April 30, 2009

Up With (or Even Before) the Sun

As aforementioned in a previous blog, I started my new job this week. While I love this job immensely (more on that later), it's been super hard adjusting to my new schedule of waking up at 4:30 in the a.m. for work. Combine that with me trying to keep my normal bedtime of eleven or midnight, and you've got one sleepy Veralynn. This afternoon after work, I was so tired I accidentally fell asleep at McDonald's after barely resting my head on my hand (the TV in the restaurant was tuned into CNN though, so that could be a contributing factor). This led me to the conclusion that I need more sleep. So ta da! I'm going to bed at 10 p.m. instead of midnight or later.

I've made a small pro list (instead of a pros and cons- I just need the pros here, to cheer me up and convince myself that waking up at such an indecent hour is worthwhile) of reasons I could possibly enjoy my early morning rides:

  1. Each morning I see the Pacific Ocean, it brings a smile to my face.
  2. The scenery other than the ocean is also quite beautiful and really helps me appreciate the area of the world I live in.
  3. I can listen to at least one full Master's College podcast on my iPod and/or do a devotional on the way.
  4. Lots of time for morning prayer.
  5. Seeing on-duty Parker at the airport before I have to get on the bus.
So that's that! Tomorrow is Friday, and while I love all the kids I've met so far...I'm not going to lie- I'm looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday.


April 29, 2009

An Emotional Experience

I don't know about any of you, but for me, getting a haircut is an emotional experience. I'm very attached to my hair (well, not just literally) and I don't like anyone cutting except my grandma. Well, visits to the Grandma Leos salon are getting to be fewer and fewer, especially with my new job- so I decided to go out on a limb. It was spur-of-the-moment, which is good because if I had much more time to think about it, I probably would've talked myself right on out of it. But I didn't! And I'm glad.

As soon as I walked into the salon and met Yvette (great name), I trusted her. Mostly because her hair looked fabulous, and also because when she said she could do my hair about three or four women said, "Oh, she's so good." She just gives off a good vibe, one that says, "You can trust me with your hair." (Don't judge- I love my locks!)

So anyway, off I went into the chair, with Yvette at the helm. Right away she said, "I think you'd look great with bangs."

Whoa there, missy.

I've had a love/hate relationship with bangs ever since I was little, usually more hate than love- a
nd 90% of the time after the fact my hair would be pushed up in a headband. But there was Yvette, looking so...confident. So I said okay. And as she combed the hair into place, scissors poised, I winced a little inside- what if I hated it?

Snip, snip.
Too late.

But as she whirled me around to look at my new 'do in the mirror, I took a moment to absorb and decided that I was happy! Yvette was right, she was wonderful, and my hair looked great. So now I'm sporting bangs. I feel like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada- not because I have a horrible job with the boss from you-know-where, but in that I have amazing hair after a fab makeover.


April 28, 2009

Ridiculously Blessed

So I'm finally one of those people who looks forward to and can truly say they love work! I started my first day at MyGym yesterday, and even though it requires me to wake up ridiculously early (could possibly be a good thing) and take the bus to Santa Barbara (also possibly a good thing- time to think and prepare myself for the day), I am already in love with my new job. Besides the fact that while waiting for work to start I saw the amazing Trainer Bob running heartily through the streets of Santa Barbara (oh it was great!), my new coworkers are a great group who seem to genuinely care about each other and are like a big group of siblings. I can't wait to get to know them better. Also, this job is constantly busy and fun at the same time, which is the best thing! Even though it was only my first day, I can tell you that I'm going to love it.


April 24, 2009

The Happiest Kind of Days...

...have lately been at Disneyland. This last Monday was the third time Parker and I have been to Disneyland together. We have a bit of a routine now- leave early, drive (and sing) through Santa Barbara, stop in Ventura for Starbucks; take a small detour to get some pretzels from the Rockenwagner bakery (so delicious- they taste just like the ones I enjoyed daily in Germany), and then make our way to the Magic Kingdom.

I love how leisurely and fun it is for Parker and I to walk around and form a plan as we first get into the park. Our two "must-rides" are Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. The second time we went, we only rode three rides (it was super busy)! This time around, we tripled the amount of rides- this could be because it was over a hundred degrees and people just decided it wasn't worthwhile to stand in line...I felt a little bit that way myself, but we stuck it out. Then later on in the day, we eat dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and then head back to the park to enjoy the cooler evening weather and see the fireworks if we're there at the right time.

I love being at Disneyland with my man. These are some of the best kinds of days!

Oh, For the Love of Books!

Today I was looking around my room at all the books I have and thinking about some of my favorite literary characters. I have more than a few, but one in particular that I was pondering over today.

So, I don't know how many people who read my blog have read the whole Anne of Green Gables series, but you should know that it's my favorite book series ever. This is partially because I've never really read any other book series, but mostly because I love all of the books and have read them all more times than I can count. My favorite book of the series is Anne of the Island- this could be because this particular chapter of Anne's life is the one I'm in right now: college, thinking about future goals and dreams, educational aspirations, etc. This book is also my favorite because in it you will find the introduction of Phillipa Gordon, fabulous character #1. She is a lot like me in that she is a little vain (like she is always making sure her hair is perfect, she knows the boys love her...), but is happiest with verbal confirmation from others of her own opinions about her looks. She's indecisive but perfectly happy with her choices, because she always makes the right one. She wins two major academic scholarships to show her man that she's not only pretty but also "enormously clever". She's an aspiring domestic goddess but faces multiple obstacles in the kitchen, like me... Her man adores her despite all of her shortcomings and personality quirks (also like me! Sigh.) I love her.

Aren't books the best? I admire anyone who can write a believable character with such feelings, emotions, and imperfections to where I can imagine them being just the sort of person I'd have as a friend in real life.


April 13, 2009

All Jumbled Up

This last weekend has been so confusing! Starting Thursday with the Maundy Thursday service- afterwards the Late Service crew had practice from around 8:15 to 10:45 p.m.! That's kinda what started throwing me off, since we usually just have practice Sunday afternoons. Then Saturday night we had a special Late Service (the Holy Saturday Service) which had me thinking it was Sunday...and then after Late Service Jason, Justin, and I practiced for the Easter Sunrise Service, which was Sunday morning at 6 a.m.!
Easter morning my alarm clock went off at 4:30 and I sat up and said groggily, "Hmmmmmph...I...love...Jesus..." I drove over to the church with Dad at around 5:15 and started setting up for the service. On-duty Parker was already at the church so that was great (and weird- I'm not used to waking up while he's still working!) and a group of people scurried back and forth from the church setting up chairs and getting the portable sound system set up...and lugging my keyboard outside (thanks, Jason and Collin!)...then Greg came with Starbucks for Jason, Justin, and I (which was amazing and much-needed!).
As the service started, it was encouraging to see how many people decided to wake up so early on a weekend morning to worship God, outside and in the cold. It was even more encouraging to see the people who came early to help set up chairs, put them away, and have breakfast ready after the service. (It was funny to see the looks people gave us driving by, and funnier when they decided to make faces and wave...) My favorite part was hearing everyone worship and hearing the music as the sun started coming up over the church and over the hills in the far distance. It was the joy of knowing the resolution of the Easter story, and knowing that we're forgiven because of God's love for us.
Later, the grandparents Leos came for the 11 a.m. service and lunch. They got to meet Parker before he went home to sleep, and gave their thumbs-up. And then we did the normal ritual: go back to our house, situate on the couch, watch golf, and nap. Good times.
Easter ended with my family together around the table, laughing and talking with slices of pizza in hand. I mentioned being confused because of all the services and that it didn't feel like a Sunday, to which Ernie said, "Well, at least you know tomorrow's Tuesday." And I actually had to think about it! Oy. Thankfully, today I'm back on schedule and know what day of the week it is.


April 8, 2009

For the Moments I Feel Faint

This week has been completely weird. A bit dizzying and confusing, and painful. It all started on Sunday morning. I had to walk out of the sanctuary during first service because my allergies were acting up (they still are) and I was coughing. I was scheduled to play my flute with the children's choir, and I wondered how I would be able to pull off the song with a plugged nose and an itchy throat. As the service closed, I put my flute together and sat on the second row, mentally thinking through the song like I usually do. Then I got a text message from Ashley that completely caught me off guard- my allergies and song were the last thing on my mind. Jason's brother Jeremy had died. She asked me to tell James, so I ran to tell him and then back to the sanctuary. As we sang the hymns before the offertory, my eyes watered up despite me sternly reminding myself that I was about to play my flute and could not let myself lose it. I walked to stand behind the pianist, and I just felt weak in the knees. My lip quivered, which is the worst. I just wanted to get through the song, but my mind was in a whirlwind and my heart hurt. What do Jason and Ashley need? Maybe I can help watch Tyler. Where's Tanya, does she know? Do they need us? I can't imagine how they're feeling. Maybe we should bring Del Taco. Those were all thoughts running through my mind. (Yes, I think Del Taco is a cure-all...) The children sang, "Fairest Lord Jesus" and as the song ended I couldn't wait to get out of the sanctuary and find Tanya so we could figure out what to do. We wound up going to lunch with my family and Mr. E and getting some Del Taco for Jason and Ashley. There was a difference I could feel as I stepped into their house on Sunday afternoon- a difference from just the night before when a group of us got together to watch a movie. Stephen, Jason, and I were walking to the convenience store in Old Orcutt and Jason was telling us about how just a couple days prior he got to hang out with Jeremy and chat, just the two of them. We watched the movie, happy. We talked quietly on Sunday, different.

I didn't really know Jeremy. I saw him a lot in passing at Jason and Ashley's. Sometimes he was with our group of friends that would go out to Applebee's for dinner on a random weeknight. I do know that he loved ice cream. And he came to Late Service a few times- he'd stand on the stairs by the stage and talk to Jason afterwards- the very first time I met him we talked about the music and I was happy he liked it. He just seemed like a calm, nice guy who cared about his family and friends. I never heard him say anything negative. And always with a carton of ice cream, but so thin! I guess that's what I remember most about him.

For some reason, I don't know how to handle death and people I know dying. I mean, their body is here but they aren't? Where did they go? I mean, I know about souls and what the Bible says about where we go when we physically die, but I don't understand it. Maybe no one really does. I've never really had anyone really close to me die, which is a blessing. I can't imagine losing a brother. It hurts just thinking about it. And it hurts thinking about Jeremy. A small part I think is because he was someone who, although I didn't know very well, I did see pretty consistently over the last months and I just can't wrap my mind around him not being here. Mostly I think it's because I love Jason and Ashley, and Tyler- I hate seeing friends hurting, and there isn't anything anyone can do to fix this. It's one of the things that heals with time, and I don't know how to deal with that either.

These last few days have had me thinking about how much I treasure my loved ones and what a gift each day of life is. And how important it is to not go to sleep angry at anyone. This is where trusting God comes into light. Even if we do our best to be at peace with everyone, people will still die. But God is still in control and it's His timing. And His plan is so perfect that I'll never understand it. I'm working on trusting Him more and more each day.


April 1, 2009

Who's the April Fool?

Not me. Well, kinda. I totally forgot it was April Fool's Day. When I remembered, I was really glad that no one tried to pull something on me, because I would've been totally clueless. I guess I was still clueless, because this afternoon when I went to PCPA to put in my application (I want to work there so badly! I love PCPA- plus employees get free and discounted tickets!), Gabby and I saw Stephen, who told us that Pepsi bought out Coca-Cola...and we fell for it. Gosh! The consequence of that being that I remained skeptical of everything Stephen said for the rest of the day.

This morning was pretty nice. I woke up around nine and read for a while in bed, just relaxing (which was really nice!)...I started dozing a little bit and was startled by my phone ringing. It was Parker asking if I wanted to go with him to Albertson's, which I did since I love going to the store with him (it's probably one of my favorite outings that we go on together). So we went a-shopping and had a fun time. I really like watching Parker shop- he's so random! Like when he'll put something in the cart at the beginning of the trip, continue shopping, and then at the last possible moment take it out of the cart and put it back. Seriously! It cracks me up.

Today I've been in deep thought (gasp!) about what to do with education-related possibilities. I've realized, after thinking I would enjoy philosophy/sociology-type things...I really don't. I like puzzles I can solve. I like systematically analyzing and dissecting things, or putting things together. I love traveling and languages (I've always loved languages), and writing. And I like helping people. I have no idea what this leads to. Oy. I hope to figure it out soon so I can maybe start moving in any sort of progressive direction.

Sigh...I just got April Fool'd again. Darn it.