Monday, October 31, 2011

My New Job

It's been almost six months since I've blogged and many, many things have happened. My second summer in Colorado was not as good as the first. I started to feel lonely and stopped enjoying my solitary hikes. I love seeing the beautiful scenery around me, but hiking up a mountain for four hours by yourself is rather boring. There's noone around to say, Hey, look at that flower! or, Man, this is steep! I only went hiking a couple times this summer and gave it up pretty early. Most of my summer was spent hating my job. I had the most unbelievably draining job and hated every second I had to be there. There were some perks, like how it was only half a mile from my apartment, how I could bring Frodo (my pug) to work with me, and my one co-worker, Jill. But the pay was barely enough to scrape by on, it didn't offer health insurance or hardly any vacation or sick time, and my boss was the most controlling, paranoid, egotistical and self-absorbed micro-manager you could ever imagine.

When my mom came to visit me in June, she said she was not leaving until I had a new job. So, while I was at work, she was on the web searching for new opportunities for me. She found a job opening at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the Law School. It was an administrative assistant position with complete benefits and about $5/hr more than I was making. I quickly applied and immediately started praying. Universities work very slowly, but a few weeks later, I got the email to come in for a computer test. The email said the test was over Word, Excel, administrative skills, and receptionist skills. It also said that the applicants with the top three scores from this test were the ones who would be interviewed. In the two days before the test, I sat on youtube and watched over 7 hours of tutorials over Word and Excel. I was not about to let a little test stand in my way of working at CU. A couple weeks after the test, I got the email that said not only did I make the top 3, but I received the top score of all the applicants. Four interviews later, I got the job.

I currently have the most incredible office job imaginable in a beautiful building with a view of the mountains from my desk. The people I work with are the most wonderful, happy and grateful people I've ever worked with. If I send an email to my boss telling him that some regular, daily task has been done, he always takes the time to write back and say, "Thanks, Annie! You're the best!" One time when I finished a report for him, I set it on his chair because he wasn't there. When he came back into his office, he saw the report and immediately left to come find me and give me a high-five. Everyone in the office is like this. The students are wonderful too. A little nervous these days because finals are coming up, but so happy we're here and grateful for what we do for them. On top of that, I've made new friends. Cynthia and Diane are the hysterical and fun Faculty Assistants I sometimes have lunch with. Kristine is another administrative assistant that I have come to love. We've gone to concerts together, dinner together, and I'll be going to her birthday party later today. Holly is one of the student Research Assistants I supervise and we have become inseparable. This job has also given me the opportunity to take up composition lessons again, something I couldn't afford with my old job. I can't tell you how incredible it is to work in such a safe and loving environment. But to have all that plus more pay, more benefits, and more friends? It is truly a God-send.

I am very happy with this new beginning, this new change in my life. It was scary at first. Yes, I hated my old job and it was draining every ounce of happiness out of my life. But again, it was something I was used to. I knew what every day would bring, there were no surprises to be had. Trying to get a job that was so highly competitive was something I'd never done before. I was afraid that once I got there, people would think, Oh, she's not what we were expecting. I was afraid my inexperience would come through. Not only do I know nothing about law or law school, but I am also the youngest full-time staff member in the building. But it turns out, they knew all about that and hired me anyways. They knew there would be some extra training time for someone who didn't know the difference between the appellate and supreme courts. Or who didn't know the different practice areas you could study or work in (who knew there was such a thing as space law?!) But as I headed off to my first day I did the same thing I did for each interview and every test. I said my own version of the Our Father. It goes like this: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, Thy will be done, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven... Getting that perfect job or finding a new best friend are some of the many, many, many things that are out of our control. It's scary to be in that situation. But the best thing you can do, and really the only thing you can do, is trust God. He is the one holding each and every one of us in the palm of His hand. He won't let us fall. He knows our hearts and our desires and our pain more intimately than you could ever imagine. He knows the plans He has for everyone. And sometimes you have to go through the fire so that He can mold you into the person you need to be for the next step. You just have to let Him show you the way. When it's out of your hands, all you have to do is just let go and God will always be there to guide you. Look what He did for me. He gave me friendship, love, happiness, music, and passion. He can do that for you too.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mother

When I look back over my past few weekends, what I mostly see are images of people. Lots of people. About three to four thousand people to be be more precise. These are the people who go to mass at St. John's. Lately I have been going to all five masses throughout weekend. Not because I'm a saint, but because it's my second job. I'm putting my degree to good use by running the sound for each mass. The best part is that the console is in the balcony. This means that four of the five masses, I sit up in the choir loft in a dark little corner by myself and basically, watch. I watch the kids secretly coloring in the cracks in the pews, or the wife elbowing her snoozing husband. I started working there Palm Sunday but even before then I was up there for at least one mass a weekend singing in choir and playing the timpani. I've been to all the special masses like Christmas and Easter Vigils, or confirmation last night. But today, out of all the masses I've been to in the past nine months, something was different.

Today, almost everyone was on time, and almost everyone came to mass. Standing room only for 8:30 and 10:30. Even 7:00 was more crowded than usual. Today they did the kids liturgy of the word at two masses because there were just so many kids there. But also, everyone was dressed up. Even more so than Easter I'd bet. And on top of that, everyone was on their best behavior. No kids screaming, no one falling asleep, no one sticking gum under the pews.

This, to me, was one of the greatest examples of how important our mothers are. Now, I know that mothers can be annoying at times. Especially when you're young and you want to do is play in the dirt all day. But our mothers taught us many things.

Mothers are the ones who taught us to brush our teeth every morning along with many other hygienal necessities. (And yes, I realize that hygienal is not a word but that is one thing my mother never taught me. Although, I'm not sure the word hygienal ever came up during my childhood...)

Mothers are the ones who taught us to cook and clean and to take care of ourselves and others.

Mothers are the ones who taught us to respect others and to help those in need.

But mothers are also the ones who taught us to love.

Now, I'm not saying that dads don't teach us to love as well, but there's something about a mother's love that makes it seem so endless. This is the reason why mass was different than normal. These families all knew that going to mass and being good was something their mothers wanted. And because they know how much their mother loves them, they were determined to make this day everything she wanted, to show their love in return.

I'm sorry for those who don't have a mother, or those whose mother was not what she was supposed to be. I'm sorry for those who don't know what it's like to have a mother's love and to feel it with you wherever you go. I am grateful that I did have a wonderful mother. One who was caring and thoughtful, kind and loving. I wish I could be with her today to let her know that she did good, raising me. That I try to remember what she's taught me and that I will keep learning from her for the rest of my life. And I know she'll always be there when I need her help or even just a shoulder to cry on.

A mother's love knows no bounds. It molds us in to who we become. It encourages us to be the best we can be, it lifts us up when we've fallen.

I love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Story

I watched a movie tonight: It's Kind of a Funny Story. Yes, that's the title. It's a movie about this sixteen year old kid who discovers he is suicidal and commits himself to a mental hospital. It's a movie about learning to accept yourself for who you are, and not be afraid of your scars. I watched this movie tonight and I learned a few things about myself in the process.

One, I know I'm not perfect and I'm going to screw up.
Two, I will get depressed sometimes and I will always have regrets.
Three, I don't have to let these facts hold me down.

I don't have to be perfect. I just have to be me. When I screw up, I just need to accept it and move on. I can't let my fears and my scars and my past mistakes (and future mistakes) commit myself to my own personal ward. I need to break free and accept my human imperfections and my OCD/perfectionist tendencies as one part of myself.

There were a couple more things I learned from this movie.

One, I am talented and unique.
Two, I have family and friends who love me and support me.
Three, I can let loose, read, skip, laugh, breathe, and live.

Don't let your mistakes or your fears hold you down. Life is worth living. It really is.

Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau