Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Awards and Accolades

Last night at Hal's volleyball banquet, I was expecting $10 food, and some fun company in the form of the other parentals that I adore on this team.

Not expecting awards (she's a freshman on a Soph/Jr/Senior dominate team).

I had hoped that her JV coach would at least acknowledge her, but no.  Nada.

So when the Varsity coach got up there, I was half listening, because I didn't think there would be any way, being the last kid pulled up, etc.

Well.... didn't know there was a Most Improved Player.

The coach's speech about her went a little like this....

"At the first of the season, I knew she was a great possibility.  I watched her grow all season, as a player, and keep everyone entertained as a goofball.  We never knew what would happen when she went out on the court.  We knew she had the capability of smashing it in their faces,  when she hit, there was nothing the other team could do. Then, other times, she'd hit, and we'd all think to ourselves, "Well that just happened.  Good job, girl, keep swinging."  (LOL)  But, then, we had to do a tournament without her, and her presence was missed, both her playing and her ability to keep us smiling.  That is why the most improved player award goes to..... Hallie Hembree."

 She also commented several times about her goofiness, with the disclaimer that she loved her, despite the goofiness, and overall paid her a great compliment.

I was very proud.  I was also proud of her friends, Rachel Maddy, who got Best Defensive Player on the Freshman Team.  And Abbey Woodrow received MVP for JV, and earlier in the year, when Hallie's club coach from last year (who received her as a brand new, freshly hatched player and taught her to block) watched Hallie and Abbey play together (Hallie as the middle and Abbey as the setter), and told me, after finding out Abbey was a freshman, too "By the time they are seniors, they will be unstoppable, what a pair".  Very exciting stuff.

I'm very proud of Hallie.  She has tackled volleyball with a laser focus, and it has really paid off for her.  I am thrilled to death to watch her move on to Club Volleyball in the next couple of months, and really continue to grow and learn more and more.   She's finally settled on a club that she wants to play for, the coach is amazing and the girls are all a tight knit group that have a laser focus similar to Hal's, so it should be a ton of fun this year.  Lots of driving, lots of tournaments, LOTS of fingernail biting fun.   And tons of pictures and blogs I'm sure. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Funeral Seller

I have a weird job. 

A good weird, but weird, none the less.

And I LOVE it. 

I've done this weird job for several years now, with a 4 year hiatus, right smack dab in the middle of it. 

But now that I'm back, I'm home.  I enjoy the horse pucky out of it.  And that's a lot. 

I'm a funeral seller. 

Yep.  I sell funerals. 

There are many names for this.  Prearrangement specialist, family service, preneed counselor, arrangement advisor, sales counselor, you name it, we have been called it.

Bottom line.... I sell funerals to people. 

Because it's the only thing in the world that for certain is going to happen to you. 

You.  Are.  Going.  To.  Die.   Wheeeeeee.......doesn't that sound like a fun job!!?!?!?!?!?!

When I first got into it, Lacey and Kip were still fairly young, and it was very disconcerting for them to tell people what I do.... I always kidded they would rather tell their friends I was a dancer than a funeral salesman.   But in truth, Kip was always freaked out.  Especially after she visited Baggerly South Funeral Home with me back in the day, and being the curious little being she was, as she toured the facility on her own, she came running into my office, with a pale little face, and informed me, "there is a dead lady in parlor A".    Well, uhm,  Yes, Kip, dead people are usually in our parlors.  That's what they are there for.   And another time, I can't remember if it was Hallie or Kip, but they were up at the funeral home with me, and we had 2 people there, and one was overloaded with flowers, just all in the hall and the room was overflowing, massive flowers, and the other person had died with no family, so no flowers.  It almost broke my tenderhearted child in two, "Can we please put some flowers into her room, she needs flowers too mom".  Sigh. 

Then there is Lacey, who also worked at the cemetery with me for a few years and referred to the mausoleum, the place of eternal rest as the "Dead Barn". 

Yes, we are a peculiar family of oddities. 

Here's the dealio....I have three types of customers.  The Prepared, The Ostrich, and The Idiot. 

The Prepared is the person whose #1 concern is their family.  They don't want them to have to be out a dime, or have to make one decision on their behalf.  They sit with me and figure out what is needed, they pay for their casket and services (either at once, or over time insured) and not one thing is left to the kids to have to either come up with money for, or agonize over, in making decisions.  I love these people.  This is the reason I exist.  Everyone knows my dad died at 60 years of age.  Suddenly, without warning.  That was the worst day of our lives.  I should say worst week of our lives.  Making all those expensive decisions, and in a hurry and fog of grief.   Ugh.  That is no way to plan a funeral.  I don't blame my dad, he was young.  He had lots of time.  Don't make that mistake, if you love your family, talk to me about how you protect them.

The Ostrich is the person that knows that death is going to happen, but as long as they don't talk about it, it won't happen.  This is tough.  Most men are curled in the fetal position, unwilling to talk about losing their spouses.  Most children, when approached by their parents, wanting to take care of this for their kids, their kids going nuts and unwilling to talk to them about it, by NOT talking about it, it won't happen.  Ostriches wear me thin.  Not out, but thin. 

Because last but not least are the idiots.  These are the people that say stuff like,  "I will let my kids deal with it."  "It won't happen to me"   "I'll donate my body to science"   "Just throw me in a pine box and call it a day"  (At least the pine box people have given it some thought, so they might fall in the ostrich category). Seriously, these people wear me out.   Because at the end of the day, NOTHING is taken care of.

And I can tell by the way the family enters the funeral home, if their plans are prearranged.  There is a calm that permeates people that are prepared, and it is powerfully awesome.  The ones that come in with no idea how they are going to pay for it, how much it's going to cost, where they are going to go to bury mom or dad, or even what to dress them in....that's a sad appointment.  That was us, taking care of my dad.  And what's lucky, was we had the money to pay for it, but my frugal dad would have flipped over at our price tag. 

So, take the time and visit with me.  Let me educate you on funerals.  My catchphrase is "I put the FUN in FUNeral."   Buying a funeral is a smart choice.  YES, life insurance is a great thing.  I'm not dissing life insurance in any way, shape or form, but I've never seen a life insurance policy walk into a funeral home and pick out a casket.  That's the hard part.  I have a paid for funeral AND life insurance, because my family deserves that.  But they will buy me flowers.  That's the only thing I didn't pay for, cause they better cough up some cash and buy me some carnations. 

The best love letter you can give your family is the peace of prearrangement.  Pick it out, pay for it and give your family the best gift you can give them for this christmas and every christmas from now on,  Peace of mind.   It's only a phone call away.  Ask your parents if they have prearranged their funerals yet.  If they haven't, call me.  After I get them taken care of, it's your turn. 

Call me.  You will be glad you did. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Prayer Warriors Needed

Life is so unpredictable. 

This whole week has been a celebration of high proportions.  Lacey marrying her soulmate equal, Hallie finishing the season, the Lovelies making breakthroughs in their healing. 

Everything so wonderful.

Then out of the blue, the hits start coming. 

A very dear friend of mine, has been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.  This terrible disease is a landmine of wastefulness.  I've watched several acquaintances succumb to this very quick, lethal sentence. 

This gentle man, who laughs at ALL my jokes, good, bad or ugly is going to die.  Not in his sleep at a very old age, but sadly, much sooner than any of us expected.

He loves his grandkids.  He loves his motorcycle.  But mainly, and most importantly, he loves the Lord.  and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he will be in heaven, and met by his little bald headed friend, the minute the Lord takes him home.

So I need all of my prayer warriors to pray for this family.  Pray for the kids, Jessi and her family, and Russ and his family, as they struggle to make sense of all of this. 

I believe in the goodness and the power of God.  I believe that we have earthly struggles and disappointments and sadness, to learn to depend on Him.  I believe that when we are rooted so deeply in our Lord's promise, that nothing this world can throw on us can shake us.  There is unfairness in many things of this life, but God didn't promise perfection, He promised He would never leave our side when the bad things happened.  And He never does.  The only way to get through trials is to NOT lean on your own understanding, and let Him carry you through the days.  Some days are only one second at a time.  You get through the day one second at a time.  Breathing prayers of pain, of sorrow, of uncertainty.  God gets it.  He knows our sorrow, and he knows our pain.  He only asks us to trust Him with it and bring it to him. 

So I'm asking my warriors to stand with me, and pray for peace for this precious family.  To give them strength only HE can give, in the days and months ahead, and for Robert to find peace that passeth understanding as he journeys on. 

Even in the hardest of times, God is good. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I am seriously the world's worst secret keeper.  I develop tourette's syndrome when keeping a secret and blurt things out to random strangers.

It's really a trial.

Lacey and Tyler decided to get married October 4.  When the planning first started it was going to be a small, "them and the preacher and their witnesses" event.

Then two weeks ago, Lacey decided she needed her people there, and was talking to me about Skyping  Kip in at the chapel, and surely to goodness they had WIFI there.  I could hold the Ipad and Kip could watch.


One quick call to her daddy and a plane ticket later, we all had a little secret to keep.

For. Two. Weeks.

We all decided that it was best not to tell Gram or Grandma, because they might inadvertently blurt it out, not meaning to.

Trust me, though, I am the WORST.  I ended up telling Hallie because my eye was beginning to twitch, and I had to tell someone.   I went in to find Lacey at her work one day, and ended up blurting it out to Linzy Hall, her co-worker and partner in crime, who cried in her office and reinforced it to me that Lacey could NOT know.

Oh, The. Pressure.

So I avoided.  I didn't talk to my mom, I barely talked to Lacey and I tried to put it out of my mind.  Except for then, at a volleyball game, as my brain, constantly on alert to NOT divulge any secrets to people, let one of my friends, Laurie Miller, in on the fact she was getting married  (Wanting to keep that a secret as well) says to me,  "Oh, is she having a shower????".... gets me to thinking, I have enough secrets I'm trying to keep, let's throw another one in for good measure, and MAKE IT A DOOZY.

So I planned a shower.  A surprise Shower.  And if it hadn't been for Donna Brewer Gibson, and the swell folks at Havenbrook letting me use their beautiful and handy as a pocket on a shirt, event center, I would have NEVER pulled that one off.

But first things first.  Kip getting here.  She called me the night before (Thursday) and wailed to me, "I just lied to my sister for an HOUR!  She skyped me and wanted to talk strategy and wedding details and I just lied and lied".  That's tough for my straight as an arrow Kipster.  I told her it was ok, I hadn't spoken to mom in 2 weeks.  (Later my mom tells me, "I thought you were mad at me") So, here you go.

Then as I raced back to Norman to get the kids and head back to Edmond with them, my mom, and cousin Mike (who snuck up for the big event), my girl had her sisters in tow.  It was pretty awesome.

Then we did this.  And all of us cried.

Especially LB, sitting by me.  I looked over at him, and tears were streaming down his face, and I hugged him and he said, "I so emotional. This so beautiful".  And he was right.

You pray and pray that your children have a great life.  And pray and pray that their choices are wise.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my Lacey will have a great life, and made a wise choice as I watched this gentle man with a servant's heart commit his life to hers.  It was so beautiful.

That was Friday night.

Saturday was a whirlwind of preparation, because, of COURSE, I waited until the very last second to make the final food purchases for the shower.

Because that's the way I roll.

One thing for certain.  In a pinch, Walmart will NEVER let you down.  Told them to put the happy couple's name on the cake.  No Congratulations or Best Wishes....because I've seen what happens when people try to spell congradulashuns.  Just their names.  That's all i wanted.  Was that too much to ask??

We are so lucky.  Even redneck spelling on the cake would only happen to us.   

And it, like everything else that happened over the weekend, Was Perfection.  

Great Shower, Great Wedding, Great friends, great memories.  

Congradulashuns Mister and Misses Holt, I wish you nothing but joy and love your whole lives.