Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Wedding Bisnass

Sherry and Jono's wedding was probably the smallest one I have ever been to. More than half the guests were YWAMers. Carrie and Corey are two YWAMers who got married last year. They told me that barely any of the guests brought gifts. That is shameful and white trash. I was determined that this not be the case for Jono and Sherry. I made what seemed like an endless stream of announcements at base-wide events that people need to buy them a gift or give money to me to give them towards a laptop. I ended up collecting about $700. I was pretty satisfied with that.

Sherry was one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen and we all know I have seen a lot of brides. She just looked gorgeous. Jonathan totally cried when he saw her. It was really cute. I like it when the groom cries. One of his brothers totally lost it and all of Sherry's bridesmaids were crying. Their wedding was slightly unorthodox with a hula and they said their own vows. The vows were very informal but funny and sweet. The ceremony was short, which is always a bonus.

Amy, Sara and I were assigned to take care of the candles and the drinks for the wedding. We set everything out between trips to the chocolate fountains. The candles kept blowing out in the wind but later in the evening they managed to stay lit. I was also in charge of the music for thei reception and the dance. I was nervous about whether or not people would like the music or if they would dance. Sherry had okayed my selections but I was still nervous. Luckily everything turned out great and people danced all night. I had a lot of fun. I am not a very good dancer but I am an amusing dancer. I even pulled out my impersonation of Elaine's dance from Seinfeld. That dance and the Hammer by M.C. Hammer are pretty much the only actual dances I know. The rest of the time involves me doing goofy pantomimes. Gena and Todd did a hilarious dance together to a Destiny's Child song. I almost peed my pants. It was so great! Gena made all the bouquets and then she caught Sherry's bouquet. I was hoping to catch my third bouquet but alas Gena beat me to it. I should have thrown the elbows. Oh well.

After the wedding, all the DTS friends went to the beach and hung out and reminisced. It was really fun. We stayed out past 2am and I had to get up for church in the morning. It was worth it, though.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sherry and Jono's wedding day

Today is Sherry and Jonathan's wedding day! They will be Mr. and Mrs. Craig. How crazy is that! Sherry and Jono met during my DTS so it is so much fun that they are getting married now. Yesterday they had their rehearsal dinner. They invited me and Gena along with the usual-wedding party, family and out of town guests. It was really fun and a good chance to spend time with Sherry before the wedding. I also got to hang out with her bridesmaids again, who I really like. There were a large number of people from my DTS there. Pretty cool. Sherry, Jonathan, Michael Berman, Liz Wilkes, Cherish, Misti, Abbey, Ryan Hagler, and me and Gena. It was like a DTS reunion.

Despite all the pre-wedding fun, life has been pretty hectic and sometimes frustrating this past week. Because my car does not work and my DTS friends are in town, we decided to rent a car for the weekend. It is exciting to be able to do that now with no extra charge since I recently turned 25. Renting a car is one of the only things you can do at 25 that you can't do at 24. I felt very mature and sophisticated. Amy came to the counter with me to ask about upgrades. The lady said it would be $10 more a day. I told her that was too much. There was some witty banter between us and the woman at the counter as we finished all the rental biznass. We were supposed to get a Dodge Neon. She gave us keys and we walked to the parking spot indicated on the rental form. It was not a Dodge neon but a convertible PT cruiser. PT cruisers are funny because they are kind of a mid-life crisis car. It is even funnier because it is a convertible. It is also bright blue. We look really funny in it.

There was some unnecessary drama about who could drive it. It was something we really should have talked about beforehand but we didn't. I assumed that I would be driving always since it was my name on the rental agreement and no one else was authorized to drive. The girls thought anyone should be allowed to drive it. Having a lawyer for a dad, I knew he would kill me if someone else drove it and something happened. I cannot afford to have someone in debt to me for thousands of dollars. This is the worst case scenario, obviously but it could happen. The girls ended up paying $30 to have one of them put on the driver's list for one of the days. This was fine with me because now her name was on the rental agreement. Overall the whole situation was annoying though I could totally understand their point of view. It definitely caused some tension in what should have been a great reunion.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Housing Japanese Business Men

I have not been working quite as much as usual lately. One of my DTS friends is in town and two more will be coming on Thursday. I have been taking half a day off and working for half the day. Amy and I have been work-out junkies. We have been consistently going to the gym about 5 or 6 times a week. This is quite the feat since we are hitchhiking on most of our trips. Yesterday we had to hitchhike in the rain. This is not my favorite thing and if Amy wasn't so darn persuasive then I definitely would have skipped the gym yesterday. I have yet to notice a huge difference in my body. I think my calves are getting more muscular, which is the last thing I want to become more muscular as they are already border-line frightening. I am also trying to eat better, which means not gorging myself on every baked good I see. After Jono and Sherry's wedding, I plan to give up baked goods that include chocolate. They are having a chocolate fountain and it would be torture not to partake. I am also making an exception for this delectable Skor bar thing that Amy's mom makes. I am banking on Amy bringing some back for me when she goes home this next week.

I fear I will have Amy withdrawals when she is gone. We hang out so much that it will be really weird to not have her around. It is only for nine days so I am sure I will survive. I plan on getting my bike fixed soon so I can still exercise without going to the gym.

I hate Apple right now. I know this may hurt the feelings of some of my Apple-loving friends. I have had my IPOD mini for less than a year and the battery really sucks. I can charge it for hours and then it will say low battery and not work. I went on Apple's confusing unuser-friendly website and ordered a box to send it back to Apple. This stupid box cost me $30. I thought that would be no big deal if it resulted in a restored IPOD or even a new IPOD. Then Apple sent me an email that essentially said, "You are very unintelligent and your IPOD works just fine so we are doing nothing, SUCKER!" Those weren't their exact words but I know that is what they were implying. So, this means I paid $30 for my IPOD to go on a little vacation. So lame! I can't afford to essentially throw $30 away. UGH! I wish IPODS weren't so darn handy. I feel like I am just at Apple's mercy. I will say now that I will not be buying one of their computers anytime soon. At least Dell let me have an email chat with a man named Mahesh, who actually helped me.

Sherry has moved out of my room to go stay at the villa where she and Jono are getting married. It is sad to have her leave but at least they will be returning to the island for awhile after their honeymoon. I have already moved down from my top bunk to more prime real estate, her old bed. It is abnormally high with enough storage space to house at least four Japanese business men. Kramer made some money doing that on Seinfeld. Maybe I can do that to make a little side money. Then again, hiding Japanese business men under your bed is probably frowned upon at YWAM Maui. I will post some pics of the new living situation on my website. My new roommate will be Ashley. I think we will get along well except that she is a light sleeper and I talk in my sleep. Oh well, I enjoy an audience.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Let's get this wedding started!

This week Amy and I have been really good about working out. If we keep up the good work, when I visit in March, no one will even recognize me. Ok, maybe not but working out does make me feel better about myself.

Last night Sherry (my roommate) picked up two of her bridesmaids at the airport. It was nice to finally meet them since I had heard so much about them. They seem really fun. The room Sherry and I share has gotten pretty crowded with the addition of the two of them as well as Liz Wilkes, a friend from my DTS who came in today for Sherry and Jono's wedding. Tonight I am sleeping in Amy and Jess's room since we have to get up early for church tomorrow and the other girls in my room don't.

I am interested to see how my church goes tomorrow. Last week we had a guest speaker lady who did a bunch of healings. I don't know yet what a normal service is. I'll keep you posted.

Tonight a bunch of us girls went to this place called Mulligan's. Everyone talks about how much they love the place. I wasn't very impressed. It is really fancy. I pictured this quaint little Irish pub but it was not. I did have a lovely $8 apple pie. It was expensive but delicious.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reflections on a 25th Birthday

So, yesterday was my birthday. It was a good birthday. Much better than last year when my grandma died and I went to her viewing on my birthday.

I feel like the key thing about birthdays is to feel loved and important to people. I definitely felt that way which means my birthday was a success. I did some work but not too much. I always feel like birthdays are usually just a few fun moments that make you feel like it is your birthday. The rest of the day seems normal but you keep thinking it should be exciting all day. Being in YWAM on your birthday means that you get people talking about your birthday all day. It's great! I got "Happy Birthday" sung to me no fewer than five times. I got cupcakes in the shape of the number 25.

In the afternoon Amy and I went to Wal-Mart and TCBY. Then we went up to her mentor's house. Her mentor is a lady named Moana who is married to a guy, Eric, with an awesome mullet and a partial handlebar mustache. He definitely disproves the stereotypes about mullets. He is super nice and a millionaire. They own four houses. One in Maui, one in Canadian ski country, one on the Hawaiian island, Molokai, and one in Paris. Their house in Maui is up near the top of the volocano and has an incredible view. Eric is an artist so they designed the house themselves. It looks like one of those places you would see on a cool house tv show. They have this awesome fishtank built into the wall between the study and living room. So cool. Amy and I just hung out and relaxed in non-YWAM land. It was nice.

Then she treated me to a steak dinner at Outback. It was good. I got a free ice cream sundae because it was my birthday. It was funny at dinner because my friend, Jared called. Now, I got lots of birthday phone calls from great friends all day. I was a bit surprised that Jared knew when my birthday was because we aren't really birthday call friends. It soon became clear that he just happened to call on this special day and did not know it was my birthday. It seemed to awkward to tell him so I decided not to. I felt really blessed yesterday because almost all my favorite people in the world called me or emailed me including my brother who had to call me from a pay phone in "Armyland," Georgia. I was especially excited to hear from my old roommate, Lucy who I had not talked to in a long time. I just love that girl!

After Amy and I went to Outback, we went home and watched some Law and Order. Mmm.... Box sets! Then some of my friends came over bearing gifts. I got stickers, a gift certificate to Borders and a funny shirt. I always joke that our other girls' staff house is where all the homebody girls live. I say all they do is knit and make handicrafts. Our house is more social and several of the girls have boyfriends so there are a lot of rules at our house. I like to say that "Anything Goes" at Mayu's. Two of my Mayu's friends found a shirt at American Eagle that says "Anthing Goes." Pretty funny. Today I wore it and wrote "at Mayus" underneath it.

Marti Harnly wins the prize for sending a birthday package that actually arrived on my birthday. I have heard rumors of upcoming packages and I am waiting on pins and needles for their arrivals. Better late packages, than no packages. That's what I always say.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Almost 25!

I am writing this the night before my 25th birthday. This seems really old. I will be a quarter of a century old. Woah! Luckily I am not the type of person to make assumptions about what I will be doing at a certain age. Many people my age are getting married, buying houses, and having babies. I guess I am not the norm. I am having a good time and I know I am where God wants me. I do hope he has planned a time for me to do those things in the near future.

I don't know what I am going to do on my birthday. I hope it will be something fun. In college, birthdays were grand events. My roommates and I always went out of our way to make eachother's birthdays super fun and very special. One birthday involved me being kidnapped and taken while blindfolded into a bowling alley where most of my friends were waiting. Another time my friends devised a giant video scavenger hunt that had to do with things I like. The players had to find a mullet, for example.

Last year was my worst birthday ever. My grandma died two days before. I was supposed to be on a Young Life retreat on my birthday but instead I was at a funeral home in Arkansas. Not ideal to say the least. The visitation was on my actual birthday and we did nothing that felt like my birthday at all. The only birthday-like event was when my brother put some matches in a bundt cake brought for my Grandma's funeral and the family sang a weak Happy Birthday. The bundt cake gave several of us, including me food poisoning so I spent the next day feeling queasy and I even threw up. No fun at all.

I did get a bunch of phone calls and text messages from friends, which meant so much to me. My friend, Katie H called me. I was very surprised since I don't even know when her birthday is. The best part of my birthday last year was at my grandma's viewing. I was sitting in the room next to the room with the open casket, trying not to look at it. I heard an old lady across the room talking about how she wanted to meet Liz. She came over and said that she had a granddaughter around my age and that she and my grandma would talk about their granddaughters a lot. She said that my grandma was so proud of me and that I was a missionary. That comment meant more to me than a million presents or elaborate birthday celebrations. This was in the midst of a confusing time for me as I was contemplating returning here to YWAM Maui. Thanks Grandma.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Washing a fellow Texan's feet

It's been a little while since I last wrote. This was the students' first week here. They have been super-busy and so have we. We had a mini-crisis on Tuesday morning when the DTS leader wanted to change the date of Love Feast. Love Feast is when the students come back from their two-night camping trip. They sleep outside under tarps, can't change clothes and don't wear deodorant. They only get to eat oatmeal and Ramen. Then when the students cannot take anymore, we bring them to Love Feast. The staff deccorates this church and dresses up nice. We cook all this good food and have a fancy dinner. Then we wash the students' grimey feet. It is a great feeling for the students and really symbolizes how Christ's love cleanses us.

There is so much that goes into this so the DTS director calling the day of to try to change it, is crazy. People were flipping out. We ended up keeping it as scheduled but this was only after several staff members resorted to tears. In the end, it turned out great! I washed a girl named Dinah's feet who is from Dallas. I made sure I got the Texan.

This weekend Amy and I worked out a lot. We are trying to be dilligent. We weren't so good during the week because I kept feeling sick. I got a migraine and my lymph nodes in my armpits are swollen. This means I have some sort of infection but my only real symptoms seem to be the fact that I have been irritable and borderline bitchy. Fun times for my housemates. Amy and I have also watched a lot of Lost. Man, that is a good show. We even downloaded the first ten episodes of season two so we could catch up. It's just so good and suspenseful.

Amy is having a hard time. She has been dating a guy from Canada and they were really serious. Now, being long-distance has taken its toll on him and they have broken up. This is not a fun time for Amy since she still loves him. There is still a chance they may get back together later in life but that is a hard place to be in. I know from experience. I think this means she and I will be working out even more. When I come home in March, I will be so buff, that is if I can resist YWAM's overabundance of baked goods.

Today I went to the church I will be taking students to this quarter. It is interesting. The worship team includes a guy with a mullet who is also a millionaire. It is a shame he is married and 20 years older than me. Today there was a guest speaker lady who did a healing service for people. It was a come to the front of the church, lay hands type of thing. I know God can heal like that but it is a little showy for me. I prefer more low-key healings but that is just a comfort zone issue. My students were a bit weirded out but I heard that this was unusual for this church.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A full day's work

Yesterday was crazy. Part of my new job is to coordinate one-time jobs in the community. People(primarily old ladies) call and want us to help them with tasks. I have been talking to several ladies and I forgot which one wanted us to do what. We were scheduled to help an old lady out yesterday morning. I thought we were supposed to help her clean. I was wrong.

I brought Retha, who is my mission builder and also my friend, Kristy's mom. She is a good cleaner and luckily a strong woman. I realized soon after meeting the old lady, Karen that we would be helping her move from Haiku to Kihei, a 45 minute drive. Retha and I had to load everything in a ten-foot trailer. We made to hair-raising trips across the island with a top-heavy trailer full of Karen's belongings. Karen was a crazy driver and being in a ten-foot moving truck did not help matters much. It also did not help that I was not sitting safely in a seat with a seatbelt but on a bucket in between the two front seats. Karen had a dangerous habit of stopping at the last minute and often scaring me into thinking she might not stop at all. I have never prayed that much during a car ride. Thank God I emerged from the journey alive.

The task took all day which I had not known nor told Retha. I felt bad for dragging her along on my exploits but I could not have done it alone. After our first trip, Karen treated us to lunch at a diner. Our order got mixed up and took way longer than it should have. Karen freaked out and yelled at our waitress. She threatened to walk out without paying for our drinks if we didn't get a hefty discount. It was so embarrasing and I felt sorry for our waitress. Luckily she ended up staying and not walking out. Retha and I did not know what to do. So awkward!

We carried so much crap and much of it had to go upstairs at Karen's new place. Retha and I carried a bed, desk, glass-top table as well as an endless amount of boxes. I almost lost it several times. It was pouring down rain at one point as we loaded furniture onto the truck.

I was so excited to see this tedious day come to an end. She gave us a donation of $20 each which amounts to about $3 an hour for the eight hours of manual labor. I almost screamed! The money is not even for me and I am giving it to the housing fund but this paltry sum for a full day's work was hard to take. My ankle hurt and I am getting sick, evidenced by the swollen lymph nodes in my armpits. Ugh! What a crazy day!

We had some decent talks about YWAM and what we do but I fear my mood as too sour at the end. She was an astrology-loving new ager who is in some sort of dance group that dances to songs of various religions. I hope we made a good impression on her because that experience wa a lot like Hell.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The students have arrived

Things have been super-busy here the last few days. Students began arriving on Thursday and continue to arrive today. Last night was our opening ceremony. This is where we welcome the students and give them leis. We as staff were supposed to arrive early to pray and help set up. I was just about walk in the door of the chapel when one of the DTS staff told me I needed to pick up a student from the airport. Apparently he had slipped through the cracks and had been left at the airport for an hour thus far. The DTS staff was busy with opening night bisnass, so the task was left to me.

I hopped in our of our terribly tacky big green vans and headed to the airport. All I had was a name and a picture. I searched a bit and finally found Graham. He had had a rough day. It was 7pm and he had not eaten since 10am. He had waited in the airport for an hour, his luggage was lost, he had had to sprint to make one of his flights. Needless to say, he was not in the best mood.

When we got back to the base, someone had parked in the van's spot so we had to drive up the hill to one of our other houses and walk down. Luckily Graham didn't have any luggage. I showed him his room and gave him som Count Chocula cereal in a ziploc bag to go. Then we headed into the opening ceremony an hour late. Right when we came in, everyone exclaimed that he must be Graham. They were in the middle of announcing all the students' names and I guess they had already come to his. I think the whole experience was quite overwhelming for the guy.

After this we had refreshments and I tried to learn the names of more students. I like to aggressively get to know them in this first awkward stage when they are not friends with eachother yet. It is pretty amusing since they are all so painfully insecure at first. I also played my favorite group game- "Blame-shifting Butt Grab." I grab someone's butt and then scamper away to make it look like it was the unlucky person behind them that did it. It is a good game. I only did it to the people I knew and not the students I had not even met.

Now the students are on EXODUS- this two-day bonding wilderness time. Amy and I are picking up two students from the airport later today and dropping them off unwittingly at the campsite. Suckers!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hookin' Em' In Hawaii

I had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Ever since I found out that the Longhorns would be playing for the National Championship, I have been antsy about watching it. I figured out ahead of time that the tv at my house simply would not do. It was not okay to watch such a crucial game through a snowy hazy reception. I decided to watch the game at a coffeeshop with a big flat screen tv. I watched it there until the last five minutes when a worker who clearly was not a sports fan, made me leave. It ended up being good because I briskly walked to a nearby bar and watched the game in a roomful of fans evenly representing the two teams.

That was the best football game I have ever seen! Oh my gosh! It was so back and forth with a last minute win by my team. I really could not have asked for a better game! It did make me seriously homesick for Austin and all my fellow Longhorn friends. My friends here are not into college football and think my love of it is an odd quirk. I made sure to inform them all of our win and played a can opener that plays the Eyes of Texas over and over again while reminding them of our win. They still don't care that much but I sure do!!!!!!!

This was a good morale booster as I have been feeling a bit down lately. I just miss people and places from home. I think it is some sort of post-holiday blues. I don't know. This definitely improved my mood. Go Longhorns! Man, I am just so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hooray for Fireworks!

I did not want to sit around the house on New Year's like a loser. Sorry those of you who chose to spend the end of 2005 that way. I didn't do anything for Halloween and I was not going to spend another holiday sitting around wishing I was doing something festive. Amy did not want to go out because she was wary of the possible drunk drivers after being hit by one last year. I felt bad leaving her alone since we do pretty much everything together lately but I could not bear the thought of staying home.

Gena is housesitting for a family and has full access to their minivan. Ten of us piled into the minivan and set off toward the other side of the island where fireworks were rumored to be found. First we stopped off at a youth group gathering that one of our guys was connected to. I felt pretty awkward being there since I did not know the kids or feel compelled to get to know them for this one-time meeting. I did participate in a weird game where everyone is in a circle holding ropes between each person. There is a trashcan in the middle and the idea is that the people in the circle whip eachother around and try to force a player to touch the trashcan. There is a lot of shimmying, flopping around, and crazy manuevering. It was pretty funny to watch. I was not a very good player with the residual ankle issue. It is frustrating to not be able to play sports even weird ones with circles and trash cans. I did snag some of their food, though. There were also a bunch of fireworks for the kids to play with. This would not be happening with my high school youth group.

After hanging out with high schoolers, we headed to Wailea, a really fancy part of the island. We walked for a long time along the coast and found a great spot to watch the fireworks. We walked out onto the reef which was about 30 feet above the ocean. The waves were really big and powerful, which is unusual for that part of the island. The people we were with had brought little fireworks and were lighting them and tossing them into the ocean. They actually continue to spark in the water and it looks really cool.

The fireworks started and were so close to us. I had never seen fireworks this close. It was like going to the movies and having to sit on the front row. You could barely see it all at once. The fireworks were definitely not the best I had ever seen but the setting was positively ideal. The only thing that would have made it better was if I had been there with a boyfriend or husband. It was cool and I am very glad I did not stay home.

Adventures in Hitchhiking

The last day of 2005 was pretty fun. Amy and I decided to hitch across the island to Kaanapali. This is the tourist area where we like to go pool hopping. (Tanning and swimming at nice hotels, trying not to get caught.)

We got picked up very quickly for each leg of our adventure. The rides were very interesting.
Ride #1: We wanted to go to Costco and we got picked up by a guy in an old ghetto BMW. He was also planning on going to Costco so it was perfect. Midway through the ride, we learned that he had just had two Bloody Mary's before we got in the car with him. Lovely. There was only one point where I feared for my life. Then we got to the Costco parking lot and he seemed to want to hang out with us but we ran ahead.

Ride #2: We got picked up by some guys in a pickup truck. The bed of the truck was completely filled with stuff but we told them we could make room. Amy ended up sitting precariously on top of a cooler holding onto bungee cords for dear life. I tried to hold her down as well. I was sitting on the tailgate (it had a guard thing on the back) and on top of some pears. There was also a spearfishing spear, bottles of water, four surfboards and who knows what else in the bed of the truck. Midway through our winding ride we smelled the strong scent of weed coming from the cab. Neat.

Ride #3: Our last ride on the way to Kaanapali was an odd tourist guy. Usually tourists do not pick up hitchhikers. This guy had just driven around the island by himself and was going to meet some "friends." He had that child molester vibe complete with the standard issue handle-bar mustache. He talked really quietly. I kept watching his hand to make sure he didn't try any funny business with Amy, who was unfortunately close to him in the front passenger seat. He tried to come with us to see the Hyatt pool but we ran off as he was trying to bargain with the valet guy.

We had fun sunning ourselves and pretending to be wealthy tourists. Then it was time to go home and we again kept getting picked up right away by strange people.

Ride #4:We got picked up by this woman who seemed familiar. Amy figured out that it was our waitress from Bubba Gump's a week ago. Amy even remembered that the girl used to live in Hana and went to school in Buffalo. The girl was extremely talkative but cool so it was a good ride.

Ride #5:The bulk of our journey home was in the car with some college-age guys. They were driving a nice SUV. They seemed nice in a non-creepy way. They played some quality music like Ludacris. They were very hospitable and offered us a beer. That did not bother me though I did decline the offer. The thing that did bother me was that halfway through the ride, the driver took a sip of a beer that had been previously hidden from view. Awesome.

Ride#6: We were only 4 miles from home when we began ride #6. This middle-aged guy and his son picked us up in their two-door coupe. We crawled in the back to find the messiest back seat I have ever sat in. There was trash everywhere and old rice on the seat where I was to sit. Score! I had no choice but to sit on the old squishy rice. Amy just laughed at me. She found her own treat next to her seat- half of a cheeseburger-rock hard.

So, there were some sketchy moments during our hitching adventure but we made it safe and sound and had a good time. I have been thinking about getting my car fixed. I am going to look into price stuff soon.
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