Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Adjusting to a Change of Plans

I am a planner by nature. This is a great quality most of the time, but it also causes me to be inflexible at times. I don't like it when situations beyond my control cause me to change what I think are good plans. I am a woman of faith and believe God orchestrates things a certain way for a reason, but that doesn't stop me from becoming very frustrated when things don't go the way I plan.

My plans for this summer hinged around taking one summer school class on Tuesday and Thursday nights and teaching Summer school at the school I work at, since I no longer get paid in the summer. Because of these plans, I had to miss Young Life camp, which makes me sad, but at the same time I felt like I was making the responsible decision for my finances and my master's degree. This schedule would have kept me busy until mid-July when I was planning to head back to Asia for a 2 and a half week trip.

I was supposed to start working summer school on Wednesday, but I got a call on Tuesday and was told I would not be able to work. I am not 100% sure why this happened, though I think it has something to do with my status as an hourly teacher. I would have liked to know this earlier, so I could have planned my summer employment and finances better. It's too late to get a summer job and since I feel strongly about going to Asia, I only had a month and a half to work anyway.

At first I was very upset about this change of plans and even now I am trying to figure out how to survive the summer without completely depleting the money I have set aside for my next semester of grad school. After going to my first day of my summer grad school class, I found out that my class will be over at the end of June. This means I can go to Asia earlier and for a longer period of time. This is very exciting to me! I booked my plane ticket today to leave on July 5th and come back on August 6th. I know there is a reason for these changes to my "perfect" plans and maybe that is so I can be in Asia longer. And yet again I am learning to trust God's plans, even when they are not the same as mine.

Changing my timetable means I have to do a few things. I just found out that I have to get a new passport before I can travel, because the country I go to will only give you a visa if your passport has at least 6 months left on it. Mine expires mid-August. Tomorrow I have to go to the Houston passport office and apply for a rush passport renewal. I am not sure how long it takes, but I think it's about a week. Then, I will need to go to the consulate to get my visa. I am thankful that I live in a large city that has both a passport office and this country's consulate. I pray that I can get all this done in a month.

Monday, June 04, 2012

No Camp for Me :(

It's been really long since I posted in my blog. Ideally I would post entries in this no matter what was going on in my life. Unfortunately with grad school, work and volunteering with Young Life, this does not happen. Now that it is summer and I have a trip coming up, I will try to post more often.

It has been a crazy few days. Thursday was my last day of work for the regular school year. I spent Friday morning supervising my Young Life kids at a workday. Since most of my kids can't afford the $350 it takes to go to camp, they go to work days to "pay" for their camp. I think work days are a lot more work for us as leaders than for the kids. We recently had to move our club room from a downstairs location with an exit to outside to an upstairs location that opens into a hallway. This new location is not ideal for several reasons. The space is better, but now the kids have to enter the main door, which requires a key card and walk through a hallway to get our club room. We also share a wall with a dental office.

We don't have much choice about this move as Testmasters, our old neighbors complained about the amount of noise we made. This work day on Friday was spent moving the last of our stuff from our old room to our new rooms. One thing that made this all more complicated was that we share our space with Young Lives, Young Life's ministry to teen moms. This means that we store lots of donated baby items. All of these things needed to be moved.

The stressful part of workdays is that you have to tell the kids what to do every five minutes or they will just sit around. I have to constantly think ahead to what their next task could be. After three hours of this, it was finally time to quit. Later Shannon and I went to the store, so she could get some last minute things she needed for camp. Then at night we had a softball game.

The next day, we went to a local health clinic where a doctor had agreed to give the kids free camp physicals. This was pretty hectic since it was the day that they were leaving. We also had several kids drop out of camp and several kids decide to go throughout the day. Shannon had just an hour to finish packing and then we had to go pick up kids to take them to the bus. It was really sad for me to be unable to go to camp this year. I have gone to camp as a leader six times and it is really the best part of being a Young Life leader. This year I need to work summer school and also take one summer school class for grad school. I am trying to be responsible, but I am sad not to join Shannon and my kids at camp. I hope work and school is worth it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Confessions of a slacker

This is kind of a fake post. I just want to apologize to all three people who may still read my blog. I like the idea of writing fun and witty things on a regular basis but I tend to procrastinate. I even have a good idea for an entry right now but I just don't have the energy to undertake it this second. So, I will try to begin writing more again but I am not going to make any promises. With Young Life, grad school and work, it's easy to forget about the blog. Even so, I am going to try to start this thing up again.

On a side note, I am really enjoying this CD, Chasing Someday by Drew Holcomb. He and his wife came to our Young Life leader retreat and they are cool people with big hearts. They volunteer some with Young Life including with the special needs kids ministry. One of their songs was featured in the TV show, Parenthood and it's pretty cool. By the way, "Parenthood" is a pretty cool show too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You know you’re in Asia when….

1.       You get really excited to see an MB (mole beard). It’s when someone has a mole on their face with oddly thick, long hair growing out of it. It’s like a cross between a mole and a beard. You get extra points if it’s a lady mole beard.
2.       You also get really excited when you go into a restroom and find a) a Western toilet, b) toilet paper and c) soap. KFC and McDonald’s are the best bet for these.
3.       You find yourself haggling in order to get a lower price on an already $2 item.
4.       You avoid looking at other foreigners.
5.       You let strangers take your picture.
6.       You don’t get that freaked out when a saleswoman touches your eyelashes.
7.       You think McDonald’s is too expensive.
8.       You meet people with names like Coco, Candy, South Fly, Big Bear, Biff, Gold and Magic.
9.       One Starbucks drink is the same price as a pair of shoes.
10.   You can buy tiger paws on the street as well as seahorses, snakes and Gucci handbags.

Monday, July 04, 2011

First Week in Asia

I have been here in Asia for one week now. We have gotten back in the swing of things very quickly. The first day we arrived, we met with my old friend, Marcia and we've met with several friends since. The team here is nice but a bit shy. I am trying to get them to engage more with the people. So far, I have taught an English corner, attended an English corner, attended a study and met people to invite to these events. I also got a friend to take me shopping for some killer purple paint-splattered Ray Bans. One really fun thing has been to talk with the people who I knew from before but had joined our club in the year since I have been here last. The change in them is awesome and a true testament to the big guy's power. Now if Marcia would just believe...

Despite our success so far, Shannon and I have already had a set-back. On Friday morning, we were heading to the team's apartment for some singing to the big guy. We decided to ride a bike with me on the front and Shannon on the back. The sidewalk was very crowded where we were riding. A man on a motorbike came very close to us as he tried to squeeze between me and a walker. On the other side was a kid and in my attempt to miss the motorbike, I bumped the kid. During all of this, Shannon's foot got caught in the bike's wheel. It was not good. She fell over and started crying and her shoe stayed wedged in the bike. I have never been great at a quick response in crisis. I just stared, shocked. A very nice older lady took Shannon's shoe out of the bike and told us with gestures to go to the nearby pharmacy. The pharmacies here don't require prescriptions. 

When we got there, another lady who'd been at the accident scene was there and explained what had happened. They sold us some Asian medicine stuff that looked like a small bottle of perfume and smelled like strong mouthwash. I guess it couldn't hurt. We've been putting this stuff on Shannon and letting her rest. Yesterday was the first day she really went out since the accident. She is still a bit sore but getting around okay. Please lift her up since we walk here all the time. We'd also like to play some basketball. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Young Life Camp- Frontier Ranch

It's been a crazy month! June 4- June 12 I went to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado as a leader for my Young Life kids. I think this was my sixth time to go as a leader but it's always fun. I've been to four different Young Life camps but I think Frontier is my favorite. We brought about 45 kids from our urban high school and about the same amount from the other urban school in our area. Some of the kids have never left Houston so it's a treat to watch them see new things. It was also even more fun for me this year because my friend, Shannon came along as a leader. She hadn't had any experience with Young Life and had never been to camp or Colorado so it was all new to her too.

We were in a cabin with Freshman and Sophomore girls and they were pretty crazy. They were good at having fun but not so good at being serious. It was great to get to know them better, regardless. One thing that really struck me when they were serious was how much they'd been hurt by their parents. The people who were supposed to protect them had instead caused them so much pain. I am looking forward to being a positive adult presence in their lives and help them to understand how much God loves them.

 Some of our cabin at the rodeo
 Me and Shannon with some of the girls who pied us
 Having fun at Western Night
 Resting after our hike
Most of the kids we took to camp

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I have been working at my old school as an hourly teacher. In this position, I have done a variety of jobs including tutoring struggling students, substituting and monitoring for standardized tests. My least favorite task is monitoring standardized tests because it's just so dull. As a monitor for these tests, you are supposed to read the directions to the kids and make sure they aren't cheating. You also give them pencils and kleenex as needed. I've been testing one to six kids during these all-day tests. One kid is the worst because you really just sit there since you can't assist them with any answers and they definitely aren't cheating.

Last week I had to one-on-one test a boy I will call "Daniel." Daniel is a third grader in special ed. so I had to read the entire test to him. This was complicated by the fact that in addition to being a very sweet little boy, he has the attention span of a goldfish. The mornings weren't as bad as Daniel was very sleepy. I kept him awake by gently poking him with the eraser end of my pencil. I even let him take a little nap. After lunch, Daniel was far more alert. This turned out to be unfortunate. His mind wandered so often that I started writing down his comments.

Here is a transcript. Keep in mind that this was during a Math test and then a Science test I was reading aloud to him.
-I don't like peanut butter.
-Do you have a dog?
-Can I take a nap? (He'd already taken a nap that morning with me.)
-Can I play a game?
-I like to make noises.
-I have a bruise. Can I go see the nurse?
-I didn't know flying squirrels were real.
-When can I go back to class?
-I saw Mr. J go by. Can I say, hi?
-I want to go home already but I can't.
-Now can I go to the nurse?
-Mr. C has a toy microscope.
-How many pages do we have left?
-These are the last pages. I am going to read them inside my head. (Finishes six questions in 30 seconds).
-Ok, I pick this flashlight. (Not an answer choice).
-You know you want it!
-Do you want ice cream?
(Makes grunting noises) -That means, Ok
-Want a tweetie bird?
-Want an owl?
-You want ice cream?
-My legs are sleepy.
-If I don't know the answer, I just guess right?
-Is that Mr. C? Can I go check it out?
-My hand is back awake now.
-How many more questions?

His inattention was almost fascinating and would have been a lot more humorous if I wasn't trying to get him to finish his tests. In the end, the day certainly wasn't as boring as some testing days have been.
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