Word of the Week Wednesay 3/29/17

Hi,I chose that greeting because it is short, like our word of the week:
Language: Khmer 

Part of Speech: noun 

Pronunciation: Sahm-mote

Translation: Sea
I’m on retreat this week in Kep with my CamFam and we are having a great time! Sun, hiking, forests, and the ocean (or sea!) However, that means moments are fleeting and I can’t spend too much time explaining. Have a great week and talk to you next time! 
Keep shining,



Word of the Week Wednesday 3/22/16


So, this week, I really struggled to pick a word. Not because none came to my mind, but because too many did. In going through this decision process, I then decided to stick with English this week and use a word that encompasses most of the others.


Language: English

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: ˈstȯr-ē

Definition: an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

This week I am participating in a storytelling workshop at my site placement. Not only that, but if you are an avid reader of this blog (or know about my time here in Cambodia), you know that I attended a storytelling conference last September. Funny enough, this is run by the same organization. Simply the Story hosts workshops all over the world and continually tries to teach about sharing the Gospel through story. Although the workshop this week is literally the same workshop as the one I attended in the fall, this time the entire thing is presented or translated into Khmer.

As I compare my two experiences in this workshop, I keep finding ways that I have grown in the past six months. Last time I stared with some people chose to tell a story in Khmer. I was lucky to understand Keenyom (the word for “I”.) Their language put me in a state of awe. Now, I still cannot comprehend large portions of what is being said, but I can pick up enough words that I get the gist of the story. Khmer still puts me into a state of awe, but now I can appreciate more deeply just how rich and beautiful words can be in the language.

At the same time, I also realize that the changes between then and now are not only changes, but are now part of my story. The story of my life in Cambodia. The story of the people I meet, the food I eat, the songs I sing, the conversations I have, the memories I make, the words I learn, and the moments I cannot fully express. Cambodia’s story is formed by the people here. God’s story is intricately woven throughout the people here. My story is richer because of the people here. Stories are important, and every new day I spend here makes me want to hear more tales from the people around me. Each of them are happy, sad, excited, scared, angry, joyful, nostalgic, mundane, holy, or somewhere in between, and I want to know every one of them. Share your stories, because they deserve to be told.

Keep Shining,


P.s. While enlisting help for the word of the week I had a few fun suggestions from friends that I think deserve honorable mentions: Chickens, Neeyay (Khmer for talk/say/tell), and meticulous.

Word of the Week Wednesday 3/15/17

Top of the morning to you!

Welcome to another wonderful Wednesday! Although St. Patrick’s Day is this Friday, I thought it should be incorporated somehow. Fun fact, “top of the morning to you” is an Irish greeting, and a normal response would be, “and the rest of the day to you!” However, that phrase is a freebie for your Friday festivities! Today we are looking at the word….


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: adjective

Pronunciation: t’mei

Translation: New

Now, while this word is not new to my vocabulary, I found it strikingly relevant quite recently. As mentioned about a month ago, I am now in the second half of my year here is Cambodia. I am astonished every morning when I look at the calendar and realize that March is already here, and a quarter of what we were just calling the “new year” is almost over. Now, I often try not to dwell on the time I have left here because it makes me quite sad and distracts from the now. We were warned when coming into this year that there will be days that become monotonous, or routine. This is even more likely the longer we are here, but I realized this past week that “new” things are still happening.

I am still trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people, learning new words, and thinking new thoughts. New is a word that we often take for granted. It is the dress we just bought and want to show our friends, it is haircut we try when the old style wasn’t doing it for us, it is the occasions that can be memorialized, or highlighted. But what about all the new things in our everyday life that we may not remember as being new six months from now?

For instance, I learned the word t’mei months ago. I cannot tell you the exact date, or even what made it stick in my increasing Khmer vocabulary. What I can tell you is that the day I learned it, you better believe all my hostel friends knew it was new to me. Learning a new word is exciting, and makes me want to use it so that it really sticks. And now, new is old, and I’ve moved on. But THAT is what we shouldn’t do. Rather, we should realize that the small and big moments that are new today and every day are still important when their shiny paint is faded.

Just like that pair of shoes you never want to stop wearing, that song that is always in your head, or that friend who never had an expiration date, new things become old things that make up our life. So, celebrate that new piece you just painted along with your crumbly clay cup from second grade. Rejoice in the comfort food you ate as a sick child while also finding new foods and flavors. Remember the new today, and then remember it again in 2020.

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 3/8/17


Though a bit behind the mark due to technical difficulties, Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrate your mom, aunt, grandma, sister, cousin, niece, wife, and friend while reminding them that they are valued and important every day! Our word of the week goes out to all the women in this world, and those celebrating with them! 


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: Noun

Pronunciation: S’drey, but often pronounced Srey

Definition: Woman or women

I don’t think an explanation is really needed here, but one note. Khmer does not have a way to differentiate plural from singular in many cases. That means that saying a sentence in Khmer such as “the women have power” also means “the woman has power.” (They don’t conjugate verbs either.) This is a reminder that together we are strong, and find out identify as women. But we are also individuals in that group. We are part of the whole, and a whole part of one thing. Just some thoughts on a day like today! 

Keep Shining,


Word of the Week Wednesday 3/1/17


Today’s word is serious, and fun at the same time! What a great combination!


Language: Khmer

Part of speech: Noun

Pronunciation: Pehj

Definition: Ash

So, first the serious reason for this word, today is Ash Wednesday! How fitting that we begin this Lenten season with a word so key to today. From dust we came, and to dust we shall return.

Now, the silly reason comes from last week while I was away on LCC retreat. One of the pastors comes up to me and says that Pehj is my new Khmer nickname. I ask him why and he says “Because, you are Ashley, it means ash and there is no word for ley.” I couldn’t really argue with that! Growing up I have never liked being called Ash, but in this case I think I can make an exception!

Keep Shining,