Sunday, December 6, 2009

The “Merry Christmas” Plan

Original Written:   Dec. 6, 2009
Vol. 1, Issue 10

Hello Everyone and Merry Christmas to You All! 

I wanted to share something special with you. It was something that I did with my boys one Christmas. We called it "The Plan" and it gave us so much joy and taught our kids a valuable lesson about giving selflessly. I'm telling you this now because I thought maybe you would be able to do the same with your kids and get the same joy in return! 

There have been times in my life's journey when God sent people in my path to help my family and me.  Sometimes this was in the form of financial support, prayer, friendship or some other special way.  It always happened just when I was at the end of my rope and needed God's help. Sometimes they were people I never knew.  But, it was clear to me that whatever assistance was being given; the timing was unmistakably God's hand moving people to where they needed to be so He could help me in His divine way.

One year when we were blessed to have a little extra money.  I was working at a place where I knew of a family who was going to have an extremely slim Christmas.  The family consisted of a single mom who was the victim of a traumatic injury and was raising a child on her own.  Something about this family touched my heart and I wanted to do something special for them.  I also wanted to teach my sons about doing things for others without expecting anything in return.  We got together and devised "The Plan." 

Now there were a few rules to follow in accomplishing “The Plan.”  I'm technically breaking one of those rules now, but after all these years, I think the boys understood the lesson.  My motivation is to pass on what we learned, not to pat myself on the back in any way. Perhaps my story will inspire someone else who reads this. So here is the story that I lovingly refer to as: 

†  THE PLAN  †

† Step #1                  For the plan to work, the boys would have to agree to tell NO ONE what we did. Not even their friends at school. It was not to leave our family. If they did, then that meant the secret would be out and all of a sudden what we did for someone else became more about us and less about the family in need.

† Step #2          We took ourselves to the store and spent what we could afford. We purchased a few gifts for the child, some clothing, and much needed cash for the single mom, along with a card that we carefully selected.  The card was filled with encouragement and scripture of God's promise to care for us in times of trouble.  We signed the card "May God Watch Over You! Merry Christmas from A Family Who Cares"

† Step #3     I instructed the boys that to deliver the gifts, we would need to park in the street next door to the "target" house. It was only the mom and son at home. I couldn't take the chance of being recognized, so my two older boys (who were about nine and ten at the time) would be making the delivery. So we drove to our target. During that drive we spoke of the joys of giving to others who were less fortunate and also we spoke about Matthew 6 vs. 3-4a "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your charitable deed may be done in secret...". In other words, let our good works be done in secret before the Lord.  Not to bring glory to ourselves, but to bring glory to the Lord.  I wanted them to learn early on that giving to others in need is the same as giving an offering to the Lord.  We don't glorify ourselves or boast about it.  By not allowing them to tell anyone, including their friends, they would always have that knowledge in their hearts.

† Step #4          When we arrived, we positioned the car so I could see them, but whoever answered the door wouldn't be able to see the car as we made our "getaway". The boys then took the gifts and the card with the cash, rang the bell and handed it to the little boy who answered the door.  They hollered "Merry Christmas" and took off running back to me and we left before they could see who we really were. 

To this day I will never forget the smiles on the faces of MY children!  They were grinning from ear to ear!  The family had no idea who we might be, where we came from or how we heard about their situation.  They still don't to this day, I'm most certain of it. But they have blessed my boys and me richly. 

Every year at about this time, I remember what we did together that Christmas.  It was such a blessing to my children and me.  It was our little secret to keep!  So now our secret is out to share with you in hopes that perhaps you may be inspired somehow to do something similar with your child or children this season.  It doesn't have to be big, elaborate, or fancy.  But making “The Plan” anonymous, and keeping all glory and focus on the Lord in turn blessed us in ways that we did not expect. 

My blessing was the joy in my heart that my children had learned the gift of giving to others without the need of personal recognition. Knowing that the Lord had given us more than we needed that year was another blessing.  We were even more grateful to be able to share what He had given to us with others.

So as people scurry around this year and fulfill their Christmas shopping lists, let's not forget the greatest gift of all. The small Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manager. Jesus Christ, God's greatest gift for ALL of mankind.

Merry Christmas to you all and may you be blessed this holiday season!


© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to "Bobbie's World Blogs"
Thank you!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dealing With Spammers Who Claim To Have The Cure For FMS

Original Written: Dec. 2, 2009
Vol. 1, Issue 9

I hope that you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving holiday and this finds you all doing well and preparing for Christmas! Today I want to touch on a subject that has been a big debate as of late on the FMS support groups on Facebook™. I'm sure other groups on other venues are not immune either, but this still applies. I want to discuss the issue of people who come on to FMS support boards for the purpose of selling, or "spamming," products that they claim will "cure" Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I would like to share my thoughts on the subject.

As an infant, I was placed for adoption with two wonderful but very special parents. Both my mother and my father had something happen to them in their teenage years that placed them in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives. So as a child, parents from wheelchairs raised me. Now over the years, we encountered more "faith healers" then I care to remember. We are a Christian family and are very dedicated to the LORD, but we don't believe that Mom and Dad were punished. While we believed that the LORD could reach down from heaven and miraculously reconnect dad's spinal cord, or reverse the damage polio did to the nerves in my mother's body, we did not waste precious energy expecting that to happen. Instead, we went on with life and adapted the best way we could. We focused on what we had and did not worry about things that were out of our control.

So, why am I am telling you all of this and what does it have to do with spammers and scammers? Well, my parents were fiercely independent people. They both drove cars, graduated from college, Dad got a great job and bought our house. Mom stayed home and raised my sister and I. They did all of the cleaning, cooking, shopping, and all the normal everyday errands that everyone else has to do. So, we were in public with our parents a lot and encountered a lot of people who wanted to "cure" them. Specifically, being in the Bible belt of America, we encountered a lot of "faith healers". I'll never forget the time my dad was approached by a man who said, "If you just pray hard enough and come to my church, give an offering to the Lord and let me lay my hands upon you, you will be HEALED." To which my dad said, "What makes you think I want to be healed? I'm doing just fine, thanks, now my meat is spoiling I need to drive myself home and put away my groceries." He didn't get angry. Dad hardly ever raised his voice.

People who attempt to make money by sneaking into support forums on the internet have no tact and are no better than "ambulance chasers" to quote a friend of mine. If what they have really cures FMS, they wouldn't be in our support groups. They would be sitting in their mansion or flying to Paris on their private jet because they had made billions of dollars from having cured millions of people of a disease that is, at the moment, officially classified as incurable. I have far more respect for those people who have had success in managing their symptoms, create their own groups and are upfront and honest about what they are offering. They give you a choice, to join or not join. The choice is yours.

Now, just like my Dad, we all have brains. We have a choice. Rather, we have an OBLIGATION, to use our brain when we cross paths with people who try to take advantage of us. Perhaps they just want our money, or need to boost failing egos, or for whatever reason feel some need to cross our personal boundaries and interfere in our care. Whatever their motives may be, if we focus on just a few basic facts then it will all be just fine. Our money will stay in our pockets and our dignity will remain intact.

So let's break this down. If you encounter someone wanting to sell you miracle supplements, or get you into some type of marketing pyramid program with promises of a cure, remember the following:

1. We have FMS, not brain damage.

2. We have choices. It's your body, you have a right as to what happens to it. You have an obligation to take care of it to the best of your ability.

3. Do your OWN research. Never just take someone else's word for it, especially over the internet! For example, I could create a fake profile right now and make myself a PhD, MD, Homeopathic Super Scientist, a Life Coach with a double Masters, or whatever else I wanted to be. But, for all you would know I could be some sleezy little man, sitting in a room with multiple computers, scamming multiple people for millions of dollars. At the same time I might be cutting splinters out of my desk and selling them on eBay as relics from the REAL cross of Jesus! Never blindly give anyone authority over you or your body. There are very few people that get my respect when it comes to my body and my health.

4. If you are on ANY prescription medications, don't start any supplement without clearing it with your doctor first. Doctors spend a lot of time and money in school and take examinations to obtain their license to practice medicine for a reason. Your doctor is working for you and there should be an excellent line of communication with him/her. Unless approved by the FDA, you have no idea exactly what is contained in that supplement you are getting and neither will your doctor. This means the possible interactions are unknown.

5. There is a big difference between controlling your symptoms and a cure. About the end of July every year I start to wonder if maybe they diagnosed me incorrectly, then the weather changes and I realize that I am wrong. I still have FMS, my symptoms are just not as bad in the heat of summer.

6. Remember, living healthy is different from "cured". "Healthy choices" means something different to everyone. So listen (or read) carefully when someone is talking to you about healthy choices regarding your FMS. Just because they are offering healthy choices, that does not necessarily mean they are after your money or trying to scam or cure you. Sometimes you can learn something new that will help you to feel better or gain more control over your symptoms without giving up a dime. We can only read actions we don't know hearts. Would you like to be attacked and criticized unjustly? Of course not, so just be careful not to jump the gun by throwing the baby out with the bath water. No one can hurt you if you are using your brain and are aware of what to watch for. You might be angry, that's okay. It's what you DO with that anger that is either going to make you look like a raving lunatic, or someone with strength and dignity.

So I choose to be SMART, be KIND, be RESPECTFUL. Will you join me? Even to the people who come into our world trying to sell us products or services to cure our FMS. t is my opinion that they do so at the expense of their reputations. The truth will come out eventually and by knowing what to look for and doing your research, you will protect your health and your wallet.

Blessings and good health!


© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to “"Bobbie's World Blogs"
Thank you!