Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fibromyalgia, Bridesmaid Shoes, and C.S. Lewis

It's a random combination of things:  fibromyalgia, bridesmaid shoes, and C.S. Lewis but they all came together to completely describe my state of being Thursday, which, led to a whirlwind of events that have kept me away from my computer and from telling my latest adventure.

I have fibromyalgia.  It hit me this week that it has now been officially 10 years of living with it in a full fledged state, although I have probably had it much longer.  For anyone that doesn't know what this painful condition is, it is much like arthritis except that it isn't degenerative but the pain is much more widespread and chronic.  In the past 15 years, I can remember four days that I did not have pain and while I can honestly say that I long for more days like those, it is hard since it allows me to feel like I imagine what everyone else does and reminds me of what I don't have.  However, the fibro has totally changed me for the better, or more accurately, God has changed me for the better using the fibro.  And while there is no known cure for the disease, I think I can honestly say that I wouldn't change it since I know the person I am today is a much more mature, empathetic individual than the person I probably would have become and for that I am thankful.  With that as my preface, I have been having a bit of a flare up lately and just got off some drugs that were helping but I couldn't continue since I'm scared of long term side effects. 

Here's where the bridesmaid shoes come it:  I purchased some super cute shoes for my sister's wedding before I got off the medicine and now, in the midst of the flare up, have come to the somber realization that four inch heels are not going to be ideal for someone who has to walk with a cane some days.  Tempting to try it since they are sooooo cute but... broken ankle or different shoes.... broken ankle or different shoes... different shoes it is then! 

My sister in-law is getting married too this fall so I thought I would be efficient and get pair of shoes that would work for both weddings.  My target heel height is two inches to avoid my bridesmaid dress from being too short.  So began my quest for black, two inch, comfy, no ankle strap (cuz who wants to make their legs look shorter anyway?) shoes. 

Shoe store number 1: Target.  Two and a half year old Luke took off one of his shoes and, being the very neat and orderly child he is, set it on the rack of shoes.  Two aisles later I noticed the shoe was missing and only received "no know" in response to my queries about said objects location.  Started searching all the shoe racks for one since shoe.  I now would heartily recommend duct taping your kids' shoes on if they show any propensity at all for repeating this needle in a haystack act.  Luckily, when Ethan asked his younger brother where it was, sudden clarity prevailed and he went right back to the shoe.  No bridesmaid shoes acquired.

Shoe store number 2: DSW.  Found the correct section and was trying on a pair when Luke, who is also potty training, informed me of his need to "peepee" in a desperate tone so we made a beeline for the restroom, accomplished the task and returned to the formal shoe section and was trying on a second pair when I was then told, again in a loud, desperate tone, that someone needed to "poopoo".  Returned to restroom...  Finally got back to shoe quest... Luke started trying on sparkly high heels and showing the other women in the aisle... Had to again find the missing toddler shoes.  Luke and Matthew then got in a loud verbal and physical altercation in the store so we left promptly.  No bridesmaid shoes acquired.

Shoe Store number 3:  Dillard's.  Actually asked for help finding two inch heel, black, no ankle strap.  One pair but was more rhinestones than black.  Not prom so no bridesmaid shoes acquired.

Shoe Store number 4:  Rack Room Shoes.  All shoes heels were at minimum 4 inches or gladiator sandals.  No bridesmaid shoes acquired.

Shoe Store number 5:  Easy Stride.  One style of shoes but not in my size.  Did not want to force my feet into too small blister causing grandma shoes so no bridesmaid acquired. 

Shoes Store number 6:  Hudson Belk.  Piles of shoes everywhere, no order most things clearanced.  Sales people didn't know where anything was either, but said they didn't think they had it anyway.  No bridesmaid shoes acquired.

Shoe Stores numbers 7-14.  Various reasons but No bridesmaid shoes acquired.

I don't think they make two inch, black, comfy, non ankle strap shoes.  I was on the phone trying to explain my plight to my husband about trying to find reasonably priced shoes when he told me that he was given some extra time off for the Memorial day weekend essentially making this a five day weekend for us and we decided to go to the beach for a couple of days! 

I got off the phone to tell the kids who were happily playing at a very tired looking play ground in the middle of the mall the news.  The looked up at me from the one piece of equipment there, a three foot slide shaped like a beehive (not really sure why) with peeling paint and said they were quite happy and didn't want to go. 

So, in the midst of the shoe mania at the mall, I was immediately plunged into a reflection on C.S. Lewis who once wisely said, "like a child content to go on making mud pies in the slums just because he cannot imagine what is meant by a holiday at the sea." I was wondering how Lewis had met my children given that he died before they were born. 

Seriously though, it just amazed me to see how readily we accept what is right in front of us rather than the amazing goodness that God gives us just because it requires work to get to the point that we grow and can see His grace in our lives.  Like when my fibro started getting really bad and it was getting really hard to walk, I couldn't see how He was there and how He was carrying me.  But through all the pain came tremendous growth and I wouldn't give that up even though it hurts.  So now, I need to get back to that bridesmaid shoe adventure...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Catching Fruit Flies...and Ethan

We started a garden last year and this year we decided to take it a step further by composting.  Use it to enrich the garden soil, less waste, be green- it sounded like a good idea all the way around and it actually has been going pretty well. 

To save us the trek from the kitchen to the compost bin to the backyard every time we had some veggie scraps, my husband brilliantly found an under the sink compost bin.  There was some debate as to whether or not you can actually compost in the thing or if it is just meant to be the stop before the actual compost bin (with me being in the former camp, although that doesn't really matter now since the argument has been firmly laid to rest).  We've been faithfully using for a couple months and we empty it out every couple of days. 

Until last week...  In my misery with the week long stomach bug, the only time I could be dragged into the kitchen to look at food was when my poor boys begged for food and, even then, I tried to send them into the pantry themselves to get their own snacks. 

I think I even forgot we have a compost bin.  Then, as I was feeling better, came the renewed obligation to feed my family healthy meals; essentially no more unwrapping something and maybe microwaving it or dollar menu.  Think the four and two year olds were disappointed though since that meant the return of the veggies.  After one such veggie laden meal, my husband was cleaning up and started to toss the scraps in the compost bin and in the millisecond the lid was open, about a thousand fruit flies discovered freedom in my kitchen. 

I think my jaw would have dropped in shock except I didn't want to open my mouth for fear on would fly in. 

So what did we do but immediately break out the sticky fly paper and chemical pesticides.  Apparently, my commitment to being green ends as soon as there are insects in my house; ironic. 

When Ethan saw the curling fly paper dangling from the knobs of the kitchen cabinets, it struck him as quite different and he giggled/guffawed and immediately reached out to touch this new, foreign thing. 


The giggle was gone and the sentiment soon turned to panic as he tried to let go and the fly paper resisted with such force that you would have thought the flypaper was convinced Ethan was its bff. 

So, at the end of the night, my commitment to being green was dampened, my kitchen was full of fruit flies, and I had a very sticky son.

 It's been a few days since our adventure and we have embarked and a new leg of the journey called "catch the remaining fruit flies before people come over for Bible study".  I'll let you know how that goes...

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Last night, I went to the grocery store after I put my two little boys to bed and when I came home and was unloading groceries, I noticed my neighbor out for a walk so I said hi.  She asked how I was doing since she  hadn't me for a while, or more precisely, a week since I have been afflicted with one of the most vicious viruses known to man: the dreaded stomach bug.  I feel so blessed to have her as a neighbor since she immediately and sincerely offered to take care of me in anyway she could. 

I've been trying to come up with a way of explaining what this blog is about without much luck and much writer's block until my dear neighbor offered help.  Most of the time, we say we are fine when we are asked, even if we aren't, and pretend we don't need help even when we do because we've, wrongly, bought into the lie that we should be able to do it all ourselves or worse, we are scared people won't like us if we aren't all "nice". 

The funny thing is our need to be "nice" totally defeats our purpose and only costs us the deep and meaningful relationships that we need just because we can't bring ourselves to be authentic. 

My neighbor was so precious in her offer to help me out but she wouldn't have done so if I hadn't been honest about how miserable we had been (just imagine being sick and trying to take care of two equally sick little boys.  My poor husband managed to avoid it and is a saint for taking care of all of us!) 

The truth is, we aren't alone and so this is my experiment in authenticity:  I'm going to share my crazy, everyday life as a stay at home mom of a two year old and a four year old and what I think about and all the laughter, joys, and tears this entails!  I'm just an ordinary girl trying to live an extraordinary life and so here are my adventures...