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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Four Months of Marriage

Happy 4 month anniversary to my husband - my best friend - Romdenh Chamnol!

4 months of bliss. 4 months of cHalLEnGes. 4 months of learning, and growing, and LOVING.  Marriage is both the hardest and happiest experience of my life thus far.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for us in the months and years ahead.  *Grateful that I can experience it with my husband.*

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.."
[Matthew 19:4-6]

"There are three things that amaze me -- no, four things I do not understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman." [Proverbs 30:19,20]

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior." [Ephesians 5:22,23]

"The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" [Genesis 2:18]

"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy."
[Hosea 2:19]

Love love love,
Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Covenant of Love

Around two weeks ago, God reminded me in an almost audible way that He has promised Himself to me.   He reminded me that as Titus promised himself to me on our wedding day, so my God has promised Himself to me.  The closest and most intimate relationship that man can experience is that of HUSBANDandWIFE, and the Lord wants this kind of relationship with me! 

As a newlywed, my vows and my groom's vows are fresh in my memory.

"...I Chamnol, chose you Jewel, to be my bride, my love, my life, my ministry partner, and my wife. I promise you with all my heart to take care of you, to support and protect you, and to provide for your needs spiritually and physically.  In spite of the differences between cultures, language, food and weather, I promise you, I'll never leave you alone nor abandon you. I'll be with you until death set us apart. I thank God for creating you and putting you into my life. I'll be faithful to you and I love you forever."


"I Jewel, choose you Chamnol, as my best friend, my love for life. I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, and my most tender care. Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you. I promise to love you, and to support you. I pledge to respect your family, your culture, and your talents. I pledge to give you strength for all of your dreams.  From this day forward, you shall not walk, minister, or sleep alone. My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home. As I have given you my hand to hold, I give you my life to keep. Please wear this ring as my promise of faith, patience, and love, for the rest of my life, from here to eternity."

So also my God has promised Himself to meI read this passage in Hosea 2:19-20 this morning, and I am humbled - humbled by His covenant of love with this unfaithful bride, whom He will never abandon nor divorce.

And then I'll marry you for good—forever!
I'll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.
Yes, I'll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.
You'll know me, God, for who I really am. [The Message]

How thankful I am that God loves me and continues to call me back to Himself. He is so faithful - so so so faithful.  I am blessed to be called 'His'.

Love love love,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Handmade with Love

There is something about 'making things with my hands' that I love - decorating cookies, making cards and journals, scrapbooking, painting, gluing, etc. For me, handmade anything communicates inspiration of some measure or significance (I will admit that I not a very creative person, but I am easily inspired – by coffee mugs, by trees, by words, etc.) There is thought and attention in handmade things; there is love in handmade gifts. My husband made me an ‘I love you’ sign for Valentines Day and hung it from balloons in our bedroom; it meant MORE to me than any gift he could have bought with all his money. What I love most about handmade things is the little details that either reflect the artist or have great significance. My wedding had lots of these little details...
[You will notice most are unconventional twists on traditional wedding concepts: boquet, pew bows, ring bearer and flower girls, etc.]

Some handmade with LOVE details:

My very beautiful and cherished bouquet was made by a very special and talented friend, Chele, using BROACHES [and some jewelry] from relatives, friends, and thrift stores.  I wanted something uNiQuE... that had significance.. that I could KEEP!  Some of the pieces first belonged to my great grandmothers and grandmothers. A very dear friend - who had a significant role in helping my wedding "come together" - bought me the green butterfly in Florida.  My favorite broach, the pair of elephants (near the bottom,) were a gift from a stranger online who was moved by my story.  Chele and her husband and their 7 children even enjoyed the 'adventure' of browsing local thrift stores to "fill out" my boquet, which now sits on a dresser in my hallway, and I admire it every day

The wooden 'R' above was an alternative to the traditional guestbook; it hangs on the wall in our living room and is a visual reminder of all the people who came to support us and to celebrate with us on our wedding day.  Lying on the same table are the 300 wedding programs that I finished and printed around 10:30pm the night before the wedding.

Five friends and I spent two entire evenings cutting and folding more than 80 of these tissue paper pommanders.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Suzanne, Andrea, Janna, Jessa, and Hayley!!  While the first two hour were very stressful and involved visiting four stores (on opposite sides of town... during a HORRENDOUS thunderstorm,) I really enjoyed this time of planning, decompressing, eating homemade crepes, and laughing with these girls. 

My handsome "ring bearer" "sign bearer" carrying what I believe is the best wedding planning choice I made: a handmade with love sign that reads: "Here comes the bride" on one side and "Happily ever after" on the other.  I really think my guest loved this too.  Ashton walked in right before me revealing the side that said Here comes the bride, and he walked out right before Titus and I revealing Happily ever after.  My friend Dale cut this and the 'R' for our guestbook; one of my bridesmaids painted both bronze; and my art teacher/family friend did the calligraphy.  This sign is also in our living room.  LOVE IT!

My centerpieces for the reception tables... 10 months before my wedding, I knew exactly what I wanted these to look like, and I was so so so happy when they were finally put together on each of the tables.  All summer I collected sticks (and they had to be just right) and kept them in a huge pile in my parents' garage.  For over two years, I collected Starbucks frappucino bottles, thinking I could do something pretty with them.  I spray painted the sticks bronze, put river stones in the bottom or the bottles for weight, and arranged perfectly all the sticks in the glass bottles.  I put gold, bronze, green, and blue silk scarves (from Cambodia) around the bottom of each bottle, and hung our matted engagement pictures from each of the centerpiece "trees".

My beautiful wedding cake - sky blue for my groom and gold for Cambodia with an indian-inspired henna pattern (which I love.)  The two "kissing" elephants are symbolic of a two things: first, in honor of my granddad,  I collect elephants from my worldtravels (the story of my elephant collection); elephants are a symbol of "royalty" in Camobodia.  The dragonflies are also symbolic; when Titus proposed on a rock beneath a waterfall, there were many gorgeous blue dragonflies flying.

Finally, for our card box, (because I couldn't find Granddad's green antique suitcase) I used my great grandmother's (now grandmom's) antique sewing machine case.  I had a sign that read "Cards & Love Notes" pinned to the lid (which apparently fell off in this picture) and put our traditional Cambodian engagement picture in, and the renowned elephant (which now belongs to me) that granddad bought in India.

Anyways. That's all for now. I hope I didn't bore you with the little details.

Love love love,

Monday, February 20, 2012


Sweet Motherhood

Belly Laugh
My Husband

Irresistable Asian Baby

Baby Legs
Yawnin' Baby
Dreamin' Baby

Cuteness Factor

1st Moments of Motherhood
Love love love,

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Best Friend

Romdenh Chamnol: He's my husband and my best friend

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our first Valentines Day together.  I came home from work [30 minutes early... yay!] and found 10 big helium balloons in our bed, a big homemade "I love you" sign (I love that he does homemade!) and a sweet card hanging from one of the balloons.  I had no idea what to expect from him, and I was beautifully surprised.  I made him a "52 Things I Love About You" book made out of a deck of playing cards and a a magnetic Scrabble board to hang in the kitchen (for sweet love notes.)  Then we dressed up and went to Hong Kong Chinese Restaraunt.. had Starbucks.. and watched Biggest Loser with my mom. :)

At dinner, Titus asked me what other "firsts" we still have to experience together.  Experiencing so many things together for the first time has been fun and interesting

- our first road trip (to New York to meet Jessie)
- our first trip to the grocery store
- our first date!
- the first time Titus saw "the changing of leaves" (he thought the colorful leaves were flowers!)
- the first time Titus held the trashcan while I threw up (haha!)
- Titus' first extended family gather
- the first time Titus saw his breath
- Titus' first Thanksgiving and his first Christmas in America
- Titus' first taco
- moving into our first apartment
- our first walk
- etc. etc. etc.

And there are still so many more things to experience!  I am anxious for the "bigger things" but trying to recognize and appreciate all the little things that are happening daily.

- his first Independance Day
- our first Family Camp and Married Couples Retreat together
- celebrating our birthdays together!
- our first vacation
- our first summer
- our first BABY!
- etc. etc. etc.

Life is interesting.  Life is not always fun, but I love it!

Love love love,
Mrs. Romdenh Chamnol

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Wedding

Shutterfly baby photo books are the perfect way to preserve your baby's precious moments.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Psalm 139 LOVE

O Lord, You have searched me and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord...

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will give me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light will become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.

For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
[Psalm 139:1-4, 7-16; NIV]

I am not only the daughter of this big and awesome God - the King of kings, Savior and Creator of all - I am His creation. He put me together with
strong hands and a heart full of love. I am the child of a heavenly father. He created who I am, my inmost being. He gave me emotions that can feel His love, strength, joy, and peace. He gave me LIFE! He made me in His image - wonderfully and fearfully. I am His and He is mine. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT! I am His and He knows me -- better than I know myself, and better than anyone ever will. He knows my ways, my thoughts, and my words before they are a reality. Nothing, not the darkness nor the depths, can hide who I am from Him. He goes with me -- into the Heavens or into the depths, on the wings of the dawn, and to the far side of the sea. There His hand will guide me; His hand will hold me.

His love is inescapable.

God, I am sitting still in Your love, Your goodness, and Your beauty. I am amazed at who You are, and what You have done -- what You have done in me and what You have done through me. May I see myself in You, and be who You created me to be. I am Yours; all that I am is Yours. You made me wonderful, and You gave me life. I give the deepest part of who I am to You. I am Your child -- may I be honorable, obedient, and worthy of my maker.

God, I cherish You, my Maker. I trust your hand to hold me and guide me in the darkness and the far side of the seas. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Search me, try me, and guide me to everlasting life in You. Lord, I make this my prayer, that I may be eternally and gratefully Yours, for all the days of the life that You have given me.
Eternally Yours,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Marriage, Missional Living, and Mountains

Friends, Family, and Supporters,
     Much has happened since that last time I officially wrote to you all. Some of you have been a part of our life’s most recent happenings, others of you may be wondering where in the world we are and what we are doing. We have decided to pursue American citizenship. This will allow Titus to freely leave and enter the United States without hassle; it removes the threat of being denied a visa to enter the United States; it waves all further increasing visa/paperwork fees; etc. Obtaining citizenship is a long (~3-5 years!) and expensive process, and the decision has been very difficult to make; however, God has been speaking to our hearts, reminding us (I especially need this reminder!) that "…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Yes, there are still days when I yearn for 'peace which passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7,) but I rest in Him and listen to my husband’s confident/encouraging word. I do not know what the next 3-5 years will look like. I just know that right now we are waiting, preparing, training, and seeking.
     Through prayer and fundraising efforts, we continue to be distant partners in the ministry in Cambodia that Titus started before he came to America in October. We wish that we could do more; we wish that we could be there now. Romans 10:14 says, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" We are happy to announce that the University Students Fellowship has received funding to rent a house and open a girls’ dorm. More than four students have gotten saved and are being discipled, and the leaders are currently preparing for a Valentine’s outreach this Sunday, at which they will talk about God’s love. Our prayer is that God will continue to bless the ministry that our friends are carrying on in Cambodia, and that He will continue to teach and strengthen us to do His work, wherever we are.
     February is ‘Missions Month’ at our church and we have already enjoyed hearing two powerful missionary testimonies. In a January preview to Missions Month, Pastor Bob preached a sermon entitled ‘Missional Living’ - a lifestyle of adopting the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the Gospel message. I had been thinking about this very idea for weeks prior to Pastor Bob’s sermon, and I have felt much conviction. I have a heart for the world – for international missions – but I am embarrassed to admit that I’m a little uncomfortable trying to find my place being a missionary at home. I ask you to join us in prayer that God will direct us, opening our eyes to opportunities to share His love and to evangelize, and especially strengthening us to be obedient. We are grateful for His conviction… and His patience. :)
“No one can say: ‘Since I’m not called to be a missionary, I do not have to evangelize my friends and neighbors.’ There is no difference, in spiritual terms, between a missionary witnessing in his home town and a missionary witnessing in Katmandu, Nepal. We are all called to go—even if it is only to the next room, or the next block.”(On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale

     Other highlights from life together in America thus far:
On October 29th, Titus and I stood in front of God and almost 300 witnesses to commit our lives to each other and our marriage to Him. We were blessed to have a wonderful wedding party of family and friends who traveled from New York, Maryland, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas to support us. To those of you who were able to come, thank you again so much for celebrating with us. It was a beautiful day – one that I have recollected many, many times – that was enhanced by the presence of friends and family who love us and have invested in our lives. Although no members from Titus’ family were able to attend, we were blessed by the presence of Cambodian friends, ministry partners, former and present missionaries to Cambodia, and others who represent a love for/knowledge of Cambodia.
     Since Titus arrived in America four months ago, he has grown to love my family and my family has grown to love him. It is a blessing to me that – although the adjustment to food, weather, church, language, streets, customs, etc. have been very, very challenging and uncomfortable – He has genuinely found himself “at home” with my family. Many and sincere THANKS are due to our family and friends who have reached out to him and tried to welcome him to America and into their lives. Thank you also to those who have given furniture, kitchenware, and other household items to help make our little block apartment our home.
     After five months of working 50+ hours/week at three jobs (Cracker Barrel, Lakeview Christian Pre-School, and “janitoring” at Brookhaven,) the Lord has blessed me with a full-time position in the School of Business and Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University – a job with health insurance, a more-than-sufficient salary, paid vacation days, free tuition, and more. Titus and I both plan on taking advantage of the blessing of FREE TUITION, and while Titus is still praying about which direction to take, I am already looking forward to starting Biblical Literature classes this summer.

     In conclusion, I want to ask for your prayers for two requests that have been on my heart. First: Last week, our friend Soklai– a faithful member of one of the Wesleyan churches in Cambodia’s capital city – died suddenly and unexpectedly. When he died, Soklai was sitting in a chair, playing with his young daughter. Second: My sister and her Filipino fiancĂ© have begun the process of applying for a fiancĂ© visa to America. Titus and I saw God move big mountains during our application period, and I pray that Jessie and Aldean’s testimony will be the same: that their faith will increase.
     As always, thank you. Thank you for reading, for supporting, for praying, for loving, and for giving. We pray that this message finds you happy, healthy, and strong in the Lord.
Serving Him,
Titus & Jewel

Friday, February 03, 2012

Love & Marriage

Here's to matrimony, the high sea for which no compass has yet been invented!
~Heinrich Heine(whoever he is)

My husband loves me. He really loves me.

Husband when he 1st saw me on our wedding day
 Our first three 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.

Love love love,