Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Prize Pics

Couple of pictures tonight from my first place win at the Salon Fair and hair show a couple of weeks ago at school. One is of my model as we were waiting for line-up and the other is last minute touch-ups before the big strut.

I'm still waiting for the professional pictures of us actually walking the runway, but that will have to come from the school. That may take awhile.

In the meantime, enjoy checking out my fringing technique and the lovely little shot of the violet tail (don't think you can see it very good in the waiting pic though).

That day was still so wonderful. It even snowed for several hours before the show began, almost like a little smile from God. He knows how much I love snow. :-)

Short and sweet tonight, as I'm still working on getting back to full health. Supposed to sing Sunday, but may have to cancel if my voice doesn't return soon. Hopefully it will be raring to go though for Christmas Eve.

I hope it snows - later that night anyway.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Life

The Christmas season has officially begun!

At least around our house anyway. :-)

Mom and Dad brought my son home and spent the rest of the weekend with us as tradition dictates. We've got our tree up and in the water, presents purchased, and I'm getting ready to start doing some decorating around the house.

Now if only I could keep up with the dishes and dusting.

Christmas is typically my favorite time of year (Independence Day a close second), but this year it feels a little more mellowed for some reason. A year ago brought alot of heartache and upset right around this time with my mother's cancer diagnosis followed swiftly by my grandma's passing (mom's mom). Eleven years ago this Christmas Eve was also the time my dear grandpa passed away. There seems to be alot of hurt attached to this time of year anymore.

Back when I was married (sooo many moons ago) I was just starting out in the banking industry and didn't have enough seniority to get time off at Christmas. My husband's family lived in Nebraska and he would take off a week or two and go up to see them. I'd go a couple of hours south and drive back Christmas night.

I remember vividly that first Christmas night driving back home all alone. As I entered the city, it was eerie in its silence and disturbing in its darkness. Nary a car was in sight as I roamed the streets and pulled into the garage. Walking into the empty house brought such pangs of loneliness of which I've rarely experienced since.

My ex and I never spent a single Christmas together.

Which is why after the divorce, Christmas became my favorite holiday once again. I had no good Christmas memories from my marriage to cloud my future happy holidays.

But 1999 muddied the waters for awhile after the loss of my very best friend forever and ever between Thanksgiving and Christmas that year and then the passing of my grandpa that Christmas Eve. It was several hard years after that before Christmas again became a festive time for us.

So even though there's rather a mellowed sense of the season this year, there's also so much life to celebrate in that Mom is doing great and my family continues to draw close to one another through these tough times.

And isn't new life what we're really celebrating at Christmas anyway?

That's what I thought.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving Remembered

Thanksgiving day is dwindling - it's hard to believe it is almost over, it came so fast.

Drove back from my sister's in Oklahoma tonight all by myself. It's been somewhat of a tradition for the past eighteen years.

Since I've been in banking, I've almost always worked the Friday after Thanksgiving and taken off time at Christmas - a trade-off, if you will. During those early years, I never had a babysitter to watch my son that day, so my mother started coming back with me either Thursday night or would bring my son back and drive up Friday sometime after Thanksgiving. Then we'd spend time that weekend getting our tree, decorating our house, and doing a little shopping if we felt brave enough to tackle the crowds.

So even though my son is grown, my mom still comes back with us for the weekend to help us get ready for our Christmas - this year because I have school. It's become one of our many family traditions now.

Today we had a wonderful time at my sister's, ate a ton, took a nap, watched a movie (An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving) while the guys watched football. One of my nephews was home from Minnesota and a niece and great-niece were there from Arkansas, so I knew my son would want to hang out with them for awhile. So I said goodbye, will see my son and parents tomorrow, and chucked myself home for the night.

Sometimes I love the drive all by myself. The night sky was beautiful tonight and traffic wasn't all that bad amazingly enough. Tonight was a time for thinking. Just another month and it will be a year since our lives fell apart with my mother's cancer. But looking at her today, her hair is thick and getting longer all the time. She's regaining more and more of her health each and every day. Maybe someday soon I'll be able to look at her without worrying anymore or feeling the need to see if she's doing alright. It's really hard to believe it's been almost a year. So much has changed, and yet there is an element of peace in the family once again.

And THAT is something well worth giving thanks for this Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Riding the Roller Coaster

This past week has been quite a roller coaster - mostly up but a bit down too.

Last Sunday I had an urgent agenda after church. When my music pastor asked me to sing a solo part in the Christmas Eve services, I was pleased and excited. Then reality hit me.

I don't have a dress.

Our Christmas Eve services are huge affairs, with all the bling a girl can ask for. Rarely do I sing Christmas Eve and the few times I have it has been in the loft, where it is mainly important to have bling on the upper half. Black pants or a black skirt usually work fine otherwise.

However, as a soloist, it is imperitive that I have a dress that meets certain criteria.

1. The dress must be long
2. The dress must have plenty of sparkle
3. The dress must be modest (it is in church after all)
4. The dress must have a jacket or sleeves - no bare shoulders or arms

It was a bit daunting to realize that I was going to have to go shopping for a long dress in the midst of the season - meaning it would be highly unlikely that there'd be anything on sale and anything less than $200.


Checked out several stores over the weekend and then shuffled my way to Dillard's Sunday and figured I'd have to bite the bullet eventually.

Came out with a great dress.

#1 - check
#2 - check
#3 - check
#4 - check
Budget - priceless

No seriously, I came out of there spending less than $50 on a beautiful turquoise blue dress on sale in my size. How about them apples?

Then onto the remainder of the week. Previously I mentioned the Salon Fair and taking first place in the hair show. What an incredible surprise! I still can't get over that one.

Wednesday night I came home to an email from the music pastor asking me to do another reading in services this morning. Great scripture reading from Romans 8 - loved it!

Then Thursday I felt it coming on. All day I was just absolutely exhausted. Tried to chalk it up to the let down after all of the stress from the hair show and such, but deep down I knew it was about to catch up to me. Thursday night was critique and it was great seeing everyone there for the first time in awhile (and just before the season gets crazy).

Friday morning brought the worst sore throat I can remember in some time. Made it at school until about 1:30 then I had to pack it in. Spent the majority of the weekend in bed and snoozing away the time. Never do I like getting sick. Typically I always get on my own nerves after laying around the house for a day or two, watching the laundry grow and the dishes pile up on the counter.

Hey, it's hard keeping a good woman down!

Needless to say, I've tried to somewhat enjoy this down time. Read a few books and watched a movie that I haven't seen in years. Made it through services and the reading this morning but hurried home and back to bed.

Feeling a bit better this evening. Fever is down again and I'm hoping to be back in the saddle for school tomorrow. My son has an early morning for tomorrow so he's busy getting ready for it all. I can also be thankful that I'm getting the junk out of the way before Thanksgiving and Christmas this year instead of being down during one of the holidays. That's never fun.

So I'm just about to get off the roller coaster I think. Funny - I always did like the downhill rush better than the uphill clickety-clack ride.

Guess I'll appreciate whatever comes for the remainder of 2010.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Keep It Coming, Lord!

Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my GOSH!!!!!!!

Do you think I might have something exciting to share tonight?

It's been a long and tiring day. Choir rehearsal was great this evening even though I was thoroughly exhausted because of a very busy and emotional day.

Today was our school's Salon Fair and hair show. All of the floor students (classroom attendees not included) participated with models and/or mannequins to present to the audience. Several students had two and three models and several had a slew of mannequins for the judging. Area salon owners and managers came to the school to view the hair and make-up stylings of the participating students and interview those who will be graduating soon.

It's quite an exhausting process just preparing for it, much less spending time that day preparing ourselves and our models to strut the runway.

Little old me had just one model. I don't really have alot of people in this area I know who are available during the daytime hours. Needless to say, I was thankful for the one.

The last several weeks I've been cutting (yes, the fringe technique previously mentioned), coloring, and playing with make-up and styling ideas with my model. She's been a real trooper and brought in some great examples for costuming and such from her own wardrobe, on which I added my personal "twist". The show was centered around entrants in the categories of the seven deadly sins or seven heavenly virtues.

I chose "Wrath" as my model's image. Had so much fun with it too.

So today as everyone was working, I looked around at the pretty up-do's, hair extensions, and costumes. Then I looked at my exhibit and wondered how I was going to do. See, there was a contest at stake but I wasn't so much worried about that as making a good impression on the salon owners and managers who might consider hiring me after graduation. In thinking about that, I put myself in their shoes and decided that if I was a salon owner going to a hair show that I'd prefer to see what students capabilites were in regard to cutting and coloring and not so much with the fluffy stuff.

So I left the flat iron and curling iron in my locker and pulled only my blow dryer. That way I could really highlight the texture effects of the beyond the fringe technique of the cut I'd accomplished. Plus there was the highlighting and color effects sprinkled throughout the style as well. Figured I'd let the hair speak for itself.

Well I got my wish, in that after the show I had alot of interest from salon owners and managers and have several additional very viable options open to me. One salon with multiple locations even had all of their managers there and two of these managers were "fighting" over me. It was so fun!

Then call me absolutely shocked when the contest winners were announced. My entry won flipping FIRST PLACE in the model category. I was so stunned I yelled - "you're kidding me!" in front of everyone.

I laughed and cried and happily took home my first place certificate and the $25 gift certificate (too bad it wasn't $250 :-) but beggars can't be choosers). I'm still a bit in shock tonight.

Thank you once again, Lord, for the continued confirmation that I'm on the right path You've opened before me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Standing Amazed

The blessings just keep coming and coming.

Can't remember if I told you about the schooling exactly that I'm currently participating in. I'm attending a cosmetology school with the plan to work for someone else for a couple of years and then open my own salon and day spa. Those plans seem to be getting a big push of late, but I'm not quite ready to share what's happening in that arena yet.

Needless to say, with my anal tendencies (yes, I am able to admit it) I have been working really hard on some European fringe techniques after watching a special video over and over again. One of my fellow students let me practice the technique on her about a month ago and I've been perfecting it ever since, picking up little nuances and incorporating some of my own little specialties with it.

The last two weeks, I've had three clients come in (one a repeat - made me feel so honored) who were game on letting me try the technique on them. They all loved the final result. Yesterday I had a lady from my church come in for an appointment after seeing my hair at church on Sunday. This lady had severely damaged hair and it looked like the last person to touch it had taken a very dull razor to it.

What a mess!

So first of all I proceeded with a special conditioning treatment to rebond the keratin protein in her hair strands. Then I started in on the cut and style. After all was said and done, she absolutely loved it and wore it with pride and glory to the ladies Holiday Pizzazz last night at the church. When she was up on the stage I couldn't help but sit there in the audience just beaming with amazement - she looked so fresh and funky in her new do, and I'd accomplished it. Several people kept commenting throughout the evening and she gave me alot of credit for "saving" her hair.

This morning at school I received a call from a lady who is friends with this particular client. She was so impressed with the cut I'd given that she wanted something similar and also decided it was time to put some fresh color on her hair.

I could hardly contain my excitement - I have just made a name for myself and have clients now who are walking advertisements for my technique.

Lord, your blessings are on a roll. I stand humbled and amazed!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hope Comes Once Again

This year may just end on a good note after all.

My son announced to me that he made District Choir and is a high alternate for State Choir. I just about came unglued and pee'd my pants.

Just making sure you're paying attention.

It's going to be alot of work for him in the next few months, but he's so excited. Last year he tried out and unfortunately had a bad cold the weekend of auditions and didn't do very well. He wasn't sure he wanted to try out again but went for it anyway. So glad he did.

District Choir is such an honor but to even make alternate for State is huge. And if he actually ends up getting to participate in State Choir, that's pretty much a guaranteed scholarship for college costs.

I feel giddy!

Then this evening, after arriving home from our church ladies "Holiday Pizzazz" evening of food, fun, and frivolity, I had an email waiting for me from our worship pastor at our church. He's asked me to do a solo part for Christmas Eve services. Typically I don't do Christmas Eve services (it's a rare occasion because I like to enjoy it driving around looking at Christmas lights with my son) but I'm not going to pass it up if this is the direction the Lord is leading.

What with being asked to do readings and participate in praise team for Sunday services the past month, I was thrilled with that. Now to have a chance to do something I haven't done in my church in ten years?????

Is this You, Lord? If it is, I'm not turning it down.

With all that's been lost during 2010, perhaps it has prepared me to be pliable enough for God to use me again.

I just think it is interesting how just in the last few weeks we've felt the hand of God's blessing on our little household. None too soon.

It's a good way to draw an end to a difficult year - hope comes once again.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Verdict Is In

Scary morning.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how my pastor has been asking me to participate more actively in Sunday services. Well this morning was my turn at praise team, and I was really nervous about if my voice would cooperate or not.

It was a wonderful experience!

My voice was actually pretty clear and strong the last few days and this morning was no exception. Afterward our worship pastor thanked me for singing and told me he was so pleased to hear me sing again. Then several orchestra members came up to me and asked me if I used to sing alot in services (yes) and that it was so good to hear me sing again.

That was nearly ten years ago when my voice last took a turn in worship services.

So I guess once again God was at work. Makes me wonder what's going to happen next.

Now there's a REALLY scary thought.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tidbits and Timing

So much going on of late I can hardly keep up - but here's a snippet of where we are at present.

Can you believe we've already ordered graduation announcements, cap and gown, etc., etc.????? And right as I'm trying to purchase a few very minimal Christmas gifts.

But that's another story.

Yes, scholarship application deadlines, graduation stuff and a whole slew of other tidbits are being thrown at us at such a rapid pace I'm hardly able to enjoy the fact that my son is a senior. But he's at least enjoying it, which is all that really matters anyway.

This past weekend was really weird too - I left him home while I went back to visit the family for Neewollah (which, if you didn't figure it out yet, is Halloween spelled backward). He had a Halloween party to go to Saturday night and made the decision to hang out with friends instead of go to Neewollah - after all, he's been to it nearly every year of his life. Therefore, I couldn't deny him that option. He'll be making alot more choices throughout this year and into the next, so I figured it was a good time to start making more of those difficult decisions.

With my guidance, none-the-less. :-)

Even so, it was odd and yet kinda nice to have time to myself, though his younger cousin missed him. Have a feeling that time to myself is going to increase substantially very soon.

So if those changes weren't enough to deal with lately, I've had another realization this past week or so. Can't really put my finger on exactly when it really began to solidify in my mind, but it has to do with my schooling and future plans. My brain has been chewing on this and then some things were said this past weekend while with the family that has me thinking even more about it this week. One of my instructors even brought up the subject today and we discussed it at length.

But that's going to have to wait for another entry.

After all, I've got enough going on at present to fill my time. This one is going to be a biggie.