My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Simplicity February 25, 2017

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(If you’re not a faithful person… stick with me here.)

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In Genesis 2:15, as I read it, God is telling Adam that He has given him a great gift. A gift that he is to take care of.

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“ The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. “

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God gave Adam, Eden, along with all the animals in it with the great command of taking care of it.

Easy in a sinless world.

And then our sin came along, us deciding we know better than God, the creator of our environment. Once we decided to live contrary to how we were supposed to naturally live, we had to make unfortunate sacrifices. Taking the lives of plants and animals to live, being a major one. But having an impact on the environment around us, being another big one… among many others.

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“I have a hard time with the idea of the K cups. All that waste?” I mentioned.

“I don’t!” a fellow Christian neighbor exclaimed. “Like an elderly southern-woman once told me ‘I throw it in the dump, like the good Lord intended!’”

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I was a bit taken back by the last part of that comment. “Like the Lord intended.”?  I get people who say “The Lord will take care of us.” That’s trusting in Him at least. Or even “I don’t worship the Earth!” from fellow Christians. True and wise. But “As the Lord intended.”?

Let’s start at the basics of this. The Lord never intended us to “need” caffeine. He never intended us to “need” a machine to make the coffee to get to that caffeine. He never intended for us to work hard at all!

Our garbage and excess, is a symptom of our sin. Call it a T(ransmitted) D(isease) of our day to day busyness and having to work after we messed up. He never intended for dumps to be necessary. He would take care of our every need, with no excess. And while He still takes care of us, our sinful needs brought with it baggage.

All things I am guilty of myself.

I have always been a bit “earthy”. Growing up part time on my dads small farm, your life depends on the land itself. On the animals you take care of. How you and your neighbors take care of what they were given. There was a cost to what you put on your hay, to what you feed your animals, the practices you use to farm. When I would go back to the town my mother lived in, I would take those idea’s back with me.

Many of my fellow Christians have a hard time with this. “It sounds like worshiping the Earth, instead of the Lord.” Which is the furthest from the truth – I want to honor what God has given me. Is it a commandment? Well no. But neither is the advice not to abuse your kids. God has given them to you, so you wouldn’t dream (I hope) of beating them. But the place He gave you to live is perfectly fine to abuse?

Jesus’ command of loving your neighbor would be a perfect example of this. Would you want your neighbor damaging his property so much that yours is damaged?  So why would you leave a bunch of garbage behind for them to clean up? Or for your children to clean up, they are after all, your neighboring generation.

So how should we live then in this sin-filled world, with this in mind?

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Simply.

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Talking with several customers, I realized that a lot of people are trying to eat healthier, to take care of themselves more, get back to basics and live better. A lot of them were driving themselves crazy in this attempt though. I had to point out several times that while I applaud and encourage this, they have to balance that with not killing themselves in their venture. “Are you making your life miserable, by trying to make your life better?”  I found that with this small amount of permission, a lot of people became more comfortable with their attempt. Baby steps. After all, Jesus was more about the heart, than the law.

People should always come first – we are the whole reason for all of this anyways. But if we’re sick, and our home is sick, we can’t take care of the people around us.

All this encouraged me to get back to even more simplicity in life, now that I’m back home full time.  Having the craziness of “that house” dragging us down – the extra baggage that we don’t need – I know first hand what carrying garbage means.

With this in mind, every so often, when I find something that I think may be useful in this attempt, I’ll post about it under “Simplicity”. Something that helps eliminate waste, or a healthier choice by just doing less, making a small change or making life a little simpler – I want to share it. Cooking, cleaning, sewing, renovating or even moving.  Living simple should touch your whole life.  And a side benefit to living this way – it tends to be budget friendly. (Listed this way, you can also skip it, if it’s of little interest to you.  I’m not here to beat anyone over the head with this, but encourage.)  If you’ve got something to suggest – please let me know!  I would love to hear how you are living a simpler, cleaner life.

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Deep breaths. Prayer (or meditation) and bible (or book) time. Healthy living. Simplicity. And life’s garbage – gone.

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We were intended to live a clean life, with no garbage, inside and out. To use what we were given, including our lives, to the fullest. We can’t do that with garbage around us, or in us.

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Simplicity

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Battle lines October 9, 2016

 

 

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*Sigh*  I know, I know it’s been a while; to be honest, I’ve been too exhausted to do much of anything as of late.  When I left you last, I had just been hired to work for a grocery chain (to remain unnamed, but they are pretty awesome) in the natural department – right up my alley!  Between the wonky schedule (I work 2 am – 10 am’sh some days, and others 4 pm – 10 pm’sh… but it’s a job, so I don’t complain) and sometimes long hours – this schedule is not conducive to good sleep, or creating an over abundance of extra energy.  Along with continuing renovations, homeschooling, a few more sewing projects and time at the clinic, there is little down time.  But, they work around our school schedule (thank you boss man!), and it’s only temporary until we get the last of the repair bills for “that house” paid off.

 

*I can sleep when I’m dead.*

 

But what prompted me to sit for a few minutes between laundry, ironing, chores, reminding children of their chores, plotting dinner and the Dave Ramsey class my dentist man and I are about to leave to…

…the pastor said something that caught my attention this morning.

 

~ Fight for, not against ~

 

Hmmm….

Back during WWI and WWII the generals knew that their men would fight harder, if they knew what they were fighting for, as opposed to what they were fighting against.  After all, you knew what your mother, sister, wife/girlfriend, country looked like, smelled like and felt like.  What does the enemy look like?  What do they really believe?  Are they really that bad?  But, if you could tell those boys that their families were at stake, you could bet they’d fight twice as hard, against who ever, or what ever they were told the enemy was.

 

Since we moved into “that house” in 2007, I have been fighting various battles.  Between neighbors that decided they didn’t want us there, borough workers that agreed, judges and police chiefs that were too lazy, or too corrupt to do their jobs for everyone equally.  Government that enables, someone else’s drug habits, and insurance companies that didn’t want to cover… anything.  Or mother nature herself – that wench!

To be fair, there were many people through this that were amazing – and they are still helping us fight these battles!

Today’s words in church made me pause though – I’ve been completely exhausted working to clean up the mess brought on by other people’s mistakes (and a few of our own).  I’ve been fighting for a house I loathe, in a town that has repeatedly shown me they didn’t want us there.  I have been fighting against them for far too long.  I’m tired.  I really want to be done.

But… what if I fought for it?  What if I fought for my family?  Fought for the town?  Fought for a real change?  Fought for our future?  Such a small change makes such a huge difference!

So much easier to work for something, than against it!

 

Are you fighting against alcoholism, or fighting for your future ?

Are you fighting against depression, or fighting for your health?

Are you fighting against divorce, or fighting for your marriage?

Are you fighting against corruption, or fighting for honesty?

 

When you are for something, you have a future, hope and something to dream of.  When you fight against something, you just have a struggle.

 

This worked perfectly with the bible study we recently finished about the Armor of God.  Using our armor – fight for what God has given us, not against what the enemy has put in front of us.

The battles will never go away, but we can fight them in the right way.

 

So…

…what are you going to stop fighting against, and start fighting for?

 

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Sitting still is for the bored March 18, 2015

 

 

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I’ve been on a daily quest to make phone calls all day.  By the time I’m done telling insurance that no, the contractor isn’t crazy, and telling the contractor yes, insurance is crazy, driving one kid to tech school and back and two others to homeschool swim, and various other add-on’s, caveats and addendum’s, it’s dinner time.  And then I’m pooped… headed to bed.  It’s a sad, sad life.  *HA*

 

Ok, really I love that they’ve got this all going on.  I just wish the phone calls could be done.  It’s been almost 9 months since we’ve been paid for the rental and we’re coming down to our last and still need repairs done.  But we’ve come back from worse, and now I know the routine.

 

But the crazy current schedule still leaves me with my weekends open.  Sundays have been spent looking for another new church.  Saturday’s in particular I’ve made sure to schedule nothing on purpose.  A girls got to relax!  Even more so when your husband comes out to the deck you’re sitting on and says “You alright?  You look sort of out of it?”  “Hmmm, just relaxed?”  Yeah, it’s been so long since he’s seen me relaxed, he’d forgotten what it looked like and it made him worried.  Need to do it more often I guess?  I’ve also managed to run out of projects.  No, back up.  We’ve run out of money to finish several started projects.  I’m left with pulling things apart.

We’re still waiting to put the floors back in, so I’m pulling all the trim down in the mean time.

 

 

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I do still have one section of floor to rip out, but I’m dreading it.  It involves the front loaders.  *sigh*  I’ll get to it!!

 

 

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The t.v. turned terrarium is sitting next to me, waiting for its innards.

 

 

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The kitchen is still waiting for its island, all marked out and ready.  Plans sitting in my planner.

 

 

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And the lights, only one of which works, waiting to be replaced.  Replacements picked out.

 

 

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Main section of the quilt is finished and waiting for its border.  I’ll get that when the next really good sale comes up.

 

 

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Pillow cases done and ready to be sent off.

 

 

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BUT (notice it’s a big but – *giggle*) I have one project that I’ve been saving.  My son’s girlfriends dress.  I felt so awesome that she asked me to make one for her.  So I’ll be enjoying this one… and I can afford it!

 

 

katelyns dress

 

 

I managed to find a pattern for the top, but nothing that remotely came close to the bottom section.  Thinking about it… I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pattern with pleats?  Or at least with sharp, numerous pleats.  Cheerleading skirts don’t count here.  So I’ll be making the skirt portion myself.  I’m also a bit excited since we discovered we’re the same size.  Hey – give a nearly 40-year-old woman some excitement!

 

 

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We’re using Linen instead of the shiny material used here so that she can wear it as a simple summer dress, nothing too fancy.  I’ll make sure to show the stages.  I’m looking forward to making it.  I do love making dresses – can’t stand wearing them.

 

Various projects laying around show I’m keeping busy.  Spring is springing and I’ll soon have outdoor projects to add.

 

We may be in a holding pattern, but that won’t keep me still!

 

 

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Take it down a notch… or ten. November 3, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Church,Hubby,Knitting,Made by me,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:29 pm
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I’ve gotten quite a few easy projects done this last weekend.  Easy sometimes is a good thing.

 

The shirt I made I had planned on wearing to church the day I completed it, but somehow it ended up with a funky smell before it was even worn?  So, it’s in the laundry… I hope that smell goes away?  

 

My mother-in-law bought some very yummy yarn a few weeks back, but it was a bit spendy, so we only got one skein of the Alpaca/Silk goodness.  What exactly can you do with just one skein?  Well thank goodness it was a big skein and Ravelry is awesome.  I searched for the yardage and voila!  Infinity scarf, with beads no less.

 

 

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She’s going to love it.  And the lard I rendered for her this weekend.

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Yeah, you heard me, lard.  Don’t be jealous!

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I also made the most epic pajama bottoms ever!

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I know, they’re awesome right!

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I had actually planned on seasonal and regular stash p.j.’s, but alas, one needs to know how much yardage is needed before one buys.  Remember that kiddies!  These took me about 2 1/4 yards because of the pattern.  Without the pattern I could have gotten away with the 1 1/2 yards I have.  I guess the regular stashes will become an excellent pillowcase for me!

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And, as I type, I’m wearing the most comfortable pants I think anyone should be allowed to wear in public.

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Wow… uh pictures really do add weight?  

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No matter – these pants are awesome!  I made them out of “jegging” type material.  Very heavy, fairly thick (meaning no see-through cheeks going on) and uber soft.  And I mean, uber.  And the bonus, my dentist man asked where I bought them – always a compliment!  I will be making more of these.

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See, I have been productive!

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So productive, I’ve been running ram-shot right over people who clearly don’t deserve it.  While sending our potential new renters their background check packet, I managed to scare the pants (figuratively I hope) off the poor woman!  I’ve been so used to having to deal with thick-headed, lying… well, our last renters, that I didn’t even give the poor people a chance to breathe.

After a very personal sermon at church this weekend on gratitude, I realigned myself, took a breather and remembered that “that house” may be our curse, but to someone else, it may be a blessing.  If I’ll let it.  So I’m loosening my grip, taking a breather and taking the “DEFCON 1” level down a bit.

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Productivity is a good thing.  Scaring people to get it done, not so much.  It’s good to know I have it in me though, for future use.

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And tonight, our nice wood guy made his final delivery of our 3 cords of wood, at about 10 pm.  The guy likes to work!  So hopefully I can burn off a bit of that pent-up energy stacking, and stacking, and stacking.

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Oh who am I kidding… that’s what I have boys for!

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This counts as P.E. right?

 

Home Alone July 31, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Church,Family,Hubby,Pets,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:14 pm
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On Sunday afternoon I handed over all three remaining chillens’ to a youth pastor who took them to church camp across the state.  For one week, someone else took care of all three of my younger boys.

 

My house is empty.

 

For the first time in my *cough* 38 years… I have the entire day to myself.  For an entire week no less!  It’s also the first time my dentist man and I have ever been alone.

 

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this?

 

I will admit there has been some nekedness involved, merely because I could.  Not to mention it’s been hot as heck here!

 

 

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No, we don’t live in Death Valley and no, that wasn’t directly in the sun.  INSANE!

 

What did I do with all my new-found time alone?  Not much actually.  I took the time to clean (and have it stay that way).  Made some homemade ramen noodles, soon to be attempted in a gluten-free version and had some long discussions with the dogs.

 

 

 

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Can you tell they’re listening?

 

 

Oh and had a lovely date night.  We’ve actually been sneaking pre-made Amy’s meals all week.  Mmmmmm!

 

Mid-week the oldest called since he knew I was going a bit stir-crazy.  It was nice to catch up and hear his voice.  Eight hours is a long time to go without a conversation I’ve discovered.

 

Next year I may be more prepared for this week.  Plan something a bit more exciting or go somewhere, but for this year, the experience was enough for me.  To be alone.

 

I pick them up at 2:00 tomorrow and while I’m enjoying getting to hear my own thoughts a bit, I will be ecstatic to hear the boys’ craziness again.

Even if that means putting bottoms back on.

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No worries for my neighbors, there was a sundress involved in this picture.

 

Planet side July 20, 2014

 

 

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No, I haven’t fallen off the planet… it’s just summer craziness.  And with us that always includes some sort of drama.

 

Between beach trips, dog watching, lost military paperwork, evictions (not ours), camps, summer classes, heat waves and colossal yard projects, we’ve just been stretched thin.  Due to some lovely hay allergies (read: I sound like a barking seal), I’ve been forced to slow down for a week or so.  Which is making me grouchy.

 

I’ll leave you with this little picture.

 

 

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Today at church I saw a man.  He looked very similar to the husband in the couple that has been “mentoring” me through the bible.  (I *love* these people!)  So one would assume I know what they look like.  In my snot-bogged brain’s stupor I mistook this man to be the husband.  “Hey (insert name)!  Say hello to your wife for me!”  His face was the perfect definition of confused.  As I walked on further I realized… I don’t think that was who I thought it was?  I know, I know, we’ve all done this.  I got home and texted them just to make sure.  Sure enough, they weren’t there tonight.  

Instead of being completely embarrassed, I’ve decided I’m going to do this every week, sans the name, just to make him wonder.

 

I’m slightly evil.  I know.

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Bob Ross moment June 23, 2014

Filed under: Church,Made by me,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 12:57 am
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… “You made a mistake?  Turn that mistake into a happy little bird.  That’s it.  A happy little bird.”

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If you’ve never seen Bob Ross’ show, you have no idea what I’m talking about and now officially think I’m nuts.  Go google him.  He was awesome.  He was also excellent at putting my first-born down for a nap with his quiet tone and calm.  I’m sure the hair helped somehow too.

But beyond that, he teaches a great lesson.  If you make a mistake, you can always turn it into something good!  I got a “two-fer” on this post.  The dress I just finished (and LOVE) was designed around a mistake I made.  And some people I have met at church have shown me that even when we make a mistake, God can use it to make something great!

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Let’s start off with my spiffy new dress shall we!

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Amazingly comfortable btw!!

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So you’re asking… “What was the mistake; it looks fine?”

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That nifty little pleat in the front and back weren’t at first supposed to be there.  It was supposed to be one piece of fabric, wrapped around.  That’s great when you wrap the fabric around your pathetic little chest to fit it and forget that you have an ever-growing posterior.

So what fit up-top, didn’t so much around the middle and ended up looking more like a stylin’ hospital gown with cheeks flapping in the wind.

So a back was also cut out and I figured I’d just gather.  So boring!  When I wrapped the dress around “Betty” for the night, I just really liked the way it looked.  So clean and simple.  And if I really wanted to add more, I could always add a pin or a belt.

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When I first realized what I had done, short-changing my backside, I thought I had ruined a yard or so of fabric.  But when I sat and thought it out, it turned out perfectly!

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Now, on to the people I met at church.

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On my day to volunteer, I had asked the woman who oversee’s our area if she knew of anyone that would be able to help us out with “that house”.  You know, a little business advice.  I obviously suck at this and needed some serious guidance.  She thought for a bit and said “Yes!  Can you come by next week to meet them?”  I of course said yes excitedly and even offered to volunteer again since I was there.

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After service, she brought them over and I explained the situation.  They talked with me a bit and I became sort of disappointed that they didn’t have much in the way of business advice as they don’t have rentals.  However (and that’s a GIANT however) what I got instead was not only much better, but what God knew I needed instead.  The encouragement, advice, scriptures, prayers and reassurance that God can turn a mistake into something amazing was much more than I was expecting.

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The place we live in now is called Selah, meaning to pause and reflect.  After meeting these people and a few others here, I really believe that we are here to pause and reflect.  Regather.  Recoup.  Learn and get ready for the next adventure God has in store.

Have you made a mistake?  Selah – Pause and reflect on God’s goodness.  The answer will come and His goodness will set things right.

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selah

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As for your sewing.

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Turn that mistake into a happy bird… that’s right… a happy bird.  Or in this case, a purdy little dress.  That’s right… a purdy little dress.

 

 

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