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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Simplify Sunday 5/16

Debby McCuiston, self-proclaimed "Queen of Clutter-Free", does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of "clutter", and focusing on what's important.  We're really love this weekly segment - and hope you will too!  Take it away Debby...

This week had a bit of a sad beginning. A very Godly, southern lady went home to see Jesus. She was 90 years old and in complete control of her life and had no problem letting you know what was what, just in case you had a question. She lived her life with the sole intent of telling others about Jesus. She was one of the ladies that you wanted on your side. She seemed to have a direct line to the Lord. If you needed someone to pray, she was your warrior.

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I met her a few years ago when she move from Alabama to Tennessee to live with her daughter and son-in-law. Right away I knew she was a very special lady. She "dressed" for church just like a good southern lady,always looking her best. She treated me and my family like she had always known us and we were family and we grew to love her in a very special way. She stood in as one of my daughter's grandmothers at her wedding. At her memorial service, one person after another stood to tell about something funny she did or a special note she sent, but the underlying theme was how much she wanted to make sure Jesus was your savior. She was so excited to meet "her Jesus" that she was buried in her wedding dress. She is now in heaven as the bride of Christ. Can you imagine the look on the angels faces as she arrived dressed ready to meet her Groom. Now that is planning!!

This week I would like for us to think about the best gift that we can give our families at the moment of our death. Yes, I know this is something many of us don't want to think about. Not thinking about planning for the end of our lives will not keep it from happening. I hate to be the bearer of bad news--- but there will be a time for each of us to say goodbye to this earthly body. I know you don't want to worry your pretty little head about this, but it is time to get it done.  This week I said goodbye to a 90 year old friend, but I also watched a family grieve over the loss of a sweet 31 year old.

When my father passed away 4 years ago, I realized how important it is to give a final gift to your family. My dad and mom made sure everything, as far as their end of life details, were taken care of. They had picked out and paid for their plots, coffins and headstones. I am not sure if they did that for them or for us. (That way they didn't have to be worried about being buried in some tacky coffin or one the wrong side of the graveyard. People in the south talk about those things after you are gone). They had planned out the details of who was in charge of what, and directions on how things where to be done. Most things that need to be done you really don't think about until it's too late. Of course, that was my dad, a "Detail Guy". He left everything done to make sure that no one had to stress about what to do. I think it was one of the kindest gifts my dad every did for all of us.

My special friend also gave this gift to her family. She had worked at a funeral home for 65 years, so she realized how important this gift was. One of the last things she did as she moved from Alabama was to stop by the funeral home and get her plans in order. I am sure she had helped many families make arrangements for loved ones that had passed away. These are some of the hardest decisions you will make if you've never talked about it with your loved ones.
I know some families that won't make plans, thinking their family can do whatever they want to at the time of their death. That may sound fine, but the unexpected expense of a funeral can be devastating. I would hate for my kids to go into debt to bury me, wanting to give me the best funeral possible. (Of course my kids will know they are to take a cruise and throw me overboard, I love the water and probably will never get to go on a cruise, so I like my plan- plus I really love a good celebration).

There are several things to get in order for making end-of-life plans. This will be a very hard thing to do, but remember you are doing it as a gift for the people you love. One of the first things you will need to do is make a will. There are several places you can go to get help for this. If you have a lawyer in you life, that's the best place to get started. There are many places on the Internet to help you make out your will. Next you can make arrangements to pick out your coffin, plot and headstone. Most funeral homes will set up payments to help you get these paid for in a timely manner. If your budget is too tight to get this done, at least see if you can pay for one thing at a time. Think of it as a very important gift to give your loved ones.
If you are a real detail person, go ahead and pick out the songs, pallbearers, and whatever else you want. One of the most important things is what Dave Ramsey refers to as your "love drawer". This is a certain place to keep all the important documents that your family will need. You can use a drawer in your desk or an accordion folder, or keep them in a lock box at the bank. This special spot should hold your life insurance policies, will, living will and account numbers. Please include the phone numbers of people to contact: your lawyer, accountant, and insurance agent. Make sure you also include your wishes for how you want to be treated in the event you can't make decisions because of your health (Life support or Hospice).  It is very hard on a family member to be given the responsibility to make these decisions for you.

I know these are hard things to work on, but it is part of getting our things in order. Also it's helps to put things in perspective on what we choose to give to others or get rid of now. Do we want to leave things to someone that will add value to their life or will it just add more clutter to their life? God wants us to look forward to the time we will get to meet Him in heaven. I am sure that by taking the time to make these plans we can rest, knowing we have given our families one last and best gifts to them.

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