Thursday, August 26, 2010

On the Way to Work

While I was driving into work this morning, I saw a woman driving a red VW convertible Beetle with black spots and a black top. It also had a vanity license plate that said "Berbie." I couldn't help but smile and feel a slight pang of jealousy. Not because I have a desire to drive a Lady Bug, but because ultimately, I would love to drive a car once more that gets me giddy inside. I know that Beetle's owner must smile, have fun, and feel so comfortable when she looks at or gets into her car. I know it because that's the exact way I felt when I finally owned a purple VW Cabrio after dreaming for one for years. I loved that car so much. My accident was really devastating to me, mainly because I lost my car. I look forward to the day when I can drive a car I not only love, but also causes me to get warm and fuzzies inside!

I also heard "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller on the radio. I don't know why this song touches me so deeply, but it does. I am in instant prayer when I hear it. And I could play it over and over and never get tired of it. It put me in a great mood.

Finally, as I was waiting at a red light, a pack of about 10 students crossed the street. It reminded me that I am so lucky to be working on a college campus. It also reminded me that I don't get away from my desk enough to remember that fact. So I think starting in September, I will make sure to go over to the Student Center to eat lunch once a month. That way I can be more connected to the campus and find out if anything fun is happening. Last spring, they had a free steel drum concert that I would have loved to go to. Of course, I could only listen to it faintly from my office, as I always feel chained to my desk when my supervisor is around. I think that needs to change a bit.

I'm a hard worker, and that fact won't change. But I also think a change of scenery every once in a while isn't just nice, it's necessary. Maybe then I won't feel so stressed out about work. And I'll remember that all things considered, I work in a pretty awesome place!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Job

I won't go into all the details here, but I have decided to start a new job. It's not exactly official yet. While my two new bosses have identified me as the top candidate and have offered me a nice salary, it's all up to H.R. to make the final decision. Not only if I can be hired, but also what my salary will be. I trust that God has everything under control, though, so I'm not too worried about it.

I informed my supervisor of the offer, and while I thought she would come back with a counter offer to intice me to stay, all she said was, "Congratulations." She also told me that she thought I should take the position. Not only would it be a raise, it would also look better on my resume. There is no room for growth in the Malaria Section, but there is plenty of room to grow both in the CVD and the University at large. She said I would be silly to turn my back on such a great opportunity. She only asked that I help them transition.

I haven't broken the news to my boss yet, as he is traveling. He will be back in the office on Friday, though, so I have to get up my nerve before then. I think he will be disappointed. I'm just not quite sure what his reaction will be.

The good news is my new boss is a complete sweetheart. She already said that she feels guilty "stealing" me from Malaria. I know that she will allow me to assist my current boss as long as everyone deems appropriate. She also wants to sit down with my boss to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that no bridges have been burned. She is very much a Momma Hen!

I know that some people - especially my wonderful co-pilot - will question my decision. After all, in a previous post, I said that I wouldn't be taking the job if it was offered to me. But after I weighed all the pros and cons, it just seemed to make sense to make the move. What's more, I prayed about it for days, and when I walked into my Department Administrator's office this morning with the news, I felt a complete peace. I know I am exactly where I'm meant to be.

Perhaps it's because I won't be finished the massage program for another two years (and that's assuming I get into the program!), but I'm not feeling quite as urgent and unsettled about my career anymore. I'm actually feeling quite zen. And I'm wondering if Public Health somehow fits into my love of Holistic Health. Maybe there is a way to combine the two, and maybe I have been on the correct career path all along! I have to ponder that some more....

So, as long as H.R. approves, you are now looking at the new Vaccine Testing and Evaluation Unit Coordinator at University of Maryland's Center for Vaccine Development. Sounds a little better than administrative assistant, huh? Yeah, I thought so, too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sacred Friday: Happiness

Happiness is impossible to define. Let's take a look at Elizabeth Gilbert. She had a great house, a devoted spouse, interesting friends, a successful career...and yet she wasn't happy. I actually find myself in a similar situation. I don't know how "successful" you would consider my career, but I have a wonderful husband, a precious daughter, amazing friends, a supportive extended family, a nice house, a good education, dreams....and yet there are some days where I find myself simply miserable. I started therapy because in my head, it doesn't make sense. I have a life that many people dream of, and yet I'm not happy. Even though I know I have issues that need to be dealt with, I don't think they are the root cause of my depression.

I look back on my life and there was a time when I felt truly happy. It was 1999 - the year I gave my life to Jesus. I went to a Spirit-filled church that touched me so profoundly. I was a part of a cell group, I was active in Campus Crusades, I had real friends, I did fun things, I smiled and laughed a lot. Even my depression seemed to disappear. I was in a close and personal relationship with our Lord. I didn't need anything else; I had everything I needed.

My depression came back with a vengeance recently. I also have recently stopped going to church. I don't think it's a coincidence.

I started out this week writing a list of things that I thought translated into happiness:
~ Happiness is sitting on the floor with Bianca before breakfast and singing the “Good Morning” song to her.
~ Happiness is Harry giving me a tight good morning hug.
~ Happiness is walking into work and hearing Beastie Boys blaring in the background. (Perhaps because it was so unexpected, it made me laugh out loud!)
~ Happiness is drinking hot tea from an inspirational mug from my best friend.
~ Happiness is watching a chick flick in bed with Bianca in my arms.
~ Happiness is a blatantly answered prayer.
~ Happiness is eating a gooey piece of pizza after I have been craving it for days.
~ Happiness is spending the day on the beach with my family.
~ Happiness is getting an A in a class I truly loved.

I even went on the Happiness Project website looking for answers to what makes someone happy. I came to the conclusion that I needed to exercise. After all, people who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. They get relief from anxiety and mild depression. They perform better at work. My report to you was going to say something along the lines of "I have found the key to happiness: exercise. Obviously I'm not happy because I'm not exercising regularly."

But I realize that Happiness only comes when you are doing what you were created to do - and that is loving, serving, worshiping God. I haven't been doing any of the above, and happiness has eluded me.

The best part of that realization, though, is knowing that I can be happy again....and so much more....if I re-dedicate my life to Christ.

Let me tell you about the "blatantly answered prayer" I mentioned above. I have been so upset that I can't find my new church home. My prayers to God the past two weeks have been a simple, yet desperate one: Please, Lord, let someone invite me to go to church with them.

On Wednesday, my friend Karen sent me an email asking me if I would like to attend a barbeque this Saturday at her church. My heart literally leaped with joy. Karen has been asking me to go to church with her for months. Not consistently, just every now and then. And I always had an excuse of why I couldn't go. My latest excuse I am struggling with is "But it's in Dundalk; I wanted a church close to home." But I'm not going to worry about that now. I'm just going to go to the cookout with her. And we'll take it from there.

One thing I realized, though, is that every church I have ever visited or attended in my life that I absolutely loved was an Assembly of God church. That is the denomination that speaks to my heart and moves me, so I think that's where I belong.

I won't get to go to church this weekend. Harry and I are heading to Ocean City on Sunday morning. We want to have one day at the beach with my sister and Damian before they head back home. But next weekend, I have decided to go. I will either go to Eastern Assembly of God (Karen's church) or I will go to Middle River Assembly of God (5 minutes from my house). I don't care if Harry doesn't want to go with me. God is once again going to claim the number one spot in my life.

Consequently, I have off all next week. I will be spending quality time with Harry, Bianca, my Bible, my journal, and a book. I am also going to make exercising at least a little bit every day a priority.

I will get my life back on track and hopefully back in balance, and ultimately, I will find happiness. I just have to take it one day at a time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Email to My Co-Pilot

Hello My Inspiring and Creative Friend,

I apologize for my bad attitude yesterday. Some days I feel like I'm getting better; others I just feel stuck in this dark and muddy place.

This morning I am at work alone. Both my boss and my supervisor are out of the office. I have completed as much of my task list as I can, so I have decided to turn my focus on more important things. Namely, me.

I found a 5-Step plan for "How to Get a Job You Love." I have just completed Step 1. I haven't even looked ahead, but already I'm excited. I can't wait to see where the steps lead. I just had to share Step 1 with you. Perhaps my rebirth begins today, as I feel passion floating through my veins.

Step 1 is to imagine yourself at age 80. You are talking to your grandchildren about your life and your career. Write down in as much detail as possible the story of your professional and personal life. Write it down as if you are looking back on your life.

I worked in an office that felt like home. It was bright and cheerful. There was a beautiful garden out back. When you first walked into the office, there was a reception area, where my clean desk sat. Beyond that was a couch and two comfy chairs that felt like a living room. I had a great library filled with inspirational and self-help books. There was a long work table that was filled with art supplies and magazines. Blank journals were abundant.

In this office I helped people to heal. I helped them realize how important their dreams were and how much the world would suffer if they weren't manifested. I used collages, writing, reading, and massage as tools to deliver my message. I met with women one-on-one and in small groups. We had many nurturing, inspirational, empowering conversations.

All areas of holistic health were addressed: mind, body, and spirit. I explained how nutrition and exercise feed all parts of ourselves. I showed them relaxation techniques they could incorporate into their lives. I recommended good therapists if they had deep-seeded issues that needed to be addressed.

I wrote books on Holistic Health and Christianity; how not to feel guilty being a working mom; how to support and help make your spouse's dreams come true; and my biography - explaining the darkness I once felt and the steps I took to overcome them.

I worked from 9 - 3 while our children were in school, allowing ample family time. We had two natural children, two adopted children, and more foster children than I can count.

Our house was always filled with love and joy. We loved the Lord, we loved our neighbors, we loved our children's friends, and our door was always open. There was always an abundance of tea and healthy snacks to share!

And I was deeply and passionately in love with your grandfather. He helped me become the person I always knew I was meant to be. He touched my soul and helped me heal like no one else could. He was my one true love. He supported my dreams and I supported his. My life was so much richer and fuller because he was in it.

We had some fun times. We visited all 50 states and used a map to mark our journey. We visited Italy, Germany, and Ireland on special anniversaries to see the land of our ancestors. We attended many, many sporting events, plays, and dance recitals. We bought a racehorse. And we bought a dream home on the water.

Granddad became a college basketball coach, and that allowed me to target my services to college-aged women. I taught several classes at the community college, including Sacred Collage. Granddad became a senator, and I was able to volunteer countless hours at the local orphanage.

When my time on Earth has come to an end, I hope you will remember me as loving, joyful, faith-filled, and always there for you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Favorite Things


Blah

I just spent the last hour trying to write a post that will never be published. I had so many thoughts, and yet I had trouble expressing them. I think it all boils down to one key point, though: I am stuck and I am longing to BREAK FREE!!