Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

VBS 2008 Outrigger Island

Vacation Bible School was amazing. I had the privilege of working with 29 sixth graders who participated in the Counselor in Training (CIT) program. Many of them have attended my Sunday school class during the past year. A few things I learned this week:

  1. When conducting a hula outfit making competition, do not divide teams into boys and girls. Boys will immediately use crepe paper to create a mummy and then spin him until he falls down.

  2. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

  3. Sixth graders aren't too old for stickers.

  4. Example is the most powerful motivator.

  5. A sixth grade boy can eat five donuts in one sitting.

  6. Sometimes a troublemaker just needs a mission.

  7. The best words in the world: "Last night I accepted Jesus as my Savior."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bekah and Ezra

A cute pic of my sister Bekah and her fiancé Ezra. I was just thinking this week how fortunate I am to have this godly guy as my future brother-in-law. Bekah gets married in October.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We Interrupt this Blog...

I apologize for the interruption in blogging. I'm working at my church's Vacation Bible Camp this week (read about it here) and find myself with very little extra time. However, I will resume posting shortly. In the meantime, please pray for my 29 amazing sixth-grade students. God is working in their hearts this week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Goals

  1. Paint downstairs.

  2. Run the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon.

  3. Finish and mail out my book proposal.

  4. Read Job.

  5. Send letters to grandparents.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Single Identity Baggage

From "My Single Identity Baggage" (new on Boundless today):

An old friend called me on my birthday to wish me a happy one. Though we no longer share the same biblical worldview, he and I are at a similar spot in life — early 30s, unmarried. We used to attend the same youth group, and one time we almost went golfing on a date. (My parents decided against it at the last moment.)

As my friend and I talked and reminisced our conversation fell to our single plight (deep down we all want things like marriage and family). "It used to be really simple," my friend said with a laugh. By "it" he meant establishing a romantic relationship. (He was engaged his senior year of college, but it fell through.)

"Now I've lost confidence in my ability to choose," he said. "I know how I am. I know all these things about myself, and I know what won't work for me. I almost know too much about myself."

I knew exactly what he meant. In the eight years since college, I've accumulated more than a house full of photographs, furniture and dishes that aren't plastic — I've developed a fairly complex identity. And honestly, finding someone who's a fit seems like a much more difficult task than it used to.

Read more....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Colorado Springs Roller Derby

This weekend I attended my first ever roller derby bout. The Colorado Springs Derby Dames took on the Contenders from Denver. A friend of a friend plays for the All-Star team, so she explained the rules as we watched.

From Wikipedia:
Roller derby is an American-invented contact sport—and historically, a form of sports entertainment—based on formation roller skating around an oval track. In past decades, roller derby had been primarily a professional or paid sport for both women and men. Contemporary roller derby is predominantly female, typically operates on an amateur (or unpaid) circuit, and has a strong do it yourself ethic which often features both athleticism and a satirical feminist punk aesthetic.

The basic rules of the game are that the pack lines up ahead of the jammers (one for each team). The jammers wear helmet covers with two stars to identify them. Once the jam has begun, the jammers catch up and attempt to break through the pack (players from the opposing team try to block them). Once a jammer breaks ahead of the pack, she is the lead jammer. When she catches back up to the pack she earns points for each opposing team player she passes without accruing penalties.

This sport definitely has its own culture. Tough girls on skates. I like to skate, but I doubt I could take the hits these girls endure. At one match, a girl broke her finger and kept playing. This ain't your mama's roller skating.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Unicorn Deer Discovered in Italy

Discovery Channel reports:
The one-year-old Roe Deer -- nicknamed "Unicorn" -- was born in captivity in the research center's park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said.

He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.

Calling it the first time he has seen such a case, Tozzi said such anomalies among deer may have inspired the myth of the unicorn.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rippin' it Up with the RiP

Mirror Image: Mark of RiP cuts up with SHiP's Jeremy.

This past Friday and Saturday, Stick Horses in Pants took on the RiP in the ultimate battle of improv wits. The competition consisted of three rounds:

  1. Elimination games, which featured two players from each team. Last man standing earned a point for his/her team.
  2. Longform improv—each team got one suggestion and performed 15 minutes of related scenes. Each of three judges (improv experts) and the audience voted for their favorite group (4 points total).
  3. Shortform games from a hat—each team drew three games out of a hat and took turns performing them. Again, the three judges and audience voted for their favorite team (total of 4 points).

Trade Secrets: Horses talk shop with Mark.

On June 6, the RiP defeated SHiP by one point, with a clean-sweep in longform. June 7, SHiP rallied and inched ahead of RiP with the final audience vote. I have never had more fun collaborating with another improv troupe. The RiP members are excellent at what they do, and it was fantastic watching them in action. Both nights were sold out, and we had to add chairs.

Horse Kisses: Hunter, Lacey and Frannigan get cozy with RiP's Kim.

After the show, we all went out to celebrate our tie. Look for a rematch: coming soon to a theater near you.

Missing the Ocean

My friend Becky took this amazing photo of Dawn and Me at the Pololu Valley Beach.

The ocean is what I miss most, living in Colorado. Growing up in Aberdeen, Wash., the coast — though cold and rugged — was only 25 minutes away. Attending college in Portland, Ore., friends and I often drove the two hours to Cannon Beach and Seaside. Anywhere coastal that I go, I can stand there, watching the ocean, for as long as I'm allowed.

Sometimes I sing or hum, "How Great Thou Art:"
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

How can one look at the ocean and not see a creative, powerful, majestic God? I am reminded of David's words in Psalm 8:4: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" The ocean causes me to be mindful of God, and in return grateful for His interest in my life. I suppose that's why I love it so much.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Return

This photo titled "The Return" won this month's "Kodak Moment." It captured a soldier returning from Iraq. The photographer says:
I took this photo at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina as a group of U.S. Marines were returning home from the war in Iraq. As soon as they arrived, it began to downpour. I was lucky enough to capture the joy they were all feeling as they were getting drenched in the rain (which most of them hadn't seen in months), coupled with finally getting to see their families again.

The two people walking and embracing are brother and sister. This was such a wonderful moment for everyone and I'm so happy I was able to capture it for them!

Please remember to pray for our soldiers and the families who are separated from them today.

HT: The Point

Photo: Kodak Gallery

Sunday, June 08, 2008

People, People, People (in Hawaii)

Dawn and Jamie—on the rocks.

So my dad always told me that pictures with people in them are more interesting than scenery photos. And I tend to agree. A final batch of Hawaii photos (sniff, sniff) with my willing and unwilling human subjects.

Dawn ensures that Becky is safe while she takes a cliff-side shot.

I call this one "Woman at Beach."

Jamie (and that cute little girl next to her) enjoy food at the Luau.

Jumpers at Hilo Bay Park.

This shot does not do justice to how I looked after theWaipi'o Valley hike.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Odds and Ends

Just a few more pictures of Hawaiian scenery. I've already posted many of my favorites.

Pineapple bush.

I Saw the Sign

I try to take pictures of interesting signs wherever I go. These were a couple of my favorites from the Big Island, Hawaii.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stick Horses in Pants in the Independent

Stick Horses in Pants were featured in the Independent yesterday. From the article:

A group of friends formed Stick Horses in Pants in 2004 and since then, they've steadily built a reputation. They have a monthly show at the Colorado Springs School.

SHiP's performance at the Colorado Springs School is funny, and although their crowd isn't as diverse as for Improv Colorado downtown, they're more polished and comfortable on stage. Their teamwork is unmistakable — several times during their show, members who aren't part of a scene will burst onstage to "rescue" a fellow player. This, according to Hunter Willis, one of SHiP's co-founders, is what sets Stick Horses in Pants apart.

"We spend a lot of time together outside of practice," says Willis. "We've built friendships and connections so when we're on stage together, we're more in tune with each other and how we might react to certain situations."

This weekend is the SHiP-RiP Throwdown: June 6 and 7, at 8p.m., Studio 515, 515 Manitou Avenue. Come early for a good seat!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Waipi'o Valley

Waipi'o Valley is one of the more spectacular areas we've seen in Hawaii. To get to this spot, we had to brave the following:
The access road from the Waipio Overlook at the western end of Honokaa-Waipio Road (state route 240), down into the Waipio Valley is notoriously steep. While the road is now paved and only about ¾ mile long, the 25% average grade (said to be up to 45% at some points), taking the road about 900 feet down to the valley floor, is steep enough to destroy brakes on the way down, and stall engines on the way up. The road is therefore restricted to 4x4s (which you'll need anyway to navigate the unpaved roads on the valley floor), and hikers with strong legs.

We were the latter. The hike back up was the biggest challenge since it took place during the heat of the day, and we were all sharing one CamelBak. Still, the views along the way were worth it.

This waterfall started near the top of the road and flowed into the ocean.

From Snorkeling to Luau

Yesterday I went snorkeling for the first time.

We drove two hours to Kona because we heard the best snorkeling place is near Captain Cook's Monument.

Take our first stop for example, Kealakekua Bay. No need for sandy beaches here, you can simply scramble over boulders into rough surf and then be repeatedly smashed back onto them as you try to get to the water. Not only that, but once you're out there, in waist deep water, there's no fish or sea life to clutter your view — just a sandy ocean floor as far as you can see. If you lose a flipper, simply wait for the next wave to carry it back to you. Plus, do all this while locals gawk at you from the parking lot. And don't forget the fun adventure of getting back on the boulder-lined shore.

OK, so we learned the hard way that Kealakekua Bay is not a snorkeling spot (from there you can take a kayak over to Captain Cook's Monument and snorkel). However, our experiences at Kealakekua made Pu'u Honua O Honaunau (Place of Refuge) O-MAZING (as Becky says). You could swim about a quarter of a mile out and float over lava tubes that brought the ocean floor within three feet. We saw a variety of colorful fish, coral and sea turtles. I couldn't stop thinking about Crush from Finding Nemo: "Whoa, little dude!"

Since we were in Kona, we stopped by Greenwell Farms Coffee and took part of a tour. Regulations for Kona coffee are insane (which is why it's so expensive). All the Kona coffee in the world is grown in this 39-by-2-mile area. More than 200 Kona coffee farms exist; most are less than five acres.

Next, we got pretty for Becky's Birthday Luau. The Luau was held at King Kamehameha Hotel, which is his former estate. The show was put on by Island Breeze, a Christian group I saw perform in Aberdeen, Wash., when I was 15.

This luau is not billed as Christian, but the faith of the performers shines through. Hundreds of people attend the beach front luau to eat the good food and see a show that includes Polynesian dancing and a fire dancer. Several of the songs performed were worship songs translated into Hawaiian.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

General Silliness on the Big Island

This place — like most — inspires silliness. The jokes are flowing. For example, on the way to our house each evening we pass "Da Store." We say it like "DA bulls" (from Saturday Night Live). We've pretty much replaced the word "the" with "da." Makes us feel like locals. Here mahalo means thank you, but if you're a true native, you might say "tanks brah." We're looking for an opportunity to try that out.

These bus stops line the roads near the house where we're staying. Becky thought it might be a good place for a photo shoot.

Bus stops are are the lava. Right. We wrote this Haiku.

From dawn until dusk,
Cracks abound all around us.
Until we slumber.


I couldn't resist trying out my monkey skills on the way down to the Pololu Valley beach.

And we didn't intend to be silly when we hiked through the Thurston Lava Tube (Dad, the Lava River Cave in Bend was actually cooler), but we couldn't help it with the headlamps. A couple of girls were trailing us, because we were a light source to be reckoned with.


A view of the beach in Pololu Valley. We hiked all the way down there (and back up)!

The scenery on the Big Island is incredible. Take a look at the diversity.

Rocks at Isaac Hale Park. This is a surf hang-out for the Hilo locals.

The Pololu Valley on the Northern coast.

Today we took in the Pololu Valley. Some movies including Planet of the Apes (2000) and the new Indiana Jones movie were filmed near here.

Lava flows into the ocean in Volcanoes National Park

This was an incredible sight. We arrived before dark and got to see the flow-glow become more and more intense. We also met people from Australia and New Zealand.

Where Lava meets ocean inside Volcanoes National Park.

In the "other" America, you would probably see a guard rail at this point of the trail.

Something we've learned in Hawaii is that safety is a personal matter. Many of the trails, lava areas, waterfalls and cliffs lack guard rails or other safety features. You might want to think twice about bringing the kids here. Four grown women, however, can have a perfectly marvelous time.

*enter at your own risk.

Monday, June 02, 2008

SHiP-RiP Throwdown

This is the event of the year. On June 6 and 7, Stick Horses in Pants will go head to head with fellow Colorado Springs improv troupe the RiP.

Come see SHiP compete to claim the title of "Improv King of Colorado Springs." Shows will be held at Venue 515 in Manitou Springs and start at 8 p.m. The competition will feature short form improvisational comedy similar to hit TV show "Who's Line is it Anyway?" Celebrity judges and audience members will vote to determine which group takes home the trophy. As always the show will be family friendly, incorporate audience suggestions and be packed with laughs. For more information, visit Come out one evening or both for a night of spontaneous fun!