Monday, February 27, 2006

Entries to Anticipate:

1. Renee and Heather, Episode 1: The Exciting Cross-Campus Adventures to Graduate Programs in Writing/Theology at Western Washington University and Regent College (also includes trips to several independent bookstores and plenty of introspective reflection.)

2. Renee and Heather, Episode 2: The gripping tale of the visit to WWU's Plastics Engineering Department (a narrative of yellow lights, expensive machinery, and interesting terms like 'reinforced polycarbonite.')

3. Renee and Heather, Episode 3: Journey to Darrington--A There and Back Again Story of Viewings of Fine Cascadian Mountains.

4. Renee and Heather, Episode 4: An evening of a well-loved game of Cranium, and an unfortunately rejected game of Trivial Pursuit.

5. Renee and Heather, Episode 5: A review of the must-see documentary flick, Grizzly Man. It will change lives, warm souls, and generally, make one evaluate one's own sanity.

(Renee, one of my dearest college friends, just visited for five days, and we have traversed the entire state. This week, I am entrenched in details for Bob's Island Getaway, but I promise to write more of our adventures when I am able!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Freeze Your Booty Off.

This weekend, we froze our booties off with 13 students...

It was crazy!

There were two days of Snowboarding at Steven's Pass (I sat in the lodge. It's a warm, non-injurious place to be.)...There was a day trip into the Bavarian Wonderland of Leavenworth (to visit the famed Leavenworth "hat shop" where for $30, you can become a Rastafarian or a man with a chicken for a head)...and there were 13 of the craziest, most energetic and literally bouncing off the walls teenagers I'd hung out with in awhile.

The good moments were good--like teaching one student how to play Lifehouse's "You and Me" on the guitar...and giggling with the three girls while we shared our ideas of how we perceive ourselves.

And the bad moments were certainly bad--like calling the cops within a half-hour of arriving home because one of the students had stolen our digital projector...and having to yell at a student for continually farting while I was trying to share my testimony.

What was most apparent though--is that doing ministry where we should be doing ministry is difficult, but at the same time, very cathartic. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster all weekend, just because the kids made me feel so insecure by their words and behaviors...and yet, that made me focus on the Lord's plan for us during the weekend all the more. I consistently was praying for my own peace of mind and their salvation.

It was also apparent that Stonewater Ranch, our 138-acre winter wonderland, is an amazing place to do ministry. The kids love it! And I love doing outdoor ministry in a place that feels like home.

At the end of it all, a few of the thirteen kids are really thinking about who Christ is and interested in learning more about him. A few even said they had decided to accept Christ into their life. I am excited to see where the follow up on these decisions takes them...

I will probably be quiet the next few days, as the beautiful and amazing Renee is in town until Sunday, and we will be heading up to Bellingham, WA and Vancover, BC to look at Graduate Programs in Writing. Pray for our travels and our time exploring Academia!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Snow and Shirts.

This afternoon, I'll be heading back to Stonewater Ranch for our Arlington YD "Freeze Your Booty Off" Snowboarding Trip. I will not be snowboarding, mostly because I'm deathly afraid of it...

Thanks to everyone who voted on the shirts--looks like overall, with everyone I've asked, that our staff overwhelmingly like've asked for another edit to make it clearer that the image is "moon and clouds reflecting on water...."

I'll see you on Tuesday, when I will surely be filled with an exciting tale of teenagers on a mountaintop.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Choose Bob's Shirts

Which shirt do you like better? (Post a vote via comments by Tomorrow at 5pm PST.)




Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Controversy Over Cartoons.

I just was reading an article on BBC Online about the international controversy that has begun as a result of some political cartoons mocking Mohommad that were published in a Danish newspaper. As of yesterday, 12 people had died in cartoon-related riots. In retaliation, a newspaper in Iran is accepting submissions for Holocaust cartoons to prove the West's hypocrisy in the 'freedom of speech' debate.

Pressing the bounds of freedom of speech is certainly always controversial...and often times art is controversial...this just sounds so crazy. Especially when I think about all the ways our media skews Christ...I wonder if we just aren't passionate enough about defending His image.

You can read about it here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lost Vegas...and Port God-Send.

On Thursday morning at "0-Dark Thirty" (as Uncle Harry calls it), I boarded a plane bound for Las Vegas. My mission: to support and cheer for my mother as she was recognized as the "The Women Grocers of America's Woman of the Year" at the 2006 National Grocer's Association Convention. Before I even arrived in Las Vegas, I was already overwhelmed by it...and as I carried my bags down a cobblestone Paris Las Vegas street full of blinking and beeping slot machines towards the elevators, I was sufficiently overstimulated.

The convention itself was a lot of fun--meeting and greeting all of the people that work with my parents and enjoying fancy receptions and dinners at a fine Las Vegas hotel...seeing Kenny Rogers perform "The Gambler" live! And--we were so proud of my mom as she stepped in front of the crowd to accept her award. The 4-Star General (who was the Keynote Speaker) said that the reason America is great is because of women like her. It's true.

In stark contrast to the good-ness of the Convention and family, was the craziness of the city. Blinking Lights. Noisy Casinos. Ginormous hotels. Erupting Volcanoes. Hordes of people with 2-foot-tall Daiquiris. Venetian Gondola Rides. Fish tanks bigger than my apartment.

On Friday afternoon, we escaped a city of man-made things to visit an even bigger man-made thing: Hoover Dam. I had a vision of trying to drop-in on a skateboard at the top of the dam, or at least, to put a kayak in the amazingly huge Colorado River and float away from all man-made things...

...but instead, we returned to the "City o' Stimulation" and visited Old Las Vegas (which is NOT as easy-to-find as the Monorail Brochure leads you to believe.) After seeing the World's Largest Lights Show from a Starbuck's patio, we headed to the Bellagio (the finest of all Las Vegas hotels I visited)...and we soaked in a 10:30p showing of Cirque de Soleil's "O," which is, in fact, the most amazing artistic endeavor I've ever witnessed in my entire life. Dancing, synchronized swimming, trapeze artists, Olympic diving--which I viewed from the comfort of plush theater seating... It was a fusion of made-made things and artistry...and it somehow made Vegas more palatable.

After 2 nights of 5-hours of sleep, it was off to the airport and goodbye to the family. Somewhere on Saturday afternoon, I was back in Washington, capable of doing nothing but sleeping. Las Vegas had sufficiently overwhelmed me, and a little town tucked up against the Cascades felt like the perfect place to call home.

But on Sunday--it was mandatory that I crawl out of bed and enjoy the not-so-typical Northwestern Sunshine. Pam and I took a Sunday afternoon daytrip to Port Townsend, which is on the Northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula--a mere 45-minute ferry ride from Whidbey Island (where Pam lives.) There were shops. There were lovely restaurants. And best-of-all, there were God-made mountains and oceans to be loved and appreciated....The contrast between Port "God-Send" and "Lost" Vegas was most notably apparent as we stood on the street watching dreadlocked hippies play the accordian and mandolin together, with Mt. Baker and the Cascades in full view behind them.

All in all--a very busy couple of days with lots of exciting things crammed in to a very short period of time. To be home and in routine today feels like such a drop, even in its comfortability. I was still fending off tears as I crawled into bed last night. Coming home after busy trips is hard. I am learning this. Normal is scary.

And already this morning I have talked with God, and as I am afraid of reentering my routine, the angels say, "Do not be afraid." And so, I am not.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Please tell me what I'm good at!

I'm currently trying to figure out what I'm good at...

...and I need your help...

So...if you can give me your thoughts on what you think I'm specifically gifted at/good at...what I have to offer the general populace for the good of all, I would be much obliged....this can be surface-level things like, "Heather, you are so beautiful that your very presence inspires the masses to redirect their mundane lives to transearthly purposes..." or deep things like, "You make really good coffee."

Either pop a comment up, or send me an email at this email address: hbaker at yd dot org

Context: I'm just trying to figure out my life and how my job is fitting my giftings, and I'm trying to figure out what pieces of me are significant! And I need your insight!

Monday, February 06, 2006

A Sad Day in the Emerald City.

So. It was a sad time, watching my team flounder their way across the screen last evening. I mean, they looked like the team they are capable of being in the first 25 minutes of the game, but then things seemed to fall apart. They were discouraged by some very questionable calls, I'm sure. And...the Jackson and Stevens that played last night were not the same Jackson and Stevens I've seen all season.

So. The hype, the pressure, the odds, and the away game feel of it all won out, and we lost. And I am certainly sad.

Mostly I'm sad, because I feel like America didn't necessarily want my team to win, and that America didn't really get to see my team at its best.

But. I'm still very proud of my boys, and I would love to be at the airport to cheer for them when they get home to let them know so.

And's a new week, and there is no more football to be had. But. Rafting season is only a mere six weeks away!!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Time for the Weekend!

Six new freshly painted rooms in office? Check.
Supplies for Mentor Training tomorrow ready to go? Check.
Prepared place for Super Bowl viewing? Check.
Jacuzzi bathtub awaiting self at housesitting venue? Check.

Life is good! Have a great weekend!
Root for the Hawks.
And the Rolling Stones...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Official Pilaf Reunion.

So...many years ago...circa 02/03...I had the joy of being on the "Rice Pilaf" Improv Comedy Team. Oh--those were the days--making up skits that poked fun at pop culture and Taylor University with seven of the funniest people on the PLANET!

For whatever reason, it has been decided by the powers that be (myself, Jade, and Pam)...that Rice Pilaf will live again--this time, not at Taylor--but at Bob's Island Getaway.

And as of today, it is official, because I have booked Zach and Adria's tickets!! They are coming to the Northwest for four days of crazy reunion and Improvedness...and hopefully, Timmy will also be joining us also!!! Oh--there are not words...well, there are words...but I can't think of them. Danggit...I need to practice my improv!

So--randomly--you can pray that the Lord would use Rice Pilaf to teach Washington teenagers about Jesus. How about that.