If you visit… (hint hint)

Hey, fellow friends! Haven’t blogged in a (I might as well say) long time! I was the one (supposed) to keep ya updated, I guess Khmer (and Khmer school) really does take a whole (brain) life-time!

Today, I made a list of things to do with visitors… (if there are any…)

1. Go to Tuol Sleng (Khmer Rouge museum)

2. Killing Fields. (the actual Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge took place.)

3. Phsa Toul Tompoung. (Russian market, one of the Khmer markets, three blocks from ‘phteah knyome’ ‘my house’ in Khmer)

4.  H.P.C. (The Hard Places Community, where trafficked kids can have a safe place for the morning and afternoon)

5. Kingdom RESORT. ( I went there for the first time at our ministry organization retreat last weekend. Pool, free breakfast and all green, pink, purple and blue)

6. Go on fun MOTO RIDES!!! (Dad finally got the money for a moto thanks to Uncle Tug)

7. Take walks.

8. Go to REALLY good restaurants. (Daughters’ cafe, L’orchidee, Sumatra, and Sisters.)

9.Go to the mo-at tunle. (riverfront)

10. Maybe a ‘salang jee’ (Boat ride on the Mekong River.)

11. Enjoy your time in Cambodia! (if you want, you can stay at my house or we know a really awesome guesthouse ‘Green Pasture Inn‘)

We have one week off school in October, one week off in November, and two weeks off in December! Just in case you want to come visit us! (Hence, this blog post.) Thank you all for offering your time to come visit us!

At Khmer school, we have quite a few peeps in our class, I like all of them the same, but, Ruth, (a girl in our class) we’ve been to her house, we hang out her with husband, (Ben) and she’s a fun person. Livi wrote a blog post, about raising money for her to go to module three and four (The next two modules) with us, cause they don’t have the money, but these are the modules to learn how to read and write khmer, who wants to miss out on that? Not me, I’ve been waitin’ for this time to come.

And if you don’t want/have the money to support, I’m writing a fiction book, I don’t know if I’ll finish though, it’s not my talent finishing books. And Livi is writing a book too. So, in maybe…  six months, if you don’t like readin’ books, you better start liking them! (;

Question for you: Which of the things I listed would bring you to Cambodia?

From Nina.

p.s. Follow my blog to keep updated on life in Cambodia as a kid! (plus teenager and adult)

Settling in to Cambodia.

The main part is done, getting a house. And I’m used to taking a wet floor shower,  (No bathtub, but actually me and my sisters bathroom has a bathtub which is really rare for Cambodia.).

Going to the Toul tompoung market (you can call it the Russian market), its mostly stalls and crammed and kind of outdoor with a tin roof and BLAZING HOT in the middle (just picture it kind of like a maze) 6 days a week.

Drinking water from a 5 gallon…….Thingy full of water with a little pusher button like a water fountain except it’s blue, clear and on your kitchen counter! Washing your ink black feet every single day (we wear flip flops outside plus its dusty and theres no carpet, just tile) with a little faucet in your bathroom and scrubbing your feet with a washcloth!

And I love waving to our 7 years old little neighbor from our balcony:)! And sleeping with my sisters in a king (ish) sized bed while you have to share a little quilt with a blanket stealing sister! But so far, so good!

But sometimes you just have to live with missing people and family, or having a cold because you can’t find your pillow and have to sleep flat or your hair getting all ratty because of dust and wind. You win some you lose some:)!

I went from looking out to an american neighborhood to “Africa” (Abbey lane) to Phnom Penh, Cambodia! And if I miss people I just think “Maybe sometime they’ll come visit us!”

And I just saw a pig! But in your mind your probably thinking ” the pink little curly-tailed pig” but I’m talking Brown, Cow-size monster in the middle of the courtyard of toul tompung ( Its the area we live in) High school right at the end of our street. 3 by 3 inch snout and about 6/7 feet from head to bottom and 1 and a half feet wide! Just chilling and staring at the kids that go to the high school!

Cambodia is just a huge fun fiasco!:)

And thats one point from Cambodia, Hope you come soon my friends!

5 weeks to go!

5 weeks to go! Ready or Not here I come Cambodia! I just think that’s NUTS!!!!! I remember when it was 91 days until we leave for Cambodia! Well, first of all, I’M EXCITED! Second, Time is FLY-ING by! And all the things I’m excited to do are:

1. Eat delicious food.
2. Have fun.
3. Go on a boat ride with the Prek Eng kids.
4. Go on an AIRPLANE, DUH!!!
5. See my friends.
6. Go to Punlok Thmey & Prook Thmey.
7. Never see snow again ( Except when we come back and visit).
8. Best and last of all……BE IN CAMBODIA!!!!

When I think of all the stuff that I’m gonna do in Cambodia I always daydream. And I love Dragonfruit and Rambutan which are REALLY good fruits in Cambodia and when we went there last time we had them a lot, so I’m excited for that but mostly I’m excited for the people in Cambodia that I know and I soon will. And I’ll be probably be writing blog posts in Cambodia once a week.

What do you want me to write about while I’m in Cambodia?

meet Sarah! {peeps with passion}

This interview is with our friend Sarah. She blogs here.

How did we meet? 

I joined your mom’s 7 study on her blog  a few years ago. Then, we discovered that we live very close…and met in person!  I met you at your house when I came to visit.

I know you are passionate about Honduras. How did that happen?

I went to Honduras on a short-term mission trip in May 2007 with my church.  We helped build a medical clinic in San Pedro Sula at Faith Home, but I didn’t see much of Honduras.  The next two times I returned to Honduras… my church packed a shipping container with toiletries, clothing, medical supplies – even some toys and bikes!  On both of those trips, we went into villages and distributed the items at different church plants.  Then, a women’s ministry organization, Women of Purpose, asked me to go along on their trip to Honduras as a blogger.  While there, I blogged about their conference, Revive – a four-day retreat for women missionaries living and serving full-time in Honduras.  While there, I met my best friend, Jen Wright, who had previously lived in Honduras for seven years.  I’d return to Honduras many times with her.

My passion for this country increased with each visit.  I’ve been to San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, Comayagua, Santa Ana, La Moskitia, and a few other places.  And while they are each different, I Iove them all the same.  The people of Honduras have a  reverence for and love of community/family that defied explanation.  I learned very quickly that if I simply sit at their feet, observing and listening, I could learn much about God, myself, and their culture. The more I visit, the more I feel at home.  I have many friends there now for whom I pray daily.  They’re all gifts to me.  

 3.What does a mission trip to Honduras look like to you ( You know we want to go with you someday )?

it’s very different depending on with whom you go and for what purpose.  My most recent one included…building 16×16 houses;  making and distributing food bags; teaching teen moms to crochet; we visited homes and prayed with them; we visited a public hospital and gave cancer caps to children who have lost hair due to chemotherapy; we served missionaries already living and serving in Honduras by completing projects for them

When I go with Women of Purpose, we hold a four day retreat for women missionaries serving there.  It’s like serving the servants, giving these ladies a time of worship and teaching in their native language

4. What has God done in your life this year?

He’s pruned me, leading me closer and closer to Him through very difficult circumstances.  He’s taught me to lean on Him only  – in my weakness, He is strong.  I’d like to think that I am in control sometimes, but I am not.  I have accepted that while I am responsible for me, I am not in control of me.  God has provided for me ways both big and small – even when I thought He wasn’t listening.  He is good.

 5.What dreams and goals do you have for the future ( For Honduras and otherwise )?

I’d like to choose one place/ministry in Honduras and invest specifically in that area.   My family and I desire to consume less and give more.  I have never been a minimalist…but I would like to possess less and less stuff, so we can enjoy more and more time together.  The two seem to go hand in hand.  My daughter, Hannah, is in the process of starting her own ministry  – Sew Kindness – and I plan to help her with it too. 
Thank you so much Sarah! You’re so awesome!


meet pam! {peeps with passion}

This next Peeps With Passion interview is with our friend Pam!

1.Why do you love to run?

 That’s a great question.  I haven’t always loved it.  It was my goal in college to run from my college campus to the Foster Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan and back.  It would have been 7 miles round trip but I couldn’t do it.  I think my longest run in college was 3 miles.  Back in 2005 I went to cheer for my friend Michelle who was running her first half marathon.  It was such a fun atmosphere and I just, on a whim, decided I wanted to try a half marathon.  I ran my first half in 2006 with the support of that same friend Michelle.  Around mile 10 I remember thinking it wasn’t my smartest life choice.  I kept talking myself through the last 3.1 miles and I remember comparing it to watching a 30-minute sitcom and that if I could watch TV for 30 minutes I should be able to run 30 more minutes.  A year later I ran that same half marathon ago, the Indianapolis Mini marathon.  This time I ran it solo because Michelle wasn’t able to run and I shaved 8 minutes off my finishing time.  I was kind of in awe of that.  I also thought, “Hey, I’ve run 2 half marathons, maybe I should try a full.”   That was in May of 2007 and in September of that year I was at a fundraiser with my mom for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (my mom lost her mom to Leukemia).  There was a table about an organization called Team in Training – a fundraising marathon training program where you raised funds for the cancer research and they trained you to run a full marathon.  I took some information about an upcoming information session.  I went to the session a few weeks later and called my mom afterward to tell her that the next event they were helping people train for was the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN.  I remember my mom telling me then that she would support me and go cheer for me if I went to Nashville.  Well that was it, I signed up, spent every single weekend with a group of people running crazy amounts of miles and hearing about their personal stories and motivations and somewhere along the journey I fell in love with long distance running.  One of my teammates from my Country Music team is my good friend Elaine.  She and I have gone on to run two other full marathons together and a bunch of half marathons that I have lost count.  Long distance running is good for my mind and heart.  I love being outside, love being reminded of how I am physically able to run and that’s not true for everyone, and it is a time for me to think, pray, and clear my head.  I have had real encounters with Jesus when it has just been he and I running.  So, to answer a simple question, I love running because it is one of my ways to connect with others and with God.

2.Tell us about Tutoring at Abbey Lane.

I love that you are asking me like you don’t know about it.  🙂  I was so nervous to start tutoring.  Until my first time at Abbey Lane I had never talked with anyone from Somalia.  It has blown my mind to hear kids talk about moving from Somalia, to Kenya (most likely to a refugee camp), and then on to Ohio.  It’s kind of common place among the Somalia kids I have met and it makes me realize how I take for granted the stability I have here.  I can’t imagine living in a place where there is so much unrest that me and my family move away from our country.  My good friend Abdulfatah and I hang out almost every Tuesday night and we read stories about Paul Revere, Thomas Adams the inventor of bubble gum, or Butch O’Hare (you know the famous fighter pilot and the namesake for the Chicago O’Hare airport).  When we aren’t reading we are practicing long division or doing speed drills with multiplication facts.  It’s so much fun and a highlight to my week to go to Abbey Lane and tutor every Tuesday.  When I’m helping out with the registration/check-in process I use my rusty old spanish to talk with the families who speak Spanish at home and I try to make them feel comfortable and welcome at the World Relief apartment.  Through this rusty Spanish, I’ve become friends with Yasmin, a lady who is originally from Mexico.  I’m so excited that she invited me over to her house to be conversation partners and me work on my Spanish and she her English.  We just started texting each other last week and she invited me to join her family for dinner this week!

3. How did you become a part of the Taviano family?

Hmmm…it has been sly on my part…I’ve just worked my way in.  I don’t even think you guys saw it coming.  Man, it is crazy to think that before Sanctuary we didn’t even know each other but then I stalked your mom and dad on the internet – your dad’s 1 Photo per Day and your mom’s blog and the next thing I know I was coming to your house, playing games, eating pizza and ice cream (pre-vegan days) and now cauliflower and broccoli.  I remember when I had to work so hard to keep straight you and your sisters.  So funny now to think about that.  So, I can’t pinpoint a specific date but I am so grateful to be a part of your family.  I love you guys!

4. What has God been doing in your life lately?

God seems to be up to something in my life.  I recently started working through the Storyline stuff by Donald Miller to find my subplot in God’s story.  This kind of goes along with Pastor Rich’s sermon on creating a Rule of Life.  It’s interesting to plot out some of the major points in my life where I walked through a doorway and my life will never be the same and see how God has been there all along.  Most recently God has been bringing to mind the word of ‘hope’ and reminding me of the hope I have in Christ.  As you know, we went to the Crescent One Day seminar about sharing the hope we have in Christ with Muslims and it struck me how not everyone has hope.  I mean, I know that not everyone believes in Jesus but I guess I hadn’t really thought about the fact that there are people who go through life without having anything to put their hope in.  Tonight I just noticed that the Crescent Project’s tagline is “Hope Worth Sharing”.  So, I guess you could say that God is reminding me of my hope in Jesus and that this hope is so worth sharing and I am called to do just that.

5. And my favorite question! How do you feel about going to Cambodia with us on our next trip?

How do I feel?  – I’m excited and nervous all at once.  I went with you all to see the Pink Room documentary about a year ago and then recently we all watched the CNN documentary “Every Day in Cambodia” together.  I find myself wanting to know more about this place and these people that have captured your guy’s hearts.  Sometimes I also find myself wanting to not think about such horrible things like human trafficking and the extreme poverty there.  I keep thinking about the documentary and how those mama’s sold their kids because they were so far in debt and the money they could get for their daughters was just too much to turn down.  I can’t even fathom this.  I want to go to Cambodia to meet your friends and also I want to not shy away from doing something because it makes me nervous.   So that’s a little how I feel…there’s more but I don’t have any words for those feelings yet.  🙂

 Thanks for interviewing me!  You’re so much fun and so creative, Nina-Bus!

meet ali! {peeps with passion}

This is my first interview for Peeps with Passion. you can find out more about PwP here.

Meet Ali Hooper!

1. How did we meet?

We met at Vista. Before your family followed God’s call to Sanctuary, our families went to church together. I will forever remember you as the four year old who taught herself to read.

2. What are some things that your passionate about?

I love love. I love receiving love. I love showing love (even though I’m quite terrible at it a lot of the time). And I love witnessing others experience love. In fact I watch a Welcome Home soldier video almost every single day, and I cry every time. I just love to watch others when they are overcome by love. I’m silly overwhelmed that Jesus loves me (oh, Nina, I’m quite a mess), and it is my greatest prayer that everyone would know the love of Jesus.

3. You’re living in somebodys house right now. tell us about the people who are living in your condo.

By God’s grace, we have been given the opportunity to allow a family to live in our condo temporarily. They are a beautiful Pakistani of five (their baby girl, Abigail, is six months old with pierced ears and curly black hair. I melt into a puddle whenever I see her.) They had to flee their country because they were under severe persecution. You see, this family loves Jesus. And they boldly tell everyone they know about Him. But in their predominantly Muslim country, they are not permitted to share the Gospel. Multiple times they were literally under fire as persecutors attempted to set their house on fire. Though they did not want to leave their country (they want to share the love of Jesus no matter the cost), God decided to move them to Ohio. And so in November of 2013, they arrived in the United States with three children and three bags. Their story is all sorts of remarkable.

4. What country would you like to visit someday and why?

I would love to visit Kenya. Because of a relationship established through our church, I have a friend who is a pastor in Kenya. It would be a dream to visit him and his family one day.

5. What dreams has God given you for the future?

I would like to write a book. Right now I have three small children at home, and it is difficult for me to find uninterrupted time to write. And so I pray that maybe during another season, my circumstances will better allow me to dedicate time to writing. Only God knows.

Any last words?

Thank you again for this opportunity. I adore YOU! And I adore your most precious family. MWAH!!!!!

Thanks Ali! If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed for Peeps with Passion let me know!!


Peeps with Passion

About 30 minutes ago i went on a date with my mom to Panera, and we were thinking of stuff to do when i am bored ( i’m bored a lot because it’s winter ), so my mom said ” I’ve got a really good idea how about you do this blog interview called Peeps With Passion” so Peeps With Passion is going to be a series and i’m interviewing people who are passionate about different countries or helping people or a hobby  ( And if you have a passion for a different country or something else write a comment with what your country is or what your passions about )! if there is somebody you want me to interview, comment who that person is.

money for cambodia

we are giving money to the boys center in cambodia and this is how we are earning it. we are selling boots, my sisters are making braclets, and im talking about cambodia.

im not very good at making crafts so one of my sisters said i could talk about the boys center with my words on my blog and thats what my mom does.

this is some of the things the boys center needs. money for clean water, money for snacks, money to pay the staff, money for a tuk tuk driver, money for electricity and a lot of other stuff.

click here if you want to donate.

thank you for donating

this is what i’ve been thinking lately. this is what happened when i went. when i went right when we landed in ohio i really wanted to go back and thats what we’ll happen if you ever go.

cambodia was awesome

cambodia was so cool. i loved it there. but i do not i repeat do not want to go in the spring (because that’s there hottest seoson). but the bad news is that if i move there i will have to. because i heard a story that when my dad and mom went my dad had to like change three times A DAY! so that’s why i don’t want to go in the spring. and also in winter its like maybe 90 to 70 that is maybe right. i know its crazy.

we went to  the orphanage and on the boat ride with the orphanage and went to the boy center and monkey business with the boy center(its a place where you can play in a bounce house and can eat there).

cambodia was a very poor place. and when we went there we helped them and even when we are in america we can still help them. and i also want to really go back.

do you have any questions for me about cambodia?

homeschooling is great

Nina bloggingso far this is my favorite year of school. if you’ve never been homeschooled you should. i don’t care if it would be like  all the way up too coollege but you should. oh yeah if you are a kid.

my sister is making me do a book report this is how you do it. i read a book  for each month and if i don’t finish it in that month then thats my book for the other month. and i at least have too have at least two books for the school year. oh yeah 100 page book.

we’re watching alot of discovery atlas’s on netflix and all kinds of stuff. if you’ve been to my blog you probably seen the pic of me peeling tomatos. that was for a tomato smoothie. have you ever had one? it also had blueberrys and bananas so you don’t really tast the tomato.