Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Swimming in Smoothie and Wild Winds

This weekend, Amy and I visited her friend's sister, who was staying at one of the nice hotels on the other side of the island. We love the chance to play tourists so we jumped at the chance to lounge by their pool. The husband bought me and Amy smoothies. They were fancy and good. When the waitress delivered them, she gave a semi-stern warning about not bringing the drinks in the pool. We complied and left our drinks on the side of the pool as we sipped them. I had only taken a few sips when extreme clumsiness struck. I was animatedly talking about something and as gestured with my hand, I knocked my smoothie over, spilling most of it into the pool. So, in a matter of seconds, we were surrounded by a milky smoothie cloud. We went to work trying to move the cloud around and get rid of the evidence. Luckily the waitress/smoothie nazi was not there when it all went down. The smoothie cloud dissapated fairly quickly causing one to wonder what else had been dumped in the pool that we could no longer see. After the crisis was over, I tried to make the two tablespoons of smoothie I had left last as long as possible. Good times!

The weather has been super weird the last few days. The wind is crazy and there are tree limbs and coconuts all over the roads. It feels like being in the middle of a hurricane. The wind catches doors and slams them. It blows away anything not weighted down. It is so weird. The waves are huge too. I don't understand what's up but I guess it's exciting. There is also a big fire burning on the volcano. The wind has made it hard to get a handle on. Supposedly, it is still burning now but contained. It seems crazy to me that they can't put it out right away. That's Maui for you, I guess.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Abundance of Blessings

There's some fun stuff happening in my life these days. In January, I got an email advertising $20 each way inter-island flights. I have never been to Oahu for more than an overnight lay-over. I simply couldn't pass this chance to go to Oahu for such a small price. To fly there after I return to the mainland would be hundreds of dollars. I convinced my YWAM best friend, Amy to come along on my adventure. We managed to find a super-cheap rental car as well. We tried a few connections to find a free place to stay. We didn't have any luck and it looked like we'd be sleeping in our economy-sized rental car. It wouldn' t have been too bad despite the potential for back spasms from contorted sleeping and the possiblity of being hassled by random hobos.

We sent an email to Amy's mom about our lack of accomodations and she generously offered to pay for most of the cost of a really fancy hotel in Waikiki. So cool! This is going to be such a fun trip and very low-budget. Amy leaves at the end of February so it will be really awesome to get to spend a fun-filled weekend together.

We are trying to plan what we'll do there. I wanted to go to the Polynesian cultural center but even the ticket prices for locals are a bit steep. My dad told me that it's really interesting. The part that intrigues me the most is that it is apparently run by the Mormon church. At the end, they try to get you to go on a tour of BYU's Hawaii campus. I think that sounds fantastic! I have an abnormal fascination/love for the Mormons. We'll just have to see if anyone else makes a donation to our trip. We'll be gone the first weekend of February.

Also I get to go to the Big Island in the month of February as well. There is a big YWAM Hawaii conference called "The Gathering." A bunch of people from the various Hawaii YWAM bases will get together at our really big base in Kona. I was having trouble deciding if I wanted to go because it means being away from Maui for a week and I wasn't sure if I could afford the airfare now that the $20 special is over. I prayed and felt like I was supposed to go. After I already decided, I found out that the base would pay for my airfare since I was working directly with the DTS and all the DTS students and leaders would be going. So cool! Now I am really excited! It will be awesome to gather with so many other YWAMers, especially since I will be leaving YWAM at the end of March. So, in case you can't tell, I am pretty stoked about February!

Monday, January 22, 2007

I love prayer!

I have been worrying more than usual about a few things in my life. I posted two of the big ones as prayer requests so other people could pray about them. I have some other stuff in my life that I feel anxious about but the big two are my brother in Iraq and my student who is not doing well. I am usually not a big worrier but this stuff is tough. After letting people know of my prayer requests, I have felt so much peace about these situations. Of course, if I let myself really dwell on them for a long time, then I can make myself worry. But I no longer feel like throwing up when I think about it. So, the moral of the story is that prayer really works. I need to be better about letting people know of all my needs because having others lift you up in prayer really takes the burden off your shoulders.

So, thanks to everyone who has been praying for me. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I am so old!

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now the big 2-6, which sounds super old to me. 25 is cool because you are a quarter of a century old. 26 just means that you have officially begun the slippery slide to 30. Eek! Luckily there were people at my birthday party from ages 21-36 so I was in the middle of the age bracket. I have now joined Matt Laskey and Rachel Cordy in the 26 club. Last year on base, four people turned 25 in little over a week. This year only Rachel and I were on base but it is still a good club.

I had to work during the day but the hospitality people made me wear a birthday poncho/cape thing. It was pretty frightening but everyone knew it was my birthday. This saves us all from the awkwardness of people forgetting and then remembering later and feeling bad. I got a cake with the phrase- "Hot Stuff" on it. Not too shabby. I also got some desk supplies. My friend, Amy gave me a mousepad with our picture in it and a name plate type-thing with interchangeable phrases. It currently says: "Looking for Love." It can also say, "I love drama", "Obsessive Compulsive" and for some unknown reason- "It's just baby fat." I think I will stick with "Looking for Love."

I got phone calls from most of my favorite people, although there were a couple noteable people who were prevented from calling on account of being in Nepal or Iraq or for other reasons. I thought my parents had forgot me but they came through in the end. It was sad not to talk to Andrew but the war doesn't stop because it is your sister's birthday. Last year, Marti Harnly won the contest to see who could send me a card or gift so it came on my actual birthday. This year I guess Newsweek magazine technically won. Oh well, this means that my birthday will just keep going as I get belated cards and packages. Feel free to send them now. You know I love packages.

At night I went to eat Mexican food with friends and then came back to my house for a little party. Amy and Holly got some Strawberry Shortcake-themed party supplies. We had some blower-things, strawberry sunglasses and even little strawberry-shaped gift bags with candy and little girl make-up. Josh Cordy looked especially nice in the blue eyeshadow. We had lots of chocolate chip cookies and played my favorite game, Loaded Questions. It was really fun and we laughed so much. Our answers verged on inappropriate, which is my favorite way to play the game.

Eric, one of my students from this summer was in town for the day on his way to Oahu. I pretended it was because it was my birthday. It was cool that he could come to my birthday festivities. The guest list was: Ashley, Josh, Eric, Matt, Holly, Amy, Bethany, Rachel, Kieva, Maria and Esther. It was a really good birthday and way better than the one when my Grandma died and I had to go to the viewing on my birthday. Way better!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hippies, Tsunamis, Naked People and Celebrities... Must be Maui!

I have a lot of things on my mind but rather than write about those things, I will give you some insight into life on Maui. Here are a few things I experienced this weekend.

On Friday night there was a tsunami warning. Apparently there was an earthquake in Japan and there was a chance it would cause a tsunami to hit Hawaii. There was a lot of gossip and suspense about our possible impending doom. At about 8pm, the news station said that if a tsunami was coming, we'd hear the tsunami sirens at 9pm and that would give us 3 hours to head up the volcano before the big wave hit. I was watching updates on my tv but the people on our base don't have tv access so they were really out the loop. I got a call to "inform" me that an earthquake happened in Alaska and there would be a tsunami warning at midnight, if it was coming. It was like playing a game of telephone. Thankfully it was a false alarm. The transmission on my borrowed car isn't very reliable so I was glad to not have to test it as I fleed from a giant wave.

I am still trying to train for a triathlon. I am doing pretty good with biking and running but I haven't done enough swimming. I tried to rectify this situation by swimming in the ocean on Saturday morning. In case you were wondering, it is not a good idea to swim in the ocean after a tsunami warning. The sea was angry for sure. I put on my goggles and swam out a few yards. Then I just got repeatedly pummeled by the rocky seas for about 10 minutes til I feared drowning and swam to shore. I am sure I looked really funny. I was exhausted. I had gone for a run earlier that morning. I now understand why the swimming is the first part of the triathlon. They don't want people to get exhausted and drown.

On my way to and from Baldwin Beach, I passed by an unofficial nude beach. It is a common hippie hang-out. Often there are no nudes there but this time, unfortunately, there were. There was a family with two small kids and one very naked dad. Talk about awkward family time! I am so glad my dad is not so "open." Then I saw this guy we call "Paia Dave." Paia Dave is a an old homeless guy with a scruffy wit beard, who inexplicably wears a top hat all the time. Well, he was certainly not wearing the top hat when I saw him at the beach. Thankfully, he was in waist-deep water when I made the mistake of glancing towards the ocean.

I heard through the grapevine that Owen, Luke Wilson and their unfamous brother, Andrew will be coming to Paia at the end of the month. I love a good celebrity sighting! I can't wait to try my "keeping it cool celebrity sighting" tactic. My goal would be to see one of them on the streets and just say, "Hey Luke." Then they know I know but I am not making a big scene. We'll see. I lost my nerve when I saw Kelly Osborne. I won't make that mistake again.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Deep Thinking with a side of Puking

I have been doing a lot of deep thinking lately. This is a good thing, though sometimes not so fun. For those of you who read this for the humor, I will begin with a short story before I get to the deep thinking, less humorous stuff.

I have moved into my new place. It is pretty sweet and I like it though I haven't spent a whole lot of time there yet. My roommate, Holly, has a cat named Sushi. Sushi's tail got run over by a car and Holly's sympathetic co-workers gave her some raw ahi (which I believe qualifies as sushi) to boost her spirits. So, Holly has been serving Sushi the cat, sushi the food. This seems borderline cannabilistic. Anyway, last night after Holly fed Sushi his sushi, he got a peculiar look on his face. Yes, cats do make facial expressions. And it was too late to stop anything when I realized that the facial expression meant, "Hey new roomie, I am about to barf on your sandals. So, Sushi puked sushi onto my sandals. Sick! Sushi definitely did not make a good first impression.

Yesterday was our last day of staff development. Tom, our amazing base director, was talking about sometimes sins we constantly struggle with are rooted in deeper issues. We try to keep treating the symptoms but they never fully go away because the root of the sinful behavior is still there. His example was how in college he used to tell lots of white lies when someone asked him something he did not know. He kept trying to stop but could not. He finally realized it was a pride issue that most people would never have guessed. He is probably the most humble man I know. Once he started praying about and dealing with the pride issue, he was able to overcome the temptations to make up stuff instead of admitting when he didn't know something.

After Tom shared, he gave us time to pray and contemplate how this applies to our own lives. It was really good for me. I realized that a deep root of bitterness is causing me to respond negatively to some important people in my life. I have to let go of old grievances whether they are valid or not. I will continue to work through this but this principle is so important when trying to figure out why we struggle so much with certain sins. I encourage all of you to try to find the root of those pesky perpetual sins in your life. In general, I have been having really good times with the Lord since I have been back. Such a blessing!

Today I found out more worrisome news. I got an email about a soldier dying and it looks like he was in my brother's company. That's hard to think about. And I got another update about the girl I mentored who is doing poorly. I wish I could write what I found out but that's not fair to her. Needless to say, the latest news is pretty bad and life changing. I wish I could just steal her and lock her into a room until she is strong enough to resist these temptations that are so harmful to her. I love her so much and it is hard to hear of her stumbling. I know that God is in control but it is still hard to hear about what she's doing since some of her actions have very serious consequences. Please pray for her.

On a lighter note, the students for the Winter school have begun arriving today. The chaos is begining and it is a lot of fun. I am looking forward to getting to know these new students, especially since this is the last school I will be here for.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back in Maui

I have been back in Maui for two days now. It was so good to see all of my friends again. Most people had left to go home for Christmas before I left. This meant the base was pretty empty. Most people got back before me so I came home to all my friends. It was really nice to see them. It feels like I haven't even left. I think this is because I was only gone for two and a half weeks and before that I was gone for three months.

I want to make the most of my time here and I know it will fly by. Today I started as the DTS administrator and I think it will be a good fit for me. I will get to work closely with Matt, who was my co-leader to Bangladesh. He feels like a big brother to me. My friend, Rachel turned 26 today and joined Matt in the 26 club. I am way younger since I don't join the club until the 17th. My time as a 25 year old is definitely dwindling. I am getting old. Oh well, at least Matt and Rachel joined the club first. We tried to go to a Mexican restaurant with cheap tacos but we had to wait for two hours. I actually just hung out with them outside for an hour and then went to the gym. We all had our share of socially awkward moments.

Ashley smashed her forehead into a sign as we all looked on. I flicked a bug off of Ashley and into some woman who screamed and jumped up. But the worst was when Kristy smacked the butt of a woman she thought was our friend but certainly was not. The girl was not mad but Kristy's face was bright red. I try to believe that we are not your average dorky missionaries but these type of moments don't help my plight much.

We are having staff meetings this week to get ready for the students who arrive on Thursday. It has been really good and the staff seems to be doing much better after the break. I think we all needed some time away. I know I did. We discussed 1 Peter today which may be my favorite book of the Bible. There is just so much in it that applies to my life. It got me excited to spend more time with the Lord, which is always good.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hard Stuff

It's hard to love and care about people sometimes. My heart hurts right now because I have found out that a girl I mentored, discipled and poured my heart into, is making some harmful decisions. It hurts me because I love her. It makes me not want to love anyone so I can't get hurt but I know that is neither healthy nor realistic. I feel like this post is already leaning towards philisophical but I suppose that's the mood I should go with and not fight it.

I just hurt so much when my friends are suffering. I read in a book called Red Moon Rising about a guy who was part of a big 24 hour a day prayer movement. His sister had anorexia and he didn't want to pray for her. He couldn't figure it out since he was part of this prayer ministry. But he realized that he didn't want to have to really feel her pain. When we really care about people and pray for them, we do feel their pain and it is difficult. I have prayed for the girl I mentioned above so much and I am sure that is part of why this is so painful. I know that she makes her own choices and even these bad decisions now don't negate all the progress she made but it still hurts. I am not going to give up on loving and caring about people but this is definitely the part of it I hate. Please pray for my friend.
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