Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Canadian capers

It's been too long since I updated this bad boy. I have been super busy with the end of the semester and a ridiculous amount of traveling.

I am currently at Amy's house in Toronto. I really love being here. It feels very comfortable and home-like. I really enjoy Amy's family and friends. I seem to fit in pretty well with these Canadians.

There is snow here, which is intriguing. Wayne(from Georgia) and I tried to make snow angels but apparently the snow was too old and hard. Tonight there is supposed to be snow so I have high hopes for tomorrow. I am bummed to leave tomorrow.

Today we had a shower for Amy. It was good times. It was not a lingerie shower but I brought lingerie. That's just how I roll. I also got her a Friends trivia game. She hates Friends. We can't help but hate the show after someone at YWAM got a DVD box set and it was on constantly at the house we lived in. I gave it to her anonymously. My goal was for her to have to fake that she liked it and I was hoping that some of the ladies would get excited. All my hopes and dreams were realized. It was awesome.

I need to go back to being social. I will tell more next time I write. PS- Matt and Bethany's wedding was fabulous!

Friday, December 14, 2007

D- Fence

Every since the day I first laid eyes on this wonderful pun at a UT football game, I have wanted to create one- the d- fence. I have finally done it. I cut a large D and a mini fence out of foam board. I feel so much more complete. I was super excited about breaking out the d-fence for the high school girls' basketball game I attended tonight. Many of my favorite YoungLife girls play on the team. Unfortunately I FORGOT THE D-FENCE!!!!!! How could I do that?!!! Our girls ended up losing by 30 points. I think you are probably coming to the same conclusion that I have come to regarding the loss- would not have happened if I had remembered the D-Fence. I clearly let them down. The worst part was when the crowd started chanting "Defense. That was difficult to hear knowing what amazing visual pun I could have contributed to the encouragement.

The girls play once more before I leave for Colorado. I would like to pretend that the whole reason I will attend the game is to support my girls but I think we all know it is because I can debut the D-FENCE!!! I will tell you how it goes. I am predicting a landslide victory.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What not to say to someone with cancer

Recently I was with Sarah when she was basically accosted by a random lady. She was a well-meaning friend of a friend. The moment she saw Sarah, she said, "You're Sarah! I've been praying for you!" That is a pretty awkward way to meet someone. It is great that people who have never met Sarah are praying for her. I know that she appreciates it too but it can still be awkward when they loudly announce to on at first meeting.

The woman, who had the best intentions, trapped Sarah in conversation and pumped her full of cheesy Biblical slogans. I fully believe in what the Bible says but it can come off a little weird when a perfect stranger tells you that your difficult situation will be good in the long run. While I believe that good will come out of this, it is hard to focus on that when there is still so much unknown concerning Sarah's future.

So, for those of you who have been praying for Sarah without ever meeting her, I sincerely appreciate it. Please keep it up. I admit that sometimes it hurts too much for me to pray for her like I should. But, if you do get lucky and get to meet Sarah, don't greet her by saying that you have been praying for her even if it is true. Don't look at her with sad eyes that say, "You are the girl with cancer." Treat her like a regular person. That's all she wants.

Sad stuff

I don't know if you have been following the news. In case you haven't, here is the deal:

A young guy went into a YWAM training center in Denver and shot four people, killing two of them. Then he went to a church and killed two teenage girls before he was killed by the church security guard.

YWAM is a funny organization because even though there are over 10,000 people working with YWAM at any given moment, we all feel like a family. You can meet a fellow YWAMer for the first time and talk for hours with no pauses or awkwardness. I am no longer on staff with YWAM but I will always be part of the family. And this tragedy hurts. These young adults were doing exactly what I was doing a year ago and now they are dead. I never met them but I know I would have liked them. It hurts that someone ended their lives.

It should probably make me scared of further YWAM involvement but it really makes me want to drop everything and join it again. I believe so much in how God uses this organization. I am thankful that their lives were not in vain and I pray for their families. It is all too easy to put myself in their place. So many of the people I love are YWAMers as well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pizza Olympics

Tonight was Young Life and as usual, it lifted my spirits. Those kids are so funny. We did this activity called the pizza olympics. At the beginning of club, three kids call three different pizza places. The first pizza man to get there, gets a cheesy gold plastic medal. It is really funnny but ours did work out too well. Only one pizz guy showed up. He seemed a bit mentally challenged and was definitely confused. When he arrived, we played the Olympic theme song very loud and screamed and yelled for him. That part went well, but the other two pizza guys didn't show up. We kept singing song after song, trying to stall before the big Jesus talk. Finally we had to just go for it. The kids all had fun even if it wasn't very smooth.

During the Jesus talk, my fellow Young Life leader friend, Bethany and I were trying to figure out what was going on with two of the girls. They were sitting awfully close. We thought they might be lesbians. Slowly our suspicions were confirmed as they continued to behave in a way that I never would with a female friend. They were pretty much sitting on each other and there was clearly nuzzling going on. If that was not enough, one started to lovingly smell the other's hair. Oh well, I am glad that the are coming to Young Life. We seem to have a decent number of lesbians. Maybe it is because we have a lot of sporty kids.

I really miss my old boss, Tom. I guess it is not too surprising to find a good boss when you work in a Christian environment. He was just incredible. He was humble yet commanding. He always pointed out people's strengths but wasn't afraid to confront when necessary. I am learning that a good boss can really make or break a job experience. I have moments every day when I just ache to go back to Maui and work with YWAM. It was just amazing. But alas, I know this is where I am supposed to be right now. I am really hoping that I am supposed to be in Maui over Spring Break. I am praying and saving so it can work out.

Afterwards, a bunch of the guys and girls started fake fighting in the parking lot. I guess it must have been a bit too convincing. The cops showed up just as we were starting to leave and told us to get on our way. Little did he know that Young Life is actually a really good influence on these kids. I got out of there before I could explain. He didn't seem in the mood to talk.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tales of a Third Grade Teacher

I am absolutely exhausted right now, which is sad since it is about 8pm. I stayed up later than I should have last night on this scientific research website. It sounds boring but it isn't. The site tests your reaction time to a series of pictures and uses that to compute how you feel about issues. I had heard about one about race but I ended up taking some about religion, homosexuality and girls and boy stereotypes for science and math. In each case I was moderately biased in one direction. I didn't fully agree with the girls sucking at science assessment since I really don't think they suck. Anyway, if you want to check it out, go to-https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/research/

Today was a much better day at school. I have been praying a lot more for school stuff and I think it is working. Teaching seems to be full of highs and lows. Some of my kids have very difficult home lives and it hurts my heart. One boy today said he couldn't do his Science project because his electricity got turned off. Several of my kids have brothers, mothers or fathers in jail. I pray that they will rise out of their working class poverty and bad parenting and become successful. I try very hard to make them feel special.

I think I have mentioned before that there is one kid that I know has a crush on me. It's pretty cute to have a third-grader crushing on you- especially a short, chubby one with glasses. Today this particular kid gave me a hug and said, "Miss Hightower, you're my best friend." This was flattering but turned slightly awkward when he wouldn't let go. Luckily in third grade, they are all short enough to hug below the extremely awkward boob area. I finally pried the kid off of me. Now, if only I was that irresistable to men my own age....

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Laughing at the nudes

Look, I am a blogging machine! Life felt easy in Maui and it feels hard here. I am still having problems with my principal that I will not foolishly elaborate on this public and anonymous forum. As can be expected, conflict at work makes life way more stressful.

Thankfully Christmas is coming soon. I am definitely looking forward to it. It is bound to be amazing! My brother will be home from Iraq and I am getting Nintendo Wii. Now if only Santa could bring a funny, sporty Christian man and a cure for cancer....

On Thursday I took my class on a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. The field trip only lasted an hour, which was far too short to see much of the museum. It definitely piqued my interest and I would like to go back soon. The kids were broken up into smaller groups and distributed among the docents- fancy word for volunteer guides. I strategically formed a group with some of the kids whom I was afraid would make trouble. Our guide, Blaine (who was curiously an older white man and not a gay black man as my In Living Color experience would dictate), showed us a good time and the kids behaved well. The funniest part to me was the way the kids responded to the nudes. I had joked to another teacher before we left that I was going to wrangle the kids and keep them away from the nudes. Well, the nudes were unavoidable and the kids acted exactly as I had anticipated. They turned red. They giggled and they pointed. It was pretty funny. I told them to act mature but that's pretty difficult to do when you are eight and looking at naked people.

One kid asked me why anyone would want to paint or sculpt naked people. I didn't quite know how to respond. I told him that some people think naked people are beautiful. The kid just looked at me like I was crazy.

This whole incident reminded me of visiting an art gallery in New York. My friend, Lucy's dad was part of an art exhibit along with a few other artists. We went to see his show. We walked around pretending to be part of the snooty art community. One of the other patrons looked very familiar but I couldn't figure out why. Soon, I realized that the woman was the model for a life-like nude painting hanging in that very gallery. I am sure I turned red and I think I giggled. How can I expect my third graders to keep their composure when I couldn't? How could that woman walk around a room full of strangers who knew exactly what she looked like naked? Eek! What a weirdo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Maui Synopsis

Here is the lowdown on my recent trip:

On the day I landed, I got picked up by Joshley- Josh and Ashley. The weather was strangely stormy. I went to the base to have my third turkey dinner. I had already had two at school. This year, noone got sick, unlike last year. When I got to the base, I felt like a celebrity. All my old friends enthusiastically greeted me and many of the new people seemed to know who I was as well. (This could be due to the fact that I put pictures of myself up on the refridgerator before I left.)

I slept at my friend, Kristy's house. Three former staff girls live in what used to be one of our staff houses. It looks a lot nicer now that people with real jobs live there.

In the morning, we went to play soccer. I wasn't that into it at first since it is not my best sport. I like to be good at things. It turned out to be super fun. I did not suck and definitely made some good plays. I got to be team captain. I only knew about a fourth of the people so I had to make my decisions based on external clues. I picked all people wearing cleats or soccer jerseys. I also picked anyone I knew was European. This turned out to be a great strategy and my team won hands down. The other team was a lot more competitive despite their lack of jerseys and cleats, so it was funny that we won. The game ended up lasting for over two hours because the other team didn't want to quit until they caught up. Only our team seemed to know that was not going to happen. We won 8-5.

Later I had my fourth turkey dinner at the Bartuneks' house and then we had an after-party there as well. I was getting slightly socially overwhelmed. After that, a bunch of us went to Kaanapali (the tourist side of the island.) Leah, a YWAMer, had been blessed with a $3000 a week villa at the Marriot for free. It was so much fun! The place was super-fancy- hopefully for that price, right? It had three LCD TVs, enough bed/couch space for eight people, balconies, a full kitchen and a big whirlpool tub that three of the boys got in together. You get pretty comfortable at YWAM.

I was only going to spend one night there but I ended up staying two because it was just so fun. We spent the day lounging at the pool, going in the hot tub and going down the waterslide. We had dinner in Lahaina at Cheeseburgers in Paradise. I was afraid we'd have to pay a ton for food because we were on the tourist side. I forgot that I was staying with frugal missionaries. People brought pancake mix for breakfast and mac and cheese for lunch. So smart!

I barely went to the beach at all. I was too busy hanging out in the hotel pool and catching up with old friends. I had an incredible time! It was painfully normal to be in that setting with those people. It would have been a lot easier to come home if I had felt weird or out of place. But, no such luck. I was sad to leave.

I am going to start saving up to go for Spring Break. Being with those people rejuvinates my heart and lifts my spirits so much. I feel so lucky to have those people in my life. And it doesn't hurt that they live in paradise.

The plane rides back involved a lot of sleeping so I wasn't even jet-lagged when I got home. The odd thing that happened was that on my first plane, I didn't have a seatbelt. Somehow one half of the seatbelt was missing. It really made no sense. I had to move to another seat. Who steals half of a seatbelt? When was it stolen and had the last person just defied all the warnings and lighted signs to go without one? I guess I will never know.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back from Paradise and onto the skating rink

I just got back from a Young Life skating party. I had about 3 hours between arriving home from my trip to Maui and attending the skating party. With an overnight flight in the mix, it has been a long day. For that reason, this update will be short. I will tell more of my trip in my next post.

For now I just want to talk about my feelings. I didn't know exactly what to expect when I visited Maui. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending how you look at it), it felt amazing to be there. It was not just amazing because of the things you can read about in a Maui guidebook or see in a movie. Maui is a beautiful, wonderful place. But the real reason I had such a great time was because of the incredible friendships I have with people there at YWAM Maui. It was definitely great to hang out with them in paradise but I think it would have been just as good if we'd been hanging out in a garbage dump. Although I guess I wouldn't have gotten a tan.

I just miss those people so much. There is nothing like the true Christian fellowship you get at YWAM Maui. In what I like to call the "real world," people often approach other hurting people by saying that they should suck it up because they hurt too. That's not how it has to be. I felt so at home and at peace in Maui. It was very difficult to leave. I am already counting my frequent flyer miles to see when I can return.

Now- must sleep so I don't kill third graders!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Teaching white kids to dance

It's pointless to start this by saying I will try to write more frequently because lately it simply isn't happening. Wow that was a lot of adverbs. Eek- I really am a teacher.

I might as well talk about my weekend. I don't remember doing anything on Friday night. I think I did some pre-pre Christmas shopping. I love Maui but the mainland is the place for Christmas. It's simply everywhere even before Thanksgiving.

On Saturday morning I had to go to the post office. It was an odd experience. I went to one near my house and the mixture of people there was odd. There was a ten-year old kid playing a guitar as he waited in line with his dad. He was actually a lot better than I could ever hope to be.

There was a woman with a small child and infant who was interacting with them oddly. She was very childlike and missing a few teeth.

Most people were getting money orders or wiring money to Mexico. I had to wait with these people for 30 minutes so I had plenty of time to create inner social commentary.

Then I helped my dad move my sister-in-law's belongings into a UHAUL. She is moving to Colorado Springs to await my brother's arrival. (That's where he is stationed.) It took some creative manuevering but not much time.

I was supposed to go to my friend, Bethany's birthday party. Her Elvis-impersonating cousin-in-law was scheduled to perform. Apparently he just performs by default without much provocation. I got too scared about the freeway closures and long distance and didn't end up going. I was sad to miss Elvis. Jason and Jocelyn Fowler were in town so I went to dinner with them and Joce's parents, who are essentially my second parents. It was great times as we reminisced about my youthful highjinks. This included the time I sent a bunch of those collector's figure and plate order forms that you find in magazines to various neighbors. I don't know why I did it but the victims were certainly surprised to receive unrequested china plates featuring delicate birds.

On Sunday I went to church and ran into my friends, Jane and James Chastant and Elizabeth Austin. They didn't know each other. We all went to Katz's to eat and it was lovely.

Afterwards, I went to our Young Life banquet. That's where we serve people dinner, tell them about Young Life and ask for money. It was a good chance to hang out with the kids. I also like to watch my urban kids interact with the super preppy white kids at Memorial High School. They always want my kids to teach them to dance. Weird.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Black God

This weekend I got to have Sarah fun day. I wanted to have a really fun day with Sarah for her birthday. We went to Galveston. I was a little bit sick still but I tried my best not to blow my nose on her sleeve, so hopefully her few red blood cells will do their thing.

We went to Galveston, which is Texas's version of Maui. Ok, it's totally different but there is a beach. First we sat on the beach and read magazines. In true Houston fashion, after a couple weeks of cold Fall-type weather, the day was sunny and warm. It was good for a beach day. Then we ate some amazing hamburgers. Unfortunately Sarah has discovered that her taste buds have become dull. Food no longer has as much flavor as it used to. This is a shame since as I just said, the hamburger was a-mazing! Apparently the taste buds thing can be a side effect of chemo. Thankfully the chemo is working to shrink the cancer so I guess taste is an ok sacrifice.

Then we did a little shopping. During our shopping, we found out that the UT game was on tv an hour earlier than we thought. We decided to return to Sarah's house to catch the rest of the game with her husband, John. UT played pretty well and a fun time was had by all. Then we had dinner and more shopping. It was a great day!

And now a funny story from this week:
At Young Life on Wednesday night, Andres, a fellow leader, was giving a talk about sin. He used a visual where he poured a small amount of black food coloring into a mason jar of water. The water quickly turns black. He was trying to make the point that God can't be near sin. But instead he announces with great flourish that, "God cannot be black!" This causes a small uproar in our predominatly black group. Andres's face turned so red as he stammered to correct himself. It was pretty hilarious.

black God

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cheese decisions

I think I am getting sick yet again. These kids and their germs!!! It seems to be some sort of sinus thing. I am going to use tylenol, ecchinecea and orange juice to hold the illness at bay. I need to be completely well by Saturday because Sarah and I are going to have a day 'o' fun in Galveston. I can't hang out with Sarah if I am sick because of her low white blood cell count. She did get a check-up and they said the cancer is responding to the chemo and shrinking. Yay! Definitely an answer to prayer!

This weekend I hung out with my Chinese friend for the first time. Her name is Bing and she is from Beijing. I can definitely see the need for International students to have American friends. It took her a really long time to figure out what kind of hamburger to order. She couldn't figure out what she would like and I had to try to explain the six different cheese options to her. It's a lot harder to explain cheeses than one might think. You should give it a try?

Her English was very good but she did need a clarification on some words during the movie we watched. She wanted to know what the word, "bookie" meant. I made sure to explain that the average American has no business with a bookie. She also asked me if my high school experience was like the movie- Mean Girls. It was hard not to laugh at her question. I explained that high school is not actually like that and I really enjoyed my experience there.

Actually I drove by my old high school this weekend. It made me feel a little weird. A lot has changed but it felt the same too. It made me miss the time in my life when so many of my friends lived so close and my personal life wasn't complicated by cancer and war. I know that this stormy time in my life will end but sometimes I want to hit the fast-forward or rewind buttons. Wouldn't that be great?

Friday, November 02, 2007

the thorn in my flesh

In the Bible, Paul talks about the "thorn in his flesh." Theologians have speculated about what this means but as far as I know, there isn't a consensus on what this was for Paul. Well, I too have a thorn in my flesh. It doesn't sound too serious but it is driving me crazy. Literally. There is a weird humming, buzzing, vibrating noise in my car that occurs constantly at speeds above 35. I can't figure out what it is. I try to turn my radio up really loud to drown it out but I can still hear it. I know it is coming from somewhere near the passenger seat. Because it only occurs when I am driving, it would be too dangerous for me to launch a full investigation into its cause. The only passengers I have had lately have been my Young Life kids and they weren't too interested in finding the cause of the noise. They certainly noticed it but I don't think it would drive the average person as crazy as it has been driving me. Hitting the dashboard and glove box doesn't seem to be working. I really want this noise to stop and soon!

Life is a bit tough right now. School is pretty stressful. I can't go into detail because I have heard too many stories about people getting fired for things they write candidly on their blog. I will say that my principal and I have a difference of opinion on things but she's my boss so I need to do what she wants, regardless of what I think. This is not easy as I was given a hefty dose of the Hightower pride at birth. Luckily my HISD-appointed mentor has been an enormous help. She helped rearrange my classroom for about three hours yesterday. I am thankful to have someone looking out for my best interests.

On a lighter note, tonight I am hanging out with my new Chinese friend, Bing. She is an international student attending the University of Houston and we were assigned to each other through a student friendship program I found out about at my church. It is not supposed to be an evangelistic thing. The point is to befriend an international student and expose them to American life. Many students come from other countries and spend 4 years here without ever going into an American's home. THat is such a shame. We are definitely more wary and less hospitable than most other nations I have been to. In Bangladesh, people you meet on the street beg you come into their homes. We could use a little more of that in America, for sure.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Weekend of Sickness

I keep trying to write in this thing but it doesn't happen often enough. This weekend I am sick. I started feeling sick on Friday but I went to school. I had no patience with my students. Poor things. I am feeling better right now but still weak and achy. I was supposed to hang out with Sarah today but we couldn't risk it with her low white blood cell count. Hopefully I will be better by Monday for my students' sake and so that I can hang out with Sarah.

So, as long as I can remember I have been prejudiced FOR black people instead of being prejudiced AGAINST black people. I distinctly remember writing a story in 5th grade for the TAKS test in which I named the main character, Rodney, so that they would think I was black. I also used to love to watch American Gladiators and I also rooted for the black contestants. I suspect that my deep love of black people is rooted in my wonderful experiences as a child with our black babysitter/maid, Betty. Anyway, because of my love of black people, I have a soft spot for the black kids in my class. There is one kid, "Vince", who I just really like. Obviously he's black.

I am also a big fan of playing and watching sports. "Vince" is an incredible little athlete. Several kids in my class are clearly better than the others at sports but "Vince" puts them all to shame. He is just incredible. If he does not end up on the wrong path, I could totally see him as a professional athlete one day. He is also very funny. He can do backflips so I asked him if he took gymnastics. He said that he didn't. I started calling him "Gymnastics Boy." One time he was acting up in class and I called him on it. To which he replied, "Me, Gymnastics boy?" It was super cute.

There are a lot of clues that "Vince" has a rough home life. I don't know that he's being abused but he doesn't seem to be well taken care of. Lately he has been making some strange comments about me adopting him. He sometimes refers to me as his mama and says we are about to sign the adoption papers. This is definitely strange no matter what. But it is a lot more strange given my history. I have thought for a long time that I might end up adopting a child someday. I don't exactly know under what circumstances but I know that there are many kids out there that need someone to care about them. I was also once given a prophecy that I would have two kids of my own and then have another kid that I don't give birth to. I am not sure that is what will happen. The weirdest part about this is that upon meeting "Vince", I thought that he was the type of kid I would like to adopt. He is likable and good at sports. What more could I ask for? I obviously never told him this but it makes his adoption comments even stranger. I really don't think I am supposed to adopt "Vince" right now. I am not prepared to take care of a dog right now, let alone a kid. It still is something to think about.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Working Weekend

I am still a bit of a blogging slacker. I say that I will try to update more but we'll see if that actually happens.

Sarah update- Her white blood cell count is getting low. She definitely seems to have less energy. It's hard to see her not acting like her usual self and unable to do as much as usual. I am sure it is frustrating for her. She is still able to disguise her hair loss with thick head bands but that obviously won't last long. It will be hard when she is first bald. I am sure we'll all get used to it. I wish we didn't have to.

I had a full weekend. On Friday night I went to a high school volleyball game followed by a high school football game. And no, I am not a weirdo. I went to see my Young Life kids. The volleyball team they played was all black. That is why I was confused when an adorable old couple came into the gym wearing the other's teams' shirts. It seemed odd that a little old white couple would be die-hard fans of an all-black high school volleyball team. Soon, we discovered why. The old man came up behind the coach and whispered in her ear. She turned around and very obviously mouthed the word, "Grandpa!" Apparently they were the coach's grandparents. They were just so cute and even brought her dinner in a plastic sack.

It was homecoming so there were mums aplenty. For those of you not familiar with mums, they are fake chrysanthemums that are decorated with ribbons and teddy bears, and other random things. I saw one that had a huge teddy bear on it. I think there should be a law against having something on your mum big enough to hug. Three out of the five girls on the Homecoming court had been to Young Life. I thought we had pretty good odds of having one of our girls as queen. But alas, some girl I didn't know won. Our girls looked really pretty and it was fun to see them with their dads. One girl's dad had a sweet mustache. I have come to appreciate a good 'stache.

Then on Saturday, I had stupid teacher training all day. It should be a crime to make people stay inside and learn about stupid teacher crap when the weather is nice. I realized that I have only been around for changing seasons once in the last four years. The other times I was in Maui or Bangladesh. I forgot how nice it feels. It makes me want to play outside and ride around with my windows down. I think I will even enjoy cold weather for a few days but I will soon be feeling too cold.

On Sunday, I finally went to church. I hadn't been in a few weeks. I am glad I went. I had been lazy. I am at that point where I know a few people by name but I don't know anyone well. I also don't like the worship that much. But I love the diversity and I really like the pastor. He is so intelligent. I think I will keep going. I am sure if I can just stick it out, I will feel more at home.

Then I went to the Art Festival with Sarah, Katie and my parents. It was cool to see all the art. Unfortunately most of my favorite stuff was over $1000- not really in my price range. My mom was really cool and bought me a small painting/picture with a bamboo-looking frame. It remind me of Maui and makes me happy. I can't wait to go visit in November!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Too much training

Complaining alert. Be prepared!

I found out this morning that I have an all-day new teacher HISD training to go to on Saturday. I hate trainings on Saturdays! I wanted to go to the Houston art festival that day but now I guess I will go on Sunday. At least HISD trainings are usually so big and boring that you can read a book or grade papers in the back without getting in trouble.

After finding out about Saturday's training. I was told that I must also attend another training all day on Wednesday. And then at 2:30 I was told that I have to go to some training tomorrow as well. That is far too much training!!! Three days in one week! I stayed late at school today getting everything ready for a sub. I just hope these weekday trainings are not full of cheesy stuff where we have to act like kids. I am so over that. I let you know how they all turn out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Emotionally Athletic

This weekend Sarah and I, along with many of her loved ones, participated in the Race for the Cure. They walked a 5K, while I ran it. I was impressed that I actually ran the whole way.

All these race things have lots of free stuff, though you have to get there early to maximize it. Sarah's sister-in-law, Thama snagged a mini gelly boob with a lump. I totally missed out on that one. If you are a breast cancer survivor, you get even more free stuff. Sarah counted as a survivor even though it would be a lot more accurate to say that she is surviving.

This event was much larger than the bike ride some of us participated in about a month ago. There were tons of people there. Many were wearing the pink t-shirts that signified that they were breast cancer survivors. It was cool to see so many women who had survived but it was a bit weird since they were almost all at least 20 years older than Sarah. She is now a part of a club made up mostly of much older women. It doesn't help that Sarah doesn't even look 26. I think she could easily still pass as a high school student.

At the finish line, they have the survivors separate from the rest of us and go down a special path. They hand them free stuff and cheer for them. It was hard to watch Sarah separate herself from us and walk alone down the survivor path. It seemed very symbolic of how we all want to help her and be there for her but there are certain parts she has to walk alone. Ugh.

When I was running, I ran by myself. Actually I ran with thousands of people but I didn't know any of them. When I was running, there were several times when I almost broke down and bawled. I think these cancer benefit things will be a lot easier when Sarah is healed. They seem really hard if you have lost a loved one or have one who is still not out of the woods.I am not so sure I can do another one anytime soon.

These events have signs where you can write who you are racing for. They are a great way to honor or remember someone but seeing them is a big part of what makes the experience so emotional. I wore one in honor of Sarah and one in memory of Mrs. Pilgreen. She was the mom of my friends, Lee and Erin. I didn't have the chance to get to know her well. But I know she was a really fun woman. I also know how hard her death has been on her husband and four kids. You can't help but wonder why some people die of this and some people are fine. I wish I could just do a certain number of breast cancer benefiting athletic events and Sarah would be guaranteed to be okay. Unfortunately that is not how life works.

One woman had about eight people on her signs. She had listed a sister, three aunts, three cousins and an uncle as survivors and victims. She herself was a survivor, as well. It seemed clear that her family carries the breast cancer gene. How terrible that this disease has killed and sickened so many of her relatives! Sarah recently got tested for the breast cancer gene, herself. The doctors don't think she has it since no one else in her family has had it. They want to test her because it is so unusual for her to get it this young. They are sending her blood to Utah and she should get the results in a couple of weeks. We have been joking about how the Mormons are testing her blood. I think it's because they are so into genetics. Please pray that she does not have the gene because it will mean the chances of the cancer returning are very high. It also means her kids, esp daughters would have an extremely high chance of getting breast cancer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I am a bad blogger

So, I have been terrible at updating this sucker lately. Life is pretty full lately. I haven't even had enough time for my stress relieving work-outs. I am running in a breast cancer 5K this Saturday and I hope I don't collapse with a charlie horse like that woman Yvonne on Golden Girls. That reference was for my friends, Erin and Jocelyn.

Breast cancer seems to be everywhere these days. It's so weird that Sarah gets this disease right before breast cancer month. We try to pretend everything is normal sometimes but it's hard when they are shoving those pink products down our throats. They even have breast cancer m&ms. I am not anti-pink products but it definitely makes it hard to pretend Sarah doesn't have cancer.

Speaking of pretending, I sometimes pretend that my little brother, Andrew is not in Iraq. Sometimes it is easier to pretend that he is off at some training in the mountains of Washington than in the line of fire in Iraq. Today I stopped by my parents' house to pick up some mail. I went into the downstairs bedroom and I saw my brother. It wasn't actually him but a life-size cardboard cut-out of him that Shella had made for a friends' wedding. It scared the crap out of me and made me feel a little sad. Life will be easier in January when he is back safe and sound. He will also be in Colorado in the winter so I can go snowboarding. Bonus!

I have been meaning to write about last weekend. Sarah and I drove to Austin to relive our glory days by going to a UT game. The trip started off a bit bumpy like most areas of my life these days. We stopped at our usual stop- a great little gas station/college paraphenaila/scrapbooking store/knick nack shack/kolache bakery called Hruskas. We noticed that Sarah's parents were there. They were also on their way to Austin. In my excitement to surprise the Stojaniks, I locked my keys in the car while it was running. This was the first and hopefully last time. It makes sense that it would happen during this period of my life. Sarah and her rents didn't make me feel dumb and even chipped in to pay for the mechanic guy to inflate my window open with a blood pressure cuff thing and unlock the door.

We got tickets to the UT game from a scalper. I hadn't been to a game since I was a student five years ago. I was almost giddy with excitement. There was burnt orange as far as the eye could. Just beautiful unless you are an Aggie, of course.

Unfortunately the game didn't go so well. Colt McCoy through an incredible four interceptions and the Longhorns generally stunk it up. At half time, it started to sprinkle. Sarah and I decided to be hardcore and stick it out. We laughed at the wusses that had to go inside the stadium for cover. Soon we weren't laughing anymore. We were completely drenched. We feared for the safety of our electronics and sought cover with the other wet, slightly stinky fans. The rain let up and we went back out to watch the Longhorns continue to stink it up. It was still fun. It started to downpour again right after the game. Sarah and I sought refuge in a dorm until we happened upon some lovely UT ponchos. Then we trekked back to our car. Not my perfect game but still fun.

The worst part about the rain was that it made Sarah's hair fall out worse. She is at the stage where she can hide it with a large headband but she is trying to hold onto as long as she can. The rain did not help that mission. It was really hard to see Sarah going through this. We knew it was inevitable but that doesn't seem to make it easier. As lovely as Raquel, her wig is, I think we all hoped deep down that she would never have to use it. No such luck!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

House Hunting...again!

We found a potential house to move into. Since our landlord, Norm, is going down, we've decided to abandon ship or rather house. We found a possible place that is literally right around the corner. If everything works out, we'll move at the end of October. We are hoping to have a Foreclosure Fiesta where people can help us move. We will bribe them with Mexican treats such as: fajitas, margaritas, beer and queso. Who could resist? The house is so close that if we have enough people, we could do some sort of giant assembly line. That could be pretty sweet.

Tomorrow night at YoungLife, I am going to be in a skit where I play a weirdo Kindergarten teacher. I scoured the local thrift stores today until I found a couple of gems. In fact, both outfits are so great, that I had to buy two. Maybe it will have to be a reoccuring character. I thought about wearing one of these teacher ABC jumpers for my school picture but I think I will regret it later.

Life has gotten pretty busy lately with Office parties, YoungLife and college football. My school is really into after-school tutorials for the struggling kids. I am all for helping them but I don't like cutting into my Miss Hightower time. This is similar to Miss Lippy time except that I don't put paste on my face. We get paid to do it but it kinda sucks since it isn't something we do by choice. We are pretty much forced into it. I think I will be doing them twice a week. I am also trying to get an art club started one afternoon a week since our school doesn't have art. It's pretty lame. The kids have P.E., library, computer lab and then Science experiments and Science vocab. Instead of art or music, we have two extra Sciences. I just feel so bad for those kids who are only good at art. I feel the need to look out for them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Today I figured out why I have been eating waffles for breakfast every morning for the last two months. I thought it was because of the delightful taste of the Eggo Nutri-Grain low-fat waffles with low fat syrup and spray butter. I don't think so anymore.

This morning I woke up to my roommate, Katie, crying. I was afraid someone had died and indeed someone had. My roommate, Sarah's cat was found dead on our front lawn. With the non-existance of kitty CSI, we were left to assume that she tried to go under the fence and choked herself with her collar. As a child I had numerous pets pass away in the prime of their youth. But I know this is really sad for Sarah. She is new to Houston and Bea (the cat) had been the only constant in her life for a while. She is also one of those people who gets really attached to her cats. Poor thing.

This morning Katie (thank God she's a nurse) donned gloves and wrapped the cat in a garbage bag and then dropped it into another as I held the second bag open. Then we put the dead cat in a cooler with ice. I am not sure what will happen to her as my experience with dead pets always resulted in my dad burying them in a field or our backyard.

After this ordeal, I went inside and ate my usual waffles. Then it hit me that it really isn't about the waffles. I need some kind of normalcy and stability during this crazy time in my life. I think this is why some people become anorexic. They want to control some part of a life that feels out of control. Luckily I am not anorexic, I am just eating waffles. I hope they don't stop making those waffles anytime soon. I need them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Hi blog readers- you random people who read my public thoughts,
I have recently remembered that I told people I would give Sarah updates on my blog. I have been doing decent at that but I think I will try to write them at the beginning of each post so that people who just want to know about Sarah and don't want to read as I blather on, can do just that.

Sarah update-
Last Friday Sarah had another allergic reaction to her chemo. The week before she had a reaction and they gave her lots of Benydryl. This time it was worse. She started to feel hot and couldn't breathe. They stopped the chemo and sent her to see her doctor. Sarah was scared about all this (who wouldn't be?) but the doctor said that some people just have a bad reaction to some of the other drugs that come along with the chemo. They are going to try to give Sarah another chemo that has different other drugs with it. It is actually more expensive but your insurance will only pay if you are allergic to the cheaper kind. So, I guess she'll be getting fancier chemo but it also means she will go a week longer since last week's didn't happen.

Her hair is still in tact so there has been no need to bust out Raquel. Despite all the preparations and build-up, I think it will be really hard on us all, especially Sarah, of course, when her hair does start to fall out. Thanks for your prayers for Sarah. She definitely needs them. I also found out that my friend, Keri (used to be Narramore) McDonald's father-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia. Stupid cancer! It feels like some sort of scary movie where a monster attacks people when they least expect it.

I read a good verse in Psalms today and I am too lazy right now to go find where it is. It said that God, "daily bears our burdens." That is a powerful statement to me. I have had to bear burdens for my friends and walk through hard stuff with them during different seasons of my life. Right now with Sarah is a prime example. But I can't say that I have born someone's burdens daily. And as a human, sometimes I break down and I can't do it. But God can take everyone's burdens at once and he does it every day. That is so amazing!

The house stuff is not looking good. Our landlord is financially strapped. It looked like some guy was going to buy the house and offer us a deal to move early. Well, after the inspection, the guy backed out. This leaves us with the great possibility that the bank will foreclose on the house and we will have to move, presumably without our deposit. This means we'll have to find a new place and pay a new deposit. This just sucks. I can't even really think about what's going to happen since my life seems to be one new thing (mostly crappy) after the next. We are looking for a new place to live. Please pray. I am trying to stop hating change and uncertainty but it would be easier to do if it would just stop happening so often. Oh well, God says he has my back or my burdens, right? Here's some more, big guy!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lots o' school

Last night I went a high school volleyball game. As a Young Life leader, I am supposed to do "contact work." This means making contact with kids. I am always good at going to our weekly club meeting. I am not always as good at making time to see the kids outside of that. On Wednesday, we had a mini-Young Life meeting with some of our main kids. I was dreading the extra time commitment but when I got there, I totally remembered why I do this. The kids are so much fun. I had most of the girls in my cabin at camp. They were really excited to see me, which felt really good. One thing I have learned about myself is that I don't feel right if I am not doing some sort of volunteer work. I need these kids as much as they need me.

Anyway, back to the volleyball game. Six of the girls on varsity and two on JV, as well as the manager are regular Young Life kids. It was cool to see them play even though we lost. I had also forgotten that my girls aren't the only ones on the team. I also forget that there are white kids at their school since our Young Life group is almost exclusively black and Hispanic. Watching them play made me miss high school and high school sports. I even missed the smell of the gym. I think that makes me a little weird. Who was I kidding? Of course I was supposed to be a teacher- I even like the way schools smell. What a dork!

Life is better lately. I am not letting the big unchangeable stuff get me down so much. Even though that stuff hasn't changed and in some cases, has gotten worse, I can't let that affect my mood. I have been praying about it more too, which I know helps.

We found out that the buyer of our house has withdrawn his offer. This probably means our landlord is going down in the near future. We have started looking for a place to move and it is likely it will happen within the next month. I love change!

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Daily Grind

So, life is starting to fall into a routine- I guess. I finished my second week as a third grade teacher. I need to get more organized. There is so much paperwork and logistical stuff. I don't think I fully realized the magnitude of this part of teaching. I am not really letting it stress me out but I would have less work to do if I was more organized. Slowly I am getting organized. I think I could knock it all out if I would just stay at school late one day but I can't bear staying after 4:30pm. Hopefully I can get more organized this weekend but I will probably just hang out with my friends.

Today was go Texans day at my school. For those of you who don't know, the Texans are the local NFL team who are really stupid because they passed up their chance to get Vince Young, my favorite player ever. Because of their extreme stupidity, I am a Tennessee Titans fan and not a Texans fan. Needless to say, I did not dress in Texans' gear even though it meant I could have worn a t-shirt.

My car problems seem to be working themselves out after a series of daily phone calls to a woman named Javanna at Geico. It looks like I will be paying about $250 instead of $450. Yay.

The Office Season 3 came out on DVD and brightened my week quite a bit. I can't wait for Season 4 to begin! I am looking forward to having weekly Office parties. All Houston Office fans are invited.

I think life will make an upswing and I hope this happens soon. This weekend I was supposed to go to a concert with Sarah Sto-Gregor, but she doesn't feel up to it. I hate seeing her suffer and I hate that she can't do all the things she wants to do anymore. Please continue to pray for her.

Also I am doing a 67 mile bike ride on Sunday morning called the TOur de Pink. It raises money for breast cancer research and a bunch of us are riding in it in honor of Sarah. I haven't been on a bike in a month so I really don't know how it will go. I rode in the MS 150, which is 160 miles in two days under worse conditions. I didn't go to sleep until 4am, I had ridden a maximum of forty miles before that and I was riding a hybrid bike instead of a road bike. If I could finish that, I think I can do this. I have also been working out a lot but not on a bike. Pray that I survive all that time on the seat.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Curve balls 1004 and 1005

So, I have been feeling a lot like Job in the Bible lately. At the beginning of Job, The Devil tells God that Job has been faithful because his life is so easy. The Devil gets permission to start "testing" Job but he is forbidden to physically harm him. I feel like this. I am physically ok but everything around me seems to be chaotic and stressful. I don't like change and yet God keeps throwing curve balls at me, both big and small. The best friend getting breast cancer has obviously been the biggest and hardest one but other smaller ones keep coming. I thought the crazy DtS I led last summer would have been enough testing for me. Apparently it was only the beginning. So here's the latest:

The day Sarah found out that she really had cancer, she and I got in a car accident in the Target parking lot. Another woman and I simultaneously backed into each other. The damage on my car was minor and cosmetic. I wasn't going to get it fixed until Geico said they would pay for half. I went to a Geico place to get an estimate. There was a tiny scratch on the large part of the bumper. It would be about $300 more to fix it. I could barely see the scratch so I told them not to fix it. The estimate was for about $240. Then they told me to go to a certain car place. This guy from the car place came out with me to look at the car. I made sure to show him that I didn't want the big piece fixed. He said he understood. Yadda Yadda Yadda. I pick up my car and they say I don't owe anything even though I am expecting to pay half. Later they call me and say I do owe half, which comes out to over $450!!! I obviously freak out. I would never have gotten it fixed if I knew I had to pay that much. Apparently a second estimate was made that I was not aware of and they factored in the piece I told them I didn't want to fix. Now it is a huge mess. I really don't want to pay that money for something I didn't want fixed. I am trying to fight it but it is very annoying and complicated and stressful.

So, today we found out that we will probably have to move in the next few months. Our landlord is facing bankruptcy and is going to quickly sell our house. The new owner is making a fair offer of returning our deposit, giving us one month's rent as well as $1500 in moving expenses. The problem is that we don't want to move. We are happy where we are at and now we have to find a new place. Ugh!!! What next??? I don't know how much more of this I can take. I am actually not stressing about this house thing as much as I should. Maybe I am becoming more resiliant to change. Probably not. Maybe I am just numb.

On a brighter note, I am now the proud owner of two turtles. They will live in my classroom and I will keep you posted on their names.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Open House and chemo

It's been far too long since I have written in this thing. Life is busy but I will try to be better because I hear from time to time that people still read this thing.

I will start with a Sarah update in case that is why you are reading this. She has gone through a ton of tests at MD Anderson and has a few more to go, I think. They did some mini-biopsies on Monday and tested two lumps in the boob and one in the lymph nodes. They were all cancer. I hate telling people this because they do the quick intake of breath that basically means- Damn, that's bad. Well, it is bad but I was encouraged by internet findings on the subject for once. It is pretty common for stage 2 breast cancer to affect the lymph nodes nearby. Breast cancer at Sarah's age is pretty much guaranteed to be more agressive than the type found in older women. It is still not fun news even though I had a feeling it was not just in her boob. Sarah had to drink barium, which I hear is like death. And from the look on Sarah's face, she agreed. She is not one to get sick so she is having a hard time with all this. Not that anyone is prepared for this, but Sarah never even gets a cold.

She just found out that she has to start chemo tomorrow. We knew it would come to this but we didn't expect it with only 24 hours notice. Please pray for Sarah as this latest rush development is a bit unnerving. They said she will probably start to lose her hair after 2 or 3 weeks. So, on Saturday we are going to go to a big flea market to buy a turtle for my classroom, that may or may not end up being named Gary, then we are going to this place that makes wigs out of your hair so they can cut her hair and then we will go find a place to watch the UT game. You know, a typical Saturday: turtles, wigs and college football.

So, on to non-cancer subjects- I had a little dinner party this weekend with my friend, Jane (used to be Jane Kim), her husband who I love- James, their friend, Matt and my friend, Esther. It was fun, the food was decent and no one got sick. Also I made some kick ass rice krispie treats. I may not be a gourmet chef, but I make a mean rice krispie treat. We hung out and had some trampoline time. Jane told me afterwards that Matt thought I was really cool and kept saying it. It's nice to know I've still got it. He doesn't appear to be a member of the Jesus club, which is my number one requirement. But, it's nice to have some positive male attention other than random construction workers and gangsta types at the mall.

School is going well. It's even easier than I thought it would be and I already wasn't worried. I think compared to the best friend having cancer, a room full of third graders, just isn't too scary. Tonight was open house. I didn't really know what to do since I have never been to an open house. I think I did ok. Some of my parents don't speak English and my Spanish is only passable. I think I got my point across. My kids are fun. The day goes by quickly and I don't have time to think about the worries in my life. It's funny how being the teacher is like being a celebrity. I was eating lunch and some of my kids came by and just stared at what I was eating. Then one girl says, "So, you like carrots, huh?" So funny. I also work on my lesson plans for about 10 minutes the night before. I am definitely flying by the seat of my pants. I plan to get it together and write at least a week's worth of lesson plans this weekend. I am doing fine this way but I will be a better teacher if I plan further in advance. Speaking of lesson plans, I should probably go work on mine now.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

War and Internet Porn

So, I had a pretty good weekend. There was a good balance of people time and alone time and I got to hang out with a lot of different people. What more can you ask for? I have a lot of trips planned for the Fall so it is nice to have these relaxing weekends at home while I can.

I bought a lot of teacher stuff this weekend. My school gives us each $100 to start off the year, which is nice since I don't get paid until Wednesday. I shouldn't complain since my friend, Lee, works in another school district and doesn't get paid until mid-September. Not cool. Anyway, I did a lot of teacher shopping and I managed to stay out of the teacher supply stores. Those places freak me out even though I know there are probably many useful things there. I think this phobia is left over from when I was in my last year of college and didn't actually want to be a teacher. It's weird how much I find myself thinking like a teacher. It is rather scary, actually. I am coming up with lots of random ideas and bulletin board headings. As much as it freaks me out, it is nice to have an outlet for my creativity.

Today my friends, Jane and James came to my church. They just moved to Houston and I am excited to add them to my list of Houston friends. This list is actually quite long, though they are very scattered. I wish we could all just live in the same neighborhood. That'd be ideal. Our pastor is doing a serious about some of the big life issues. Last week, he talked about internet pornography. He has an unusual style of preaching. Most preachers start out with an assumption and then proceed to tell you how they came to that assumption step by step. Our pastor tends to think of an issue and then look at all the Bible has to say. Then he presents the information without really saying what his personal conclusion is. He wants to present the info and let us think for ourselves. I like this style a lot. Now, with the internet pornography, it was obvious that he was against it. Despite its prevalence in our culture, I think all Christians would say that it is wrong. He gave these interesting statistics: 40 million people regularly admit to looking at porn. 7 million of these are women. And 1/3 of clergy admit to regularly visiting porn sites. So, as I said earlier, it was pretty obvious what the pastor's opinion on this issue was. This week, on the other hand, wasn't as obvious as the topic was war.

Now, with my brother being a soldier in Iraq, this is a very personal issue for me. I almost dreaded hearing our pastor talk about it because I was afraid he might take the blanket non-war, pro-peace stance that so many Christians take. Unfortunately this stance is personal and not Biblical. Well, good old Pastor Rufus Smith IV did not let me down. He looked at the Bible first. A summary of his talk would be that there are times to defend and times to be gracious. I found myself fully agreeing with him and that felt good. He also spoke on a passage I had never noticed. In Luke 3:14, soldiers ask Jesus how they should live. Jesus does not say they need to quit their jobs. Instead he says that they need to be sure not to extort money or accuse falsely. I was already familiar with another passage where a centurian (soldier in charge of 100 men) is also not told to quit his job but is commended for his great faith.

There is nothing wrong with Christians who choose to be anti-war. But it is their choice and opinion. It is not Biblical.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Missing Maui

Warning to reader- This was written late at night and is fairly personal and highly reflective. If you are looking for humorous antecdotes, this is not the blog entry for you. Hopefully one of those will come again soon.

I really miss Maui right now. I know you are probably thinking, "Big surprise! Maui is paradise and people pay big bucks to vacation there." Well, when I say that I miss Maui it is more that I miss YWAM Maui and all the incredible people there. I was so unbelievably lucky to get to spend a year and a half with 50+ people who genuinely cared for me and would drop whatever they were doing in order to pray for me when I needed it. I also developed some incredibly deep and vulnerable friendships, and while we have sustained the friendships over the phone, it is not the same as being there to literally cry in each other's arms when necessary.

It's not that I have a lack of quality friends here. In fact, I feel lucky to that so many of my friends have settled in Houston recently. But, here in the real world, we all get so caught up in our own stuff that we can't fully be there for our hurting friends like we should. I wish that real life was more like my YWAM life.

Luckily God makes it clear why I am here in this time almost daily but it doesn't stop this longing I have to be in such a supportive, vibrant Christian community. It is hard to create that outside of a full-time living and working environment like YWAM. The other night I had some sort of nightmare where I awoke thinking I had to get back to Maui and soon. I don't even remember the dream but it sure felt urgent.

I am frustrated by all the change and unknown in my life. I like to be in control. I know ultimately that God is in control and if I didn't believe that I would probably have a nervous breakdown. I don't like change unless I am the one in control of the changing. I was supposed to teach 4th grade and now I am teaching 3rd. It really isn't a huge deal but in this very uncertain time in my life, another change really throws me off. I know ultimately that I will be teaching these specific kids for a reason but it sure would have been nice to know months ago when I got the job. There are obviously bigger concerns in my life.

My brother, the person I love the most in this world, is in the middle of a war. It is easy to pretend that it's not happening. I don't even pray for him enough because that would make it harder to delude myself. Bad men will continue to try to harm my little brother until January and that is just a fact. If I let myself think about it too much, I will implode.

And now Sarah, my best friend, has breast cancer. Right now is a time of not knowing the extent of the cancer or what will be done. It is endlessly scary. I truly am hopeful but I have also seen the reality of this disease. Mrs. Pilgreen, mom of my friends, Lee and Erin had breast cancer too. And she was of the age that is more likely to get it. She beat it once and then it came back and killed her. If that happens to Sarah, I just don't know what I will do. We have been friends more than half of our lives. Some people say, "God will heal her." But in the Bible, God promises to heal us but sometimes that is not this side of Heaven. And whether or not God heals Sarah does not affect His character or whether He is a good God or not. And yet I pray fervently for God's healing for Sarah. I do have hope that she will beat it and I plan to stand by her every step of the way. There are just no guarantees. If I could shave my head and guarantee Sarah a full recovery with no reoccurences, I would. In fact I would do just about anything. But that is not how life works. There are no guarantees especially with a beast like cancer. Lance Armstrong had cancer all over his body and then won the Tour de France. And Mrs. Pilgreen died before seeing her grandchildren grow up. My grandma had ovarian cancer in her 40's and lived to be 93, And Jorie Zemel died of bone cancer at 14. There are no guarantees one way or the other and I HATE IT!

To combat the worrisome stress in my life, I am working out like a fiend. My mind may be troubled but my body will look good. Of all the things people turn to in order to relieve frustrations, working out is a good bet, I think. It's definitely better than getting drunk or not eating or sleeping all day.

I once read a quote and I liked it so much that I wrote it in my Bible-
"We act as though the purpose of our prayers is to inform God of our need rather than to confess that we depend utterly on Him to provide what He already knows we need." I totally agree. It is about surrendering our desire to be in control and letting God take His proper role in our lives. So, God I surrender these people I love up to you. I trust you with Andrew and I trust you with Sarah. I also surrender my desire for a husband and especially the desire to know who that husband will be. I surrender my desire to teach fourth grade since I have now been reassigned to third. But most importantly I surrender my desire to be in control. You know so much better than I do and I thank you that I am not like those without hope.
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." 1 Thess 4:13
Thank you God that with you I have hope.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I had yet another day of teacher training today. This one was probably the worst. The lady leading it was nice but her niceness could not make up for the innate boringness of the topic. It was a full day about PDAS- a system that administrators use to observe and critique a teacher. The dumbest part of the whole thing for me is that they just made it sound like you needed to do all this stuff to get a good observation. I don't want to change the way I do things to fit within an observation framework. I want to be a good teacher and be evaluated for what I do every day.

We are supposed to dress "business casual" for all these affairs. This is a bit of an ambiguous term especially in the non business teaching world. I have seen quite a wide spectrum of "business casual." Some people show up in business suits. Others go for slutty short skirts and cleavage displaying tops. There was one guy wearing long jean shorts and a plain t-shirt 3 sizes too big with all white Air Force One sneakers. I doubt that would fly in a traditional office. No one seems to be enforcing the business casual so maybe I will just show up in my bikini for the last day. Or maybe not.

My class today had nine teachers from my school. That's a lot of new teachers. The weird thing is that one of the other girls said she was going to be the 4th grade reading teacher. That is the position I was offered. I looked on the school's website and it lists me as a third grade teacher. Strange. You would think the principal would have told me. Pretty shady if you ask me. It looks like I might be teaching third grade now but I don't even know. It's like my life is just perpetually changing. But the irony is that I HATE CHANGE! I am sure if I teach third grade, it will be for the best but I feel like a victim of the old bait and switch. And I won't be in the fourth grade teacher club with my buddies, Emily Hardin and Lee Pilgreen. I will keep you posted.

It was good to meet some of the other teachers at my school. They are all pretty young and seem pretty fun. They seemed equally bored by the seminar. Next Monday we all meet at the school for some bonding and more inservices. We are also scheduled to do some sort of team building at the Culinary Institute. Maybe it will be like Top Chef. That could be fun. I hope they ask us to make Lean Pockets. I am really good at that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Teacher Training

I will start with the latest on Sarah. She is scheduled to see a doctor from MD Anderson, a world class cancer hospital here in Houston. The doctor specializes in young women with breast cancer. Her appointment is in two weeks. In the meantime, they are testing the lump at their labs since it's common for other labs to make mistakes. We should get the lab results back in the next few days. They seem to think this is less urgent than the other doctors and they are the specialists. They are also saying they prefer to shrink the cancer and don't always recommend something as radical as a double masectomy. I will keep you posted.

Today I went to my second day of teacher training. This one seemed far more beneficial than the first one. The first one was for new HISD employees and at times felt like an HISD pep rally that no one really wanted to attend. They kept telling us what a good choice we had made. After about ten times, I started to think the over-reassurance could mean I'd made the wrong choice.

This training was for elementary school teachers new to the district. I was in a room with only fourth grade teachers and we were given a lot of information that will be helpful for setting up a classroom. I learned most of this in school but it's been four years and I certainly could use the refresher. I especially needed the part about classroom management. I am good at getting kids pumped up but not as good at calming them down.

During the lunch break, I decided to get food at the food court of Sharpstown Mall. I used to live in that part of town and remember going to that mall as a child. Apparently the area has changed a lot. It looked like most stores were either selling athletic shoes in colors I didn't even know existed or selling bling. For those of you without an adequate ghetto vocabulary- bling is flashy jewelry. There was a sweet silver Spam can-sized belt buckle featuring a bejeweled outline of the state of Louisiana. Now, that was hard to pass up. I am normally fairly unfazed by things going on around me but today I noticed all the young men looking me up and down. One guy said, "hey," and without thinking, I said, "hey" back. Big mistake. Then, he says, "Hey baby." And proceeds to look me up and down. I started walking quickly and luckily he continued on. This was not the best choice of lunch location but I survived.

After lunch I went to a room full of people trying to give me free stuff and get me to sign up for things. I came away with a lot of free candy and pens. Pretty sweet deal. I also signed up to win some free iPods but I think I will end up getting some annoying solicitation phone calls instead. I did win a laminated chart to assign classroom managers and a book about teaching Math. Too bad I will be teaching English.

I also noticed at the end of class that one of the guys in the room will also be teaching at my school. I didn't have time to say anything to him but I will definitely look for him at the next training. He seems fun and not too dorky, which is good. I'd like to have more male friends since mine keep getting married.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Camp continued

My mind is pretty consumed by the whole best friend having cancer thing right now but I do want to write more about camp. So, here it is:

The camp had about 150 teen mothers. Most brought babies, but some were pregnant, or left their babies at home or had their babies taken away. I heard of one cabin where two different girls had babies with the same guy. Now, there is some guaranteed drama.

The babies slept in the cabin with us. Thank God for ear plugs. I think the Lord blessed me with the ability to block a lot of the noise out. The girls got to do lots of fun activities both with and without their babies. A lot of them don't seem to know how to have fun with their babies. They know how to take care of them but not how to enjoy them. We completed a ropes course, rode mountain bikes, went swimming, played goofy and messy games, sang and danced. It was so cool to see them acting like kids. Our girls ranged in age from 14 to 19. Some of them had their babies in Jr. High. I was just finished playing with Barbies when I was their age.

Some of the leaders from the camp told their life stories and then had a question and answer time afterwards. One leader told of her own teenage pregnancy and how she got her life together and ended up marrying a 25 year old virgin Young Life leader. Another told of how she was sexually abused by her grandfather throughout her childhood and how it took a long time to share that secret with people. During the question and answer time, a girl from another school stood up and asked, "How do you know when it is time to share your secret?" This hurt my heart so bad and I didn't even know her. We estimate that 90% of these girls were sexually abused. That stuff can contribute to teen pregnancy.

It was fun to hang out with the girls but hard too. I don't think I am ready for kids anytime soon. I am sure it is different when they are your own and there aren't 20 of them.

The speaker at the camp had been a teen mother herself and was great at relating to the girls. Many of them became Christians, which is super exciting. And as usual, when they told us to cheer for the new Christians, all I could do was cry.

After camp, we went to the Grand Canyon. It was really crazy. Only about 3 or 4 of the girls were interested beyond looking over the edge for five minutes and taking one picture. The girls started complaining a lot and none of them brought enough water for the babies. Everyone was a bit grumpy. Then we read the map wrong and had to walk about a mile along the sied of the road. Picture it- five adults, fifteen teen moms, and 17 babies. It was even more impressive in a single-file line. A tour bus passed us and I heard the tour guide exclaim, "Well, now I have seen everything." Too funny!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cancer makes me want to throw up

So I just found out that my best friend, Sarah Stojanik McGregor (I wanted to fully clarify since I collect friends named Sarah), has breast cancer. At first I was shocked, then I cried a lot and now I just feel like I want to throw up.

She found a lump in her boob and the doctors assumed it was a fairly common condition where the breasts make harmless little cysts. Sarah had a big lump so they took it out. There was little talk of the possibility of cancer. The big C was not likely at all. Sarah is only 26. She'd be the first to admit that she isn't particularly well-endowed in the boob dept. She eats healthy. She's thin and does not have a family history of cancer.

Well the doctor who took the lump out in an outpatient surgery thought it seemed sticky. None of know what a sticky lump means but she didn't seem particularly conerned. Well apparently a sticky lump is bad because they tested it and it's cancer. Sarah is going in for another appt. tomorrow and they will schedule an MRI to see if the cancer is in other parts of her body.

I still can't believe this is true and I still want to throw up. Please pray!!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Traveling with Twenty Babies Part 1

I just got back from Young Lives camp in Arizona. We took five leaders, fifteen teen girls and twenty babies. As you might assume, it was pretty crazy. We flew from Houston to Phoenix. It was the first time on a plane for many of the girls. You should have seen the looks on people's faces as they discovered that they were flying on a plane accompanied by twenty plus babies. They were not excited. They asked dumb questions like if we were a baby convention or one lady thought we were a family. A family with fifteen teen girls and twenty babies? Yeah, right!

Before we left I had only had random short-term experience with babies. Some of my friends have them now and I babysat a lot as a child. But I had never been with so many babies for such an extended period. I guess most people haven't. When we got to Phoenix we boarded a charter bus and headed to a Pancho's restaurant. The place was not prepared for the large volume of babies. We used every high chair they had.

Then we picked up a group from Colorado Springs and headed to camp. The babies were pretty crazy and the ones who could walk, ran up and down the aisles. We got to camp after a few hours and made our way to the cabins. My cabin had three leaders, eight girls and eight babies. One of our girls was pregnant and one had two babies. I ended up helping the girl with two babies quite a bit. She definitely had her hands full with a 3 month old and a two-year old. I hung out with the two year old, Junior. We became good friends. He is a really funny little guy and he kept running on stage and dancing. He became pretty popular because of these antics.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Moving and leaving

I moved into my new place yesterday. It is awesome, if I do say so myself. Although, neither of my roommates were able to fit their beds up the stairs so they are sleeping on mattresses on the floor like many boys do when they are in college. I am on the first floor so I don't have to worry. I got a lot of help from my parents, Shella- my sister-in-law and even Shella's dad. We got a lot done and everyone was very nice to each other. I was even nice despite getting only two hours of sleep the night before after an extreme caffeine overdose. I couldn't have done it without their help. I am trying to get everything set up so I don't freak out when I get back from camp.

Speaking of camp, I leave tomorrow and I don't feel too prepared. I don't know how to feel prepared to take a group that contains about 15 girls and 20 babies. Luckily I am not the only leader, nor am I the one in charge of it all. It's going to be crazy. After camp in Arizona, we are going to the Grand Canyon. I hope the teen mothers are bringing those little child leashes for the babies. I can't wait to see the fellow passengers' faces when we get on the airplane. It will be simply priceless.

I better go continue to straighten and organize. I get back on July 30 and you guys will have to come visit my new party pad.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Unconventional Reunions

Yesterday I got to hang out with some of my favorite people- Josh and Ashley. For those of you who may not know, last year when I led the team to Bangladesh with Matt Laskey, there was another team that went to Nepal- led by the above mentioned Josh and Ashley. Our teams spent three months together before going to our separate countries. Too many crazy things happened in those three months and the four of us became very close. We call ourselves, "withness," which was a phrase our friend, Maria felt was going to apply to the school. Anyway, I will always have a deep love for my fellow leaders during that time and getting to see them was awesome. The funny thing is that we hung out at the airport for about two hours. They were on the mainland visiting various family members and had a layover in Houston. It was so good to catch up and not weird other than the fact that we were hanging out in the airport. I knew it would be good to see them but I was not expecting the sadness I felt after they left. I felt like crying. I really miss Maui sometimes and the amazing friendships I developed there. I am planning a trip there over Thanksgiving break. I don't know if I could handle not having something in the works.

I have been lucky to see several fun YWAM friends since I have been home. Here is the lowdown:
-I went on a roadtrip with fellow staffer, Rebekah Richoux to visit my now pregnant student, Kelli. I drove ten hours roundtrip to spend a couple of hours at Kelli's house but it was worth it.

-I get to see Dinah most Sundays because we go to the same church.

-Megan, a student from the Nepal team, came into town to meet a friend. We met up for coffee at Fry's the electronics store.

-Britany Chaney and Megan Labay surprised me at work but could only stay a few minutes. It was painfully short but it made my day.

-My student, Katrina, came in town to visit her cousin and we went out to eat at Chuy's.

I hope this trend continues. It is so good to be reunited even if it is random and brief.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Things to ponder

Lately I have been thinking about buying a house. I am really not in the financial position to buy the kind of house I would like. I have been watching too many of those tv shows where they buy old houses and fix them up and sell them for profit. They make it look so easy! I also think I just hear about so many of my friends buying houses that I think it is time for me to buy one too. I keep having to remind myself that most of my friends are about four years ahead of me in the normal support yourself adult world. Since college, I have traveled the world but I have not lived on my own and supported myself. I need to work and support myself before I try to buy a house.

There is a lot of good stuff happening in my life and the lives of people I love but there is also a lot of hard stuff. Here are some of the big prayer requests:

-Holly was attacked and sexually assaulted while she was running in Maui. A good samaritin stopped the guy before he could rape or abduct her. She is obviously pretty shook up.

-Amy's dad got fired without warning and now has to find a new job.

-Sarah has to have surgery to remove a lump in her breast.

-Maria and Dempsey are dealing with some really hard issues in their marriage.

-Kelli is eight months pregnant but starting to have contractions. She just found out that her dad was cheating on her mom and using drugs. Her parents are getting divorced.

-My brother is still in Iraq.

I am sure there are other things I forgot to mention. This just feels like one of those lots of change times- both good and bad. I don't like change to much. I hope to enter one of those peaceful, everything's boring times sometime soon. I hope it happens soon, I don't know if I can take much more bad news.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Passion

I have a new passion. Many of you know that I am quite the mullet aficionado. I like to spy people with lovely mullets and take pictures of them. While I still enjoy a well-kept or unusual mullet, mullet hunting lost some of its allure when I lived in Maui. You see, Hawaii is mullet country and it is not at all difficult to spot a mullet. They became too commonplace. My new hunting subject is trucks with painted tail gates. I have not seen many of these outside of Texas but I wouldn't venture to say that they are common here.

The usual painting is done in airbrush. It is usually a depiction of lovely scenery and the best examples show the actual truck in the middle of the scenery. I have decided to start collecting pictures of these trucks. Below is an example and I hope there will be many more to follow.

This example, though without a depiction of the truck itself, really lets us know a lot about the truck's owner. He or she is clearly into cock fights as this is the center of the piece. I am assuming the person's last name is Contrares. These tailgates are found more often that not in the Hispanic community. This particular piece also shows cards and dice, showing the driver's love of gambling. He or she apparently also enjoys music. Keep your eyes open for your own specimins.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm not in YWAMland anymore

This week I really felt the contrast between working at the surf shop and working with a full-time ministry. In YWAM, if someone was having a hard time emotionally, it was okay for them to take off work and they were guaranteed to have several people pray for them. I was fairly emotional before I left and it was great to be in such a nurturing environment where it was okay to cry, be vulnerable and let others help you.

One of my co-workers at the surf shop was having a bit of an emotional breakdown this week. I am not going to give any details but she was having a really hard time not bursting into tears at work. As her manager, I tried to talk to her and see what was wrong. She confided in me a part of what was going on in her life. To me, it seemed the answer to all her problems is Jesus. He has brought joy, peace and hope into my life and I know He would do that for everyone if they would just surrender to His will. This is not something a manager can really communicate to an employee during work hours. It was also obvious that she wasn't really interested. I did ask if she wanted me to pray for her. I had hoped I could pray for her out loud but she wasn't comfortable with that so I prayed for her in my head for the rest of the night. At YWAM, I would have prayed for her and I am sure her mood would have improved.

My fellow co-workers, who are nice people, had no sympathy or grace for her. They cited their own difficult lives and basically wanted her to suck it up. Not the same attitude as my YWAM friends to say the least. I miss that loving and nurturing environment so much that it hurts sometimes. And yet I know I am where I am supposed to be.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Attending the Gay Pride Parade with dear old dad

As this title implies, I did attend a gay pride parade with my dad this weekend. I invited other people to go but my dad was the only one interested and available. This was actually my second time at the gay pride parade, though the first time with my dad.

I went once with friends after our Sunday night church service before my parents moved to this side of town. If memory serves me right, I was accompanied by Jocelyn, Neha, David Ray and a shy guy from our church named Matt Whitfill. The parade is pretty amusing. That year, Matt Whitfill just stood behind us and giggled. I think he was a bit nervous. David Ray, on the other hand, was very confident of his heterosexuality. He cheered and waved quite a bit in order to obtain some of the goodies being thrown from the floats. Inexplicably he had his eye on a larger than average strand of rainbow mardi gras beads and was determined to get them. He cheered and danced around. But the bearer of the beads told him he would have to do a lot more than that to get those beads. Eek!

A group of old lesbians came by and apparently one took a liking to Jocelyn. Jocelyn's arms were open wide as she was clapping. A grey haired lesbian mistook the open arms for a hug invitation and went in for the kill. Jocelyn was confused by the hug at first but then shrugged and went with it. It was good times and we came away with an assortment of free rainbow colored trinkets including a rainbow gallery furniture shirt, which my grandpa later wore.

This year's parade was good although there was sometimes too much down time between floats. I expected to see some people I know. A large number of my store's patrons are gay as well as current and former employees. Also I have learned from myspace that a disconcerting amount of girls I played with or against in basketball through the years are now playing for that team. Unfortunately I did not see anyone I knew. There were just too many people to be able to really see. My dad's favorite float- Lesbians over 70 was not in the parade this year. They did have lesbians over 50 but that wasn't good enough for my dad. There were some guys dressed like take-out Chinese food. They looked pretty cool.

I managed to snag a decent amount of free condoms. I don't have any use for them other than as water balloons. They do make some amazing water balloons. You should definitely give it a try. I also got something called a dental dam, which I had learned about in sex ed in high school. My dad didn't know what it was and wanted me to explain it to him. Eek! I refused. If you are wondering what it is, look it up on the internet, cuz I am not typing it.

My dad was almost flirting with the ladies next to us. I think not having my mom by his side meade my dad feel a little vulnerable. It didn't help when a guy in the parade who was around my dad's age instead of throwing a beaded necklace, handed it to my dad with a knowing look. My dad immediately gave the beads to the girls standing next to him.

Overall it was a lovely parade and you all missed out. I will be posting pics soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

South Padre Summary

Last weekend my family went to South Padre and I haven't gotten a chance to write about it yet. Well, here I go.

My family has been going to South Padre almost every summer for the last 15 or so years. My dad is a lawyer and there is a law conference there every year. My favorite times there were when I was in high school and we rented a big 3 bedroom condo on the beach. I got to bring friends and along with Andrew, we had the time of our lives. We'd boogie board all day and hang out. I have so many great memories from then.

This time we stayed at the Raddison and had some nice beach and pool time. There is a shrimp boil every year with kareoke. Somehow I convinced Shella to get up and sing Gansta's Paradise with me. It was pretty hilarious. Two white girls rapping. The crowd was more into oldies like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." Only the younger crowd seemed to understand the full humor of the situation. I still don't have my emotions turned on so it was no big deal for me but I was proud of Shella for having the guts to go for it.

This was my first family South Padre trip without my brother. It was a little weird. His wife came as his representative. I think we were all in a bit of a weird mood because we missed Andrew. I know his time in Iraq has made me want to make the most of our time together when he gets back. Family time just doesn't seem like family time wihout him.

We've decided that it would be too hard to do a traditional Christmas while Andrew is in Iraq. Last year was just really difficult. There is talk of going on a cruise or to Costa Rica. I think I could manage to have a good time in Costa Rica. I hope it works out.

Matt Laskey is engaged to a Kirk

I just found out that my dear friend, Matt Laskey asked our fellow YWAMer, Bethany Kirk to be his wife. Matt is one of my best guy friends. We were part of a team to New Zealand, served on staff in Maui together and then led a team to Bangladesh and Thailand. I am so excited for him. I think he and Bethany will be very happy together. This is another wedding I cannot miss. Matt is like a brother to me and I really enjoy Bethany as well. It looks like it will be in Toronto, so I will get to see my Ywam best friend, Amy. Yay!

I have to tell of the funny thing that happened when Matt proposed. When he told me the following story, I almost soiled myself. Here is a little background that is good to know in order to understand the full humor of the situation-
Amy and Bethany's dads are brothers and they have the same last name- Kirk. When Amy left Maui, Bethany took over her cell phone.

So, Matt borrows Bethany's phone and dials "Dad." He asks if he is speaking to Mr. Kirk. After confirming that he is, they participate in a little small talk. Matt can't wait any longer and asks Mr. Kirk if he can marry his daughter. Mr. Kirk says, "I do have a single daughter but I think you are looking for Bethany's dad." It turns out Matt had accidentally asked Amy's dad if he could marry her. So funny!! Finally Matt got the right Barry Kirk and permission was granted. This will make a great family story for years to come.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Camp- A little late

I just got back from my family vacation to South Padre but I never really wrote about my week at Young Life camp in North Carolina. So, I am going to write about that first and hopefully I will make time to write about Padre in the near future.

Camp was a great week for me. I had joked to several of my friends that I was going to meet the love of my life there. This did not happen. The funny thing is that I made the same claim when I went with fellow Maui staff members to a YWAM gathering on the big island. Right before we left for that, I got sick and lost my voice. I ended up only talking to people I knew so I wouldn't have to explain my weird puberty voice. Just like that time, I got sick and lost my voice before this trip. God continually reinforces my belief that He has a sense of humor.

I did, like the last time I went to camp, develop a mini-crush on the guys who did the program there. There is just something about guys who can be genuinely funny and make fools of themselves for the amusement of teenagers. I love guys who love Jesus and can make me laugh. Unfortunately for me, all the program guys were happily married. Young Life camp always puts on a great program. They even did a parody of the OK Go video with the guys treadmill dancing. It was very well done. My kids didn't fully appreciate it since it's not really the kind of music that they listen to.

Last time I went to camp, I knew I was going to Maui soon so I wouldn't get much more time with my girls after camp. This time I knew I would be able to be physically there for the next year. Camp is such a great time to get to know them better. I am excited about next year. There are lots of fun things to do at camp but my favorite part was hanging out with the girls. They are so much fun! I impressed them with my knowledge of rap music.

One night in the cabin, some of the girls who have incredible voices, were singing various soul tunes by Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, etc. When one of the songs ended, I asked if they could sing "Big Bootie Hoes." They died laughing. They definitely didn't expect that to come out of my mouth. It was awesome!

The week was great for my relationship with God. Before camp I was in the bad habit of spending too much time thinking about fun memories and people from my past or imagining fun events and milestones in my future. At camp, I was really in the moment. That's a much healthier way to live. I also made God my default setting. What that means is that I thought about Him when I had time to think instead of thinking about other random less important things. I want to continue to live like that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back from Camp

I spent the last week in North Carolina at Windy Gap, a Young Life camp there. It was fun, relaxing, and spiritually rejuvinating. It also involved two 20 hour bus rides. So, instead of writing about it now, I am going to chill and sleep. I will try to write soon.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Days

Yesterday was a great day. I found out the night before that I got the job I wanted. I had interviewed at two different schools and one was clearly my first choice. The not so good school had the following qualities:
-Someone got car jacked in the parking lot two days before I visited
-There were posters of local child sex offenders displayed in the halls
-It is located in an area where an unidentified man has been breaking into people's homes and laying in bed with women, fondeling them and himself and then running away when they wake up. Eek!
-Also the teachers seemed worn out and tired.
-I would have had to teach 5th grade all subjects.

I got an email from the principal of the school I want that says they want me and that they will contact me to fill out all the paperwork next week. YAY! No more job interviews! I didn't mind them as much as the average person since I am devoid of emotions but they were a time inconvienence. It is also great to know where I will be next year. This school is only two years old and no teacher has taught more than six years so everyone is still young and fresh and passionate about what they do. I will also have my ideal position- 4th grade- Language Arts. So, I am pretty pumped! I am antsy to sign the papers so it feels official.

Yesterday I got to go to the beach with Neha, Thama and Katie H. It was great to be back there even though it doesn't compare to Maui. I really like Galveston even though it gets a bad rap. The waves were messy and choppy but I was still able to teach Katie to surf. It's always cool to see someone stand up for the first time. I am also getting excited about moving in with Katie for the Fall. We are hoping to find a house in the Heights with wood floors, a porch and A backyard with room for a trampoline. We'll never want to leave the house.

I also just realized that I leave for YoungLife camp in a week. June has snuck up on me big time. I am excited about going but I need to get used to the idea that it is about to happen.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Enticing Offers

I have been super sick this week. It's not as bad as when I had Dengue fever but it is still no fun. Some people say Christians should never be sick and use the phrase, "We are healed by His stripes" to justify this belief. But they are misusing it. That phrase is refering to our sins being healed not our physical healing. I am definitely sick. I spent the last two days in bed and I have used two full boxes of Kleenex. I missed one day of work and had to reschedule a teaching job interview. Things are beginning to look up, though. Today I felt well enough to go to the interview and go back to work.

My teaching interview went pretty well but I am not sure if I want to teach at this particular school. The teachers and principal seem nice but the area is a bit shady. It didn't feel that shady until I found out that some woman almost got car jacked in the parking lot two days ago. They also had fliers with the faces of local registered sex offenders posted where the kids get picked up. I am glad they're aware, but it's kind of scary. I am still in the interview process at another school that I think may be a better/less likely to be assaulted fit. We'll see though. The next interview at that school is on Monday. I just want to know where I will be. I hate waiting.

Tonight I worked until 10pm at Soundwaves. It's been a long time since I worked at night at Soundwaves. It's always an amusing experience since we are located in Montrose- the weirdest and gayest part of Houston. I helped a big older black guy look for some cds. He told me, "I like your hair." To which I said, "Thanks, sometimes it turns into a 'fro." Then he said, "I think I'd like that too." Red flag. He kept refering to me by name, which he cleverly discovered on my nametag. He asked if I liked to go out. I told him that I am super busy, always working. He asked if I had any time to have fun. I told him no. He asked me if I was married and I told him, "Pretty much." (Does Jesus count?) Then he asked if I had any friends who liked to go out. (Maybe ones who also have frizzy hair, perhaps?) I told him that they are pretty much all married.

I read a book once by a lady who was clearly not a Christian, who went on dates with anyone who asked her for a year. She lived in New York City and ended up going on over 100 dates and slept with an alarming number of them. If I had been playing her game, I would have had to say yes to the random guy tonight. Thank goodness I wasn't. It's not that I didn't want to go out with him because he was black. Sometimes I actually prefer black people to white people and I would definitely go out with a suitable black guy. No, the reason I wasn't interested had more to do with the fact that he looked 40 and that he worked as a truck driver. So, I am not a racist but maybe an occupationist. Is that bad? I have recently determined that my kind of guy loves Jesus, is sporty, and is the kind of guy who would work at a summer camp, be a Younglife leader, serve with YWAM or be a teacher. Truck driver is simply not on the list.
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