Dear Holly: Your Tour of Kindergarten This Week!

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

As you are now just a few weeks away from your 5th birthday, Mommy and I took you this week for your official tour of Kindergarten!

We were in a group of other upcoming Kindergartners; even one from your current preschool.

Once you begin Kindergarten this fall, it will be the only year that you and your brother will be at the same school at the same time; as he will be in the oldest grade of the school, as a 5th grader.

You are very excited about starting Kindergarten; which happens to be at the biggest elementary school in our county, which happens to be in walking distance of our house.

I am confident you are going to love it!

Love,

Daddy

The Jew(ish) T-Shirt: For People Like Me, Who Are Only Partially Jewish

How Jewish do you need to be in order to still be considered Jewish? Or maybe more importantly, how Jewish do you need to be in order to wear the new t-shirt I finally bought for myself:

Jew(ish).

It is a complex and complicated topic. After all, you can have 100% Jewish heritage going all the way back to Israel, yet not actually be a practicing Jew- observing the culture and faith.

On the flip side, you can be like Connie Chung, a Chinese-American, who adopted an identity of Judaism when she married her husband Maury Povich. She is kosher and attends synagogue.

And then there are plenty people in-between, like me.

My mother and I had always specifically felt connected to Jewish people. As a kid, I assumed we were in deed Jewish. I didn’t question it.

Then, a few years ago, my mother’s DNA test confirmed what most self-identifying Jewish people are telling me: Because my mother’s test shows she is 15.2% Sephardic Jewish (via Italy), that means that I am, as well.

Coincidentally (?), I have faithfully remained kosher for over 11 years now; well before DNA tests were easily accessible.

Therefore, I feel confident in qualifying to be worth of the Jew(ish) t-shirt.

If you feel that you qualify, as well, just click this link to find the best deal on Amazon, like I did.

Shalom… I guess.

 

Should Christians Forfeit the Right to Be Offended?

If you know me at all, you know that a fundamental life motto of mine is this:

“It is your personal decision, 100% of the time, whether to be offended, insulted, disrespected, to let someone hurt your feelings, or to just simply be ready to instantly forgive.”

That’s an epiphany I had shortly after my 35th birthday. So for the past 3 years, I have been living in that knowledge. That nugget of wisdom has only improved the quality of my life and truly has given my freedom from arbitrary burdens I used to carry.

I have also accepted the reality that anything a person believes, in their own mind, is true.

If someone thinks I’m wrong, immoral, ignorant, immature, lazy, unqualified, too serious, too silly, too conservative, too liberal…

They are always right. To them, it is truth. To them, it is reality.

Therefore, it is a waste of my time, energy, and emotions to attempt to prove them wrong in their perception. It is most likely that they have identity protective cognition, so that my attempts to correct their perspective about me will only reinforce what they already believe about me.

I feel this is the example Jesus gave when he was being questioned by Pilate (in Mark, Chapter 15):

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Granted, I believe that often, when one person makes any kind of judgment call regarding another person’s character, there is a good chance that are simply broadcasting their own insecurities or uncertainties about their own identity.

As a human being, I forfeit my right to be offended. I openly invite the free world to call me every name in the book.

Ultimately, only I get to determine whether I am a victim, a villain, or a victor.

It is my opinion, as a Christian, that it is ideal for Christians to forfeit the right to be offended. Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek.

That implies the importance of not only taking the hit, but giving the “offender” the opportunity to strike again.

I see this is a healthy state of being: to be ready at any time to instantly forgive anyone.

Instead of being offended, I say we should use those opportunities to extend grace to the person; whether they are a believer or not.

Who knows? That surprising response of grace could prove to be the simple act of kindness to help minister to the would-be “offender”.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. And if that’s what you believe, I won’t try to prove otherwise.

Dear Holly: Your New Christmas Lights for Your Bed

3 years, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend, Mommy surprised you by decorating your bed with some rainbow Christmas lights!

You are so proud to go to bed each night, under the festive glow.

I’m not sure how that coincides with your bed sheets you currently have, which are covered in poop emojis.

But to you, it makes perfect sense.

Actually, I have a feeling it’s going to be difficult to convince you to get rid of these lights once Christmas is over.

I guess we’ll have to revisit this topic here in a few weeks, or maybe next year!

Love,

Daddy

How to Make Funeral Arrangements at the Last Minute

Did your loved one unexpectedly pass away? Your next step is to plan a funeral on short notice. Discover how to make funeral arrangements quickly.

How often do you think about dying? Even if you don’t obsess about your own death, you might think about what might happen if someone you love dies.

What would you do if a family member, partner, or close friend died unexpectedly and you had the job of planning their funeral?

Unless you’ve made a career of it, or you’ve planned the funerals for other loved ones, you have no idea how to make funeral arrangements. You’re not alone, and shouldn’t be at a time like this.

We want to take a minute and help you prepare for this difficult event. Read this post, print it out or save it in your archives. You’ll have a step-by-step plan at your fingertips.

Work with a Checklist

In a perfect world, you’d have time to talk with your loved one ahead of time. If you’re dealing with an unexpected death, you won’t have the luxury of knowing what they wanted for their final goodbye.

Making a funeral checklist as soon as possible after the death will make the rest of the planning process go smoothly.

The checklist should come before you set the funeral budget. Get together with other immediate family members and ask for input. Funerals have a way of bringing even the most disconnected families together and you should take care to not leave anyone out.

Make an extra effort to include people who’ve committed to helping you pay for the funeral expenses. A funeral checklist should include the following details:

  • Funeral Venue
  • Size
  • Viewing
  • Funeral Officiant
  • Reception

These are the basics, but you and your family should feel free to modify the checklist to serve your unique needs.

Put Together the Funeral Budget

What a relief if your loved one put money aside for their funeral expenses! Sometimes that isn’t possible, and you’ll end up covering the costs. If that’s the case with your situation, it’s up to you and your family to determine how much you can spend.

Planning a funeral and doing it with a budget in mind, doesn’t have to divide the family.

Emotions usually run high when a family faces the death of a person they love. Each person deals with the loss in their own way. Sometimes that includes going overboard with extravagant funeral details.

Putting together a budget and sticking with it can help make the entire funeral planning process easier for everyone.

The Money Talk

In 2019, the average funeral cost is between $7,000 and $9,000. Buying the casket is often your highest expense. If you’ve decided on cremation, you may spend anywhere from $2000-$4000.

Paying for a funeral is difficult enough if you’re on your own and don’t have the money. If you have siblings or other family members who want to have a say in things, it’s even harder.

While you certainly can’t force anyone to contribute, you should present the budget and the funeral checklist so that everyone who needs to be involved gains an understanding of how much money you’ll need.

It’s easiest if each person can pay an equal amount towards the costs. Maybe you have family members who can’t afford to pay as much as the others. Whatever you do, don’t make them feel uncomfortable—encourage them to contribute what they can (if anything) financially.

You’ll have plenty of tasks you can divide up among the group. Allow people to share in that aspect of the funeral so that they feel like they’re contributing something even if it’s not money.

Is There a Life Insurance Policy?

Another blessing many people forget about when a loved one dies suddenly is a life insurance policy.

It’s great if you’re the beneficiary of a policy because it’s possible you can use the money for funeral expenses. Contact the insurance company for instructions about filing a claim. Keep in mind that you may need to cover the funeral initially while waiting for the claim processing.

Don’t rule out seeking help with funeral expenses from a church or other community group where your loved one had ties. Also, if they were a veteran, check with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for information on filing a claim.

Taking Care of the Body

No one wants to think about transporting a loved one’s body, but it’s a necessary part of the planning process.

Nursing homes and hospitals take care of moving the body to a funeral home. If the person dies at home or away from a healthcare facility, a coroner typically comes and officially pronounces the death.

Depending on your location, your state may require an autopsy. You’ll pay to transport the body to a morgue for the autopsy, and then to the funeral home.

Another part of taking care of your loved one’s remains deals with paperwork such as the Death Registration, Death Certificate, Burial Permit. Usually, you can get information on these forms from the Department of Health, also called the Department of Statistics in some counties.

Planning the Funeral Service

Now you can plan the funeral or memorial service for your loved one.

The traditional funeral service consists of 3 parts:

  • Visitation
  • Service
  • Burial

If you decide on a traditional funeral, you can hold the visitation and service at a funeral home. You can also hold the service at a place of worship. If you prefer a unique funeral service, consider any of the following locations:

  • A hotel
  • A boat
  • At home

People also hold funeral services in parks or natural areas. If your loved one enjoyed the ocean, consider a seaside service.

A viewing isn’t necessary, but do plan a service or memorial where people can come and say goodbye.

Now You Know How to Make Funeral Arrangements

Even though it’s not something any of us want to dwell on, it’s helpful to have a plan for the day a loved one dies.

Making a funeral checklist, putting together a budget, taking care of the business side of death, and finally planning the service is all part of knowing how to make funeral arrangements.

After reading this, hopefully, you feel more prepared for that day when it comes.

If you found this post helpful, continue reading through our archives. You’ll find articles on everything family. Thanks for reading!