Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Livin' La Vida Loca: Grad School Edition

I've finally had a full week of my crazy new schedule. Here's the gist of my life these days: I tutor 40 hours- 3 days at the school I used to work at and 2 days at another elementary school. I wish I could quit the job at the other elementary school because it pays half as much, but I have made a commitment that I should uphold. Then I am taking 12 hours of classes in school counseling. I am also a Young Life leader, which keeps me busy 2-3 nights a week. And did I mention I am starting a small group with my church on Thursday nights? It's pretty nuts but I realize I actually really like being busy. I've already gotten into the habit of bringing my grad school books with me everywhere to make use of any spare moment. Now I do feel good about schedule right now. Let's see how I feel when all the tests and papers hit.

Here's an example of what my Wednesdays look like. Last Wednesday was my first day tutoring, first day of school and first night of Young Life club. I woke up in the 6's. Ugh! I drove to the school I was tutoring at. I left a little too early so I ended up chilling in the parking lot for about 30 minutes. This is why I will have my grad school books with me at all times from now on. It was interesting to see how a different school runs but eight hours was a long time. I left a 3:30pm and headed to U of H. I changed in my minivan. That thing may guzzle gas, but it makes a hell of a changing room. Unfortunately I forgot my tennis shoes so I had to wear my fancy teacher shoes with my jeans and t-shirt. I brought foldy, my folding bike, which was a good thing since I got a little lost. I rode foldy from the parking lot to my class.

Even though it was the first day, my class went all the way from 4:30-7:30. I almost ran out of energy half way through but a Coke remedied the situation. After class, I swiftly rode foldy back to the minivan for another costume change. This is where the lack of tennis shoes was really problematic. I changed into my biking clothes for a Young Life skit. I ended up just wearing my socks since I thought it looked a little less weird than bike clothes and my fancy teacher shoes.

I drove to Young Life and arrived about 15 minutes after it had begun. We were having our annual Pizza Olympics, where we call three pizza places at the same time and place an order. They are unknowingly a part of our little game. As each unsuspecting pizza delivery person arrives, they are awarded gold, silver or bronze medals and treated to the Olympic theme song. Their facial expressions are priceless. My job was to pretend to be a pizza person and bring in the three pizzas for the pizza eating competition. I dressed in my full bike gear and had one of the students sit on the back seat of foldy carrying the pizzas. It didn't quite go as planned. The kids mobbed me at the door and since I hadn't been around in a while, some of them thought I really was a pizza delivery person. Other kids did recognize me and tried to hug me as I was trying to make it through the sea of high school kids to the front of the room. In the process, some of the kids grabbed one of the pizzas and started to eat it.

I didn't know what I was going to say for the skit when I finally got in but it didn't matter because the kids were so loud, they wouldn't have heard me anyway. I ended by folding up my bike and walking off. It was pretty crazy and overwhelming to be thrust into a crazy crowd of teenagers. After everything calmed down, my friend Ann gave a talk about how God created us. I don't know if it was partly because of my long day but I found myself wanting to cry, not out of sadness but out of gratefulness. I felt so blessed that I got to end my day sharing Jesus with high school kids. It made it all worth it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foldy's Big Debut

Yesterday was quite the emotional day both good and bad. I started the day by going to Oran Tarlton's funeral. Oran was a really great guy and a good friend to my parents and boss to my sister-in-law. He was only 53 and left behind a wife and two daughters aged 24 and 21. He died after a tough battle with cancer and will definitely be missed by many people. The funeral was good as funerals go and really felt like a celebration of his life. I couldn't help but cry when I saw his male friends crying as they spoke of Oran's life. Men crying gets me every time. Several of us wore bicycling jerseys as a tribute to his love of bike riding. I wasn't sure how to pull off a bike jersey at a funeral and ended up wearing a jersey with white long sleeve shirt underneath, fancy grey pants and a pea coat on top. It was a little unorthodox but the other people who wore jerseys dressed about the same so it worked out. The pastor told of how in his last days, Oran was thinking of heaven and also of riding his bike. It's not theologically sound, but it's nice to think of Oran up in heaven, no longer suffering and riding his bike.

After the funeral, I headed home to get ready for my birthday party that night. My friend, Sara Stanford was already in town so she helped me cook and get ready for the party. My mom had me vacuum the whole downstairs and since their house is fairly large, it took a long time. I'd just finished vacuuming and was still kind of in the vacuum zone, when I saw my friend, Jocelyn. We've been friends for 21 years, so it wasn't that weird to see her. Then I realized that she lives in New Jersey and I had no idea she was coming. It was so great to see her and such a surprise! I already felt like my day would be good just because Jocelyn had come in town.

We got everything ready and people started to arrive. It ended up being a very eclectic mix of people, just as I had hoped. There were about 25 people there who I knew from childhood, high school, church, college, summer camp, Young Life and YWAM, in addition to my family members. It was pretty awesome! I showed everyone "foldy," my folding bike and they were quite impressed. People took turns riding it in pairs down the street. For gifts I got a lot of school supplies for my upcoming grad school. The most memorable was my Justin Beiber notebook. That's sure to make me some new friends. Overall I had a blast and it was a great way to celebrate my 30th year of life. My real birthday is tomorrow but I don't have any special plans other than dinner at Chuy's. I think yesterday was probably sufficient for celebrating. Good times with good people. Most of the guests live in Houston so it definitely got me excited about all the friends I have here. I feel very blessed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Massaged in Maui

I've been meaning to write about this for a few weeks. Better late than never.
I've had a few massages in my day but only the dirt cheap Asian kind. My first massage was in Thailand. We laid on what looked like gym mats while ladies in hospital scrub-type outfits twisted our bodies like pretzels. They used their knees and elbows to put pressure on various body parts. I can't say that the experience was too relaxing.

My next massage was in China where the lack of English made the whole thing a lot more weird. You can look at that experience in my post titled "Trina Warrenton, this one's for you." Last time I went to China, I got two foot massages and a lot of head massages. It's a great cheap activity to do with friends. My hour and a half foot massage included a half hour back massage, all for about $7. The head massage included a shampoo for about $2.50. I think head massages are my favorite and coincidentally offered cheaply at every hair salon in China. Up until very recently I had never had a massage in America, mainly because I am used to such cheap prices and can't really justify them on my limited income.

When my family visited, my mom decided we should have a spa day. My friends have a concierge business that offered a good deal on the Grande Wailea spa. This is one of the best spas in Maui. Here is our experience:

When you enter the spa, it looks like some sort of Roman palace and I instantly felt not fancy enough to be there. We were escorted to the locker room where they had electronic lockers for us to store our things. As they showed us around, they continued to stress that the spa was clothing optional. I was a little afraid that everyone would take them up on this offer. After we changed into bathing suits and walked around the spa, I was relieved to find that none of the women we saw had chosen to take the staff up on their nudity offer.

The spa had a bunch of different pools you could lounge in for the hour before your massage appointment. Some were like hot tubs and others had scented oils. My mom and I gave each one a try. As we moved from one area to another, I noticed that one woman had chosen to take advantage of "clothing optional." This was the biggest lady in the whole spa and the one I would least like to see nude. I will refrain from being graphic but I didn't know the human body could look like that. It was like passing a car accident, you know you should look away but you just can't help yourself. I guess I should admire her lack of self-consciousness; but then again, I had to see her.

In the middle of our time in the pools both my mom and I got a sea salt scrub. Then, after an hour of pursuing the pools, we were told to go change into a robe. Then we headed upstairs to a waiting area with plush couches and chandeliers. It was so nice that the staff spoke English. During my Asian massages, I was always very confused about each thing that was coming next. The massage itself was amazing and the best I've ever had. I think it was a Swedish massage and it seems like those Swedes really know their stuff. I felt like I was in a trance and was totally confused and disoriented when my masseuse told me to turn over.

It was a really fun experience and I am thankful that my Mom paid for it. I know now how fancy people live and boy, is it nice!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

My Ideal Man

I've been pretty busy with my family in town but it's time to get back on the blog train.
Our base has been reading through the Bible in chronological order this year. This has been good for me. I am always more purposeful and intentional about reading through the Bible when I have a plan. Recently I was reading in Titus about the qualifications for a man to be an elder or leader in a church. I quickly realize that they are good husband qualifications as well. So, if I was going to create a personal ad based on those qualifications, this is what it might look like:

SWF, 29 seeking SM who is blameless, not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain, hospitable, loves what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, of a firm faith, encouragement to others, knowledge of sound doctrine and able to defend the faith.

Now if we just add funny, sporty and cocky, you pretty much have my dream man. Let me know if you know anyone who fits the bill.
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