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