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.