Unexpected Flowers in a Desert

Unusually for me, I’m already writing a new post for this blog. Last time I mentioned that I had been re-reading my old posts. The original reason was to make sure I wasn’t repeating myself, but it ended up empowering me with the knowledge of the ways I’ve grown as a person and how much scary stuff I’ve had the courage to try, not to mention reminding me of the downright awesome episodes of what I feel are pure miracles in my life when that courage paid off.

Before I had made the decision to jump off the hamster wheel of my day job, I used to use my  lunch hour to exercise along a trail that started right outside the parking lot of where I worked. It’s a pretty little path, made for walkers/runners and bikers and is well-maintained by the city. The setting is mostly natural scrub desert and, while it’s never more than a few yards from the road and businesses, there’s enough of a nature setting to make it a decent mini-escape.

There are some areas, mostly close to bathroom facilities or parking entrances along the trail, where the city has planted drought-tolerant flowers and made rock gardens, but for the most part, it’s just the natural desert kept trimmed-back and no cactus too dangerously close to the path. There’s few flowering plants here and even those that do have flowers usually have only a brief season to bloom. However, on a rare occasion as I walked or ran, I came across some flowers blooming beside the path that had no earthly reason to be there. They were not indigenous to our region and they were certainly nothing the city might’ve planted since they weren’t a species that could be maintained easily. It was always a delightful surprise to be moving along, taking in the greens, browns, greys and yellows of the desert and then, without preamble, to suddenly spy some brilliant purple or delicate pink like a little gem.

Whenever I used the trail, I put on my headphones and listened to my MP3, letting the music mentally shift me into a better frame of mind.  One of my favorites to listen to as I exercised was “Big Country” by Big Country. It’s got a fast beat that fueled my energy as I ran, but it’s come to mean a lot more as my life unfolds.

The song itself is about reaching for your dreams no matter what. It’s about moving forward and not giving up and that it is possible to turn your life around after a disappointment. There was one line I’m particularly relating to right now; “I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime.”

Recently I was having a conversation with someone about how much that song meant to me at the time I was wrestling with the idea of retiring from my job and working without a net. I was thinking back to the times I ran along the trail  hot, tired and wanting to stop, when I would suddenly see a flash of unexpected color that somehow refreshed my mind and made me want to push on a bit further.

When I’m having those bottom-of-the-cycle moments it’s akin to my “maybe I’ll stop and walk now” thoughts as I exercised. I still have flowers in my life, but in my business it’s symbolic of the beautiful, unexpected things that have blossomed while I wasn’t looking.

It’s coming up on holiday time and it’s a busy season for everyone, but very much so for the retailer. Now is the gift-giving season and many people are out shopping and getting ready for loving gatherings with friends and family.It’s also the time many people fund-raise for their favorite charity or cause. People are in the gift-giving spirit and some save up a little all year to have money to give those in need.

One of the unexpected flowers in my life is my volunteer work at the hospice. The doctors, nurses, PCTs, social workers and grief counselors as well as the volunteers are among the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Their passion for their patients and the families is so beautiful, it’s hard to imagine unless you’ve been either a recipient or been fortunate enough to work alongside them. I’ve been able to experience both ways of knowing them and, let me say, it’s an incredible privilege.

They not only provide compassionate, tender care for their patients, but the support and loving understanding for the families is a genuine blessing to them as well. This past Fall the nursing staff asked everyone to contribute to their annual yard sale to raise money for families in need. They do this of their accord and on their own time. This year they raised $800 for their fund. I also have the honor to be on the Rock-n-Rodeo committee which is the hospice’s big fund-raiser. The money they raise goes to the We Honor Veterans program, which offers a special plaque of thanks for the veteran’s service and a ceremony where volunteers from the military base come in full dress uniform to present the plaque in a small ceremony to show them honor. I’ve been at three presentations so far and it’s incredibly meaningful both for the patients and their families. The other major part of the money raised goes for specialized therapies not provided by insurance, especially for children, that may be beneficial for their comfort and to help them stay with their families a little longer. The hospice will not spare anything that may make someone’s last times here on earth better and the funds cover any short-fall or non-approval from insurance.

My own son was the grateful recipient of these services and kind care from this very hospice. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done to go back there and volunteer my services. Knowing he was grateful and they made such a difference to him was my motivation to try to do the same for someone else. The memories of his loss were hard to face,  but once I pushed past, I found that being part of the blessing they bring is one of the most beautiful aspects of this life I’ve chosen. This all made possible by owning my own business, making my own schedule, but, more importantly, having the hope to try something new.

This year I want to raise money as well. I’m on the fund-raiser committee already, but I want to contribute more than my time. To this purpose, I’m offering the Satin Set for Christmas gift-giving. It’s made up of two of Mary Kay’s most popular best-selling items. The Satin Hands and the Satin Lips set. They’re popular because they are for absolutely anyone. The Satin Hands is a pampering hand treatment that comes in three scents: Peach ( a fresh scent), Vanilla Sugar ( a limited-edition fragrance for the season) and Fragrance Free for men and those with scent sensitivities. I’ve been able to donate some sets to the hospice and I use them as a treat for the patients and their families. This is a free pampering that is really appreciated by those who I get to use it on. The Satin Lips is, of course, for the lips. It’s a mask and fragrance free, color free lip balm that moisturizes for 6 hours. My biggest purchaser of this is men, because it heals and protects with no trace of product on their lips. The sets are sold separately, but together they are the Satin Set and they make a fabulous gift for anyone who’s hard to shop for. I’m selling them for $57.29 which includes the tax and shipping is free to anywhere in the continental U.S. (except Alaska). I’m offering free gift-wrap and delivery for local customers.

I’m hoping to raise enough money to purchase two tickets to the Rock-n-Rodeo which cost $200 apiece. It’s an awesome gala with a silent auction, raffles , music and a gourmet dinner at a beautiful local resort. I would like to have a drawing for the tickets for those who purchase the gift sets as a thank you for helping me reach my goal.

If you like what I’m doing and want to help – not to mention get some easy gift-shopping out of the way – you can contact me and/or order at my website:


I would love to be able to write a check for a nice amount that I know will be used for someone’s good. Either on therapies for patients or covering the needs of a family in crisis,maybe even helping with funeral costs because people with genetic diseases or pre-existing conditions cannot get life insurance and it’s just cruel to think of the family that’s unable to bury their loved one properly. I was lucky; my son had Muscular Dystrophy and I couldn’t get even enough insurance to cover his burial costs. My family stepped in and helped pay and the funeral home who worked with the hospice gave their services and a casket for free. They did that because of donations received especially for this purpose.

Most ‘flowers’ in my life are unexpected; this is one that I get to plant myself.  Thanks.





Plan “B” Sucks

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I was waiting for something really exciting to write about. I got tired of waiting and, on reflection, I realized that even though I haven’t hit the goal I wanted to by now, there was quite a bit to write about.

I like going back through these blogs and re-reading the about the events I’ve chronicled so far. It’s not vanity-at least, I’d like to think it’s not-because I don’t feel like I’m an exciting or terribly interesting writer. But looking back reminds me that even though I haven’t hit the mark, I’ve come a really long way.

Our training in Mary Kay is excellent. I like to read blogs and articles from well-known and admired CEOs who are sharing the secrets to their success, what steps they took and what obstacles they’ve overcome to be where they are. I have to say that most, if not all, of what I read from them is what we’re being taught already in Mary Kay. I’ve picked up books on the secrets to business success, inspiration and how to keep your momentum up. Some come at it from this angle or that, but it basically all boils down to the same things and when ever I read the articles, I’m struck by the fact that it’s really nothing new.

One of the things we’re taught at our training center is that the business has cycles. There’s the top, which is where everything is exciting and your enthusiasm is through the roof. This point is usually where your sales are good, you’re getting new team members or you’ve achieved some goal. Your excitement attracts new customers and team members to you so naturally, you just know you’re unstoppable. Things are going according to plan. On the bottom end, you feel stagnant and maybe a little bored. Maybe your sales are in slump and you’ve lost some team members and you’re wondering why you aren’t like so-and-so who seems to have it all well in hand. What we’re taught and warned about is that this happens to everyone. If we read too much into it rather than realize it’s a natural part of the process, we will be tempted to believe we aren’t made for this business and it’s easy to throw in the towel. The point I’m leading up to is that owning your own business is work, and work, no matter how much you like what you do, is not always fun.

When I quit my day job and launched my efforts at doing this full-time I was so excited.  I just knew that I would make director in about 6 months and be a car achiever before the year was up. This was entirely possible, but that wasn’t my journey. I had some learning to do. But…

I’m more confident than ever that I will be everything I’ve set out to be. This year has had some seriously scary moments and times of wondering if everything was about to collapse on my head. Yet everything has been slowly, but steadily moving forward. I made Star Consultant last quarter and I’m going for four quarter star this year. I managed to be in the top ten in our unit in sharing and sales for last year.  I had no idea I was in the top ten of anything.

Before this year I felt like I was bound in golden handcuffs. Golden handcuffs are what seem like security but are really things that keep you tied up in chains. For example, my sister (Sorry, Mandie) took over my job at the preschool. This was convenient because it gave her a bit more money and allowed her son to have a reduced tuition to go to the school and it gave her free after-school care at the very place she worked. Seems like a dream job, right? Uummm……No.

When I talk to her and ask how it’s going, she tells me how crazy the class is. Being a pre-school teacher takes a very specific kind of person, but even if you have the patience and flair for it, taking care of 16 two-year-olds every day, full-time can wear you down. And it barely pays a living wage. If it wasn’t for the lower tuition and free after-school care for her son, she wouldn’t make it from month to month. So she went to school and studied hard on top of working full-time, sacrificing her whole Saturday and time with her son every weekend to get her EMT licence. She graduated and started looking around for an exciting new job. She soon discovered that the higher paycheck she’d receive as an EMT wouldn’t cover the amount she needed to keep her son in school and pay for his afterschool care which she’d lose if she quit her teaching job. She decided that she needed to go to school for nursing, but unlike the EMT course, she’d need two full days a week to go to school. When she went ask for a reduction in hours to be able to go to school, she was told she was needed full-time and she couldn’t be spared. Golden handcuffs, friends. It was just enough to keep her afloat, but only barely, and, at present, no way to change that.

That’s what I realized when I broke those chains off my own wrist. It’s the old saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” that’s been so true for me. I could still be in that job, telling myself that I needed to be patient and wait for this business to take off, but the reality is that I needed to break away totally to do what I needed to do.

And that’s what I face when I let myself believe I can’t do this. It means going back to never quite getting ahead. Paying the bills but not much else. Feeling frustrated, over-whelmed and tired. And for what? What will I have at the end of it all? Working for someone else is like renting a house verses owning one. You pay and pay your rent but you never get to own the place you live in and make your house your home. When you work for someone else it’s their world, their rules and they decide what your work is worth.

The American Dream means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. My understanding of it is that you make your fortune, own your own home and live the life you want to. The people in the early years of this country believed that if you worked hard, you could be anything you wanted. We built this country to guarantee that right to any who wanted to give it a go. Back then, most people were entrepreneurs. Plan “B” was working for someone else. They understood what still holds true today: “Plan “B” sucks.


Linda McFarland, C’mon DOWN!!

Hello, friends! It’s been a few weeks. Have you been busy? What’s going on with you? Has life been lavishing you with joy and happiness? Or has it been sneaking around and pinching you hard like a classroom bully when the teacher has their back turned?

How about a little of both? Isn’t that the way of it? All day, every day is a succession of good and bad things. Where it gets interesting is how big or small those things are. For instance, in the morning my husband thoughtfully brings me my coffee in bed, fixed just the way I like it. I sit in bed for an hour or so, sipping coffee, waking up and having some quiet time. A very pleasant way to start the day. Then I get up and go hunting some fruit and toast for breakfast, only to find that my daughter ate the last piece of sourdough and all that’s left is some pasty white bread. And the strawberries I bought a few days before are now covered in gray fuzz and unsuitable for eating. *sigh*

Does the breakfast disappointment out-weigh the earlier gift of coffee in bed from my husband? Nope. But it could, if I let it. I could forget all about the nice hour I had before and decide the lack of my dreamed-of breakfast was a harbinger of a very bad day ahead. I could end up looking for-and seeing- all kinds of crap going on during the day and get angry at the universe for singling me out for death by petty irritations.

Well, I’m a glass-half-full type of girl, and I’m not likely to read my doom in strawberry mold, but you get the idea, right? Good and bad, all day, everyday.

My story today, boys and girls, is about a week containing both the life equivalent of a full-on belly flop and the incredible, over-the-top awesomeness of winning the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right.

So. Belly flop first: If you’ve been reading these blogs, you’re aware that I was really trying to make my production goals for the last quarter. To submit for the director position I have to meet requirements both in team size and in production. I was out there, talking, sending texts, calling, meeting new people and so on and so on. I had sales and specials and I was enlisting as many people to my cause as I could. I feel called to this business and I know there’s a purpose for this beyond my personal satisfaction or gain.

Last time I wrote about how I finished my hospice training and  I was pretty excited to get started. Today I finished my last day of ‘shadowing’ with another volunteer and next time I go, I’m officially on my own. While that’s a bit of a scary idea, I was right about it being what I needed to do. In the four days that I’ve worked, I think I’ve had a pretty varied set of experiences. I’ve been able to comfort family members and care for the patients. I’ve helped bathe them and I’ve fed them. I’ve laughed with some of them. And today I helped wrap up the body of a man who had passed away. I’ve been pleased to work with the staff and other volunteers and I think I’m fitting in pretty well. They genuinely seem to like me and have been kind enough to say they think I’ll be a real asset to the team.

My point about that is that if I hadn’t quit my teaching job last July, I wouldn’t be able to do this. My experiences with my son have led me to want to do something in return for all the kindness that was shown to our family. That seems to be a common bond with most of the volunteers and a good lot of the staff.

Anyway, I felt that, since I was doing what I was called to do and I was trying to be obedient in all things, then I should start seeing some good returns for my efforts. After all, if God calls you to something and you do it, shouldn’t He be making sure that it fulfills it’s purpose? The problem was, I wasn’t getting the sales that I needed. I wasn’t making my production requirements. The closer the deadline got, the more desperate and worried I became. I began to have some long, whining talks with God explaining how He needed to do things so I could be satisfied and reassured. In case you’re wondering, this does not work. For all my work, whining and fretting, I didn’t make the dead-line. That so sucked.

I was inclined to feel sorry for myself and, of course, start to question whether I’d been right to quit my job and work my business full-time. To make matters worse, Career Conference was set for the following weekend and I had to spend the money I had set aside for the trip on gas and groceries. “No worries!” I thought to myself, “I’ll just make some sales !”  I sold one eye shadow that week. One. As you might imagine, I was fairly wallowing in stress cortisol.

The day before I was to leave for the conference I was in a desperate state. I had no prospects for sales and I was sitting on about $3 in my account. I told my husband I was thinking of not going. How could I? We had no money. I certainly didn’t want to borrow money from anyone. I really didn’t want anyone to know how financially strapped we were because I didn’t want to hear what I was already thinking; Maybe it was time to get another job. Underlying the fear of hearing that, was the fear that I had failed. Full-on belly-flop-type fail. Ow.

My hubby disagreed. Much to my dismay he called my parents and asked them if we could borrow the money. Long story short, they agreed and I was on my way up to the conference the next day, but I wasn’t feeling good about it. My husband called me on the way up and after we’d talked a bit he said, ” Honey, I know you’re feeling bad, but don’t. I know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. I don’t even want you to think about getting another job. This is your job. Keep going. What’s the worst that’ll happen? We may lose the house, but so what? We’ve lived in apartments for most of our marriage and that’ll be one less thing to worry about. Now have a good time, enjoy yourself with your friends and don’t worry and don’t give up. I love you and I believe in you.” It almost makes me cry just remembering that.

The conference was amazing. I learned some new things and heard some new ideas. In the Saturday morning general session, I was struck with the thought that I could use the One Woman Can make-over contest. This contest offers an outrageously cool grand prize, but more importantly to me, it also offers a prize to the top 3 consultants who submit the most contest entries. If I could win that, I’d get $5000 to the charity of my choice! It occurred to me that I could donate those funds to the hospice I volunteer at. I was really glad I’d gone, but I was still dealing with my self-doubt.

Now for the good part: That afternoon the conference was wrapping up and we were getting down to the last class. Throughout the general sessions the company had been giving away prizes via a scrambler on the big screen. You can probably imagine what I mean: a picture like a slot-machine would go up with five spaces and it would look like it was spinning. One by one they would stop and the name of a conference attendee would be revealed and they would win that particular prize give away. The prizes this year were fabulous and, naturally, everyone wanted to win. There were always big screams from the group with whomever the lucky prize winner was with and the entire audience clapped and cheered. It’s pretty cool to win when you’re one of about 2,500 people attending.

The very last scrambler prize is always the best and it’s the same every year. Seminar registration. Seminar is the big party for the whole company in Dallas. It’s an incredible experience and it’s like a three-day party with entertainment, awards,and training. I’ve wanted to go every year, and, every year I’ve not made it. So this year it’s been my goal to debut as a director on that very stage at Seminar. It’s going to be the biggest, best year ever because this is Mary Kay’s 50th anniversary year and they’re doing it up extra special.

Just before they announced it was scrambler time, I was thinking about how things had gone and what that might mean for my future. When it started, I suddenly prayed very quickly: “Ok-LORD-if-you-really-want-me-to-do-this-and-be-a-director-then-let-me-know-by-letting-it-be-MY-name-up-on-that-screen-ok-I-take-that-back-I’ll-still-do-what-you-direct-me-to-do-but-it-would-be-so-cool-to-win-Amen!” Imagine that prayer prayed in about a second and a half, there and gone almost as soon as I saw the screen.

I couldn’t bear to watch the screen so I looked away as the scrambler stopped. Instantly everyone in our unit began screaming and jumping up and down. They all turned and looked at me and said, “Linda! It’s YOU!! YOU WON!!” I looked up and saw my name and almost passed out. They all jumped up and down, clapping and cheering, those who could reach me giving me hugs and telling me to go get my prize.

As I strode down the aisle (we were sitting near the back of the auditorium) I suddenly felt as if God had said, ” Linda McFarland! C’mon down!” That made me laugh. One of my major bucket-list items is to get on the Price Is Right. As a kid, I was sometimes late to school because I just HAD to see who won that Showcase Showdown! It’s been my favorite game show since childhood and during the most recent Leadership Conference in January, several Mary Kay women, including my director, got to be on the show. One of them even won the Showcase Showdown. Aughhhhh!!!!

Well, as I picked up the envelope with my prize info, I saw that it already had my name on it. That gave me pause. It suddenly occured to me that they already knew who won. They had to, because the prize came with a platinum gold rolling tote and they had to mail that to me. The scrambler was there for the fun of it. If I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have won and they would’ve picked someone else. But I did go and because I did, I won.

All that whining and fretting and dismay that I must’ve wearied God’s ears with and He had this planned the whole time! It was like a surprise party sent straight from Heaven. I truly feel like it was a gift from God for all my obedience to the call He placed on my life. I must admit that I was immediately ashamed of my attitude for the previous few days and I spent the next few minutes in grateful shock.

Here’s what I learned: Fretting, worrying and crying in your milk gets you nothing. Now, more than ever I have peace about what I’m doing and I think that the next time I run into what seems like failure, instead of freaking out, I’ll just wait and see what’s going to happen with hope rather than fear and prayers full of complaints. I’ve set a goal to get 100 faces done this month and to go for the most makeovers submitted before the contest deadline. Even if I don’t win, I’m setting aside a percentage of any profits I make so I can donate skin care sets to the hospice. I’m hoping the sales I’ll generate from my activity will give me enough to donate at least 8 sets; one of each formula to each of the four wards. I also want to donate Satin hands sets and Mint Bliss lotion as an additional treat. No more whining and licking my wounds; time to get a move on!

To contact me you can e-mail me at my Mary Kay website: marykay.com/lmcfarland92

Extreme Makeover: Life Edition

Last night I went to a sister consultant’s Red Jacket Ceremony. It was in Sierra Vista and I was able to travel down with a couple of other sister consultants and attend the Thursday night meeting for the ladies there. There were seasoned consultants, brand-new consultants, guests and those of us who’d driven down from Tucson. We ladies from Tucson were the only other Red Jackets so it was nice to be a part of her ceremony.

Red Jacket ceremonies are done differently in every unit, and ours is designed to make the one moving up feel very special. We light candles and Marye plays a special song and we recite an oath  to uphold the honor and principles of our company and our unit. It’s simple and sweet and all the Red Jackets stand together. After that, those of us who are at red jacket level and our director, present the newest with a small gift, generally something red like a candle or a piece of jewelry. Nothing major, but it’s a very thoughful touch and the evening is all about the honoree.

As I was sitting there before the the meeting started, I was remembering my own ceremony and that led to thinking about  how different my life has become in just a few months. Last year at this time I was just coming to the realization that it might be time to do something drastic. I was fighting what I knew I should do because I lacked faith in myself and in God’s appearent plan for me. Funny; I was praying for direction and then stubbornly refusing to take the path He was pointing to. It was probably lightly compareable to that scene in “Bruce Almighty” where Jim Carrey is driving and  praying and asking God for a sign and there’s all these signs saying “Stop”,”Danger”, ” Slow” and he ignors them and gets into an accident.

Well, thank goodness there were no accidents in my future. I’m not sure what was, but my husband said something that really made me think. He reminded me that God sent a big fish after Jonah because he tried to run away from his responsibilities. ” That’s an analogy, babe,” he said,” but I’m pretty sure He can send some kind of ‘fish’ to get you on track, too. I don’t what it might be, but it wasn’t pleasant for Jonah, and I’m guessing it won’t be pleasant for you, either.”  I considered that and found it to be a convincing point. I went in the next day and tendered my resignation.

I say that with humour, but I’m pretty convinced something  was in the works. I was frustrated and stressed and I felt as if I just couldn’t keep up what I was doing. I was distracted and just skimming along. I might’ve made a seriously bad judgement call and gotten myself canned. Really, it was time to go.

These last few months have been some of the most intense of my life. I’ve struggled and been disappointed. I’ve had cancellations, no-shows, and people who’ve just plain blown me off. Seriously, the rise in technology has given people a whole new plethora of ways to be very rude or disdainful and I’ve been experiencing quite a few of them.

But, I love my life. I love that I finally feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I love that I can sit outside on my porch on a spring morning to do my work. I can meet teammembers for coffee or lunch during the week. My office travels with me and I can sit in the park, the coffee shop or snack area of a store or mall and do my job. I get to peruse the stores and look for ladies who might like my business card. I now look for something to compliment in other people and I’m less inclined to be negative when I look at them. I’m around happy people on a regular basis. My work day starts with an 8am conference call with happy, encouraging people. My day starts off good!

I’m re-discovering my old self. My marriage has gotten better. I’m learning to leave the bitter comments aside and the critical thoughts are losing ground in the forefront of my mind. I’m plugging in to encouragement and giving it out by the bucketful. I love to say something that may make someone’s day. I like to hear that my words were appreciated and I made them feel pretty or smart or welcome or wanted. I like to hear that I lifted their spirits when they were feeling so low. Before I took that life-changing leap, I was always looking for the next shot of happy. I constantly day dreamed of being alone and quiet and having nothing to do but sit and listen to nature sounds. I don’t need to do that anymore. I love to go to work. I love to have no schedule. I make the schedule.

The best part about this new life is the ability I have to do something more for others. I have time to volunteer. For years I have felt the pull to give back some of the help I was generously given by the doctors and nurses and volunteers who came alongside our family to help us care for Khristopher. I was constantly amazed and grateful for the way so many went above and beyond the call to help us in so many different ways. The kindness was so deeply felt by this mom who often had no idea what to do or how to react or how to face the enormity of what we were dealing with as a family.

When Khristopher died, I froze. I thought I was being so brave and strong, but I was really taking all those raw, painful emotions and freezing them and locking them up. I set about trying to push us all back into a normal life without taking any time to process that grief. I disconnected from those kind people very quickly and told myself that it was so they could move on. But still, I felt a pull to do something similar for someone else.

If you’ve read these blogs since January, you are aware of how fast my life has been moving as far as inner change has been occuring. One of the reasons making my own schedule appealed to me was the idea that I could find a way to be of service in the Tucson community on a volunteer basis. Still, I had made no move to really do so until I told my good friend Katie what my goal was, and she suggested I return to those places where I had been and speak to the people there, and offer this to those other moms who were going through a similar experience to my own. Since my passion is to spare people the heartache of a lack of choice concerning their kids, it seemed an excellent idea.

I screwed up my courage and went to the children’s clinic and then to the hospice to offer my services as a volunteer. I wasn’t going to sell, but to use my business as a vehicle to do something nice for the parents and families of those who were sick. Being a parent and often in the hospital for days with my son, I knew how much a little pampering could mean to the families there. You’re so concerned with your loved one that your own needs and comforts get shoved to the back burner. I wanted to give them a little pampering time that allowed them to remain near to their child. I would come to them. Having been there, done that, I could also be a listening ear for those who needed to talk.

My application was accepted by hospice and, as of last Wednesday, I’ve completed my 30 hours of training. I only have to have one more interview where we talk about placement and the hours I’m available.

I was so scared when I walked into the training. I literally held on to the seat of my chair to keep from running out because I was so worried I couldn’t handle the emotional part of what I was doing. I prayed for God to hold me in that seat and I managed to make it through the first day. Every day got easier, and I was leaving fear and trepidation behind and replacing it with excitement and enthusiasm.

I knew I had found my place, like a puzzle piece, when the head of the pediatric department spoke. I knew instantly that that was my reason for being there. Yes, I suspected that pediatrics would turn out to be my fit, but I was also worried about how I’d feel and if I was really up for that. I didn’t hesitate after hearing her speak.

I haven’t started yet- I’ve just completed my training- but I’m pretty sure I’ll be alright. I’m so thrilled to do this. I’m so excited about my life and the choices I get to make. I feel like the whole world has opened up and the shot of happy I was always looking for is now the thought of what my life looks like and will look like and where it’s on it’s way to. I will not ‘end up’ in my life; I will arrive!

I really want to keep going with this. I want to donate not just time, but I also have the privilage to provide makeup samples or skin care samples to the adult patients who may like to feel a little like their old self. Sometimes, they just want to feel like they look good. Being terminally ill and in your last days leaves people with the feeling of being lost, even while still living. Getting pampered and feeling like you look more like your old self can have a profound effect on their state of mind and it can bring a measure comfort to the family who has to watch the downward spiral of their loved one. The ways I can use my business to bless others keeps growing and I’ve found that my life make-over is an amazing one. I wish I could share or describe this feeling of ‘rightness’ with you. I wish I could pull you in so you can feel, just for a moment, the deep restfulness of a life on track.

I still have to finish my leadership qualifications. Getting to that position will solidify my ability to continue this and maybe even open more opportunities to volunteer. I have a greater passion for that, now, more than ever. It will put more resources at my fingertips and allow me greater access to ways to bless those in this difficult and sad time of their lives. I can’t imagine a time where there’s a greater need of kindness, companionship, understanding and love. Can you?

Everything Old Is New Again

Another week down; another week closer to my deadline. I’ve had some very full weeks starting from January, when I finally decided to bring my “A” game. I had no idea I hadn’t brought it yet, but certain things have elbowed their way to the front of my awareness that I had staunchley tried to keep benched though this playing season.

When I was a little girl, my mom would get me ready for church. I would put on one of my best dresses, little socks and black patent Mary Janes. My mother would make sure my face  was clean and carefully brush and braid my hair in two long braids. Then she’d tie my ‘for-church’ ribbons to the ends. She’d smile and tell me I looked very pretty. I’d look to my dad to see if he approved and he always smiled and said, in his soft and loving way, “Very nice.”

My older brother Guy always laughs and tells how he’d hear my mother tell me to go show him and my other brother, Dave, how I looked. I’d march into their room and stand just inside the doorway, hands on my hips and tapping my foot. “Fella’s,” I’d say, “Fella’s….” until they turned and said, “Oh! You look very nice!”. Then I’d get a smug look and spin on my heel and march back out, my unspoken request for admiration fulfilled.

I honestly had no fear I wouldn’t get it. When I put on my best clothes and had my hair fixed, I just knew the world was ready to be pleased with me. I felt like a princess. I loved the kind of skirts that swirled when I spun around; the higher the better. I loved my little plastic barrettes with the little poodles or bows (You know the ones I mean. The package that had the ones that looked like rectangle ears of corn. My own daughter had those.). I loved to wear tights and shoes with tap soles so that I clacked down the hall like the ladies with heels on. One Christmas my uncle sent me some clear palstic jewelry and some of those play heels that little girls love. I begged my mother to let me wear them to church and she did. I felt as beautiful as the dawn in my plastic finery and I made sure that everyone saw and commented on it. “Why, Ruthie!” the grown-ups said (that’s my family nick-name),” You look so pretty today! And what lovely shoes! You look very grown up!” I’m reasonably sure I preened.

When you were a little girl, didn’t you feel that way? Didn’t you love twirling your skirts and dancing with abandon just like any Disney princess? Weren’t you just sure that people could not help admiring your lovliness? I took ballet classes and wore my white tights and my black leotard and felt every bit the prima ballerina.

I love little girls and the no-doubt sense of their own beauty whether they love skirts and tights or shorts and sneakers. I could get just as dirty and mussed as my brothers, play army guys and pretend to be hunting, fishing or sniping and then go in and play dress up and have a tea party with my dolls. What I wore wasn’t the issue, it was how secure I felt in myself. I had dreams of being on stage and singing like Olivia Newton-John or Marie Osmond. Or being a fearless beauty like one of Charlie’s Angels or Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman or Lindsey Wagner as the Bionic Woman. You might’ve had some, too.

Then, of course, we get older and we are told by society, by convention, by well-meaning advice, or by harsh circumstances, that we are none of those things. We’ll never be those things, and it’s time to put dreams away. Slowly for some -much quicker for others- life unfolds in such a manner as we bury those ideas and desires and replace them with serious, practical thoughts. It’s for our own good and protection that we stop chasing those desires and ‘face reality’.

I had stopped dreaming by the time I joined Mary Kay. I had stopped believing in my ability to be anything special. I had learned to be content in my own little world, made even smaller after my son passed away. I was still grieving and every special day at the school where I taught was a reminder that one of my own children was missing from any celebration we had. I wanted to bury myself with my son. Inwardly, I had. It felt wrong to enjoy any part of life that he couldn’t be part of.

But Mary Kay reminded me of that skirt-twirling little girl I used to be. It offered a a much brighter existence than what I had been content to live. That little girl started to wake up and want to reach for those dreams again. Of course, I’d never be any celebrity I had dreamed of being, but maybe I could find a place of my own. I’m not talking about fame. I’m talking about a life less ordinary. Maybe I was made for success after all.

One of my biggest disappointments in this business has been the absence of any of my sisters in this with me. Mary Kay encourages family groups when possible. Why would you not share this with your family and friends? Is there anything better than sharing such a special journey with those closest to you? None of my sisters or closest friends have joined me despite my best efforts at begging. When I received awards and been recognized for any victories in Mary Kay, I’m most keenly aware of their absence. You want the best for those you love and I wanted them to feel special, too. No admiration or accolade felt quite right without their presence and, by extension, their approval . I would see sisters enjoying time together or working together and I’d feel a wave of homesickness for my own sister that would just about bring me to tears.

My problem was, I didn’t feel I really deserved it. I did not feel strong enough on my own to have any real achievements. I tried to keep that younger-me in check so she wouldn’t make me look foolish if I failed. I could always count on my sisters to keep me in line and tell me when I was about to embarrass myself. I did not feel approved.

Please don’t get me wrong, My sisters are some of my greatest supporters. They are my best customers and they buy from me regularly. My oldest sister gamely comes to events once or twice a year. My other older sister lives in Georgia, but she buys when she can and she always listens when I go on about my business. I bounce most of my ideas off her and it was she who first suggested I tell my much expanded and deeper “I” story which was the beginning of this series of blogs. My younger sister finally dipped her toe in the skin care and is giving it a try. My sisters are awesome. But I still miss being able to share the victories with them. It’s hard to convey the depth of your triumph to someone who hasn’t taken that step with you.

Enter my Mary Kay sisters. Since I started, I’d heard that term. I was a bit uncomfortable with it at first because it sounded a little cult-ish to me. I would say ‘fellow consultants’. That felt more comfortable. I loved my ‘fellow consultants’ but it was hard to use the term ‘sister’. Until I started doing this full-time, that is.

Doing this full-time has taught me that I am a part of a team. We count on each other for ideas, encouragement and help. I made the decision to go for director for my own goals, but also to help my own Director reach her goal of being a National Sales Director. It takes a team of willing women for one woman to reach each step in leadership and becoming a director is HARD work. I had to make a decision that is essentially life changing for me. But being on this team means I must bring my “A” game to the table because it’s not just about me, it’s about my efforts helping someone else. I want to be a part of this because my director has put so much into helping others just like me learn to reach and strive for their own potential. She has several offspring directors who are, in turn, going for National Sales Directorship themselves. She deserves this.

Last Saturday was our half-year awards (Mary Kay starts their working year in July) and my red jacket ceremony. I had seen red jacket ceremonies before, but I had forgotten some of the details. For instance, I had forgotten that the other red jackets gave the newest one gifts. Ususally something red. Plus, during the awards part I found out I was one of the “Queens of Sharing”, meaning I had shared this business with others, and that I was #6 in the top 10 of over 200 consultants in Marye’s unit! I was so surprised. I knew I was going to have my ceremony and get a prize for finishing my Focus 50, but I had no idea that I was going to be honored in any other way.

My director called my aunt (my recruiter) up to give a little speech about why she thought I was so special and it was such a beautiful speech, I was almost over-whelmed. I did have tears in my eyes by the time she was done. And so did my Mary Kay sisters. When I had my ceremony they were so warm and so full of congratulations that I almost cried again. They presented me with the loveliest gifts and spoke of how proud they were of me.

It was my husbands’ first time at any event and I looked up and saw him looking at me with such a proud smile. In that instant, that little girl who used to twirl her skirts and flit from room to room practically demanding the admiration she thought her due, was back. I felt truely lovely for the first time since my wedding day. Not so much on the outside, but inside, where it counts. Where all those dreams of being like one of the beautiful women I admired and wanted to be were buried.

And for the first time since I joined Mary Kay, I wasn’t lonely for my sisters. I felt, for the first time, that with them or without them, I had achieved something worthy. Mary Kay sisters don’t replace my own sisters, but I know that I have a different kind of family with my business. Women who do understand what I’ve been doing and reaching for and who’ve been taking this journey as well. They know what it takes and how it feels to hear ‘no’ after ‘no’ until the excitement and victory of a ‘yes’!  Hitting my goals and being recognized made me feel like the princess I used to think I was.

Long ago I was a little girl who had no doubts of herself and her place in this world. I locked her up and let the key to her get old and rusty and eventually lost. Without her, I felt old and lost. Mary Kay was the vehicle to showing me how to let her out and with it, my belief  that I could be something special.

Would you like to find your little girl, too? Or maybe you never lost yours but you like what you can gain from Mary Kay and the people you can meet. We’d love to have you, no matter what. You can join us even if you don’t live where I do; I can have team members in any state in the U.S.  Why not give it a try? I never thought I could even get this far, yet, here I am. Visit my website and check it out if you’re curious. I’d love to answer any questions you have and contacting me obligates you to nothing, but you may find you like it: www.marykay.com/lmcfarland92

My Own Trouble With Tribbles Part 2

Hello again! I’m so glad you came back! Were you as amazed as I was by what happened last week? I hope so; it was really incredible and I’ve not been able to stop sharing that story since.

Well, I promised to finish the rest of the story in this next post. There’s more, but not in the same in-your-face-miracle way as last week. No, this is about what I think that whole episode was about.

As I spoke of last week, we were struggling to make the food and gas we had last until the end of the month. I’m not very good at speaking of these things (mhmm: a tribble) and I tend to keep it as unspoken as possible. I do not like to share that kind of problem with people, mainly because I’m afraid of looking foolish and hearing them give me the ole “Well, you can always find another job to do while you wait for this one to pick up.”  advice.  Not that this is bad advice. On the contrary, many, and I dare say, most, of Mary Kay consultants, have at least a part time job while they work this business. For myself, I feel directed to work without a net; no safety harness and I can focus on what I need to do, where I need to go and how far I have to go to get there. Besides, I feel like was specifically required to leave my previous job. When I was working before, either my job or my business suffered. This wasn’t fair to my employer who was counting on me to do my job well, nor to the families I was working with. They deserve the best from their children’s care-givers. I was good, but I wasn’t bringing my best. Above all, the children deserve the best you can give.

Another reason I hate to reveal these things is, to put it plainly; Pride. Yup, my pride was wounded by people thinking I had made a mistake and I was not only incapable of making a go at this, but that I had quit a secure job to do it. And I was terribly worried they might think I expected them to do something to help me out. I’m always worried that my sharing a problem comes across as hinting for help. Nothing could be further from the truth, and they’re probably not thinking that, anyway. That’s just another tribble that keeps me over-whelmed in my own issues.

But the biggest reason I didn’t want to share it was the fear that people would not believe Mary Kay was a good opportunity. I was afraid that exposing my struggles would only lead them to commiserate on the outside while mentaly crossing this business off their list of things to try. As I first shared a few weeks ago in “How Linda Got Her Groove Back”, my greatest goal is to share this with someone for whom it could be life-changing for the positive. If all they see of my work is the money struggle, I can’t imagine them being too tempted to add that to their list of concerns.

So, how do I tie what happened last week to a particular lesson I needed to learn? You can probably already guess, but, just for kicks, let me share what happened at my retreat:

When I got the call from my uncle, I was relieved of the burden of worry I had been lugging around. I was determined to relax that weekend, have a good time and try not to think (or worry) about what I wasn’t doing in regards to my business.

The main purpose of that weekend was to rest and try and learn something new about our relationship with God. I had signed up for this retreat months ago and I was surprised how closely what I had been learning and doing so recently paralled with what each session was teaching. I felt that, while the synchronicity of my recent personal revelations and the retreat topics was cool, I wasn’t really  learning anything new. Unless it was, yet again, confirmation that I was going in the right direction with my life. Until the Sunday morning session, that is.

During that session, our teacher shared some shocking statistics about hunger in the world and in America itself. I’d like to share them because they hit me hard. First the world statistics:

  •    As of 2012 there are 7 billion people in the world. 870 million of whom suffer from hunger.
  • Hunger kills more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
  • 3 billion struggle to survive on the equivilent of $2 or less a day.
  • 1 in 4 (146 million) are undernourished and underweight.
  • 15 million children die of hunger every year. The World Health Organization estimates a child dies of hunger every 13 seconds


Pretty bad right? But that’s the world. We live in America, the top 1% of the world in wealth. Surely it’s not so bad here? Here’s America’s statistics:

  • As of the last census, America’s population is 315 million. The Feed America Organization estimates our hunger levels are the highest they’ve been since the depression.
  • 7.2 million households are food insecure. That means they are not able to afford enough food.
  • 6 million households had to ask for help, either from food boxes, church pantries or food banks.
  • 1 million seniors cannot afford enough food for a week and many survive on 1 meal a day.
  • 16 million kids will have 1 meal today. 1 in 7 will go to bed hungry tonight.
  • For the cost of 1 U.S missle, we could feed a school full of kids for 15 years.

As I sat there writing these figures down and trying to wrestle with the reality of those facts, I had a thought: “That could’ve been me.”  As hard as my family and I have struggled, it occured to me that we had never missed a meal. We had never run out of gas. We had never been evicted or had our utilities cut off. We had been stretched to the last penny, the last bit of bread, the last gallon of gas, but we had come through.

In the end, it was my Mary Kay business that had made the difference. A sale would happen, or a small commision check would arrive and be just enough to cover what we needed until the next time, when something else would be needed and a sale would come through.

I’ve been speaking of being successful as a means of being credible, but I believe God also wanted me to understand and identify with the many, many people in our very country who need a bridge to a better way of life. As hard as it was to hear that America was in such a state, I had to realize that, but for a hair’s breadth, that state was mine, and had been mine, for months.

In a moment, I understood more deeply than ever how much an opportunity like Mary Kay could mean to a family. I’ve said it several times, but it keeps hitting me every time I turn around; what Mary Kay brings is hope. This is my mission and this is my goal.

Every time I’m tempted to fall back into the habits of worry, uncertainty or lack of self-confidence, I go back and read these recent blogs. I go back and look at the statistics I wrote down. I’ve written them in a little notebook that I keep in my purse so that I can look and remember what’s fueling my fire.

When I make director, my unit will be the FireWalkers Unit. I decided that a while ago, but it just keeps getting more and more appropriate. I have an affirmation, too. I’m feeling really bold so I’ll share it with you: I am Linda McFarland, the excited, enthusiastic, motivated, firewalking, barrier-breaking, bringer of hope, leader of the FireWalkers unit!  (I’m most proud of the ‘leader’ part)

Today is the first day of February. I didn’t hit my goal for the end of January. I’ve re-set my sights on February 28th. There is NO wriggle room for this. I MUST reach my goal by then or lose the chance to cross the stage at Seminar as a new director and help my own director cross as a National Sales Director. This month is going to be fire alright, but the truely hard part will be after I go into DIQ. For now, I’m just going to concentrate on this walk and see if I’m more refined than ever on the other side.

If you like what I’m saying and making a difference is something you’d like to be part of, I hope you’ll consider joining my team. Or maybe you know someone who needs this as badly as I did. Or maybe you’d like to help me make the production part of my goal. You can contact me and find out more info at my personal website: www.marykay.com/lmcfarland92.  Contacting me obligates you to nothing, but I’d love a chance to answer your questions! Thanks!

My Own Trouble With Tribbles, Part 1

Well, it’s been another week and I feel like I’ve unloaded some serious baggage. Like Tribbles-to-the-Klingon-ship-type of unload. If you don’t know what tribbles are, I’ll explain: Tribbbles are fictional creatures from an episode of the original Star Trek series.( If you haven’t seen that episode, look it up. It’s a fan favorite, I think, but it’s definitely one of mine.) Tribbles were little balls of loving fur that were harmless and cute. They were brought aboard the Enterprise and sold as pets. Unfortunately, these creatures were born pregnant and they multiplied so fast it was impossible to keep up with them. They began to take over the ship and cause all kinds of problems.

I liken my fears and doubts to tribbles. Let one in your brain and nurture it, because it’s comforting, and it quickly spawns others. If you don’t deal with the problem, you end up becoming over-whelmed and soon those things you cherished become recognizable for what they really are; a potential danger and a pest.

Laying out those memories was hard at first, but it came easier as I went. I loved thinking of My son, Khris, and remembering so many good things. There was so much more I didn’t say, but then I would never have finished. I posted it in hopes of giving other people a taste of who he was and what happened and why it’s led me to do Mary Kay as a career.

Writing those things down has had an unusual effect on me; it has defined my purpose and sharpened my focus. I now see, with greater clarity, just what it is I intend to do with this business. Now, more than ever, offering the opportunity to others has become my goal.

I’ve been working and thinking and doing my business for six months now and these last three weeks have been the MOST intense. I wake up and think about my job, my goals, my customers and how to reach new ones. I have been consistently warm-chattering, handing out fliers, calling, messaging, e-mailing, texting, walking, talking to other business owners, doing on-line classes and conference calls. I had been eating, sleeping and breathing my business.

In spite of all this, I had only a mildly successful week and made just over $200. If you read my last two blogs, I believe the amount I mentioned I needed for production requirements was $1800 wholesale. $200 would mean $100 wholesale because we are still needing the profit from my sales for gas, groceries and the like. I now believe there was a lesson behind this.

Thursday of this week, I had gone to the mall to confirm a date for a booth at one of the stores there, check on a contact with another store, and walked around handing out business cards and hostess packets to likely customers. I spent a good 2 1/2 hours walking and talking and meeting new people, then got in the car to head home.

On the way home, I looked at the gas gauge and saw that there was about 1/8 of a tank of gas left. I had about $7 in my account and I knew we were almost out of toilet paper, that we were out of milk, bread, eggs and cereal. I was due to leave for a women’s retreat Friday afternoon and I had no appointments scheduled. I did have a about $10 in my ProPay account, but that would take days to transfer and wouldn’t be in my bank account until Monday at the earliest.

I know some of you reading this may not believe in God. I totally do. My purpose is not to preach, but to just tell my story. Please hear me out because this is awesome.

I looked at that 1/8 of a tank, thought about all the needs I would be leaving with my husband and, for a moment, I panicked. I had nothing left. I had done everything I could conceivably do. I had no ideas and no prospects. The only thing I had left right then, I did. I prayed. I laid the whole thing out to God; I told Him I was heading in the direction He was leading me, I had done everything I could and I was handing the problem off to Him. He could deal with it because I could not. I didn’t mean it disrespectfully, but I was just so tired.

I went home and told my husband about the gas, told him our position as far as finances and what we were out of and that I gave it God and was trying not to freak out. He told me not to worry.  Mmhmm.

That evening, I remembered I hadn’t contacted a couple of my uncles. I had asked my mom for her brothers phone numbers because I had never asked them for their business. I had spoken to one that morning, but not the other two. I called them both and left messages, then I went and sat in my bed pretending not to feel a little defeated for the day.

About an hour later the phone rang. It was one of my uncles returning my call. We spoke a couple of minutes, then I explained to him my reason for calling. I told him about what I was doing and how leaving Khris to go to work had made me feel. I spoke of the need I had seen in other women and why I wanted to be a success. I told him I needed to have something to show and I was working very hard to become a director. I then told him I was asking for three things; referrals for potential customers, referrals for team members and for sales of the Satin Hands special I was offering to help me reach my goal of 100 specials sold.

I wasn’t expecting much. My uncle isn’t married and I couldn’t see him being interested in the product, but I thought he might buy a set for a gift or refer a potential customer to me. Here’s where it gets good;

He said. “Hm! Well,..Yeah, I can do those things for you. I’ll tell you what; Why don’t you give me $500 worth of those things? You give me half and you keep the rest and re-sell them, how about that?” I think I stammered some incoherent thanks in reply then asked if he’d like to put the order on my website. (I wouldn’t have access to the money, but at least the production would’ve been counted right away.) He replied ” No, I’d like to give you cash. Five one hundred-dollar bills, how ’bout that? I can drop it off to your mom’s house in the next couple of days.”  I was still stammering. Then he said something that really struck me. He said, ” Now do you think you can do this?”  I did.

This has to be the most amazing moment I’ve had in a while. Not only have I received money towards my goal, but I could also take care of those things we needed. AND it was cash! I didn’t have to worry about the wait time for the transfer between accounts.

Did God move or what? Even if you have trouble crediting God with that, isn’t that amazing? It gets better, believe me!

I know this was done in answer to my prayer, but it was also setting me up for learning something more that weekend regarding my purpose for this business. More of that in “My Own Trouble With Tribbles, Part 2”.

This Is What It Means to be Held…

I’ve chosen my title from a very lovely song about dealing with tragedy in your life and how God holds us through all those things that threaten to break us in two and leave us on the floor in this life. In my previous blog, I talked about how I’ve been able to overcome a terrible hurt in regards to the end of my son’s life and try to use it for good in the lives of others.

Unrelated to that post, someone on FaceBook kindly asked me to tell them about my son. I set out to send them a message that would describe him to them accurately but briefly. That turned out to be impossible. There is no brief description of him. I decided to use him as the subject of this blog instead, because who he was is a big part of who I am today. He was a little man with a BIG impact. I am more than just a proud mama; I’m a woman changed by grace and the blessing of being this boy’s mama. Don’t get me wrong; I have just as much love for my other children, and they’ve changed me for the better as well, but the impetus for my choices are largely because of his life. So, without further ado, meet Khris.

Khristopher was our second child. He was born with Muscular Dystrophy and, very unusually, it affected him right away. In most cases, the earliest onset of those beginning in childhood start at three years old. The doctors were never able to give us a difinitive diagnosis so they had no more idea than we did about how it would manifest itself. They could guess and try and test for which one it was, but no tests ever came back positive. Also, there is NO history in either branch of our family of this disease. He was mysteriously unique.

He wasn’t supposed to walk, but he did. He wasn’t supposed to live to his teenage years, but he did. When he lost the ability to walk, he would scoot along on his bottom and move quite fast. His little sister loved to scoot behind him.

When he was six, his lungs were sufficiently weakened enough that he required a ventilator. Several of his doctors had my husband and I in a meeting and told us we could ethically choose to “let nature take it’s course.” They said we had to think about his quality of life and how his being on a vent would be hard for us to deal with. We fired them, asked for new doctors and opted for the vent. Then they said he wouldn’t last two weeks out of the hospital in our hands. He lived to be 15.

He was a favorite of most of his doctors and nurses. He was the only patient not to need sedation while on a ventilator before he had his tracheostomy. He played jokes on the doctors, interns and medical students while in ICU. When they leaned over to examine him, he’d set off a noisy toy, just to see them scream and jump back. Then he’d laugh without any sound while they tried to calm their heart rate. They’d ask, “Did you do that on purpose?” and he’d smile and nod. Then they’d laugh with him. This, when he was six.

His favorite hero was Superman because he always chose to do what was right, he was kind, he fought for the good of others and he never abused his power. He cried while watching Humane Society or ASPCA commercials about animal abuse. He loved babies and never missed a chance to hold one. He told me his fondest wish was to hold a baby of his own one day. He loved the beauty of nature and especially sunsets.

He prayed for others and told them so. He loved to sing in church, even after he had his tracheostomy and couldn’t make a lot of sound. He once put his last dollar that he had been saving in the offering plate. ” I thought you were going to buy yourself a soda with that, Khris.” I whispered. He replied, “No, Mom. The poor are more important than my soda.” I cried tears of pride about that. He once told me he wanted to be a man after God’s own heart like King David. I told him he already surely was. He didn’t believe me. He had no idea how courageous he was.

His spirit was joyful and he didn’t spend his childhood watching others leave him behind. He either worked to catch up or he called them back to himself. He adapted and he did not see himself as lesser or incapable. He always had a friendly word for strangers and had a knack for making them smile. He loved to laugh and he had a quick, sharp wit.

He loved to read but he couldn’t hold the books so I would read to him for hours at a time. We had lots of adventures that way. He loved to watch action movies with his dad. He loved to play video games and spend time with his big brother. He delighted in his little sister and told me that he loved her happy face and she had the biggest, best smile he’d ever seen. He always wanted to be the first one to wish us “Happy Birthday” or “Merry Christmas”.

He loved cooking shows and cooking. He couldn’t use his hands, so he told me what to do and I would mix up his creations. A lot of them were pretty good. He ‘sold’ a few of his recipes to Little Anthony’s Diner for their kids menu. I think it was his proudset moment to see his name on the restaurant menu; “Chef Khris”.

Two months before he died he grew quite upset. He was concerned that he wasn’t sharing his faith in Jesus with anyone because he was, by this time, confined to his bed. He ended up dictating his testimony to me and my brother read it from the pulpit one Sunday since Khris could no longer attend services. He never lived to see it, but I heard of about five people who have come to faith in Christ because of hearing about Khris and then reading his testimony. He would be so pleased.

When he went in to the hospital for the last time, they gave him less than two months to live. He beat the doctors again and lived for 10 more months. It was joy and agony. I was so grateful for the extra time, but I was terrifed of being at work when he left us for good. In that ten months, he managed to see every one of his family members for the last time. He sold his recipes, got an autographed photo from Paula Deen, and wrote his testimony. We finished the last Harry Potter book two days before he died and he told me he had a vision of Heaven and Jesus coming for him.

When he died, we were all at home.For the first time in months, there were no guests and none of us were out. I had made Khris’s favorite dinner. His dad had brought it home on ‘impulse’. After dinner, he and his dad were watching a new movie with Khris’s favorite actor. My husband asked him how he liked the movie so far, and Khris smiled at him. He passed away so peacefully that my husband had no idea until he looked up about fifteen minutes later and saw that Khris had gone. It was at sunset, Khris’s favorite time of day.

There was never going to be anyway to make that day easier or less heart-breaking, but in time, I’ve come to see what a privilege it was to be Khris’s mom. The Lord entrusted him to us. He could’ve given Khristopher to anyone, but He picked me. Can I waste the opportunity to share my story with others? Keep my special son to myself? Can I throw away the chance given to me by not learning the lessons he taught me about not giving up and using your life and your words for someone else’s good? Yes, his death hurts to remember, but the memories of who he was fill me with pride. How did God hold me? He gave me these memories and enough space to come to the realization of what a gift our time with our children are.  Khris being who he was has given me something to give back to the world. These memories have given me a way to find my voice and the courage to speak out about what hope I have that life can be better. It would be so selfish of me to leave his life locked up in my heart.

He wasn’t perfect. He had his times of depression, fear and frustration. Like any other kid, he could frustrate the heck out of us, too. But this wasn’t about his imperfections; it was about what’s been given to me. It’s about what he’d do with the opportunity to make someone else’s life better. He’d take it. And so will I.

How Linda Got Her Groove Back

     Well, it’s been quite awhile and quite a journey since I last took a stab at this. I’ve made a huge, notable change to my life and that is the fact that I left my job at the pre-school and jumped into this full-time. It wasn’t an easy decision and I wrestled with it for months before….oh, heck!..It’s been in the works since I started Mary Kay, it just took me 2 1/2 years to work up the courage to step off the ledge.  So. It’s been six months of me chugging away at this, trying to figure it out and find a way to make it mine.

     I’ve always known my “Why” and have said from the beginning that it was for the freedom to work from home and, as time passed I began to want it for others whom I saw needed the extra income this business can provide. Here’s why this is important to me:

    My husband and I had four kids, three of those together. Our youngest son had muscular dystrophy and was handicapped his whole life. The life of anyone with this disease is generally not long and by the time he was 13 I could see we were really on the down hill slope. In October of his 14th year, he went into the hospital and the doctors told us he needed hospice care. They didn’t believe he’d make it to Christmas. They released him to go home and provided care so he could finish his life with his family.

    As you can imagine, this was devastating, but what made it worse was that, even though I wanted to be with him for as long as I could, I still had to go to work. My husbands’ income paid the bills, but my income bought groceries, gas, clothing and other essentials that were needed by the family. Every day I went to work and spent the entire time waiting for that phone call. All day, every day, for 10 months. We were blessed to have him several months longer than the doctors predicted, but the waiting-at -work aspect was torture.

    Well, God was good and my son passed away on an evening when we were all home so I never had to take that call, but I was angry about all the moments I missed because I had to be at work when I Wanted. Every. Last. Second. with him.  I had made the right call because my other kids needed what I provided, and I love them as much as I loved him but that didn’t make those moments any less gone.

    A couple of years later, I joined Mary Kay because, when I heard what the business was about, the idea of working from home resonated in my heart. Even though I didn’t have the same need as before, I knew I didn’t want to remain in the teaching job and this offered a way out. But still, it was the promise of freedom that spoke to me and the idea of helping someone else avoid the lack of options that broke my heart.

    As a teacher I saw so many families struggling to make ends meet. Some were single parents, some were married and both adults working, but still, they lived paycheck to paycheck and a day off meant one less day of pay. When you’re barely making it like that, a lost day is a real hardship. I hated to have to call them when their kids were ill because I knew it was hard for them, but, of course, I had to do it. That’s when my real purpose in doing this job began to come into focus.

    With this business, I have a chance to empower other people to have the choices I didn’t have when my son needed me most. Maybe I’ll never meet another mother who has the kind of dramatic circumstances I did, but so what?  Is their struggle any less significant to them? Isn’t their time with their children just as precious? Isn’t it just as lost when they have to go to work? The answer, of course, is yes.

    Even if they don’t work it full-time, even if it’s just a way to make some quick money to cover an unexpected bill or a day off or a better Christmas, at least they have an avenue of income that they can draw on from home. They can do as little or as much as they choose. Mary Kay, herself, set it up that way because she knew that women needed a way to balance work and family.

     What I get to offer is hope. Hope of something better; a chance to get off the treadmill of endless money worries and missed sports games or school functions. Or maybe the choice to be able to stay with their child in the hospital and not have to face the dread of a phone call at work when they already feel guilty for working.

    This past weekend, I had the privilege to host our Unit meeting in my home, which included our National Sales Director, Cindy Williams. You can’t get any higher on the ladder than NSD so this was an honor. During the evening we all stated our intention to become sales directors by June. Cindy was pleased and laid out all the requirements we needed to fill to make that goal and the time frame it required. I was suddenly aware of how woefully behind I was. And that’s when a shift happened in my brain.

    How can I fulfill my purpose if I don’t reach my own goals and dreams? What will I have to show that this IS a venture worth the effort? My word? I’ve been chugging through for almost three years now. Why should they believe me?

    Now is the time to get out there and do this. I have to show what this business can do for them by showing what it’s done for me and what it means to me. I hope you all can hear my heart: This isn’t about having people feel sorry for me so they buy from me. It’s about coming out the other side of the fire refined, purified and ready to help others. “My past makes me better, not bitter.”

    I have until January 31 to make the basic requirements to even submit for the director position. I’m finally ready to go all in. The pain of regret is now greater than the fear of talking to people about what I need to do and if they can help me get there. Currently, I need 7 more active team members and $1,800 in production. I’m calling all my contacts, messaging all my FaceBook friends and reaching out to strangers to get this done. I’m offering a special on the Satin hands sets, since they’re a universal product, good for both men or women. It’s a BOGO; buy one, get the next one 30% off, with the option to hold off buying the second set through March 12th. Or, there’s also the option to order any product $34 and over for 30%off as the second half of the BOGO. If I sell 100 specials by January 31, I’ll meet the production requirements, and what seemed impossible about 5 days ago has just become possible.

    Well, you’ve come this far with me; If you like what I stand for and you want to join my team or help me get my sales done, visit my web site at: www.marykay.com/lmcfarland92.  Thanks for listening.


Sittin’ on the dock of the Bay

     “Watching the tide roll away–Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay-y wa-astin’ ti-i-ime…”

      Well, the rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Also, I haven’t gone underground,  been sent up the river or fallen off the face of the earth.

      I could give you some really good excuses for my absence, but that’s just what they are; excuses. The holiday’s were enormously busy and I had been given some advice that put me at a crossroad as to my direction with my business.

     In November, we were blessed with a visit from our National Sales Director and our retiring  Senior National Sales Director. This was a big dog deal. These ladies are about as close to Mary Kay Ash herself as we’re going to get so this was pretty exciting. What made it even better for me was that we needed a venue for a special meeting  for just our unit and them and I was able to offer my mom’s house!  Thank you, Mom!

     Ladies had traveled from all over the country to take advantage of that weekend training ( including other sales directors) and they all came to my mom’s house! (There is just a bit of preening being done as I write that). I was really hoping to for a chance to share my idea with our NSD, Cindy Williams. This lady has been in the Million Dollar Circle five times so I was pretty eager to have a chance to pick her brain and get her opinion of my challenge program. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to do that since visiting NSD’s usually have a very tight schedule and there were quite a few ladies that were going to be recognized for their achievements at the meeting. As it happened, she sat next to me during dinner and I had the opportunity to explain what I was working on.  I told her about how it hit all the points I wanted to cover; new customers, referrals, and the possibilities of new team members. I had to admit that it seemed to have stalled out though, and I waited to see if she would have any advice.

     She listened very carefully to everything I said, looking me in the eye and nodding . When I was done, she gently, yet bluntly, said; “Uh huh, well, honey, that’s never going to work.”   I think my jaw hit the floor and my eyes probably looked like they were going  to fall out and land beside it.

     She  reminded me that Mary Kay is a business of personal service. I was never going to see the numbers grow because I was pinning my hopes on other people’s committment to my cause. One of the basic tenets of our company is the relationship we develop with our customers. Mary Kay works because the consultants really do care about the people we service. The challenge-takers would not have the passion I have for the company and products, nor the  knowledge needed to let people know why our product is the best, and why they should spend their hard-earned money for what I was selling.

      I won’t say this didn’t sting. I had spent quite a bit of time and energy, and some other people’s graciously donated time and energy ( I’ll always be grateful, Carolyn!),  putting together packets and invitations and coming up with new bundles to sell every month. I was sure I had come up with a brilliant business plan that would sky-rocket me to success and inspire and help others reach success as well. I was so positive I had a winning formula, I forgot a basic truth;  you can’t re-invent the wheel.

     On the other hand, it was a relief to hear her say that. I could see that it wasn’t working and since I was so sure it would, I thought the problem was me. It was becoming a big, depressing elephant strapped to my back that I was needlessly struggling to carry.  How could I ever hope to convince anyone that Mary Kay was a life-changing opportunity when all they saw was my frustrated efforts? Yet, I trudged on, telling myself  that I would only prove the doubting voices in my head right if I gave up. Yeah, it hurt to hear her tell me the truth, but it was like the pain you feel when the splinter in your heel is removed.

     I was liberated from the need to continue, but my hopes were so dashed, it took some time to recover. I don’t mean to imply I ever considered letting my business lapse, I just needed to re-set.

     This same weekend, as mentioned, we were having a special training seminar. It was called a ” November to Remember.” ( ….C’mon, don’t boo. What would YOU have called it?)

     Besides our esteemed  Mary Kay dignitaries, we had another guest speaker who had come in from New Mexico.  Her name is Deb Erickson and she’s a life coach and motivational speaker. I have to say, she was phenomenal.  During the hour and a half she shared with us, I learned so much about myself,  I forgot to mourn the death of my program. In fact, I had the most amazing break-through: I found my unit name.

    She told the story of her own breakthrough and how, at the end of a week-long seminar with another motivational speaker, she found the courage to do a firewalk. What got her through wasn’t skill, but seeing the people who went before her celebrating on the other side and calling for her to join them. She wanted to be where they were. She wanted to celebrate, too. If they could do it, so could she. And she did.

     Well, I want to be where Cindy Williams is. She says (with a thick Arkansas accent) “Girls, if I can do this, then so can you.” All I have to do is walk across my own fire, so to speak. She did it; why shouldn’t I?  Therefore, the name of my unit will be the Firewalkers. I have to cross that fire and celebrate with those on the other side, then I can be the one encouraging others to cross. Apropos, is it not?

     First, though, I have to go back to basics and try to master those skills that are tried and true for every successful Mary Kay business owner. And try not be distracted by trying to build a better mouse-trap….