Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Regret and Suicide

This is my first recorded tragedy.

As I sit here and stare at the blinking marker on the screen I am struggling to find the words to say.
Two years ago I had four grandparents, today I have one.
I know that there are worse things- a college friend's mother died suddenly of a heart attack this past Wednesday and I attended the funeral Saturday- two days ago. That would be much worse at my age than the loss of a grandparent...however, may I just say, it hurts deeply.

At 2pm I was alerted to the fact that something was wrong by my Mom. I called to let her know my eta from Dallas to Houston and she told me that the neighborhood picnic we were hosting for Memorial Day had been called off. My Dad was on a plane headed to Arkansas- his Dad was not doing well. Concerned I had an idea that something was not right, but because I was supposed to be driving, my Mom said that was all and ended the call.

When I walked in the front door my Mom came and greeted me and my friend (who had carpooled with me). Encouraging him to stay for dinner I walked into the kitchen and noticed my three sisters gathered around the table- with red eyes. Red flags and bells went off in my mind.
"Are y'all ok? Did something happen?" -I asked.
"Ask Mom." one sister whispered.

Right there, with my poor friend standing in the kitchen, my Mom said. "Oh, Hannah, sweetie, Grandad's gone!"
"What? What happened? How?" -The words stumbled out of my mouth.
"Don't you want to sit down?"- she asked.
"No, I've been sitting for four hours, tell me!"
"Grandad shot himself, he's gone."- she said and all 5 pairs of eyes were zoned on me waiting for my response.

I didn't cry. Just said "Oh" and moved to get some milk to drink. I couldn't think about it/ didn't want to yet.

My poor friend thankfully stayed and the subject was changed as we ate a light dinner (two bites of pie for me) and watched a funny youtube video. Then my friend was suddenly gone, some phone calls were made, and my status on facebook was updated for the first time in four days.

I thought I had cried all I was going to for a while tonight, but just ten minutes ago I happened to look at the mirror in my room and on it I had written a to-do list two weeks ago. At the top of the list "Call both Grandads"- and now I can't. I called my Grandad Carswell and bawled earlier tonight or else I would've called right then. I hadn't heard my Grandad Beard's voice in about 10 months- and now I will never have another conversation with him on this Earth.

He was a wonderful Christian man who missed his wife (the first of my Grandparents to die 25 months ago), was retired with too much time to think, had poor hearing and eyesight, and though my Aunt lived with him- was lonely. Apparently he had been sick for a little while too.

So he spread a tarp, took out one of his hunting guns, and ended the physical existence of one of my favorite grandparents. I will always remember how he'd hug me till it hurt and say, "You are so special and I sure do love you!" and "Keep it between the ditches!" as we'd leave after a visit.

Pray for my family!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Exploring Houston and Beginning Ministry!

This month has been crazy busy! I have had between 2-5 events planned every weekend...and this coming weekend will be a road trip/ wedding/ reunion with some college friends! I am sincerely enjoying seeing my friends more than once this month- you take those things for granted as a college student.

After two days of my new job, the weekend hit. Friday evening was dinner at Baker St. Pub with some friends (SO good!- the bathrooms are one of my favorite features...why? You'll just have to visit one and find out! :) Then we walked the Waterway in the Woodlands to the CMW Pavillion for the Dvorak concert! It was threatening to rain, so we were grateful for our seats under the cover...however, upon learning we could have attended free instead of paying $7 apiece we determined to attend future concerts without spending a dime.
I accidentally left my very nice, large umbrella in the women's bathroom and due to the overcast skies, someone took it and never gave it to lost and found. :( I was a little upset about that, but not enough to ruin the pleasure of the evening.

Then Saturday was my family's day! We were celebrating my student loans being paid off and my new job. First we HAD to go to one of our favorite places for some energy food: beignets from Crescent City in downtown!! You HAVE to try them. We discovered beignets when we were living in Mississippi and visited New Orleans (just across the rivah...). We get them about once a year...twice if we're lucky. Next we went to the Aquarium...which, may I say, despite bad reviews, is actually quite nice! We had bogo free tickets which included all the exhibits and rides all day and came to about $8/ person. WORTH IT. They have some aquariums as well as alligators, a HUGE python (his head was the size of a dinner plate), white tigers, a sloth, and some performing parrots (which were fun to watch). They are mostly famous for their restaurant, but because that is SO expensive, we just spent the morning and early afternoon there.

We didn't know what to do for lunch and were making our way through downtown to the highway when we spotted a special treat! Nikos Nikos (THE best Greek food in Houston) happens to have a new outdoor location in a little park off Travis St. Well, no more need to decide what to eat...the vote was unanimous!

We made it home just after 3pm- perfect timing for a nap (a rare treat). My Dad and I had an appointment with 5 other young people that evening. It wasn't until 5 minutes to 5pm that I decided to turn on some music while I finished getting ready. Up my e-mail popped with the reminder for our meeting which started at: 5PM!!! (And it was a 30 minute drive to get there...)

Panicking I hollered (so lady-like, I know) down the stairs to my Dad that we were late! It was my fault, I had thought it started at 5:30! We needed to go, did he know where exactly the Chili's was??

Grabbing some blankets (for the 2nd activity that evening), and shoving my nookcolor (which has my NASB Bible on it) and my planner into my purse, I dashed out the door while on the phone apologizing for being late! Thankfully we made it with no further delay and two members were another 25 minutes behind us! We held our kick-off meeting for City Life Houston in a Chili's restaurant and so that ministry has begun!

We finished our evening by heading downtown to Hermann Park to watch the free movie "A Night at the Opera" with the Marx brothers. It was a perfect evening (a little humid, but Houstonians can handle that...keeps us looking younger, you know) and the movie was fun! I am so excited to be a part of a ministry again...well, two of them including work!

Tonight at Barnes and Noble after I had just finished meeting with one of the brides I'm planning for, a gentleman stopped me and asked me about my shirt. I happened to be wearing one of my new Grace School of Theology t-shirts and I beamed and told him a little bit about it and gave him the website! I think maybe I'll need to wear these t-shirts everyday...well, at least when I go anywhere besides work.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The New "New Job"!

I cannot explain what happened this last week...but I'm going to try!

On my way to work, Monday, I was having a conversation with God (in between singing along to the radio). I was early because I was bringing my betta fish to work (I had waited for permission and was told the office was mine to decorate so I was moving in!). We also were having a two-day training session and our employees from CA, FL, and NY were coming for the meetings...I needed to be there to open the doors (which are locked until 8:30- their meeting started at 8).

While driving, one of my dreaded fears almost happened...a piece of trash (paper) was floating in the air and was about to attach itself to the grill of my car (if cars have grills...I am so used to trucks...). I associate trash being stuck to the front of a car as "dirty" (and I don't want to touch it to get it off). In my panic I watched it sail into my car, over the hood, into my windshield, and behind me to rest on the grill of the nicest black BMW! My laughter was almost incontrollable as I enjoyed God's sense of humor in letting me not feel like the trashy car on the road and allowing one of the nicest ones to look silly. It was nice to know that nobody's perfect (I know it's only a piece of paper...but it meant alot to me!)

As I enjoyed that moment I began my day. The phones were busy, I was being introduced to important coorperate heads, and we had a LOT of mail for me to open, id, and sort. On top of that I had been bored Friday and four different people had left projects on my desk.

I had a lunch date with my Dad that morning and it was a relief to get away from the piles of paperwork! During lunch, I had a phone call from a gentleman whom I'd had an interview with two months before. Because he is also in ministry and a family friend, I had no idea what his call could be about and let it go to voicemail while I dropped my Dad back at his office. Upon listening to the voicemail he left, my life was turned upside down!

Two months ago, I had interviewed for a position with the Grace School of Theology! It was supposed to be a 2 hour interview with 6 different people (2 via video conference), but I had such a good time that it lasted 3 hours! I described the interview to a friend as "Walking into a bakery full of fresh bread while you are starving...and still being unable to eat" when I learned that evening that the job had gone to the other candidate (whom they'd been interviewing for a while...I was a sudden "find"). I understood, but was terribly disappointed.

Well, it seemed that the position was available. The other candidate did not fit the job quite well and decided to quit. I was told what had happened, that I was the number one candidate, and would I be interested?

My first thought was "YES!!!!" And then I realized...wait, I have a new job already! It wasn't even a complete third week there until the next day! What would I tell them? How would I tell them? Was this what God wanted me to do? I mentioned that I would like to know more and played phone tag until that evening.

Back at work, I couldn't focus! I was in shock and trying to process what God wanted me to do. Eventually I put my work down, googled Bible verses on peace, and copied Philippians 4:6 onto a sticky note. Sticking it on my computer screen I read it every so often when my mind wandered and somehow made it to the end of the work day. I was able to then call the gentleman back and finally hear what had happened, get some more information, and let him know that I would be responding by the end of the week...if not sooner. I was pretty sure I wanted the job, though.

The next day I approached my boss and let him know that my "dream job" had contacted me out of the blue the day before and that I was planning on accepting. However, because the lady who had trained me was going to be out for the next 4-6 weeks due to knee surgery, I gave him a two weeks and two days notice so that they could find a new receptionist and I could help with the training!

Well my friends, that was Tuesday. The next two days they interviewed several candidates for the job and Friday morning hired one! I begin the training today in 7 hours! But first I need to get some sleep...

I just couldn't put off telling y'all any longer! I am SO excited about my new job!
Oh, I suppose you would like to know what it is?

I will be the Administrative Services and Events Coordinator for the Grace School of Theology here in Houston, Texas!

Why God waited so long to give me this job and why he let me take on this other month long position as a receptionist I will maybe never understand...but I have met some wonderful people AND I did get that job the SAME day my last loan payment cleared the bank...no coincidence in my eyes!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Emergency Room Saga- Age 2

I consider myself a connoisseur of emergency rooms. I have been in emergency rooms from Virginia to California and Missouri to Texas, but very rarely have I been waiting there for another person. My poor parents have spent many days...possibly weeks...of their lives waiting in the emergency room for me. I have always regretted that I never had a brother, I'm sure he could have beaten me in this "record" of mine. I'm going to be sharing different emergency room trips over the next couple of posts- just for the fun of it.

It began at the age of two...

It was a normal day...actually it must've been somehow special because I had two cookies! With one in each hand I was walking around our little house in Virginia debating which one to eat first. We were in the middle of packing up the house to move to California and my Dad, who loved to play "Ticklemonster," decided that right then would be a good moment to chase me. Shrieking with laughter I ran... right into the corner of a wall.

You have to check behind you when a monster's on your heels, you know, and when you look behind, you can't see ahead! I couldn't stop my fall because I didn't think to let go of the cookies. The corner of the wall somehow sent me chin first to the tile floor which resulted in a nice split chin.
This following part still amazes my Dad...

It took two nurses and a restraining blanket to hold me down so the doctor could give me stitches.

My poor Dad passed out while the doctor was giving me stitches and they charged him $50 for that! He was not happy, but did not have time to contest the fee with the move to California in progress.

That was how my adventure with emergency rooms began...