My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Time is relative July 1, 2019

Filed under: Church,Places,Random thoughts,What's happening — blankenmom @ 1:43 am
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This last weekend I helped a mom host a baby shower for her daughter.  She had never thrown one before, so I obliged, having thrown a few, and attended more than a few.

Keep in mind, I will give extra gifts to the expecting mom if she leaves me off the party list.  I genuinely do not enjoy these types of parties.  Give me a few friends, a quiet place and good food and that’s what I call a party.  I truly am not offended by not being invented if of course it wasn’t out of malice, in which case, you’re just going to get boring gifts – so there.

But I get her stress at trying to figure out the scheduling and invitations, and all that goes into one so I said of course.

Here is where things get more interesting…

Ok, the family is Mexican.  As in, straight up from Mexico.  And if you’ve spent even one event with a family of Mexican’s you already know, they’re going to be late.  And not like, 15 minutes late.  No, they’re going to be 1-2 hours late.  Usually two.  So when I was helping her get out the invites, I suggested giving them a two hour difference on their invitations, and she whole heartedly agreed specifically because we only had the room for two hours.

However, in all the chaos of the baby arriving very early, she forgot this step.

The baby shower turned into a “Welcome Baby” party, and the absolutely adorable 5 lb baby girl was adored by all!  Of course, mom arrived an hour late and new mom arrived an hour and a half late.  And all the guests arrived 15 minutes after that.  Leaving us with 15 minutes to swoon over yummy baby scent.  Thank you to the venue allowing us the room even after our time, since there were no more parties booked after us – that was awesome!

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I have a friend from Nigeria who is notorious for being 30 minutes late every where she goes.  During her cancer treatment, our bible study took turns taking her to her appointments.  Which in turn, also had the added benefit of getting her there on time.  “I’m on African time” she’d say in her thick musical accent.

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When we have parties with some friends out this way who are from various places south of the border, and a few of us North American’s, they will accordingly invite us all at different times.  We’ve had a good laugh over this –

White folks show up 15 minutes early.

Asians show up exactly on the dot.

Black folks show up about 30 minutes late.

Latinos show up 1-3 hours late.

Plan accordingly.

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For the first year we knew them we never met their family because we always left for church on Saturday night before their families even made it!  But once we got the schedules figured out, and we switched churches, those were the most amazing parties!

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The same was definitely true for the baby shower.  Once the waiting was over, for those of us who showed up 15 minutes early… or somewhere in between, meeting all their friends, trying out new foods, getting to hear their stories of how they know each other and them teaching about what their culture does with new babies, it was an excellent time.

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Every culture, and family, learns different customs.  It would be so boring to ignore them.  The more people I meet, the more interesting the world becomes.

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I was glad to be reminded of “African” time from my Mexican mom’s.  And see that time, is relative.

 

 

Recalibrating December 30, 2018

I am recalibrating my system

 

2017 was a whirlwind of crazy, crazy ups and downs that left me at rock bottom.  Which can be a good thing… When you’re down, you only have up to go right?  So I took 2018 to get back on my feet.  Recuperating takes time my friend.

This year was a great year to figure things out.  Recoup.  Learn.  Gather.  Recover.  Gain back strength.

Which means next year, I can start stronger.  More confident.  More knowledgeable and without the fear I carried for far too long.

When people talk about getting older, I’ve always laughed.  I don’t fear getting older.  It means I don’t get mistaken for a teenager any longer (yes, this can be a very good thing!) and it also means I’m one year closer to fully not giving a care about others opinions.  While I’m not totally there – I still wear a bra when I go places.  I do have a new sense of “What-evs!”.  My boys can attest to this.

 

The old thoughts, going back to childhood, went away.

Teachers telling me I would fail, merely for being me, went away.

Harsh words from strangers, that have held on for years, went away.

Worry about massive failure, went away.

Thinking I had to fix all the problems, went away.

 

They fell off on the way back up from rock bottom.  They’re still down there, but they were too heavy to bring back up with me.

 

A sermon discussing Job has been going through my head the last few months.  The pastor talked about Satan telling God that Job failed because he railed against Him.  He complained, and groaned.

God told Satan, “Yes, but he still came to me to do those things. He never turned away from Me, and he never disobeyed.  He did not fail.”

 

Failing isn’t going through hard times.  Failing is quitting during the hard times.

 

We started work on the bathroom – we were trying to get it done before a mission kid came from Costa Rica.  It won’t happen.  I discovered I have to change out the plumbing behind the wall before I can even think about tiling.  Which means learning a new skill, and possibly setting the house on fire.  After a day of researching, sweating, getting stressed.  I finally just ordered the parts and figured – if they don’t fit, I can send it back.  If my plumbing skills don’t work, I call in a plumber to fix it.

Asking for help is not failure.  Not having it work the first time is not a failure.  Giving up before even trying, is a failure.

Worst case scenario – I scorch the inside of the wall, lose water for a day (or so), and have to call in a plumber.  But I tried.  Better to have tried and failed, then to have never tried.  I’d rather fail at dozens of things, than do nothing, safely, having not learned a thing.

 

One more year.  Getting a little older.  A little closer to just not caring.  Learning a few more important lessons.  Letting go of a few people who needed to go, and gaining a few more that are needed.  I can’t think of a better way to remember a year.

 

What are your best memories from this last year?

 

Michael Broom

 

Not proud or anything July 23, 2017

Filed under: Boys,Church,Family,Hubby,Military,Navy — blankenmom @ 9:56 pm
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After finally fully recovering from the excitement, not only from my first trip on my own, but seeing my second-born graduate from basic, I can finally boast… eh er… post about it.

 

After our three conversations totaling 30 minutes over six weeks, it was nice to just see him again without interruption.  He graduated from the same place his dad did, 20 years ago, but his dad wasn’t able to revisit due do his own military duty.  I missed my dentist man’s graduation, so it was great to see what he did too, but from what I hear, the ceremony is a bit different now.

 

TWT 2017

 

First-things-first – after the first and second days ceremony, you have to go out onto the field to “tap out” your graduate.  That means, finding someone who may or may not have completely changed, AND all the men look the same with shaved heads and uniforms!  On top of that, there were two recruits with the same last name.  So, walking through the whole crowd of graduates and families, all taller than I am, looking at name tapes for matching last names and then looking under their pulled down brims probably entirely too close for their comfort, to find the one you hope is yours… tapping them on the shoulder so they can relax.  THE ONE YOU HOPE IS YOURS!  Otherwise you’re tapping some random person!   Not that they might mind, that means they get to go relax… maybe I should have just “tapped” random people – bwahaha!

(After feeling horrible for several days, picturing my husband standing there at his graduation, without anyone to “tap him out”, I sheepishly asked him about it, and told him how sorry I was for not making it.  “We didn’t do that?  Sounds stupid.”  Oh thank heavens!)

Just in case you were worried – they do the buddy system.  Anyone who didn’t have family to tap them, their buddies came and got them.  No one is left behind!

 

Watching the pomp-and-circumstance was neat, and he was excited that so many important people happened to show up to his graduation.  Including the governor of Texas and the head of the Air Force.

 

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That weekend ended up being incredibly hot – that Saturday topping out at 118*.  And of course that’s the day we picked to go to Six Flags.  We didn’t last long.

 

The San Antonio river walk was amazing – unfortunately I have no pictures.  Heat and humidity apparently don’t help old phones work well.  Which also made for some comical directions.  The guys weren’t allowed out of uniform, so while we enjoyed our walk, we also enjoyed the wonderful people giving all the newest graduates their thanks and congrats.

He showed us his dorms.  It was the first time in 19 years I’ve ever seen his bed made.  We did all the touristy things.  He enjoyed some local go-cart/race track time with his fellow graduates.  And lots of food!  We just basically ate where ever we went.

 

My favorite part of the whole trip – Sunday church service.  (No pics allowed)

This is everyone’s one hour of rest per week.  Where they don’t get yelled at.  Where they get to dance, or just relax a bit.  They get sat according to their weeks in, different services (this base trains all services), and graduates and their families.  Every week they call the groups out by week, service or graduates – and that group sounds off with a big “WHOOOP”.

And then they worshiped.  Marines, lifting their hands in praise.  Three weekers dancing in the pews.  Army guys in front of us, on their knees saying their prayers.

I loved every minute of it!

 

And then it was time to go.

 

He’s currently at tech school, where his dad and I had our first apartment together.  And then off to two other bases for training before his final duty station, where he’ll be diagnosing problems to be repaired for F-35’s.  He’s loving it so far.  Well, he loves most of it.  No one enjoys a 6:00 am death-by-power point, or 3:30 am workouts.

 

Here’s the deal though, less than 2% of the US population has ever joined the military.  Knowing someone who has been, or is in the military, may not even be something people do on a daily basis.  Him signing up, even if he hadn’t made it through, made me proud.  It’s not everyone who understands that it takes a big person to give up their attitude; their ability to be in control.  That takes a lot of self control – a lot of strength, to willingly give up, even temporarily.

So am I proud – heck yeah!  I’m proud of my husband, and my son (and hopefully a few others in the future).  They proved just how strong of men they are, not only possibly handing over their lives, but also by allowing someone else to be in charge, at least temporarily.

 

Plus… they just look so good in their uniforms, don’t they!  (Totally not biased.)

 

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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?

 

lady-armour

 

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

 

 

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?