Showing posts from April, 2009

As we begin May...

In just a few hours, Josh and I and our staff member Jock will leave for the airport to meet Rick Sawczuk and Scott Lang from Everett, WA. We’ll pick them up and then head up the northern part of the country to visit the home that New Life sponsors. This is fun for me on multiple levels, both the chance for Josh and I to get to spend time with people from home, and it will also mark my first time to this particular orphan home!

(And as I enter my nostalgic Cambodia season, it is especially enjoyable for me to drive through the Cambodian countryside :)

In other news, my husband is an amazing photographer :) I love that he does such a beautiful job of capturing our time here. I wanted to share a few of my favorites that he has taken during this season.

Also, I have been following along with this group's current trip to India and it is incredible to hear their stories if you have time.

Time tested.

One of Josh’s and my favorite Saturday afternoon activities in Phnom Penh has become spending time at T&Coffee World, a great little café that offers fabulous iced coffee for me, and a wildly sweet caramel blended smoothie for my husband :) Not to mention a $1.25 fresh fruit plate. Ah, yes.

Combine these ingredients with free wifi, a good book, and wonderful conversation with your spouse, and you have yourself a most perfect respite from the heat offered by the Cambodian outdoors. As much as we like painting outdoors on hot Cambodia afternoons, sometimes we welcome an indoor setting as a change :)

We found ourselves there this past Saturday after getting our car washed (and for anyone who wonders what a Cambodian car wash looks like, I offer the picture below. The scary part is always making sure you are aligned properly when driving onto the actual car wash area..).

Josh had picked up a copy of “Asia Life” Magazine and read part of an article to me entitled “Khmer New Year Games.” …


This is a video from part of yesterday morning's church service. Part of the ministry at our Training Center (Chom Chao) in Phnom Penh is to teach the girls living there traditional Khmer dance. As you can see they are beautiful, gifted young girls. I sure do love them :)


Today, we offered a ride home to one of the church members at Cham Chao (actually, the conversation was more along the lines of him telling us in English, “Today I go with you” :) And as we approached his house, I was struck by the simplicity of his living situation. I remember someone asking me before I came to Cambodia what I looked forward to in my time here. I responded that I wanted to see the greater reality beyond my own in America.

And honestly, I think it may have happened for the very first time today, after a year of being here. I have been what could be considered nearly “overly prepared” in my approach to Cambodia. I received insight from those living here ahead of time regarding what to expect from the traffic, the climate, the people, the food, the culture, the poverty….but perhaps, although this preparedness has been helpful in regards to adjusting, it has also brought with it a sense of being guarded in my observations, always ready for the extremes of what I might en…

Cambodian Pointing 101 - a demonstration.

If I said to Josh, “Hey, can you show me where that poster advertising FUN is located??”

He would respond by doing this….
And that, my friends, is how you point in Cambodia.

Especially if your hands are full.


As a follow up to the Mac N’ Cheese blog, I will let the hundreds of you (or the one of you..Rosemary) who inquired, know that "Pancake Saturday" never did materialize because we never got to the store to buy pancake mix. Instead, we opted for "Cereal and Yogurt Saturday." So close.

However, never ones to disappoint the masses with our impressive cooking skills, we went to the grocery store yesterday and for the first time perused the mysterious “meat” aisle which beforehand had been elusive (or at least unnecessary).

We excitedly returned home with the makings of what would become our second and most fabulous of gourmet meals to be prepared upon our dingy green portable gas stove (how we love it).

Please, feel free to gaze upon the beauty of our respective creations.

Josh was responsible for the one on the left, a little something we like to call “Hamburgers.” A little ketchup, mustard, some meat tenderizer….I can print out the exhaustive recipe for those who would li…

The cheesiest.

There are many aspects of being home that I've been looking forward to, and as of yesterday I am excited to report that due to the creativity and intelligence of my husband, one of those aspects has been met.

We have discovered a small portable gas stove living quietly in solitude in our home, largely unnoticed and un-utilized. Yesterday, Josh went out on a limb by purchasing a box of Kraft Mac N' Cheese at our local mini-mart. He is a risk taker, my husband, we know this, and he felt confident that this very box of Mac N' Cheese (the cheesiest!) would indeed be our "second dinner" that evening. Actually, we agreed that our second dinner would depend on what they fixed here for our first dinner and how substantial that meal might be.

An hour and a half after Dinner #1, we were ready for the cheesiest concoction we could imagine.

So my husband walked across the gravel driveway outside, purchased a small gas can, and easily figured out how to make it work with our …

"Everything" seems a little steep.

(The view from our balcony tonight)

Mark 12:42-44“A poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.' ”

This verse struck me this morning.

Enough even to actually sit down and process some thoughts regarding it. I tend to notice verses about orphans and widows these days, or hear them mentioned pretty regularly around our office. The Bible speaks frequently about this group of people, and they are one of the groups God fiercely fights for, loves, and longs to see cared for and protected. And He has invited us to share in these same attributes of love, care and protection.

I have grown pretty accustomed to the sights around me in Cambodia, the visible contrast of the affluent and the extended hand relyin…

Record setting.

Josh and I spent the past week in the Kompong Chnang province with a team of international high school students from Singapore who were given the formidable task of painting two of our church orphan homes in a matter of four days. A new team record for sure.
And one that required a sizable amount of U90 paint. The students worked amazingly hard in what is the absolute hottest month of the year in Cambodia. (And, if I am honest, I will say that I tried to choose the indoor part of the painting as often as possible :)
This scaffolding is far sturdier than it appears.
We think...
Sometimes a paintbrush is an unnecessary tool...

We are enthusiastic team leaders. This cannot be denied.Let our expressions of joy and excitement be your encouragement while painting/scraping/sanding in Cambodia.
If you are in the midst of choosing a color for your sanctuary, we highly recommend the U90 shade of bright green.
While I was seeking natural shade from the inside of a concrete building, others were outsid…

Spring Cleaning.

I rememberbeing a kid, maybe 7-10 years old, and finding great delight in joining the other neighborhood kids in a very scientific experiment.
It involved a magnifying glass, the sun, and a few unsuspecting ants...
Now, I think maybe somewhere deep down inside I felt a little bad for bringing such a painful demise upon the little guys, but here I sit years later in Phnom Penh wishing for a GIANT magnifying glass to wipe out the hoard of ants that has all but taken over our peaceful household.
Granted, we know there are far worse things in the world than a few ants, and I try to keep this in perspective. I simply want to get them under control and keep them away from our cereal and trail mix.
And our bathroom sink. I'm not sure I want to know what is attracting them there...
They have taken over things in Ziploc bags, in our fake Tupperware, and as of today.....the fridge.

I wasn't sure why the fridge door was having some trouble remaining completely closed. No food items seemed to…

Dance to the music.

I currently have a credit of $13.77 in my iTunes account from gift cards.

My problem is that I am uncertain of what I should purchase with this sum of money.

So far, I have purchased U2's new CD, a Leeland song, a Kaskade song, and a DeVotchka song (really enjoy them).

I welcome your suggestions :)

Humility with a little whine.

There really is no good segue from flip flop mysteries into the deeper things of life, but I’ll attempt it by offering two thoughts that I came away with while furiously typing notes during the Beth Barone conference (and in turn learned that typing notes as I listen is incredibly helpful to me, as well as masks my poor

“Humility is knowing yourself for who you are in regard to who God is.”

“Whining is not emotions connected to God but feelings gone amok.” :)

Beth asked all of us in the room if we hear God. I don’t know that people are necessarily prone to shoot up their hands at the prompting of such a question.

“Should I admit that I do hear Him? Is that arrogant? Will the people around me raise their hands?”


“Should I admit that I don’t really feel like I hear Him? Can I be that honest?”

It challenged me when she asked, “How can we be in agreement with someone we can’t hear??”

If I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit that while I do pray, many times it is me…

Dynamic Duos.

Because I am now such a consistent, conscientious “blogger,” (strange enough word to warrant quotation marks) I feel the need to offer both the high and low points of my days here in Cambodia.

I am all about honesty and realism in my journalistic efforts, we all know this. In light of that, it is with a heavy heart that I say I have lost a dear, faithful companion who served me well over these past 11 months of living and walking the dusty roads of Cambodia.

It is the other half of what once comprised a most glorious pair of flip flops.

I bought them on a whim before coming here at the store formerly known as “G.I. Joe’s.” When I found out they sold more than action figures I was intrigued…

I walked out of the store with what would become the most comfortable and supportive (in so many ways) pair of flip flops I have ever owned.

Trouble, however, began with the innocent mistake of leaving them in the sun to dry for the morning (because the front right wheel of our car had settled much to…

Saturday, in the park.

As we have now entered our 11th month of marriage, Josh and I officially declared yesterday as perhaps the “most fun Saturday” (we are good with titles) we have experienced in Phnom Penh.
It was a combination of a lazy morning (which for us these days means sleeping in until 7), working out with our fancy home gym, complete with Jillian Michaels’ exercise DVD (she will scare you into fitness), a Target mat, two real weights for Josh, and two makeshift weights for me (also known as a large bottle of Body Wash and another large bottle of Lotion).

We had lunch at the Java with their fabulous & reasonably priced sandwiches, followed by a trip to "City Mart," the magical land of high priced t-shirts, exercise equipment that I don’t understand, and rows and rows of flip flops not made for the feet of a 6 foot 3 American man (Josh, not me, just to clarify).

We perused a sale at Monument Books, I caught up on some pertinent Hollywood news courtesy of their $13.00 magazines (terribl…