's Fave Five: Today has been weird

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

1. Payday - Yesterday was my first payday at my new job.  That was a good feeling!!  When my supervisor, Jeannie, gave me the check, she said, "Save this for your honeymoon."  I think I will. ♥ ♥ ♥

2. The guy in the basement who is fixing our water - As I write this, I am in quite a predicament. I stayed up late to talk to my sweet fiance, and I woke up early for a new extensive morning routine before work. It's also day five of a long work week. I am tired. I need coffee. I just discovered that our plumbing - taking no one else into consideration but its tired self - decided to quit working... today of all days.  I have been known to hold it for three days (in Mexico, I was convinced our outhouse was producing tarantulas by the dozen;) however, coffee runs through my system quicker than a nose in Spring.  I'm finishing my second cup, so let's hope the plumber in the basement finishes in the next five or I'll be visiting the neighbor's barn. ♥ ♥ ♥

3. Scripture - I will admit that I am still selfish and sometimes have a negative attitude, but I believe that it is by the daily reading of Scripture that Christ is conforming me into His image.  Earlier this summer, I made the committment to read through the Bible (starting at the beginning of both the Old and New Testament.) I admit that I have made this commitment before [numerous times] and quit before I ever a significant amount. I am muy glad to say that I am farther in my commitment than I have ever been!! I do not say that with pride in myself, but to testify that God has revealed Himself to me in awesome awesome ways and He is doing a new work in me! ♥ ♥ ♥

4. Lunch Breaks - I love my lunch breaks. I love packing my lunch, having a picnic at the park, and reading on the swings after I have eaten. Sometimes just getting away from the office for an hour feels like a vacation! Yesterday, a co-worker invited me to lunch and she paid! What a treat. We had a lovely time getting to know each other. ♥ ♥ ♥

5. Rummages - In preparing for Titus' arrival to America, I have begun collecting goodies for our apartment. We won't be living in America long and we want to live simply, but we have a few needs and I am hoping that I can collect a few things at a good price this weekend. Anyone want to join me? ♥ ♥ ♥

Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Dying Business

Arlington National Cemetery - Credit: National Geographic

I thought I worked at Grant Memorial Park, but apparently I work at Grant Memorial Lake; it's been raining and raining and raining all day. I was hoping for stronger storms because I have the perfect storm-watching window in my office. The clouds were very eerie earlier today, but it has only produced wind, rain, and a few quiet thunder claps.

Working in a cemetery seems to be a dying business. It's only 11:00 on Wednesday and I have already finished my Wednesday and Thursday responsibilities.  So... now what? I brought my ipod today, but it's so so so close to dying.

This morning, I read the obituary of a woman who lived to be 104-years-old. Her first husband died only five years after marriage; more than twenty years later, her second husband died after only six years of marriage. Yet somehow this woman managed to have five children, 45 grandchildren, 84 great-grandchildren, and twelve great-great-grandchildren. I imagine she has some unbelievable stories! She was also one of eleven children. I wonder how many nieces and nephews she has!

I splurged and packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my lunch today.  I haven't had much time for exercise, but I have been pretty faithful to my strict diet [except for Sunday; we won't talk about what I had at the church picnic.]

Sorry I don't have anything more exciting to share -- such is life in a cemetery -- though every day is one day closer to seeing my fiance!
Love Love Love,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's Fave Five: My Weaknesses

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

1. Babies – Whether it is my friends’ baby or a stranger in Wal-Mart, my heart pitter-patters when I see a baby, especially a dark-headed baby [although I am partial to my blonde-haired neices.]  When  am shopping, I love looking through the baby clothes [and Jessie says, "Ugh... no!!!"] I love love love babies.

2. Peanut Butter Pie – Even with my wedding dress alteration appointment quickly approaching, I could not say no to peanut butter pie. I’m craving it right now!!! I haven’t had a piece in weeks. I have a little more control when it comes to peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter cookies, and peanut butter fudge… but not much. I love peanut butter.

3. Jack Johnson - I can never be in a bad mood when I'm listening to Jacky J.  He's great.

4. Books - I cannot pass by a book sale without stopping. I never go on a trip without a book. I have almost two full shelves of books that I have never read, but have good intentions to read. I’m currently reading three books: Follow Me to Freedom: Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins, Radical by David Platt, and The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam. I love books.

5. Romdenh Chamnol - Few things can keep me up past a certain hour of the night; Romdenh Chamnol is one of them. He's my best friend, and I can't wait to marry with him, live with him, and share my life with him.
Love love love, Jewel

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Life of Little Adventure

I wish I had something more exciting or meaningful to write about.

If I were my sister, I could write about my exciting adventures on the mission field in the Philippines. I could tell you about visiting a church in the dump, sleeping on the beach, speaking at a Compassion International Youth Camp, trying fried crickets, and living in a house with three generations of Filippino Christians.

If I were my mother, I could write about my new car, and how after 22 long years, I am no longer a "mini van mama." I could also tell you about my recent trip to Boston with a friend from work.

If I were my sister Joni, I could write about my new purchase and becoming a "mini van mama." I could also write about how 13-month-old Mallory Jo is entering a new stage of mobility: walking!

I also have friends right now doing missions work and internships in Jamaica, Albania, the Middle East, Guatemala, and soon, Uganda. Others are working at fun summer camps across the country. I am sure they have exciting stories.

Me? Today is my third day at my new job in a little office at the cemetery. The majority of my day passes while I wait for the computer to refresh and load a new page. During today's lunch break, I went to a local Christian bookstore to read a few chapters of David Platt's Radical for Sunday School. [FYI: If you do not damage or remove from the store, they will not make you pay for the book! How great!! :)]

Despite a present lack of adventure in my life, I am grateful - grateful for the sun and for airconditioning, for good books, for an incredible church family, for a Skype date with my fiance last night, for Joni's great assistance in planning my wedding, for challenging and encouraging Scripture, and much etc. etc. etc.

Love love love, Jewel