Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Apparently Roaches Bathe Too

Blog 9-28

I just had a bit of drama with a roach in the shower. This was my first bug encounter in the shower. This is a bit surprising since our shower is not attached to our house and is through a door in our laundry area. It is probably bug central. Tonight I was about to get into the shower and there was a big roach sitting there and smirking at me. Luckily I was still fully clothed because I don’t know about you but I always feel more vulnerable battling insects in the buff. I first thought to spray it with the shower head. He flipped on his back and seemed pissed but nowhere close to being dead. I sprayed him for a while when I realized that he was too big to fit down our drain and that no matter what, I would have to touch him to remove him from the shower. I stopped spraying him and despite being a bit soggy, he sprang back into action and climbed the sides of the tub. It was time for plan B. I got a dryer sheet and tried to smush him but I was not forceful enough and he just crawled on the dryer sheet. I shrieked and dropped the sheet and roach who now smelled Garden Fresh. I debated calling Jonathan into the bathroom to kill it but then I came up with a frighteningly unoriginal idea. Kill it with my sandal. So, I smooshed him with my sandal and scooped him into the trash. I was then able to have a lovely shower.

This morning we had staff intercession. This is a time to pray about a variety of subjects. Today they officially told us about the situation with the Bangladesh team. My DTS friend, Gena arrives tomorrow morning with the three students who are being sent home. She was supposed to be in our house but now she is going to be in the other girls’ staff house. I wish she was living in our house. The three girls from her team will be living in our house for four days until they go home. I have never met them and I fear it will be awkward since they made my friend, Gena, sad. I will try to be nice. Sherry and I are going with an ex-YWAMer, Carrie, to pick Gena up in the morning.

I went shopping with the hospitality girls for housing supplies. My boss, Kristy was supposed to come but she remembered at the last minute that she had to work at the coffee shop. This meant I was left alone to shop for our department. I had like $75 to work with and was told to buy toilet paper and kitchen garbage bags. The toilet paper costs $50 and they were out of kitchen bags so I had to think outside the box. I ended up getting toilet cleaner, sponges and Comet. Talk about some fun purchases! I stayed within my budget so you can all breathe a sigh of relief.

In the afternoon, I had my first growth group meeting. It is like a small group. Mine is for new staff and includes me, Calla and Amy. We are led by Trina, who is a member of the leadership team. It was a good time and we all seem to be on the same page with our struggles. I think it will be good.

Here is the latest news on my sports teams. Some random girl who moved here from Oregon called me to ask about joining my basketball team. Apparently the league had given her my number. She mentioned in her message that she is six feet tall. She could be two feet tall and I wouldn’t care. I just want to have five players so I don’t have to forfeit. I cannot be at the first game because of my bro’s wedding so I need all the players I can get. I am afraid that this girl is really good and will be frustrated by our wide variety of skill. I tried to warn her, but I am not sure. There seems to be a lot of interest in co-ed volleyball. I will be missing the first game of that as well for my brother’s wedding.

Tonight I went to Borders. I worked on the proposal for the book I am writing about weddings. I am almost done with the proposal. I just want to do a little more editing. I hope to have it ready to send in a week when I go home. I am not sure if the publishing company will even be interested, but it would be really cool. Lately I am seriously considering writing as a possible career or at least something to do along side another job.

One final thing- There is a guy here named Jorry from Papua New Guinea. He is attending our SBFM school. I, unfortunately have not had much of a chance to talk to him. I do keep hearing funny stories about him. One day, this guy, Dan announced that we should not compliment Jorry about things he has. He showed a bracelet he was wearing and said that he had said he liked it so Jorry gave it to him. Apparently in his country, if someone likes something you have, you just give it to them. That really makes me think about how I am not like that. I think it is so cool that Jorry’s country has such a giving lifestyle. We could all benefit from being more like Jorry, I think.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bananas Foster with a side of paper

Blog 9/27

Today I got to sleep in a bit, which is always enjoyable. The night before, I spent a little time with God. I think I was neglecting Him a bit and that was why he was smiting my toys. Maybe not, but spending time with Him is definitely something I could do more of. The final toy update is as follows: My car didn’t start- Billy, a DTS student, fixed it. My bike got a flat tire and I need to go get a new tube. My cable scheme got found out and the cord was cut. Bye Bye Cable. The #3 key came off on my laptop. After trying to figure it out for a while, I just kinda shoved it on and it seems to be fixed. I was afraid to try to take out my surfboard. I knew it would probably break in half or get chomped by a shark.

This morning Kristy and I did house inspections. We went to all the houses on base to judge their cleanliness. The DTS boys surprised me. Their house was a pit of doom yesterday but quite pleasant today. They even put plumeria flowers on their pillows. Cute. The worst room of all was Wayne’s. He left a plate of last night’s dinner on top of his fan. His drawers were all open with clothes spilling out. There were also piles of clothes all around. I feared for my life. Luckily I made it out safe.

After a lunch of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, I spent the afternoon trying to assess the state of our houses and figure out what we can use to make the houses more livable. There is so much that needs to be done. It can be overwhelming.

Tonight Sherry and I met our fellow DTS friend, Cherish for dinner. Cherish is leaving for the big island to attend a YWAM film school. We had fun at this restaurant called LuLu’s. Our waiter, Johnny, was fun and border-line flirty. We got bananas foster for desert. It tasted good but it soon looked like a big bowl of white goo. We were all digging in. We were super-messy and got ice cream and goo all over the table. The waiter came back to check on us, saw the destruction our ice cream had caused, and said, “How are you girls do… Jesus!” It was a great reaction. Sherry thought she had hit the jackpot with a big scoop of ice cream. It turned out not to be ice cream at all. It was some sort of white soggy paper. We almost peed our pants at Sherry’s misfortune. We showed our waiter and he ended up giving us the dessert free. Way to go Johnny!

Then Sherry and I went to Wal-Mart to make a welcome home basket for our friend, Gena. I will explain more later but she is coming back early from leading a team to Bangladesh. I am excited to see her but I wish this was not the way. This is not good. Apparently her team could never work together. Three of the girls are coming back to Maui with Gena and the remaining two students will link up with the Borneo team. It is a sad situation but hopefully for the best. Please pray for Gena to deal with all this stuff. Pray that I can be a comfort to her during this difficult time.

Monday, September 26, 2005

YWAM Wolverines

Blog 9-26

Yesterday I went to my church for the first time. I had been going on Friday nights to a church with some of my friends. I agreed to lead a church group, which means I am the liaison between the pastor and the four students who come to my church with me. We go to Pukalani Nazarene or “Pukanaz” (Poo-ka Naz) for short. I had never attended this church before. We ride in a van with Matt’s group, Waipuna Chapel. The churches start at different times so we have over an hour to kill before our service starts. Luckily there is a shopping center with a McDonald’s, Starbucks and grocery store. During DTS we had to wait an hour in the parking lot with only an unwelcoming convenience store to seek refuge in. I am excited to get to know these students better. We will probably be helping with the Sunday school program, but I am not sure.

After church, I attempted to go on a bike ride. I say attempted because after I had gone around three miles, I got a flat tire. My dad had sent me a little bag to put on my bike in which to keep spare tubes for my tires. I had put the bag on my bike but I had not purchased the tubes yet. Not the smartest move! I had to walk my bike back three miles. This is my second unsuccessful bike experience here. I did find some cool trails near the airport so I have not given up. I will ride again but only with spare tubes.

After my long walk home, some of the girls and I went to go see the new Reese Witherspoon movie. I forget what it is called but I know Heaven is in the title. It had Jon Heder aka Napoleon Dynamite. He is one funny Mormon. The movie was good in a cheesy romantic comedy-type way. It was fun to hang out with some of the girls. I was going to drive but my car wouldn’t start. With this and the bike trouble, it seemed like all my toys were breaking. Today, I found out that one of the DTS boys, Billy, is very handy with cars. He fixed a staff guy’s truck with a quarter. They drilled a hole through it and connected it with cables and the car worked. This guy has serious skills. I had him check out my car and he said something was loose. He fixed it and now it works. Hooray for Billy. I am so glad he is around.

After dinner, I went down to the beach to play basketball. A lot of guy YWAMers go play on Sunday nights. I had never played before. It was pretty fun. I was no star but I had fun. I at least held my own. During the last few games, some random guy played with us. I was not a fan of him. He was playing dirty. When one of my teammates had the ball, he held my arms so I couldn’t get away. He kind of grabbed my boob too but I am not sure if it was on purpose. He also made me totally eat it in the middle of the court. Needless to say, this guy is not my new best friend.

Last night we watched Son in Law. I forgot how good that movie is. I watched about once a week for a time during my childhood. It felt like when you listen to an old song and can sing all the lyrics even though you didn’t think you could remember. I kept remembering little parts before they would happen. It was good.

I feel like I don’t get to see Sherry very much. She was feeling the same way and called my cell phone from our house while I was in the shower. I think we are going to hang out with our DTS friend, Cherish tomorrow. That should be good. I like Sherry so much and it is a shame that the majority of our time together lately is when we are both about to go to sleep.

I just found out that we will be able to have a co-ed volleyball team as well as our girls’ basketball team. The team name is the YWAM wolverines. We start the first week in October. I am excited.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Beach Day and Sweaty Vans

Blog 9-24

As I am writing this, I am watching Seinfeld. I think this is an episode I have never seen. Hard to believe, but true. But instead of being excited about a new episode, it makes me feel a bit weird. It is like finding out exciting news from a casual friend about your best friend. You feel like you should already know this information. That made sense in my head but it may not have made it out of the head okay. Enough about Seinfeld.

Yesterday we had worship in the morning. I like morning worship but I don’t like the part where you get up early. In the afternoon, the whole base went down to Beach Day. We went to a beach across town that is nicer than the ones by our house and has a volleyball net. We had to pile 20 people in the van. Good ole’ YWAM! Luckily I called shotgun and therefore got to ride like royalty. Beach Day was fun. I played some beach volleyball. I was at times really good and at times really terrible at the game. This is to be expected. My sports prowess is very streaky.

After beach day we drove back to the base sardine-style again. This time I was not lucky enough to get the shotgun seat. I did get a window seat. I ended up sitting next to one of the students. The girl is really nice but a bit socially awkward, if you know what I mean. I was definitely not in the mood to have her touching me in the sweaty crowded un-air-conditioned as she read aloud over my shoulder some of the magazine I was reading. I wanted to punch her but of course I refrained. I think I was just in a bad mood.

Later a bunch of us watched a tape of Ellen Degeneras stand-up and lots of hurricane footage. Thank goodness the hurricane did not affect Houston too much. Praise God!

I have come to a realization lately. I can be really nice and giving to people I like and am friends with. I have a hard time being nice and giving to people who I do not connect with or am not friends with. This is no good. This is not how Jesus was. He was nice to everyone even if they were boring or socially awkward. Beth Gossett is like that and though I really admire her ability to befriend anyone, part of me does not even want that. I don’t want to have to hang out with people I do not find fun or interesting. There is a girl here who is a mission builder- someone who pays their way here and works for three months in exchange for room and board. We have two boy mission builders and two girl mission builders. This is a good program but unlike DTS where you are with this same group of people so much, mission builders end up having a lot more alone time and have to go out of their way to make friends. One of our girl mission builders is really homesick so I have been trying to be extra friendly to her. It is difficult sometimes because she is not someone that I click with really well so it is hard for me to not get annoyed. This is something I really need to work on. I think it just boils down to selfishness.

Today I took my basketball team to the mall to go shopping. I ended up having four students tagging along making for nine people total in my car. A bit crowded. Of course, we went to Wal-Mart. We bought red tank tops that we plan to put puff paint numbers on for our uniforms. I also got a big nice fan for my room. My mom paid for it. Thanks, Mom. It is unnaturally hot here today. It seems that the lack of breeze combined with the high humidity combine to make Hell on Earth. This better end soon. It is not normal to sweat profusely just taking a pee in the bathroom. I liked being able to take people around but by the end, I was just so drained. I need some alone time or at least time with smaller groups of people who I know better. I think I am going to seek out some alone time tonight.

Today I didn’t do my job in housing very well. I had a couple of frantic calls about no toilet paper. We were unable to get some on Wednesday to deliver to the houses on Thursday. Instead, we had to get the tp on Friday. Luckily I was able to distribute it and avert a real crisis. A toilet paper shortage could result in a base-wide riot. Close call!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Padded Biker Shorts and Steve Urkel Tees

Blog 9-22

I am getting a bit nervous about the whole Houston hurricane thing. I feel really helpless out here. Most of my friends’ parents have left and my parents are sequestering themselves in their supposedly safe three-story town home. My grandparents are there as well as my parents’ friend, Vic, his dog and his fancy bicycles. Pray that all get along if they end up without power and flooded streets for any amount of time.

Enough hurricane talk. It makes me sad. Today we had one of the high up guys in YWAM talk to us about what was going on with YWAM in a large scale. It was actually pretty interesting. The speaker is a guy named Danny Lehman, made famous by revealing the evangecube to me during my DTS. If you are unfamiliar with the evanecube, see my previous post. I tried to see if he had his trusty belt-clip evangecube holder with him but unfortunately my efforts were thwarted by his un-tucked shirt.

Possibly the most interesting part of the morning came at the end of his prayer after he spoke. He asked God to give us strength as Vince and Lesa phased out. Vince is our current base director and Lesa is his wife who does a lot of stuff on base as well. They have been on a hiatus for a few months. When they left, they never said they would not been returning. Danny Lehman definitely made it sound like they would not be coming back. I think we were all in shock about this. He asked if there were any questions not meaning to open the floor for questions about Vince and Lesa’s return. One girl totally brought it up and asked if Vince and Lesa were coming back. Danny said that Vince would be talking to us October 3rd. I am so intrigued. I don’t know what will happen. The base seems to be running fine without them. Hmm…

After the meeting, I drove a couple of girls to the Dakine factory. Amy needed to get a board bag. I got racks for my car. Dakine has tons of quality stuff and they give discounts to YWAMers. So, buy Dakine. They are a good company. And when I started my car, it worked without doing anything out of the ordinary. Yay! I hope it is permanently fixed.

After lunch, Kristy and I took our five housing girls on a tour of the base houses so they know where to go to distribute the toilet paper and stuff. Kristy and I are thinking about making the bathroom near our chapel and office’s our renovating project. That place is a pit. The floor has tile that is peeling off the floor and half the floor is just dusty wood planks. The paint is nasty and the whole room is claustrophobic. I hope we can make this transformation happen.

After dinner, Brittany and I went to a meeting about our basketball league. Our team is called the Born Again Ballers. I decided at the last minute. I think the league is pretty competitive and most of the players I think will be high school girls. Fun times. I am excited even though we probably won’t do much winning.

Tonight my roomies and I did Pilates again. I still suck at it but maybe I will get buff. I will keep you all posted on my fitness factor. Tonight I did Pilates wearing a sweat band and my Steve Urkel t-shirt. Later I put on my padded biker shorts and fluffed my cloud hair up. I think I frightened my housemates a bit. Good stuff. I finally got the package my parents sent me. It included a lot of bike stuff so I have no excuse not to ride. I need to find a low wind route so I don’t die like last time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Red Alert- Toilet Paper Shortage

Blog 9-21

As I am writing this I feel super-tired so this may be not be up to my normal witty blog standards. I apologize ahead of time. I think part of why I am feeling so drained is that I keep checking on Hurricane Rita and seeing that it is heading straight for the majority of my loved ones. Not cool at all. New Orleans was upsetting to me but this is my home. Yuck. My parents don’t seem too scared and are planning to wait it out in their downtown Houston townhouse. The real worry is that my parents and grandparents don’t kill each other. If there is serious rainfall of any kind, the major roads by their house will flood and become impassable. This means that could be sequestered in their home for quite a while, possibly with no power.

On a lighter note, this hurricane talk is allowing our family cat to live a little longer. Whiskers is not doing so hot. He is about fifteen years old and at this point, essentially a bag of bones. He has been skipping meals so my mom was going to have him put to sleep. But the vets are not open so Whiskers as my dad likes to say, “gets a reprieve.” My dad keeps yelling “Dead cat walking,” when Whiskers walks by. Pretty funny. I don’t have much love for the old Siamese devil so I can’t get too sad about the situation. Now Frisky, that was a good cat!

Today Kristy and I went shopping for housing supplies. Unfortunately our efforts were futile because Costco was out of toilet paper. How is this possible? There was no toilet paper to be found so we will have to return there on Friday and hope for the best. Maybe people were stocking up for the big hurricane that people think will hit here. Dummies.

I picked up my car from the shop and it seems good. The real test will come when I start it in the morning. That is when the problem would occur. Please pray that it is fixed.

This afternoon Kristy and I met with the students who will be working with us in housing. It seems like a good group of girls. I think we will have fun with them. Several of them are girls I feel like I already have a connection with. Good times.

After an odd dinner of lasagna with lettuce and meat in it, Kristy and I made guest appearances at the DTS houses as they were having their house meetings. We just told them how they need to clean and that we will be judging the cleanliness. I think they were a bit bored by our speech. Too bad.

Giant Evangecube

Blog 9-20

Last night we did Pilates in our living room. This was my second time doing Pilates and I pretty much suck at it. The girls I was doing it with had a bit of a flatulence problem. To preserve their anonymity I will call them J. Westberg or Jess W. and S. Schulz or Sherry S. It made doing the awkward posing difficult because of the laughing. I am going to try to do this more often so maybe I can get really buff. Knowing me, I will never do it again.

Today I spent pretty much all day setting up for the Love Feast. It was the housing department and Hospitality department’s job to set up. We moved chairs out of the church where we were having it. Then we set up chairs and tables so we could feast later. One of the girls knows how to make pretty napkin art. We made lovely place settings with the folded napkins. Good times.

We had KFC for lunch and I found out that KFC’s in Canada don’t serve biscuits. This just doesn’t make sense. The Canadians I was with kept trying to claim that the Canadian KFC was better. I find this hard to swallow. Why would a Kentucky Fried Chicken be better in a country other than America. This is preposterous. Colonel Sanders was a proud American. I seriously doubt that Canadians have found a way to improve upon the Colonel’s secret recipe. I may have to go to Canada to find out.

I made a very exciting discovery in a downstairs room at the church. A giant evangecube. For those of you unfamiliar with the evangecube, I will explain. It is this frightening gimmicky evangelism tool. It is a ruik’s cube type device that can be folded into different scenes of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is cheesy to the max. I apologize if any of you utilize this tool. We had a speaker during our DTS who loved these evangecubes. He even had a special belt-clip holder thing for his precious evangecube. The average evangecube is about the size of a rubik’s cube. The evangecube I found at church was as big as my head. This thing was amazing! I took many pictures with it that I will soon be posting on my website.

On the way to set up for love feast, Kristy and I rode up in the maintenance van. I know that many of you may think that riding in a maintenance van sounds very luxurious. You are mistaken. The van is rusty and dirty and the only two seats inside are the driver’s and passenger’s. Jonathan suggested that Kristy and I get the green plastic lawn chairs that we eat our meals in and sit on them inside the van. This way we wouldn’t have to sit on the nasty corroded floor. I was facing backwards behind the passenger’s seat and Kristy was facing forwards towards me. We slipped and slid around a bit as the van climbed the road up the volcano. It was a twenty minute ride to the church on a winding road so there was quite a bit of sliding. The worst was when Jonathan stopped the van abruptly and Kristy literally flew into my lap. Luckily I instinctively crossed my arms to protect my melons. Her shoulder ended up smashing my neck. The whole incident was more funny than painful.

At Love feast, the food was so good. The fruit salad was a lot like heaven. I was serving the Caesar salad next to the fruit salad. I kept picking fruit out of the bowl and eating it. Not very sanitary. I filled my plate up with fruit, a little bit of meat and mashed potatoes. The students were so hungry after three days of Ramen noodles and grits. They also smelled terrible. They were not allowed to bring deodorant so after hiking and being outside for three days, they reeked. They didn’t smell half as bad as Iggy, the hippie basketball man, though. After dinner, the staff washed the students’ feet. It was a powerful gesture since they all felt so filthy. I tried not to inhale. I got really confused when Sherry came to me with a bucket of water. Apparently they were washing the feet of the new staff as well. I definitely was not prepared but it was cool. She washed my feet and then prayed for me.

I am supposed to pick up my car tomorrow. The mechanic guy at Eddie Boys said he replaced a transmission filter and the car seems to be fine. I hope this fixes the problem. I hear new transmissions are very pricey. Keep praying.

I hear a hurricane might be coming to H-town. No good. Although I heard my alma mater, Clear Lake High School is closed for the week. I know I would be super-excited if I was in high school. I will be praying for all my Houston friends. Keep me posted on how all of you are.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Why won't hippies wear deodorant?

Blog 9-19

Today we had base worship at 8 am. It is always very difficult for me to get up in the sevens on a Monday morning. I want to ride my long board skateboard down the hill from my house to our chapel. Early in the morning is a great time because there are no cars so I am less afraid of dying. Unfortunately I am grumpy and discombobulated in the morning, as many of you know. With my senses less than sharp, I have not yet attempted a journey down the hill. I will someday, I hope. Pray for me.

This morning I cleaned the house where the speakers and guests stay. It is not my favorite thing to do but it is not so bad. I wish we had a mop or better yet, a swiffer. I tried to mop the kitchen floor using soapy water and a rag. Surprisingly enough, scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees is not as glamorous as it appears. I felt very much like Cinderella and quit about halfway through. Maybe I will go out a buy a swiffer at Wal-Mart.

After I played housekeeper, my boss, Kristy drove her car in to town so that I could take my car to the shop. I left my car at some place with a name like: Fast Eddie’s or Fat Eddie’s. I am not sure. They are going to do some kind of transmission tune-up type thing and see if that fixes my problems. Please pray that it works. I am not good at car troubles. This is why my family only owns Hondas and Toyotas.

I got to have the afternoon off but I really did not take advantage of it other than an extra-long nap. Sherry was off as well, and chose to spend her time the same way. We were napping buddies. It was some good napping other than it seeming abnormally hot. I felt a bit sticky and that is definitely not the way you describe a good nap. I kept setting my alarm for later and later. I was having a dream about hanging out with my brother, who I miss a lot and it was a good dream so I wanted it to keep going.

Sherry and I woke up in time to watch Jennifer Aniston on Oprah along with several of our housemates. The show didn’t end up being that great although the picture was crystal clear thanks to me playing cable man. Hooray for cable modems.

The students are still off gallivanting in the woods for Exodus. The base was so full when they were here and now it seems so empty. They will be back tomorrow. The Exodus experience culminates in love feast. This is where the students, who do not know that this is the end of their “wandering in the desert,” get to have a fancy dinner and have their feet washed by members of the staff. I remember how surreal the experience was for me. I felt disgusting and someone was willing to wash my stanky feet. Also the music they played was Shane and Shane, two good Texas worship singers. I didn’t think anyone would know those guys out here so it felt like the music was just for me.

I will be serving dinner at it and washing the feet of Kristin from California. It’s nice because I chose her before I arrived but I have had the opportunity to talk to her a lot already. I am glad I have already started relationships with most of the female students. Many of the other staff members say I am so into meeting them because it is my first school as a staff member. They only make a minimal effort to get to know the students. I don’t want to be like that when I have been here a while. Please hold me accountable.

Tomorrow I will be gone all day, apparently. We have to set up for Love Feast starting at 10am. We will have to bring fancy clothes to change into for the dinner. We are not supposed to get back until around 9pm. I asked the girl who gets the mail to look out for a package. I am waiting for a package from my parents that includes my padded bike shorts and misc. other things I forgot.

Tonight I went down to the basketball courts for a little practice. The guys are much nicer here than average and every time I go shoot around, I end up playing HORSE or 21 or even two-on-two. It’s a lot of fun. Although this time, a guy named, “Iggy” played. Iggy was your typical hippie, which unfortunately for anyone with a sense of smell, meant that he chooses to forgo smell-improving products like deodorant. Boy, did he reek! It is bad enough being down-wind of hippie’s when they are at rest like at a coffee shop. But, when hippies are active, the body odor can turn your stomach. I did not guard Iggy very closely for fear of vomiting inside of my mouth because of the foul odor emanating from his arm pits. The worst part was when he went up for a shot and brushed against my sleeve. That part of my shirt now had the unmistakable stench of Iggy’s B.O. Yuck! Overall it was a fun game and I held my own but did not impress. I am excited about my upcoming YWAM girls’ basketball team. Continue to be thinking about possible names.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bird in the face

Last night I was chillin' in our living room with Sherry, Jonathan and Jess Bedone. Jonathan was about to leave, when a bird flew and landed on the top of our front door. Jonathan just reached out and grabbed the bird. I know I would never attempt that. So, then Jonathan is standing in our living room with a bird in his hand. He did not want to waste this strange opportunity. We debated whether or not to thrust this winged creature into an unspecting roommate's bedroom. We could not figure out a worthy recepient of this lovely gift. We decided that Jonathan would throw the bird at Sara and Joe who unfortunately for them happened to be standing outside.
It went very well. Joe screeched and jumped back. Sara screeched as well. Good times were had by all.

Today I had to go to town twice to get some cable cord. I have figured out how to take advantage of the free cable we get by having wireless internet. It made me feel really handy. I did have a boy help at the beginning of the process but I did the rest myself. Now we can watch the Emmy's tonight and I won't have to miss college football. I didn't see the game this Saturday but that doesn't bother me too much since we obliterated Rice.

I had hoped my padded biking shorts would have come in on Friday. But alas, they did not. I need to start riding more but I don't want to get saddle sore. I decided today that I need to take my car in to be checked out. I am really scared it will be an expensive problem to fix. Please pray that it can be quickly, cheaply and easily fixed.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Toasted Open Faced Pizza Sandwiches

Blog 9-17

I am really feeling like this is where I am supposed to be lately. I have learned almost all the students’ names in a supernaturally quick amount of time. I am sure this is more God than me. I have gotten to have some really good conversations with the girls as well. There are so many quality ones.
They are going on a thing called Exodus starting tomorrow morning. The format is slightly different from school to school but it always involves roughing it in the wilderness and eating a lot of Ramen. I think it is mainly to help them bond but I am sure there is a deeper spiritual significance as well. They will be gone for three days and the experience culminates with a fancy dinner where we wash their feet. I am not the biggest fan of the act of foot washing but I like the spiritual meaning.

Last night we went to church. I like the worship there normally but last night it was not that great. The band that lead worship was not as good as the YWAM worship teams. I am not a big fan of the preaching at the church. I feel like I never come away with more than what I came with. Nevertheless, I really like the bookstore there and hanging out with my YWAM friends. I start taking students to a church next Sunday so I don’t know if I will be doing the two-church thing. Maybe. I do like that bookstore. This random girl said she had been left at the church by her friends. We took her back to our house in our van making her passenger number 20. Then Sherry and I drove her the rest of the way to where she was staying. She was living at some sort of Job placement center. She was a bit odd and told us that there was a category 3 hurricane headed straight for Maui. Don’t worry, she was full of crap. No hurricanes on their way.

Today I took some of the students to Wal-Mart. I wanted to buy a tarp to keep the rain from creating a small freshwater lake in my bed. Then I helped decorate for our opening night. We used plants from our base director’s yard to create a jungle theme. Jungle is a common theme here since it can usually be accomplished for free. We also had what can best be described as “toasted open-faced pizza sandwiches.” This is what Sherry calls them even though I think the menu refers to them as pizza buns. Sherry works in the kitchen so she had a hand in assembling these culinary masterpieces.

We had opening night tonight. This is where the students get introduced and “leied.” The leaders are introduced as well. There were a lot of people since we have two schools going on- DTS and SBFM. The DTS staff made a video to introduce themselves that was actually pretty funny. It was an Anchorman spoof. After all the introductions, we had some good praise and worship. After that we headed up to one of the houses for some snacks. I am really bad with baked goods. I always eat so many as if I will never see them again. Here at YWAM, I can almost guarantee that I will get baked goods pretty much every week. I need to learn moderation in this department.

My favorite part of the evening was the chance to play a game I call, “Blame-shifting Butt Grab.” Many of you may remember the infamous Andrew/Jocelyn graduation incident. To refresh your memory, My dad and I staged an epic scene. I pinched Emily Ray’s butt and moved to the side. My dad swooped in, held his fingers out and made a guilty face as if he had been the pincher. Emily turned around and exclaimed, “Mr.Hightower!” It was just priceless. Tonight was a good opportunity because there were a lot of people mingling in a relatively small space. I got several good grabs. I especially like making it look like a guy pinched a girl’s butt. I was pretty successful and even acquired a few spectators who would follow me around and watch my antics. Good times!

I am trying to get a basketball team together. I found out that there is a league in Kahului (the closest big town). It’s an all-women’s league. There seem to be enough interested girls. I have about four girls who are really interested and a “reserves” list of girls who made comments like, “I like basketball but I am not competitive” or “I played in the 6th grade.” I figure I can’t count on them for every game but I can call on them to play occasionally. I am very excited about this and I think it will be a great chance to get out of the YWAM bubble and meet people in the community. I hope that our attitudes and sportsmanship will be a witness to the other teams. I have a meeting to go to about it on Thursday. We are trying to think of a team name. So far our best ones are the YWAM wolverines and Born-again ballers. I want the name to show that we are Christians. I am open to suggestions. There is one frustrating thing about the prospect of getting a basketball team together. I recently found out that one of the DTS girls played four years of Division 1 basketball at the University of Minnesota. This would be great news if she did not have to go to class and be in a Bible study on the days we will be playing. Talk about a letdown! I am going to beg her leader to let her play at least once. One of my other players did get a b-ball scholarship so she will probably be my MVP.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Boring Boring Boring

Today we had base worship in the morning. I always like the worship here. Most of the students came even though they didn't have to. I must admit I debated about whether or not I should go myself since 8am is pretty early.

I am doing good at the name game with our new students. I know all the girls' names and a few of the guys' names. I am trying to be very diligent about getting to know them. We have two Lindsays and two Sarahs. I love those Sarahs!

Today it is still rainy. I am not a big fan even though it is not quite as hot when it rains. I am exhausted right now and feeling fairly un-interesting. I apologize to you, my blog-reading public.
Need a nap.............NOW!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Monsoon Bedding

Hey friends,

I wouldn't mind a few comments now and then so that it looks like my blog is popular. I do not want to have to write them all myself. That will make me look like more of a dork than writing this does.

A bunch of the students arrived today! It's pretty exciting. I remember what it was like to be them so I tried to get to know the girls and help them get to know each other. We were all sitting around their living room, a bit awkwardly since none of them know each other. I just started asking them all a bunch of questions to get conversations going. They probably think I am a bit strange but it worked. I even memorized all their names already. There are two Sarahs and everyone knows how much I like Sarahs. I only know the names of two of the boys, so far though. I plan on concentrating my efforts on the girls anyway. Guy/girl ministry can be sketchy sometimes.

Hanging out with the students has put me in a really good mood. Today was a really good day overall. I did end up going to town for no reason, though. I don't fully understand the way Hawaii's car stuff works. I thought my safety inspection had expired. I took my car into town to get it inspected only to find out that mine was good till next May. Oops. I ended up going to the mall to try and justify my gas usage.

Today was fun but last night was not so much. It rained harder here than I have ever seen. Our car port looked like a giant shower with sheets of rain pouring through holes in the roof. The rain was scary but I did not think much of it until I tried to go to bed. Open windows are the nature's air conditioning that YWAM uses. This is fine except in times of monsoon. About a fourth of my bed and some of my clothes were soaking wet. The open window next to my bed was the culprit. I tried to close it but it apparently does not close. I ended up covering the window with garbage bags. This was noisy but at least kept out some of the liquid. I actually fell asleep. I once slept in outside during a thunderstorm during a poverty simulation. I knew that a partially wet bed did not compare to sleeping drenched. But as I said, despite the flood in my bed, today was great!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Today I went to Wal-Mart twice in one day. Luckily I did not drive either time so there was no gas involved. I only bought a notebook and a pen. Not too bad for me. I have rediscovered a fun little trick in Wal-Mart. If you press #95 on the Wal-Mart phones, then you can be heard over the intercom. Tonight I announced, "Matt Laskey, your grandmother is waiting for you in the sporting goods department. Mahalo." (Matt is one of my YWAM friends.) It was really funny. I always get really nervous I am going to get caught but so far I am in the clear.

I had the afternoon off and I tried out my new surfboard. I was not that great with it, as I predicted but I think I should get better with practice. I initially stayed away from a big group of surfers out in the water because I thought they were a bunch of locals. Locals are not the nicest to white people sometimes in the water. Slowly I realized that the people were actually my YWAM friends so I went out there. I definitely need to get in better shape for paddling.

They have just installed wireless internet in my house. Whoohoo! This makes everything so much more convienent. Yay!

J.Lo and Cane Spiders


I had a strange dream last night. It is kind of a reoccurring dream for me, though some of the details change from dream to dream. The dreams usually involve me about to marry someone that I don’t really want to marry. Sometimes the groom is someone I know or just a random guy that I did not love. The dream last night involved J.Lo. Yes, Jennifer Lopez. It seemed like she was my confidant/ wedding planner. I don’t know why I have these recurring dreams. I don’t think this means that I am destined to marry someone I don’t love, but apparently somewhere in my subconscious I must think that.

Last night a bunch of people were hanging out in my living room talking about cane spiders. I have never seen a cane spider, apparently they are like big tarantulas. I don’t think I like anything that can be likened to a big tarantula. Apparently they come out of the cane fields when the farmers burn them down each year. I sorta want to see one but then never see any again. My friend, Jonathan killed six in one night. They supposedly end up all over the place including in the shower. Eww! I know I am going to freak out big time when I see one.

We finally have some waves at the beach near my house. I think I am going to try to go surfing today. I am trying to be athletic. Last night I played basketball with Matt and then two middle-aged men. I may take on the position of unofficial recreation coordinator. It seems a shame to have a pool of 50+ young adults, many who are sports-minded, and not have a lot of team sports. I will let you know how this develops.

I made a spare key for my car the other day. I told Sherry about it and she jokingly said, “Awww, you made a spare key for me!” I went to Wal-Mart and bought an ugly gold key chain that reads, “Sherry- Keli.” Apparently Sherry’s Hawaiian name is Keli. I also got an ugly multi-colored, sequined, beanie baby sea horse key chain. Now people that borrow my car will have to take these ugly key chains along for the ride as well.

I got on the driver’s list here. This means I am allowed to drive our big ghetto YWAM vans. Lucky me. I had to take a little driver’s test with one of the other staff members. It reminded me of Driver’s Ed and I actually got a little nervous. Apparently I passed.

Today, I went shopping with Kristy, my housing boss and the Hospitality workers. I still can't believe how small our budget is. We had almost exactly enough money to buy toilet paper and paper towels for the week, sponges, windex and clorox clean-up. There were only a few cents to spare. There is other stuff we could have bought but the budget just won't allow.

The students start coming today and I am excited to get to know them. It should be fun. They seem young, especially the boys. The oldest guy is 21. The oldest girl is 24. In my school, I was the second oldest girl at age 22 but there were like seven or eight guys who were older than me. We were going to have four teams of students but now we are only having three. They will be going to Nepal, Bangladesh, and Borneo.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Old wrinkly cheeks, not the kind on your face

09-12 Blog

Gas just shot up to $3.96 today! This is killing my bank account and my soul. I am going to try not to use my car frivolously.

Yesterday I was feeling lazy and a bit anti-social. I had already gone to church on Friday night so I spent Sunday morning doing laundry and reading various magazines about the crisis in New Orleans. Heavy stuff! Several of my housemates invited me to do stuff with them but I was not in the mood. I needed some alone time.

I walked about a mile to a beach just outside of town. I went the route that takes you by this little nude beach. Normally there isn’t anyone partaking in this semi-sanctioned nakedness. Apparently Sundays are a popular time for nude frolicking. I saw at least four naked middle-aged to borderline elderly men. Fortunately I only got a back view of one of them before I figured out what was going down. Seeing one saggy old butt was enough for me so I looking away from the ocean after that.

I got to my desired non-nude beach location. Unfortunately the sand was blowing like crazy. I tried to choose a spot that was sheltered from the biting swirling sand but to no avail. In fact, the spot I chose seemed to be where the wind was the worst and I was covered in sand in the first five minutes. I had intended to read and pray but the sand thwarted my good intentions. I only stayed for about half an hour. On the way back I made sure to take a route that did not involve an old guy peep show.

Then I went to Borders. I don’t know if all of you know, but I am attempting to write a book. It is about weddings. I wrote a lot at first and lately I have been getting into it again. I don’t know if anything will ever come of it but that would be awesome if something did. Right now I am looking into everything you need to do to get published. I spent some time at Borders researching.

Today I cleaned the house where the guests and speakers stay. I think my housekeeping skills are improving. Then my boss and I hunted for fitted sheets. Each mattress on base is supposed to have one and we are like ten short. Since our budget is minuscule, we will have to get a bit creative to make this happen.

Today we also had staff fellowship. This is a staff meeting with treats and socializing at the end. It went pretty well. I am super-tired today so I am going to go take a nap. I hear rumors that surf is coming so I may get to see how I do with my new board. Yay.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Perpetual Cloud Hair

Blog 9-10

I pretty much have permanent cloud hair here. For those of you who do not know what cloud hair is: it is when my hair acquires a Kramer-esque elevation. It is frizz to the max. Some hair products are supposed to help you achieve that fresh from the beach look. That is not a good look for me. I basically get a frizzy mini-afro. Maybe the problem could be alleviated if I bathed more. I am really to lazy to test that theory out. Cloud hair is here to stay.

Last night I went to Hope Chapel, a church in Kihei. Sherry, Terry and some of my other YWAM friends whose names don’t end in “erry” were leading worship. They did a really good job. You can always count on quality worship from YWAMers. We loaded twenty people into one of our ghetto YWAM vans to get there. It was a bit cramped but fun. There is a really nice bookstore at the church. I wanted to check it out more but I was paranoid about getting left behind. I think we managed not to leave anyone. Afterwards, we went to Cold Stone, an inferior version of Marble Slab as far as I am concerned. The people there must have despised us for bringing in like twenty people less than an hour before closing.

Then some friends and I watched Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up dvd. It is so funny. It is definitely worth checking out. I laughed so much.

Today I hung out with Amy, another girl who lives in my house. It was good. She seems like a good friend candidate. We made a pilgrimage to Costco and Wal-Mart. I go to Wal-Mart at least two times a week. It is a bit strange but seems necessary for whatever reason. And then I bought the surfboard I have had my eye on. It is probably a little shorter than I need but I am going to try hard to get better. Now, I have all the toys I set money aside for before I got here. I plan on not spending as much money any more. I just had to get myself settled in.

My third roommate moved in. That means we have nine people in our house total. My new roomie is Jess from Canada. She seems pretty nice and laidback. I am now outnumbered two to one by Canadians. Don’t be surprised if I start saying, “eh?” She sleeps below me and has created what Sherry and I refer to as “the fort.” She has hung a sarong to block the view into her bed. It looks like when a kid makes a fort out of blankets. I guess she just likes privacy anyway she can obtain it. Regardless, I do enjoy talking about “the fort.”

I went to lunch with another girl from my house, Tik (pronounced Teak.) She is from Thailand and is staffing the DTS this quarter. She is a really cool girl and it was nice to get to know her better and find out about her heart for discipleship.

This afternoon I got to watch the UT game. Our TV only has a few channels but one was all I needed. Unfortunately most of the game I got to see was not UT’s finest showing. Then I had to leave to go to a new staff “BBQ” and I had to stop watching about five minutes before the end. I come to find out from Sarah Sto-Gregor, that those last five minutes were very exciting as we came from behind and won. I am happy but I would probably be a little more happy if I had gotten to see it.

Those of us who were new on staff, had to stand up and say where we are from and stuff. Then we got a nice card and some macadamia nut candy. It was funny because this was held at this pavilion near the beach. It was mainly YWAMers there but there was also a group of drunk local older men with no shirts. They cheered really loud along with the YWAMers for all of us when our names were called out. They yelled really loud when I said I was from Texas. Then after all the names were called out, they yelled, “We want to hear about Sara. Where’s Sara from?” Sara is the personnel director and was the one calling out our names. She did not answer the guys so I guess she was not interested in their enticing proposition.

Speaking of awkward pick-up attempts, Sherry got hit on today right in front of her fiancé, Jonathan. They were hitchhiking from the beach and about to get in the back of a pick-up. Some dude on a scooter, yes I said scooter, approached them and asked Sherry if she needed a ride. Jonathan said, “No.” Then he said, “She’d have a better time with me.” Needless to say, Sherry did not take him up on his offer even though he was propositioning her from his fly scooter.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ping Pongorama

Hello my blog public,

I am done working for the day. Yeah! It is hot here and I have been moving stuff around most of the day. When students or staff leave the base to go on outreach or for good, they leave what we on base refer to as, "giveaways." This is basically a bunch of stuff they don't want anymore. After the remaining students and staff rifle through the piles, it is housing's responsibility to deal with it. Kristy, my boss, came up with the idea of having a garage sale with all the stuff from giveaways to raise money for the base. Today we put lots of stuff in storage to wait for the next garage sale.

I have been impressed how thrifty the base is with money. They keep a tight budget that allows for planned extras but not superfulous stuff. I am used to Young Life where we would go out and meet at a restaurant after club and Young Life would fit the bill. Here the housing department is given $.90 per person per week. The kitchen feeds everyone on a budget of $1.60 per day for three meals. It is crazy! It is good to know that they don't waste money. There is so much room for improvement in our delapidated housing but the budget is mainly spent on toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

So far I am not too into my job here but maybe it is supposed to teach me humility and patience. I don't really feel like I am using my gifts and strengths. I did volunteer to lead a church group. This means I am the staff liason at a local church and I take a group of students there. I was a bit hesitant to commit to a church I had never been to but it will be a really good chance to get to know the students that I take to church. I got to know the staff I went to church with during DTS pretty well.

I have noticed that I get the most lonely when it is night. I think a big part of that is because of the time change and the fact that I only have one friend I can call after 8pm here, Misti who lives in California. I know I am still adjusting and most of the time I am happy to be here. It is just sometimes that I feel sad.

Last night I had fun with Sherry and Jonathan. Sherry and I played an intense game of ping pong. Neither of us are very good but we kept making each other crack up laughing. I think it would be funny if I got really serious about ping pong and had my own special paddle in a fancy case. I could wear a sweat band when I play. It could be nice. I would probably have to become a better player but maybe the irony of me being terrible would be more amusing.

After some epic ping pong, we watched Elf. I forgot how funny that movie is. I just love Will Farrell. Tonight I am going to church at Hope Chapel and then I don't know what I will do. I am sure you guys will find out what I did one way or another.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Skinned Knees and Unexpected Phone Calls

Written Wednesday night-

I got a very unexpected phone call or maybe I should say eight phone calls. They were all from one girl, Megan Poling, one of my favorite campers from Kamp Kaleidoscope. For those of you unfamiliar with Megan or Kamp Kaleidoscope, here is a crash course. I worked two summers at Camp Cho-Yeh, a Christian summer camp in Livingston, TX. The last week of the summer, the camp hosts Kamp Kaleidoscope, a non-Christian camp for teenagers who have epilepsy. Some are perfectly normal other than the fact that they have seizures. Most are somewhat mentally impaired. This makes for a crazy exciting week of camp. I love this camp so much that I came back for just that week of camp during two summers. So, I have worked the camp four times.

Megan is a big girl. She is twenty years old and at least 250 lbs. She has the mind of a six year old. She is hilarious in many ways but can also be frustrating. I talked to her on the phone and it went better than I expected. We talked about her life: one of their two refrigerators broke down and her grandpa’s boss in her words is a “B-I-C-H.” She also asked about all her favorite camp counselors like, Sarah and Kattner. (wink,wink). She was excited to learn that Zach is going to be a dad but she thinks he is too young. It was actually good to talk to her but hopefully she does not call me to much now that she has “her very own cell phone that only she answers unless she is in the shower.”

Megan is one of the memorable campers. I think she was only in my cabin two times but her presence was always felt no matter what.

Today was the second day of staff conference. Today ended up being more of a fun team-building type thing instead of a long boring meeting thing like the day before. We were divided into teams and sent on an island-wide Amazing Race-type adventure. It was fun and it helped us all to get to know some of the other staff a little better. My team, unfortunately did not return victorious.

The last clue was in a porta-potty at a popular beach across the island, Makena beach. Helen Hunt named her daughter after this beach. There were some crazy waves breaking right onto the beach. Apparently tourists have died here because of the harsh waves. This time, however, the waves merely caused a few people to be knocked off their feet. If you know me well, you know that I find nothing funnier than people falling down. Waves knocking people down is just as amusing. There were some serious skim boarders out there and I thought of my good pal and skim boarder, David Ray.

After this we had a BBQ at a beach near our house. Of course, as I have learned from living in Hawaii, BBQ almost never means real BBQ is served. This time we had pizza. We played a little football and ultimate Frisbee. As we were leaving, I totally tripped in the darkness and skinned my palms and knee. It hurt a little and now I feel like a bit of a dork. I forgot how much skinned knees can hurt.

Right now I am at Borders. I am feeling a little sad. I think I am lonely despite the friends I have here and the friends I have made. I had a couple people I wanted to call today and I couldn’t because we didn’t finish our stuff until it was too late to call most people. I know this loneliness will pass but it is annoying. I don’t really have default friends here yet. You know, those friends that you almost don’t have to ask if they want to hang out because it is pretty much a given. We are all also getting used to each other’s personalities and the rhythms of our senses of humor. I know this all takes time but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel a bit sad.

Tomorrow I start working again so maybe that will help my melancholies.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Erin and Zach making babies

I have a request from someone who has read my blog. Since I have no real idea if people are actually reading this thing, I need to pay attention to requests by the few readers I have. So, Erin Pilgreen Morrow or Erin Pilgrow as I like to call you, this is for you.

So, if you are unaware of the reason behind my blog’s unorthodox title, I will share it with you. There is an unbelievably funny Saturday Night Live sketch called, “Adelle at Lunch.” It involves an amazing performance by Cheri Oteri as Adelle. Adelle is the name of this character who endlessly spouts out sexual innuendos at her work place. If you are not easily offended, I recommend that you download the sound bite immediately. I warn you that this is not for the easily offended. With all of this said, one part of the skit involves Adelle referring to her tube top as “an elastic basket to hold her peaches.” And the person in my life who does the best impersonation of Adelle is Erin Pilgreen Morrow. She has the entire thing memorized and gives a flawless performance. If you are lucky enough to know Erin, make her do the skit for you. You will not be disappointed.

Another piece of news about Erin is that she is PREGNANT! She and her husband of less than a year, Zach Morrow are expecting a baby in May. Erin, my dad’s birthday is May 5th and Jocelyn’s birthday is May 7th, so it would be nice if you could shoot for one of those days. Thanks. Those Pilgreens sure do love to procreate, except Lee of course. I am so excited for Erin and Zach. I love them both and I know they will make great parents. It makes me sad that I won’t get to see this kid until it is like a year old. Babies are more fun when they are older anyway, right? I demand pictures when the little sucker pops out and if pre-baby Erin and Zach don’t come to Em and Van’s wedding, there will be hell to pay. Whatever that means.

Today we had staff conference. This was basically a time when we all sat in a room and talked about rules and YWAM policies. Despite the presence of baked goods, it was not the most exciting time I have ever had. We got a break for lunch and then had some more stuff in the afternoon. The highlight of that time was getting a letter from Sarah Sto-Gregor. I love mail. I repeat, I love mail. I found out last night that Richard and Sonya, who used to lead Northbrook Young Life, the club I worked with last year, have quit. This leaves no one to lead the club and so they have had to combine with their rival school. This means a lot more work for the urban young life director since she is now in charge of two high schools. They desperately need new leaders because they are being spread too thin. This development makes me feel sad about leaving them even though I know I cannot single-handedly fix all the problems.

I am still on the prowl for a surfboard. I am terrible at being patient. There is a specific type I want and I am trying to find a used one. The surf is supposed to be pretty flat for at least a month, so I just need to chill. I guess I am afraid I will spend the money on something else. I need to just hide the money somewhere.

Gas is sooo expensive! I filled up my tank this weekend for $53! That was at $3.24 per gallon. Today it is up to $3.48 per gallon. In two days the prices went up 24 cents. That is just terrible. I am going to try to limit my car use some to conserve gas. I get a bit upset when I reminisce about those wonderful high school days when I got gas for 75 cents per gallon. Those were the days! I need to stop thinking about it or I will tear up again.

I talked to my brother this weekend. I miss that guy a lot. He is the person in my life right now who I love the most. It is a shame that the army owns him now. He talked about having some kind of Disneyworld extravaganza with our family and Shella’s family including her three nephews and niece. This would happen before he leaves for Iraq. Andrew going to Iraq is not a sure thing yet. I think I would be able to get the time off from YWAM as long as I gave them enough notice. If they try to deny me, I can just bawl and pull the “my brother’s going to Iraq” card. I would really prefer he not go, but if he thinks it is worth going there, then I will support him.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Just Shave it all off

I don’t understand why some older men insist on holding on to as much hair as they possibly can. I see this phenomenon everywhere here in hippie Maui. I sat behind a guy at church who literally had an inch of grey hair left at the base of his neck. And dangling from this mini-fringe of nostalgia hair was a two inch ratty ponytail. Soooo gross! There are plenty of good looking bald men out there- Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, and at least half of the NBA. As a woman, I can say that I am attracted to bald men and not at all attracted to grown men who are balding and still insist on keeping their remaining hair in a ponytail. Just shave your head and do us all a favor. And there are just too many men here who have ponytails balding or not balding. Balding is obviously worse but I must say I don’t think men should have ponytails at all. Here if you see someone with a braided ponytail that reaches mid-back, there is no guarantee that its owner is a woman. In fact, the person is more likely to be a man. Yuck! I am not attracted to hippies.

I just got my oil changed today. All I still need to do on my car is to get it inspected. I cannot do that, however, until I get my insurance card in the mail. I have put some stickers on my car to make it feel more like my own. I put two Ben Harper stickers, two longhorn stickers, a Rusty sticker and a lovely, “Texas is bigger than France” sticker. I have already received several compliments on that particular sticker.

I already mentioned that I got a bike. Yesterday I attempted to take a leisurely ride to Kahului and back. It is only about 15 miles round trip. Considering that I had done 160 miles in two days with the MS150, 15 miles seemed like a walk in the park. This was not the case. I got into town just fine. I went to some stores and just kinda rode around. Then I decided I wanted to return to Paia. This was easier said than done. The wind had picked up at an incredible rate. I was pedaling as hard as I could and I estimate that I was traveling at around 1 mile per hour. It was excruciating and infuriating. I kept getting blown to the side of the road. I understand why Maui is the wind surfing capital of the world. I really wished I was windsurfing then and not riding a bike. I was about five miles from home when I just gave up trying to pedal through the merciless wind. I started walking my bike.

I walked for about fifteen minutes when a guy in a truck pulled to the side of the road. He asked if I needed a ride. Normally a YWAM girl is not supposed to hitchhike alone but at this point I was not concerned with following the rules. I prayed that this guy was as nice as he seemed and I threw my bike in the back of his truck and climbed in next to him. He turned out to be a nice landscaper guy named Dallas from Oregon. He dropped me off right down the street from my house. I don’t know what I would have done had he not rescued me. I am very thankful. I don’t know if I mentioned how freakin hot it is here. This is not helpful when you are walking your bike for miles.

Yesterday I really went to the beach for the first time. I had been earlier in the week but I didn’t get in the water. It was pretty cool. I forget how amazing the water here looks. Unfortunately the wind was intense and I got pummeled by sand most of the time I was out there. I kept taking refuge under my towel.

Last night I drove some of the people here across the island to hear a guy from Israel speak at a church. He gave us background on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It was very informative. It felt like being in college again. It was also cool to hear an Israeli Jew’s perspective on everything. And I am pretty sure he is not a Christian.

I am very apolitical as many of you know. I don’t pretend to be informed enough to have real opinions on most political issues. I usually just try to stay out of it. But I do want to share a few things the guy said. Take them however you like. He was talked about how Israel keeps trying to give the Palestinians land and they refuse. Then they use acts of terror to try to get land that Israel has already offered them. The speaker was a general in the Israeli army. He said that the reason they were getting the Jews out of the Gaza strip was that the army had to use too many resources to protect these small pockets of Jews from the surrounding Palestinians. The Palestinians think the Jews left because of successful terror attempts when the Israeli army maintains it was for financial reasons. This means Palestinians still believe that terror is a good way to get what they want.

I also did not know that Winston Churchill was responsible for the creation of most of the countries in the Middle East. He drew boundaries almost arbitrarily without much thought for the people groups involved. This is why there is not much unity in much of the Middle East. These people did not form countries out of a desire to unify, they were basically told they were a country. The Palestinians are continually being displaced and moved around. They don’t really have a place to call home and they keep refusing offers of land from Israel. Also the Palestinians were semi-unified under Arafat but now there is no one leader. There are at least five separate factions of Palestinians so negotiating with them is very difficult.

One other interesting thing the guy said was that he is for American troops in Iraq. I recognize that this is one man’s opinion, but he thinks that their presence has resulted in a push towards democracy in other countries in the Middle East. He believes that if the U.S. were to pull out now, it would show the terrorists that terror has beaten the Americans. This would give them an even greater sense of power. As I have said above, I tend to stay out of political matters, but it was interesting to hear an Israeli support U.S. troops in Iraq. I don’t know how accurate the man was, but I found the above interesting. Please don’t use this as a license to engage me in a political debate. I am not into that.

Then after the Israeli guy spoke, the Pastor of the church came up and spoke about the end times. I hated it and I felt very uncomfortable. It did not help that the guy had this weird fake smile, glazed eyes look on his face and that he talked animatedly like he was talking to a group of two-year olds. He basically said that the stuff in the Middle East right now meant that the end times were here. He was saying that he is 57 and that the second coming of Christ WILL occur in his lifetime. I felt like I was listening to a cult leader. I was surprised that he did not ask us to don black Nike tennis shoes and drink poison. If he indeed thinks that the end times are about to happen, then why did he seem unconcerned about all the people who are not Christians? He said that if we are not 100% sure where we are going when we die, we need to come up to the front so he can enlighten us.

I personally do not agree with his theology. My logical personality and what I have learned in my research make me very hesitant to declare that I am 100% sure I am going to Heaven. I have found Christianity to make the most sense and it is the faith system that the evidence seems to support the most. I cannot say beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God or that Jesus is the way God will redeem the world but because of the evidence I have seen, that is what I believe. If someone could convince me that another faith system has more evidence, then I would switch religions. I doubt someone could do this but I believe that if I am not open to testing my faith then I am just being naïve.

The Bible has a lot of prophecy about the end of our time on earth but it also talks about it “coming like a thief in the night” and that no one knows when exactly it will happen(except for this pastor, apparently.) Also the Bible talks about how a day is like a thousand years to the Lord and a thousand years is like a day. Who knows if there is any exactness in Bible prophecy when the Bible says the Lord works on a different time table than us. As you see, I did not like this part of the evening. The Israel guy was cool, though.

Sorry this post was so political and opinionated. I will try not to do that on a regular basis.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Two down, one to go

I wanted to spend $2000 on a car, bike and surfboard. So far I have a car and a bike and I should have enough money left for a used shortboard, if I play my cards right. I bought a bike today. Since I am now an MS150 veteran/bike snob, I could not see myself riding a Wal-Mart bike. I found a bike shop in town. The guy was pretty nice and helped me to find a used bike for $300. I think it is a pretty good deal. It is a couple of years old but in good condition with upgrades. It's a Kona Muni-Mula. The guy said it sold for $1100 new. It has hybrid tires but he threw in mountain bike tires, a water bottle and a free helmet. I haven't ridden it that much today but from what I have done it seems pretty sweet.

My allergies have put me in a melancholy mood today. I did find out that we have cable in one of our houses because of the cable modem for wireless internet. Pretty sweet. My friend, Matt, said we can get some kind of splitter and run it to my house. This would be ideal for college football watching. I think Matt and I will be football buddies. Today we watched quite a bit including my lovely Longhorns who spanked that team from Louisiana. And I hope everyone watched OU lose to TCU!!! Come on, unranked TCU! It doesn't get much better than that as far as I am concerned. As a true longhorn fan, I always root against those Sooners.

Last night I went to Hope Chapel in Kihei. I am not sure yet if it the church I will attend. I liked some parts a lot and other parts not so much. My friends Sherry and Jonathan go so it is cool to get more hang out time with them. One really cool thing the church did was they showed a slideshow of pics from the New Orleans disaster accompanied by a song about God being there in the storms. I definitely teared up. I love New Orleans. That is the city my family visits the most where we don't have family. The tsunami stuff was sad as was 911 but this really hits home for me more. I think because I know the location so much better. Ugh. It makes me so sad. If I had my way I would send one of the DTS outreach teams to New Orleans. God knows they need the help.

The house next door to mine with wireless internet is being painted so they have temporarily unplugged it. I feel slightly crippled even though it has only been one day. I have to walk a few blocks to one of the other houses. I am such a baby!

We are air condition

9-2 Blog

It is so hot here lately. There is a nice breeze most of the time but it is still a bit stifling. I think it won’t be as bad when I get used to it. It is just a lot different having hot weather with no air conditioning. One of the restaurants in my town has a sign that reads, “We are air condition.”

My little boss-type person is not the most organized woman in the world so I have not had much to do in the mornings. I drove in to Kahului (Ka-hu-loo-ee) today. This is the town with the Wal-Mart, Big K and other national chains. It is only 7 miles away. I was looking for a pawn shop but I really should have looked for one on the internet first because I never found one. I am looking to get a bike. It is good exercise. I don’t want a cheap Wal-Mart bike because I have become a bit of a bike snob after riding in the MS150. I figure a pawn shop is where I will find a nice bike for a cheaper price, that is of course, if I ever find a pawn shop.

This morning we had base worship. This is where all the YWAMers on base get together to praise the BIG GUY. It was so good and refreshing. YWAM has amazing worship always. Then I had some much needed God time on the beach a few yards away from some hippie guys smoking pot and playing with their dogs.

Last night I decided to finally do something athletic and played basketball down at the court by the beach. I schooled a middle-aged man named Jeff at a game of horse. Then as I was walking up the street I noticed that there were police cars and a big yellow fire truck blocking off the road to my house. I found out that there had been a bomb threat at the health food store. I don’t know who would take that kind of threat seriously. As if some hippie would bomb the health food store. I doubt it very highly. Does Maui even have a bomb squad? It’s probably just two old guys in shiny silver suits and they probably have to fly in from Honolulu anyway. I managed to get by the road block on foot. I think they were afraid to stop the sweaty girl with a basketball. After I passed, they stopped letting anyone walk by. I think the road was blocked for about an hour. As far as I know, no bomb of any kind was found. Pretty funny overall.

Then Sherry, Jonathan and I were going to watch Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It is this movie by Tyler Perry, who I learned about through my Young Life kids. Tyler Perry makes these plays about black America that sell-out all over the country. They are an interesting mix of the ills of society and the Christian world. It is pretty cool. This is his first movie and I really wanted to see it. But our plans were foiled. It turns out that the girl who had it had already loaned it away.

We ended up sitting around and then Sherry and I ended up going to town as an excuse to use my car. We went to the grocery store and made a very thorough shopping trip. We were acting as if we had never been to a grocery store before. I don’t know what our deal was. Hawaii grocery stores do have some weird stuff that you don’t see everywhere. We saw some freeze dried squid. No thanks. There is definitely a huge Asian influence here. After Sherry and I painstakingly debated our purchases, we checked out and returned home.

I don’t quite feel at home yet where I live. Maui feels like home but I still feel like a guest in Harper’s, where I live. I think after I have been here a bit longer, that will come too. I am excited about my two years here but at this point I am pretty sure I won’t stay here longer than that. Some YWAMers will come back and just live and work on the island. I don’t think that is for me. I need to live in Texas among the longhorns and bluebonnets- hehe cheesy. I realize, however, that I could change my mind after two years. We will see.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Diary of a happy white woman

I got a car!!!!!!!!!! Whoohoo! I was looking for a car that could hold a lot of people and stuff, was an automatic and would not break down a lot. Oh, yeah and it needed to be $1500 or less. I found a 93 dark green 4x4 Explorer with a cd player and surf racks for $1400. I pretty much bought it on the spot. I did have some of the boys on base check it out first.

Today I spent the morning in the Maui equivalent to a DPS. It took an hour and a half, which wouldn't have been as bad if I hadn't brought my friend, Terry along. I felt bad that he had to just sit there. All I need to do is get it inspected and I can't do that till my insurance card comes in the mail. The freedom a car gives you here is incredible. Without one, I would have to hitchhike everywhere not in our little town. Sometimes it is nice to just be able to go somewhere and be alone.

I worked more today. I cleaned the offices and cleaned the office bedroom. I also got to distribute toilet paper. Whoohoo! Basically it seems my job will involve a range of duties related to both housing and housekeeping. Nothing seems too hard and maybe this will improve my cleaning skills for when I get married. Having a maid most of my life means I am not the best cleaner.

So, other than a severe lack of love life, I am doing pretty darn well. Sometimes I am afraid that I will always be doomed to have great guys like me that I don't like in that way. And the ones I do like, don't seem to like me or at least not like me very consistently. Oh well. Who am I to complain? I do live in Hawaii right now.
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