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Friday, August 31, 2012

Carpe Diem

I HATE that few things in life cause me reflect on "today" as death and the fear of death.  I HATE that I am so guilty of taking TODAY for granted and not taking advantage of each moment in time.   Today, I am again facing this paradox of life and death - of living abundantly and of abruptly reaching the end.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Below, I have shared my friend Jason Helm's facebook status.  Jason and I attended the same middle school, high school, and university; but because he was a number of years ahead of me, our paths never crossed until May 2010, halfway across the globe on the coast of Mozambique, Africa.  During the two months that I was a missionary intern until his watch, Jason really challenged and strengthened me in a lot of ways.  The news that Jason has cancer has made me... simply put: Sad. And reflective.

Carpe Diem... We all know that two word phrase. Latin for “Seize the Day”. It’s always has been in the back of my mind throughout my life. I believe that because of this I haven’t always fit into the mold that life and people have tried to fit me in. I have always tried to follow after Christ and do what I know is right even if it has meant being misunderstood or unaccepted by others. One of
the biggest decisions in my life was to take my new wife and move to Africa to serve as teachers and missionaries in Mozambique. The ones closest to us understood but many did not. We have been in Mozambique full time now for 7 years and have seen some truly amazing things and would not give up that experience for anything. Among many things we have received two of the most wonderful and amazing blessings in our lives, which are our children. Two truly African - American blessings whom we love dearly. I know at this point that I am rambling and everyone wants to know how my biopsy came out. With every ounce of strength and courage I tell you that my results did not come out as hoped. I have been diagnosed with cancer. This has been shocking and almost numbing to hear the results today from both the pathologist and oncologist that I do indeed have cancer. We will not know the exact type until Tuesday next week, but it is most likely cancer of the Pancreas that has spread into the liver. I will continue to update all of you as I receive info but I want leave you with a couple questions. Are you going through life on Cruise Control? What have you done today to make and eternal difference?

Life… is fragile, is precious, is short!!
Every day is one more page in your life.
Every moment is an opportunity.
Smile and say hello to strangers.
Don’t take your friends or family for granted.
Don’t worry so much over the little things and don’t fight over the little irritations of life.
Say I love you to the people you love.
Enjoy your time where ever you are, at work, at the gym,at the library, resting at your house, in a park …just enjoy every moment.

Please join me in praying for my friend, Jason!

Serving Him,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big City Life

Life is full of adventure.
So full of adventure.

I started writing this post on Saturday, while sitting in an overly-air conditioned Starbucks on Monument Circle in Indianapolis; Titus taking the TOEFL exam a few streets away.  I need to say that I am NOT a city girl - at least I didn't think I was; - however, as I have been gaining more confidence behind the wheel, trust in the GPS, and yearning to see & explore, I am enjoying the city! [Note: EXCEPT DURING RUSH HOUR.]
While Titus took his four hour English exam - and many many many thanks to those of you who prayed for him!!! - I explored the 2 block radius surrounding Monument Circle.

Last Saturday at this hour, sweet husband and I were in Hollywood, California.  Who knows what adventures await us in the next week?

In Hollywood, we walked around Universal Studios City Walk with our friends, Barbie and Ken.  Entrance was free, and there were 30-35 shops and restaurants that we perused. We had iced coffees at Starbucks and over-ate at Hard Rock Cafe

After lunch, we got back in the car and on the 10-lane Freeway to Hollywood Boulevard, where we saw the stars

and the famed Hollywood Sign, which was on my LA Bucket List.

We also had the strange opportunity to meet Muscle Man, who was one of numerous characters standing on the street offering photo ops to tourists. Before Muscle Man, we declined numerous offers, but he was so insistent that I finally consented. What I did NOT agree to was the second pose, where he - in one quick motion - lifts me into the air for a second picture. After he slowly and gently lowered me to the ground, he said, "I do that for a donation." A DONATION!?! Of course he does. I could have used the donation to buy a new shirt... the man was SO SWEATY! Seriously gross.

Can you tell by my face that I was NOT enjoying the moment??? HA. (I can laugh about it now.)

We ended our time in Hollywood at Griffith Park Observatory, overlooking the expansive city of Los Angeles, California

Look forward to one last "LA Vacation" post about the beautiful beach wedding at Venice Beach! ♥♥♥

Love, Love, Love,


Friday, August 24, 2012


Please pray for Titus as he is preparing to take the TOEFL test tomorrow. The TOEFL test is a requirement for him, as a speaker of English as a second language, to begin taking classes at Indiana Wesleyan University. It will evaluate his listening, reading, speaking and writing skills in English. The test will begin at 9:00am and the estimated length is 4 long hours. We’re really coveting your prayers for the test – as this is very important for Titus and he is pretty nervous. Please pray for: clarity, confidence, and concentration. We will receive his results two weeks after the test.  The waiting game never ends!

Serving Him,
Jewel & Titus

Thursday, August 23, 2012

LA Life 1

Earrrrly last Thursday morning, Titus and I caught a jet plane to Denver, then onto Los Angeles, for the reunion with and wedding of my bff Loren Gail Dearth to Mr. Harrie Trotman.

Too much happened to squeeze into one post, so here are the beginnings:

I just cannot even believe how much of the world Titus and I have already seen together - the flats of Indiana, the sunny Florida beaches, the streets of New York, and the hot spots in California!  I feel so blessed to be making so many wonderful memories with such a wonderful husband.

Only minutes after arriving in Los Angeles, we were off to Santa Monica Beach with the bride-to-be and two friends.  We had a pb&j picnic on blankets in the sand and played aggressive beach volleyball.  The sand was soft and pure, the sun was high and bright, and the blankets were spread out for relaxing.  It felt like... vacation!!

Afterwards, we walked along the pier and took in all the sights.  I was most impressed to see an artist crafting and selling caricature sculptures from clay - not your typical chalk caricatures.  We also watched a man "clean" a large fish and then "clean" his teeth with one of the fish's bones.  I would have loved to have had more time to people watch, but our traveling bodies were tired, so our time there was short.

Our time at Santa Monica ended with our toes in the water, and our bums in the sand...

It was a beautiful day!!

Love, Love, Love,

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Gold Medal Husband and a Worthy Wife

After breakfast, devotions, and getting completely ready for work this morning, I crawled back into bed with my husband for a few more minutes of togetherness before leaving for work.  Oh how I love him while he sleeps - hair a mess, face so wrinkled.  Maybe because in his unconsciousness, I can truly see him for who he is - quiet, yet strong; still, but moving; humble, yet so empowered.  I laid my head on his chest - always so warm - and thought, "blessed."

I am so blessed.  My husband is a gift of true grace.  His patience is long.  His sacrifices are many.  His arms are always reaching and his heart is always open.  His love so much bigger than all my failures and shortcomings.  Our first nine months of marriage have not been without hurt feelings and difficult circumstances, but even when my heart feels OTHERWISE, I know I know I KNOW without any doubt that my husband loves me unconditionally and is unselfishly and sacrificially trying to be the best husband and to make me happy. He makes mistakes and wrong assumptions (and I do too! (PROBABLY MORE!)) but he loves me. He really loves me. I hope he can say the same about me.

With my head on his warm, naked chest, my next thought was, "I am the bride of Christ."  Such a beautiful metaphor.

On Mount Sinai, God declared that His covenant was a marriage contract, "The time is coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 31:31)

This covenant was a marriage contract which was sealed with the sprinkling of blood. As we have partaken of His blood and His body, we enter into this new marriage covenant with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our first and foremost responsibility during this betrothal period - our waiting for His return and our eternal union with Him - is to be faithful to Him. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:2,
"For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
Faithfulness is expressed in a life worthy of the Bridegroom. We are to be presented as a chaste or pure virgin.

May I be found worthy in both unions...

Love, Love, Love,

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

1st Family Camp

Last week, my sweet husband and I spent the week in a small, humble, room on the 100+ -year-old campgrounds that belongs to our district of the Wesleyan Church.  More than 100-yeasr-old!  In 100 years on our campgrounds, think of

♥The number of persons called into ministry!!
♥The number of lives committed and re-committed to Christ!!
♥The number of children who heard the message of salvation for the first time!!
♥The number of sins forgiven!!
♥The number of burdens laid on the altar!!
♥The number of relationships healed and restore!!
♥The number of persons healed!!

God has always been faithful to work in mighty big, mighty powerful, and mighty surprising ways on Fairmount Campgrounds!

Since Family Camp 2011, I have been anxiously awaiting experiencing Family Camp with my husband. Family Camp has been a part of my life for around twenty years, and is an experience that my husband has heard much about. He had no idea what to expect, but he very much enjoyed experiencing the Christian Community like he never had before.

Some of my favorite moments included:
♥Lying in bed, beside my husband, listening to an hour-long crazy, loud storm. A muddy campground isn’t necessarily the ideal, but we needed the rain and how powerful the storm was! I loved it!
♥Swimming at Kokomo Beach with my fun-loving husband and eleven crazy children that I love! When I arrived, my husband had 8-10 children lined up on the side of the pool and they were all jumping in one at-a-time in “wave” fashion. It was quite the show! We jumped, splashed, raced, dunked, and did lots of other crazy things in the pool. Riding in a 15-passenger van with my husband, two friends, and 11 children was no less than very entertaining.
♥Cuddling little bodies in the nursery. For at least the fifth year, I was hired again by the nursery directors to run the two- and three-year-olds class in the evenings. Some evenings were harder than others (getting decent volunteers was like pulling teeth!) and some were more fun than others, but every night I enjoyed cuddling Tea, Isaiah, Micah, Hannah, Garrett, and others.
♥Singing praises to Jesus under a tent in the rain. On Tuesday morning, another loud storm rolled across our campgrounds. Just as we started our worship time – 30 bodies gathered under a tent, behind the barn – the rain fell hard. It soon became too much of a “distraction” and a danger to the instruments and sound equipment, so we were ushered inside the children’s barn for the remainder of service.
♥Walking hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm with my husband around the campgrounds during the “cool” part of the day. The beauty of being on vacation was no agenda! We walked leisurely, stopping at various campsites and cabins, and moving at our own pace – slow!
♥Laughs around the campfires. Many of my friends are still getting to know my husband; those he is comfortable with have seen a side that he so often protects – the very funny side! Some of my best Family Camp memories have been late nights around the campfire. Although there were fewer fires, and fewer late nights this year, memories were made!
♥Chats with Christian brothers and sisters. No book, sermon, study, nor devotional can replace transparent, heart-felt, digging into deep subject matter conversations with sincere brothers and sisters in Christ.

On Sunday evening, the last Family Camp service of 2012, the speaker requested that all children's workers come to the tabernacle and bring our children on the stage following his direction. Because I had been in pre-K nursery, I hadn't heard the Message, but his point seem to be to implore parents and church leaders to stand up for the children, to protect their rights, and to increase their own faith that they may be an example and a rock for the children. It was a powerful moment; one that I was glad I could participate in.

The previous morning, I was able to help serve Communion at the family service. Looking back, I am so glad that I was asked to help, as it was a very powerful and formative experience.  How humbling it was as I repeated to each person
"This is His body and His blood,
which were given for you..."
realizing: He lovingly died for each one - each one of His children, for each of their souls.  Humbling, yet empowering, as I offered the Bread and the Juice; symbols of The Sacrifice, of amazing grace, of His broken body, which saved my broken spirit.
Love, Love, Love,