Thursday, February 23, 2012


I have a terrible track record with gifts for my husband.  It isn't that he doesn't like them, it's just that he is rarely surprised by them.  He has an uncanny ability to stumble upon things that I have hidden around the house (it would probably be smarter if I wrapped them first before hiding them...) or my kids have been known to go pull the gifts out to show him what he is getting (probably shouldn't put them places that they know about...) or he sees an advertisement left out with my planned purchase on the front page (I need to be more discrete when shopping sales...). 

I thought I had turned a corner when I actually accomplished the near impossible this past Christmas when I managed to keep his leather jacket a secret until he ripped the paper off the package and I was hoping to build upon my success with Valentines Day. 

In order to be stealthy, I went shopping while Brian was at work so he wouldn't ask where I was going.  In order to do this, I had to take Luke and Baby Jack Jack.  Mistake #1. 

Brian has been crazy busy at work lately and so I thought it would be fun to get him some of his favorite products to help him de-stress; something just fun that I hoped would say "I was thinking of you and trying to take care of you".  Luke apparently shares my love of aromatherapy and wanted to help pick out some things for Daddy so I let him help me.  Mistake #2.

The store lady noticed us smelling everything and tried to upsale us on some of their new, insanely good smelling body sprays.  Their new way of giving samples of the body spray is to spritz a ribbon so you can smell multiple fragrances.  Of course, Luke wanted to smell one and wanted to keep the ribbon.  I've been trying demystify the feminine world a little bit since, with no sisters, girls could be a big source of confusion later in life for them and I'm trying to do my sons' future wives a favor.  I tied the ribbon around his wrist as a bracelet just like he wanted.  Mistake #3.

With one ribbon bracelet, he decided his other hand needed one too.  So, the lady and I let him have another.  Mistake #4.

Luke saw the hand sanitizer display and wanted some more for his backpack and begged for more "hanitizer" as he calls it.  I let him pick a bottle and of course he picked the one with the picture of the soccer ball and football on the front.  As we left the store, I explained that this is all a huge surprise for Daddy and that we needed to keep it a secret and not say anything about it to him and so he couldn't show or tell Daddy anything about even the hand sanitizer because he would figure it out.  We got home, I made Luke hide his sanitizer and I hid Brian's present.  However, I failed to confiscate one of the ribbons.  Mistake #5.

I also assumed that my four year old could keep a secret.  Mistake #6.

The moment Brian walked in the door from work that night, Luke ran up to him, showed him the remaining un-confiscated ribbon and proceeded to tell him all about our trip to "Body Lotion" and how he got the ribbon and how we smelled lots of things trying to pick out something for him.

I was surprised.  To his credit though, Luke never mentioned his hand sanitizer.

So, I will try again for Brian's birthday in a couple weeks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On True Character


My fibromyalgia has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse over the past few weeks for some unknown reason and amongst other things, has settled in my hands.  For the first time in the course of this disease, I have felt stripped bare, reduced to simply who I am and not at all defined by anything that I do since, with the loss of use of my hands, my ability to do anything has been greatly compromised.  I can no longer play my guitar, turn the pages in a book and typing is now incredibly difficult with this post an incredibly long time in the making.  I have struggled with this deeply since I love doing these things and have had many conversations with God over if not these things, then what does he want me to be doing?

Ironically, it is this being stripped bare of all pretense that has made me see more how what I do has absolutely no bearing on who I actually am.  Rather, it is my character that determines what I do and it is my character that He is most concerned with.  The verse in 1 Samuel 16:7 when Samuel was sent to find the next appointed king of Israel says, "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.' ” (ESV translation)  I think it is really easy to find our self worth in these outward things but our lives innately are valuable and we can't do anything to make us more so.  In this humble position, we find peace and hope and ultimately, grace. 

It is tempting to dwell on what I used to be or more accurately, what I used to do instead of who I am and what I need to be.  Believe me, it has not been easy but I've realized, who I am impacts and influences my kids, family, friends and everyone I come into contact profoundly more than what I do.  My actions, as much as I can do, flow from who I am and ultimately, who God is as I try to follow Him.

My fibro has definitely taught me so much as I've wrestled with it.  Despite it and probably even because of it, I feel the grace of God in my life as I learn these lessons.  Hopefully though, there will be an easier way to learn these in the future that lets me use my hands more!