By Beth Domsten
Hi, my name is Beth Domsten and I am an authorized dealer of Suspended In Time® of Odessa and Midland. The first time I heard about Suspended In Time® was in November 2005 eight days after my daughters funeral. I was searching for anything that could preserve the memories of my precious daughter. I would like to share with you the events that led up to me becoming a dealer with Suspended In Time.®
On November 2, 2005, my nine year old daughter, Alissa, passed away. My family and I were devastated. We had expected God to heal her on this earth not in heaven. For almost two years she had bravely undergone radiation and chemotherapy to help shrink her brain stem tumor. Even during the last several months of her life Alissa never complained. Alissa was and will continue to be an inspiration to myself and many others.
Alissas Celebration of Life Service was held on November 7, 2005. Over the next several days I went out to her grave and picked up a variety of different flowers that I had hoped to preserve. I hung dozens of flowers upside down to dry and pressed other flowers in a book. I had asked a few places around town if they knew any way to preserve flowers. Their only suggestions were what I had already done. On November 15, I decided to call Valerie, (a friend of mine) and ask her if she knew how to press flowers. When Valerie called me back, she told me that her mom knew of a company that preserves flowers Suspended In Time,® and that the closest Suspended In Time® dealer lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico (six hours away).
Valerie said that she called Anita, the dealer, and was told we could mail the flowers. I was weary about sending the flowers in the mail since they were already a week and a half old. The majority of the flowers had already died. The remainder flowers were all that I had left from Alissas funeral. I decided that it would be safer for the flowers if I drove them to Anita personally instead of having them bounced around in the mail. I had never been to Albuquerque before, but I decided to drive there myself. I didnt care if it took six hours to get there. Valerie surprised me when she offered to drive to Albuquerque with me. We both informed our husbands about our adventure, and we left Odessa at 5:00 p.m. with three small kids and a suburban full of flowers.
The next morning, Valerie and I took my flowers to Anita and had our first encounter with a Suspended In Time® dealer. Anita showed us samples of different encasements that she had made. We were very impressed. She mentioned to us that it is a wonderful business opportunity if we would ever be interested in becoming a dealer, especially since there wasnt any other dealer in Texas. After I had picked out my frame and decided on the engraving and other details of the encasement, we got up to leave. As I was starting to walk out the door, I had to fight back the tears. The feeling that came over me is unexplainable. I felt so thankful that Anita was going to be able to preserve not only Alissas flowers but also include a few other sentimental things in the encasement a picture of her with Sponge Bob and a little violin pick that was in one of her flower arrangements.
On our drive back to Odessa, Valerie and I talked about what Anita had said about Suspended In Time® being a great business opportunity. I used to work part-time as a secretary at Alissas elementary school. I hadnt returned to work after Alissas death yet, and I wasnt really sure if I wanted to. I mentioned to Valerie that my heart really wasnt in returning to Milam Elementary School. I thought if Alissas encasement of funeral flowers meant so much to me, there are other people who would want to preserve their treasured memories also. I thought if I started a business with Suspended In Time,® I would not only be able to help people preserve their memories, but I would also be able to minister to them. Having lost a daughter of my own, I can relate to others who have lost loved ones. I thought I could share the love of Christ with others and offer them encouragement and hope. Even though Alissa is gone and we miss her every single day, we dont mourn as those who have no hope.
I told Valerie that I would have to pray about this job opportunity. I didnt want to rush into anything. I wanted to make sure that it was what God wanted me to do. Valerie agreed with me and also stated that she didnt see me going back to Milam Elementary School.
When I returned home from Albuquerque I told my husband, Lyn, about the job opportunity with Suspended In Time.® We both agreed that we should pray about it. In early December, Lyn and I drove six hours to Albuquerque to pick up my encasement that Anita had made. When we saw the finished encasement we were amazed. Anita had done such a wonderful job. I knew that I would cherish this forever. While we were at Anitas house, we asked several questions about the business. She was very friendly and helpful. After leaving Anitas house we both decided that becoming a Suspended In Time® dealer would probably be a great business opportunity to invest in. However, we still werent ready to jump into it without praying some more. We wanted to be sure this was exactly what the Lord wanted us to do.
Over the next month, Lyn and I continued to pray for direction. Lyn and I were leaning toward starting the business, but we werent 100% sure. On January 3rd I decided to call the central office of Suspended In Time.® I wanted to find out more information about the business. I was able to talk to several of the workers Shelley, Rachelle, and MaryLee. They were all so friendly and helpful. I told MaryLee my story about how I found out about Suspended In Time.® I told her that we had a little life insurance money left over from Alissa. I mentioned that we could use this money in three different ways: (1) Our other daughter, Tessa, will graduate in 1 1/2 years. We could save this money for her college fund. (2) We could use this money to pay on our medical bills, or (3) We could use the rest of the money to start up the business. MaryLee said that she felt it would be nice to have a business in memory of Alissa. She mentioned that if it werent for Alissa, I would have never heard about Suspended In Time.®; I agreed. I was given lots of information about the company that I later shared with Lyn. Within the next day or two, Lyn and I decided that we would join the Suspended In Time® Family and become a dealer for Odessa and Midland. We figured Texas needed a business that could preserve peoples cherished memories.
Looking back from November 2nd to January 3rd, I could see Gods hand in orchestrating the events that would lead up to me becoming a Suspended In Time® dealer. After praying for almost two months, not only did I feel that God was calling me to start this business, but it seemed that God allowed certain situations in my life that I cant take as coincidence. I will share a few with you: (1) The canopy tent was left over Alissas flowers and grave for six days. The usual amount of time it stays there is for one to two days. The ground keeper said that when the canopy is removed, the flowers usually only last two days before the sun wilts them. I didnt even hear about Suspended In Time® until eight days after her funeral. If the canopy had been removed in the 1 2 days as usual, I wouldnt have had any flowers that stayed alive to preserve. (2) Alissa was buried approximately 25 30 feet from a water hose. Usually the cemetery has underground sprinklers that dont require a hose hookup. However, since there were trees in the nearby distance that needed watering, the hose was needed. I was able to water Alissas flowers every day in order to preserve their life. Without this water, the flowers wouldnt have survived 8 days. (3) No one in Odessa had ever heard about Suspended In Time.® When I asked my friend, Valerie, she asked her mother who lives in Roswell, New Mexico. If Valeries mother didnt own a floral shop, Valerie would have never asked her if she knew how to preserve flowers and we never would have heard about Suspended In Time.® Valeries mother lived only three hours away from a Suspended In Time® dealer. She had heard about the company and no floral shop in Odessa had. (4) When Valerie and I drove up to Albuquerque, New Mexico we stayed overnight with Valeries friend. To our surprise, Anita the Suspended In Time® dealer lived less than five minutes away from Valeries friend. Albuquerque is a huge town. What is the coincidence of being less than 5 minutes away? There is none. It was God. (5) I read a devotional on New Years Eve. It was titled Your Year of Grace and Favor. It asked, "What do you want to see happen this year? Does it include owning your own business? You alone know what makes your heart leap." "The Lord longs to be gracious to you." Isaiah 30:18. When I read this, it was as if the Lord spoke to me. I thought, "Yes, I want to start my own business." (6) New Years Day devotional also spoke to me. It said that "A change of season can come disguised as a job lay-off or the loss of a loved one. Seasons of growth are opportunities that keep you progressing towards the ultimate fulfillment of Gods plan for your life. Sticking with the familiar can be fatal. Its dangerous to wait until your circumstances change before making a move that God has already ordained. You should move without doubt or hesitation whenever God says its time. Get rid of your old attitudes that are hindering you from confidently moving into the next season God has for you." *(7) One day I was cleaning off my bookshelf and I noticed the book called A Purpose Driven Life. I was curious what page I left off, so I opened the book to where the book mark was. To my surprise, highlighted in yellow were the words "Use the money God gives you to bring people to Christ." When I read this I thought "Wow." This is a confirmation that the leftover life insurance money should be used to start my business with Suspended In Time® instead of saving it for Tessas college fund or paying off medical bills. I will be able to comfort the hurting and share the love of Christ with so many different people as I run my business.
Since Lyn and I decided to start up a business with Suspended In Time,® the next few days were busy as we tried to figure out the best possible flight plan that would take us to Utah on January 2327. Lyns boss was gracious enough to let him take an extended period of time off. We were fortunate to be able to have the training session all to ourselves with one on one instruction. Both Lyn and I completed the training course. What a blessing to have a husband also trained so that he can help out with the business when needed. Everyone at the Suspended In Time® corporate office in Utah was fantastic. They were so friendly and helpful. We had a wonderful time during our training session and met people that will remain special friends forever!
We received our machine and supplies about the second week in February 2006. I have been keeping myself busy building up my flower supply so that I can make encasements and get them distributed throughout places in Odessa and Midland. Since starting my business, I have had the opportunity to preserve flowers from a wedding, a wedding shower, a retirement party, and three different funerals. I can still remember the expression on one mother who had lost her baby. She and her mom both were so touched when they each saw their completed encasement that they both said that they could cry. They were so appreciative. They each said that they loved their encasement and couldnt thank me enough. Their response reminded me of how I felt when I received my encasement of Alissas funeral flowers. I could never put a price on the 16 x 20 encasement of my beloved daughter Alissa. It is priceless. After seeing their response, I thought, "Thank you God that with your help I am able to create a treasured memory for others." This is what it is all about.
I thank God for Phillip and MaryLee Bennett who so wonderfully invented the new rapid drying technology that preserves floral arrangements. I also would like to thank the corporate office workers. They are always there for their dealers whenever we have a question. I have never had such a fantastic support group. Thanks you guys. You are awesome! And a very special "thank you" goes out to Valerie and her mom. I never would have heard about Suspended In Time® if it werent for them. And last but not least, "thank you" to Anita Feight who did a fantastic job on Alissas encasement.
Suspended In Time® is an exciting business to get into. Since our business was started in memory of Alissa, all our invoices, flyers, business cards and labels always have some sort of phrase that states, "In Memory of Alissa," "In Memory of Alissa Our Beloved Angel" or "In Memory of Alissa Our Beloved Daughter." Alissas bedroom has become my office where I complete all of the encasements. I find comfort in working in her room, and I think about her every day while I am working on an encasement or preserving the flowers. I know that God had His plan in me starting this business from the beginning. I am excited to watch my business grow and look forward to the opportunity to not only preserve peoples most cherished memories, but also minister to them and share the love of Christ. This is what Alissa would have wanted me to do. She had such a deep love for not only Jesus but for other people as well. I know that she would be very pleased to see that we joined the Suspended In Time® family. If I ever become stressed and think that a job is overwhelming or too hard, I will remind myself of what Isaiah 41:10 says, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." And finally, I can be encouraged by Philippians 4:13 which states that, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."