Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Important Speaking Engagement

I got booked for a pretty important speaking engagement this past Monday. It was at Doris Todd, a local Christian school here. They were having a spiritual emphasis week and wanted people from our base to come share about missions. It was my job to introduce the topic and give an overview of missions in general and what we do at YWAM Maui. I had about 45 minutes to fill and three videos to show the group of about 75 students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade.

My friend, Jill and I came prepared with candy. I know kids and they love candy. If we started to bomb, I knew our whole talk could be redeemed by simply throwing candy at them. The kids all began to file in and stare at us. Then an elderly lady on a piano led them in songs and pledges. They did the United States pledge and the Hawaiian pledge, which seemed perfectly normal to me since we pledged to the American flag and the Texas flag every morning when I was a teacher. Although the Texas pledge is in English, unlike the Hawaiian pledge, which is in Hawaiian. Maybe we Texans should come up with our own language. After the country and state pledges, we pledged to the Christian flag (didn't know such a thing existed) and to the Bible. Each pledge had a song to accompany it. It was quite a production.

After the pledges, it was our turn to talk. We had problems getting my laptop to work with the projector, so two of the male teachers transferred files from my computer to theirs to make it work. This meant I had to kill time. Luckily I have a lot of experience talking to children these ages. I asked if they knew what missionaries were and one of the kids had the right answer and was rewarded with candy. I then asked the kids to name famous missionaries and several of them had good answers. One of the kids said Jesus, which is somewhat accurate so I had to give him candy. Our base director's son was in there and he named his dad and Loren Cunningham as famous missionaries. It was really cute.

Then I asked the kids to tell me any foreign countries they'd been to. I don't think the Kindergarten students really understood what country meant since they answered things like, California, New York City, Washington and my personal favorite, Disneyworld! Finally we got one of the videos to work and we got them to pay attention by telling them that we'd have questions after that they could answer for candy. The video was a bit above their heads but they were able to answer our questions. Then I showed a powerpoint on China and let them ask questions. I was supposed to show a video on Borneo but it wouldn't play so we extended the question and answer period a bit. Their questions were pretty interesting. They seemed especially intrigued by the pictures in the slide show that showed my friends eating a scorpion.

Overall it was fun and made me miss being a teacher. I just love school and kids. Maybe they'll have me back for another speaking engagement.

Sweet Dreams

Here is me in my little kid bed the night before my big kid test!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


So, I finally took the dreaded GRE. I studied for about a month beforehand. Much of the Math was concepts I hadn’t thought about in years and many of the words were so obscure I feared they were made up. After figuring out my strengths and weaknesses, I resolved to study Kaplan’s recommended vocabulary and specific math concepts that I had forgotten. Unfortunately a month wasn’t enough time to learn everything but I am not sure I could have handled studying much more.

I had to fly to Honolulu from Maui since the test is not offered on Maui. Fortunately my friend, Maria Daughtry and her family work on the YWAM base there. Maria and her mom, Olga Durand picked me up in Maria’s station wagon. When I looked in the backseat, I was surprised to find two sleeping little boys, Maria’s son, Kieva and his friend Shawn. Not wanting to wake them, I crawled over Kieva and positioned myself right between the two of them. It was hard not to laugh as I settled in. The funniest part was when Shawn woke up and gave me the strangest look. He had awakened from his nap to find a random lady sitting next to him.

We got back to the YWAM base and Maria and Olga took me to see where I would be taking my test. The good thing about this test being in Honolulu, besides being able to hang out with my friend, Maria, is that University of Hawaii, the testing site, is literally a ten minute walk from the YWAM base. We found the room where the test would be held, which made me feel better. I didn’t want to be running around lost on the day of the test. Then we walked back to the base to hang out. I wanted to get to bed at a reasonable hour but ended up going to sleep close to midnight. My bed for the night was on loan from Maria’s son, Kieva and had some pretty amazing Transformers bedding. I found it pretty amusing that I spent the night before my grad school test warm and cozy in a 4 year-old’s Transformers sheets.

I ended up getting a good nine hours of sleep. When I woke up, I made myself some scrambled eggs since that’s what my mom always made me when I was a kid. She didn’t make it every morning, just the mornings when my brother or I had a standardized test. Other days we fended for ourselves with cereal and toaster strudel. I think I equate eggs with test readiness so I really needed to eat them in order to feel confident that I could do my best.

I walked over to the campus a bit early. My test was scheduled for 12:30 and I was supposed to get there 30 minutes early. I explored the University of Hawaii campus a bit while I waited. It felt a lot different than the University of Texas, where I got my degree. The buildings were not nearly as nice, though there were many interesting and exotic trees. It looked like the entire place had been renovated in the sixties or seventies and then left alone. It could definitely use some updating. The students looked so young to me, which I couldn’t understand until I came to the painful realization that I am 10-11 years older than most of them. Despite all this, it felt really good to be on a college campus. I have always loved school from preschool to elementary school to middle school to high school to college. I have a feeling that if I do end up going to grad school, I will really like that too.

Since I had some time on my hands, I got some lunch from Subway and sat down to watch The Price is Right on a big screen in one of the common areas. When it was time for my test, I went up to the room I’d scouted out the day before. There were two women waiting and no one who seemed to be in charge. One of the women, a large eccentric looking, older lady from Hilo, asked what test I was there for. It turns out she was also there to take the GRE. She started grilling me about how much I had studied. I told her I had studied for about a month. She said she didn’t study at all so it would be a true test of her abilities. Didn’t seem too smart to me. If I am going to spend $160 on a test, you can bet I will try my best to not have to take it more than once.

We were led back into a room one by one. They had us show our I.D. and took our picture. We also had to copy a paragraph that said we wouldn’t tell anyone about the test or they would cut off one of our fingers. Okay, I made that last part up but the paragraph was pretty serious. The directions said to copy the paragraph in our own handwriting but not print. I hadn’t used cursive in years and copying the short paragraph took painfully long since I was out of practice. I also had to sign in and out. Then a nice lady took me into a computer lab with security cameras lining the ceiling. She gave me some ear plugs and wished me good luck.

The test was computerized, which was a bit strange. I think I would have done slightly better if it had been pen and paper. I equate pen and paper with serious. With all the games I play and quizzes I have taken on the computer, it was hard not to just answer quickly without thinking too long. I had to write essays, answer verbal questions and answer math questions. I got my score right away, which was a huge perk for taking it on a computer. I got a 1260 out of 1600. I definitely didn’t ace it but from what I have read, it’s more than enough to get me into grad school. I am glad I no longer have to study for it. Unfortunately there is still work ahead of me as I now have to apply to grad school. Ugh. I sure hope I end up going after all this.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Study Break

I am currently cramming for the GRE. For those of you not familiar with this test, it is required to enter most graduate school programs. I am a pretty good standardized test taker so I had originally considered just taking it without studying. I am so glad I didn't. This test is pretty difficult as it covers math I haven't even thought about in years as well as vocabulary words that are so obscure that I am afraid they are made up. The test also has a writing portion that scares me less than the other two since I am fairly up to date on standard writing conventions. So, I am currently studying geometry and algebra as well as making tons of vocabulary flash cards with the hope that even a few of the words and their definitions will stick before I take the test this Friday. Please pray for me.

This week I got to hang out at the pool of one of the nicest hotels on the island. My friend, Holly works there and invited me to come enjoy the pool's splendor. Guests must wear a wristband at the pool to prove that they are indeed worthy of its perks and Holly was able to get me and my friend, Abbey wristbands so we could use the pool legitimately. I decided to bring Abbey along because she's one of my best friends here and could definitely use the time away from her two children under the age of two.

When we arrived at the pool, I am pretty sure I spotted Hank Azaria, the popular character actor and voice of Apu and half the characters on The Simpsons. He had a baby in a sling across his chest and was talking on a cell phone. As he turned away from us, some guy appeared from the bushes and snapped his picture. So, I am pretty sure it was him. Both Abbey and I were looking pretty pasty from our general lack of sun exposure. We spent the first hour or so lounging by the pool and pretending to be wealthy.

After that I wanted to make the most of the pool's amenities. We went down the water slides and rode on the water elevator, a strange contraption that I don't think I could adequately describe. Apparently the "ride" cost the hotel more than a million dollars. It's an interesting concept but I don't think it was worth that much money. We also hung out in a hot tub and swam around a bit. We stayed away from the rope swing since my friend, Sarah Olthuis had lost her top on it once.

Overall it was really fun to relax and feel like a tourist for a bit. We ended up staying a little too long and I had to race back to teach the DTS team how to teach English. Although our time there was too short, it was definitely a blessing just to get away for a little while.

Friday, March 05, 2010

What I Am Up To

I thought it might be a good idea to let people know what I am doing out here in Hawaii now that I've been here for about a month.

English Lessons
My main objective is to make an English teaching curriculum for our DTS teams to take to Asia. I've already come up with about 30 lessons that use meaty Bible verses and groups of rhyming words found within those verses. I am going to create another set of lessons that don't use Bible verses to be used in places where we can't be so obvious. I have also started compiling a guide I like to call, "Ahhhh... I'm teaching English!!???" This is for those times in any foreign country when you are suddenly told you need to teach English to people of unknown ability. Another thing I am working on is compiling a long list of language learning games that can be played in English classes and English corners. I am currently sifting through the copious amounts of material on the internet to find activities that fit with our students and teaching opportunities.

Growth Group
One of my goals while in Maui is to disciple the younger girl staff here. As one of the older people here, I think it's important to try to help the younger girls. I just took over the weekly small group and our first meeting went pretty well. Everyone seems to want the same thing and the girls seem really fun. The fact that I provided ice cream probably didn't hurt either.

I have been able to help one of our outreach teams get ready to teach English. I spoke to them about the country they are going to and last week I did a mock English lesson with them. For this next week they have a homework assignment to come up with their own English lesson and I am going to randomly choose a few of them to teach in front of the group. It was fun to share with them and they seemed interested in what I had to say.

I have also been using my editing skills around the base to help with various things. I have proofread support letters and college essays. And now, after seeing some of our promotional materials full of run-on sentences and bad grammar, I have appointed myself as an editor. I just don't want our base to look bad and I am a stickler for that kind of stuff. I've also been helping my friends, Abbey and Wil out. They have two children under two years old so they really have their hands full.

Overall I feel useful here and glad that I can help out. I am unsure of exactly what I will be doing in April since a lot of stuff is still up in the air. I am trying to just be open to wherever God sees fit to use me.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Hey Beloved Blog Readers,
I still exist. It’s about time for one of these. I might as well tell you about our “tsunami” scare this weekend.

On Saturday morning, I was supposed to go surfing with some friends and some of the DTS students. In the middle of the night I woke up to use the restroom and checked the time on my phone. I noticed that I had several messages starting at 3am. One of my friends had texted me that a tsunami was supposed to hit Hawaii around 11am. Since it was still early I decided to just try to go back to sleep. Around 8am, I started hearing people in our kitchen since my room shares a wall with it. I checked my phone again and I had several missed calls and texts from people warning me of the tsunami.

I stumbled into the kitchen, half asleep and asked what was going on. We started checking the internet and saw that a tsunami was supposed to hit. I called my friend, Kristy to make sure she’d heard and tell her that it looked like we wouldn’t be surfing. She was already in the know after being awakened to a tsunami siren at 6am. She lives in Paia, which is right on the coast. The police started evacuating all the people on the coast. Kristy and all our students and staff in Paia came up to our base in Haiku. Our house quickly began to look like a refugee camp. It reminded me of my experience during Hurricane Ike.

Our base is pretty high up and not very close to the ocean so we knew we were safe. We didn’t know what to do so we started playing horseshoes in the yard. Apparently I am awful at horseshoes but it was still a good way to pass some time as we awaited impending doom.

Someone got the idea that we should find a place to watch the tsunami. Someone suggested we go to Pauwela Point, a cliff nearby. Kristy called her parents to see if it was a good idea only to find that they were already there. Most parents are more cautious than their kids but definitely not Kristy’s parents. A bunch of us piled in the back of a pickup truck and headed to Pauwela Point. There were tons of other people there, sitting in lawn chairs and drinking beer. It was like an impromptu tailgate party.

We sat out there for several hours calling home periodically to find out the tsunami’s progress. The whales were definitely acting strange but other than that nothing seemed out of place. Finally after we’d stayed long after the predicted impact time, we decided to go back home. It was pretty anticlimactic, which was good and bad. I am glad nothing really bad happened but it would have been cool to see a huge wave. The only bad thing that happened was that a lot of people got really sunburned waiting outside trying to see the tsunami. I like to call it a “tsunami burn.” I had put sunscreen on my face but I did get an odd oval-shaped burn on my leg from sitting cross-legged so long. I’m thinking of calling FEMA to demand some aloe vera gel.
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