My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Piecing it together March 4, 2017

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A friend from our last duty station lost her mother nearly two years ago.  She handed off several of her t-shirts to me to make a memory quilt soon after.  I felt honored she’d trust me with this.

I could have wisely chosen simple squares, but we all know I’m not that wise.

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After nearly two years, I am finally able to start putting the “blocks” together.  If you’re quilter… please don’t judge me.  I’m not a quilter.  I don’t tend to measure anything exactly – which may be part of my issues with cooking.  But we’ll work on that another day.

She knows I’m not a quilter, so this is merely because I sew, and I love her and someday, I may actually get it done.

This quilt has made it on several trips across the state to my dentist man’s office and family get-together’s.  It’s been a staple at the pool, far away from the water.  Arm and ortho appointments.  It’s become a big part of my home and family life.  There will definitely be a big part of me that goes with it.

 

I had a six month pause while working though.  I didn’t want to take it into the break room for fear it would pick up a weird smell, or get spilled on.  It was one of the first things I picked back up once my wrist was (almost) healed.  And now the blocks are coming together, almost nicely.

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It never goes quite how we picture it, does it?

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It does feel nice getting back to sewing again.  The pets agree.  Two at my feet and one enjoying the temporary wool backing that keeps finding it’s way to the open floor for layout.

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As a full labor of love, the entire quilt has been hand pieced, short of sewing on the backing for turning, done on the treadle.  I guess you could say that part was done by foot? Once the quilting part starts, I’ll pull out my homemade quilt stand.  Hand-quilting will be a nice break from working on the house, or something to do while poking and prodding distracted children during schoolwork.

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It’s nice to finally see some progress.

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No matter how it looks now, it will turn out amazing.  Things made with love always do.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Sitting…. February 18, 2017

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,Knitting,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 8:16 pm
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After severely spraining my wrist two weeks ago, I was told not to use it, or at least as little as possible, for three weeks.  “No sewing, no knitting, no renovations, very little housework or walking your dogs on leash.”  (I was walking them when it happened.)

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Well why not just shoot me now!  Let’s add no breathing to that list too.  Sheesh!

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So… here I sit.  Bored out of my ever living gourd and driving my family nuts.  The two remaining at least.  Two went very happily to camp for four days.  The other two poke their head into my sewing room every few hours to make sure I haven’t started smacking my head against the desk in boredom.

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I give a shout out to the ladies put on bed rest for months – I am losing my mind!

All my plans for deep cleaning.  Getting back on track with the renovation and my sewing machine humming again.  Making the dogs a new fluffy bed.  Gone.  Here I sit.  Staring at YouTube, Pinterest and Netflix.  Window shopping yarn, fabric, pattern and remodeling stores.  I officially loathe them all.

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The grey soggy skies slowly melting the still foot deep, now slushy snow.  Not even the sun to cheer me up, or the sparkling clean snow to look at.  Just the repeated dripping off the roof.

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And on top of that – sitting apparently makes me tired.  Which then makes me even grouchier.

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I think I heard my dentist man talk about leaving to his practice early tomorrow?  And the second born has asked to go with him?  Pffftttt – wusses!

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Apparently I’m not a good sitter.

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crazy

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…one more week to go.

 

….aaannnddd I’m back. February 11, 2017

 

 

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“From where?” you may say.  From working outside the home 30-40 hours a week, on top of babysitting our mortgage companies antics – away from my boys and all that keeps me, me.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy my work – I have a secret – I LOVE WORKING!  And there lies my problem.  I love working so much, that I tend to over due it.  Family… what family?

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So, after 6 months, and the majority of our repair bills paid off (would have been more if Seterus would stop screwing up our mortgage… but I digress..), I’ve come home again.  And four hours after being out of work, I was going nuts!  But that’s ok.  I had plans….

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…two days after that, I sprained my wrist severely on our lovely, lovely ice/snow/ice combo.

*There goes my plans*

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I enjoyed my very active job.  I enjoyed helping people feel better.  I enjoyed helping them find what they needed.  And I enjoyed “owning” “my section”.   I loved my co-workers, and most of the people I met.  (I’m talking to you crazy woman who commented on my parenting skills!)

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Beforehand I thought God had given this to us just at the right time to give us the extra cash we needed to get these bills paid off.  But I started to realize He gave it to me at this time to help tire me out.  Spin my wheels a bit.

I’m a doer.  A fixer.  I want something; I make it myself.  I want something done; I get it done myself.  And I keep trying to fix this problem myself.  The last few years though, I’m slowly starting to get that I can’t.  I have to give it to God – AND LEAVE IT.  And for someone like myself, that. is. excruciating.

Yes we got some extra cash to pay down the repair bills, but He threw in a few extra kinks to show me that there will always be something, if I allow it, to keep me from enjoying my family and the life He’s set out for us.

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And my plans for getting the whole house cleaned and the renovation started back up, got kicked out from under me with a sprained wrist.

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*ARE YOU FINALLY READY TO REST AND GIVE IT TO ME*

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What my bible study ladies, my dentist man, and God have all been trying to tell me for a very long time.

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And as I’m arguing…. eh er… praying this morning in frustration over not knowing our next step.  What I should be doing.  Feeling like a flopping fish out of water.  My daily bible verse showed up.

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Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

– Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
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Ahhh… I love it when that happens.
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Will it be easy for me?  Oh heck no!  But it is the guidance I was asking for.
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Sometimes doing nothing, takes the most strength.
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So, I’m back.  There will be sewing again.  There will be renovating again.  There will be comical stories about my insane family again.  A few life lessons thrown in between there again.
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And thank you for your patience, again.
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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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No excuses… July 16, 2016

 

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I know it’s summer, and I could easily use this as an excuse for why I haven’t been here.  I could tell you fibs that we’ve been away on amazing trips, or laying around reading, or out hiking the near-by canyons.

We haven’t.

We’ve been mostly home.  We’re poor.  We aren’t even having a “stay-cation”.  Poor people don’t do that.

Oh wait, my dentist man had his two-week-tour, becoming my sailor man while away at 29 Palms.  Just the vacation every man wants. (read sarcasm)  100* at night, 120* during the day.  Peering into marines mouths that haven’t brushed for two weeks, or bathed, or washed their uniforms.  Let’s just say he was a little more than excited to be back this year.

 

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I have gotten a few projects finally completed.  A child almost moved out, picked up a part time job (see above about being poor), and some projects for the clinic and the house.

I’ve also been “torturing” my children with continued math tutoring through the summer.  While we did end up taking July off so the tutor could take her needed trips, that still only gave them a month off, and she left work for them to do while she was gone. HA!

Ok, we did get a mini trip out to my dentist man’s practice for a few days, but mostly it was because we had dental appointments, and it was Independence Day.

Summer time is a slow time in the dental world, people vacationing, beautiful outside, and having fun makes them not want to be in the chair.  And so is our budget then, when you’re still paying off student loans and a practice… and repairs from your former renters… still.  And the renovations… oh the slow, slow renovations.  But we are making progress.

Here are a few things I’ve completed during my time away –

I do believe I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer at a medical clinic, where our mission is to just love every person who comes in to see us, no matter what.  I teach parenting classes once or twice a month, and was recently asked if I could help out with some updating.  While we’re still in the middle of updates, here are a few things we’ve gotten completed.

 

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All forty weeks of pregnancy up in our classroom.  So the parents who come in can see where they’re at.

 

One picture was taken by one of our new dad’s and the other was taken by my son’s girlfriend.  The boards on the adjacent walls were made a few weeks ago.  I didn’t even realize it until I saw them all up that the colors matched the pictures!

 

The rooms have been newly painted.  Pictures up on the walls.  New furniture and decorations and more to come…

 

And around here –

 

(No looking at the mess – I can either renovate or clean.)

I have the stained cabinets back up and the new lights finally installed!  Ok, I admit I did end up having to call an electrician when I couldn’t get the flexible drill bit out of the wall.  Once he came out we realized it wasn’t my fault.  There was a stray piece of wood left in the wall that neither of us anticipated.  His bit slid right passed it and within minutes, we had the cord up the wall.  He left the rest up to me.  Great guy – he’ll be back out for the bathroom fan during the winter when it isn’t 120* in the attic.

But here are our new lights!  We’re actually thinking of changing them to brown bottles.  I’ll keep you posted on that.  But they’re up and working and the was the main issue!

And just as an FYI, clear bottles cut the easiest, followed by blue, brown and green very. dead. last.  I have no idea how red cuts.  Couldn’t find them anywhere?

I also learned that I don’t like champagne on this project.  After six bottles of it.  Bleh!  (Not in one sitting.)

And finally –

 

Today I managed to get the spare bathroom counter and sink finished.  From the 1980’s to the 21’st century… except we’re going for an old pub look, so… I’m not sure how that one works out?

During any down time, I’m still plugging away on a dear friends memory quilt.  You know, it’s only been a year.  But I did warn her that I was very slow, so hopefully she didn’t think I was exaggerating.

As for the remainder of the projects, I have taken up a part time job in the natural food dept. at the local grocery store to help pay for said projects, while my dentist man pays off the remainder of the repairs for “that house”.  (Yes, we’re still paying off repairs two years later – that’s how bad it was.)  Together we might get this life thing tackled.

 

Someday, we’ll take an actual vacation.  But now is not that time.  For now I’ll take my quiet, morning bible studies with the fur-babies.

 

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Two down… May 23, 2016

 

 

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Our second-born, also known as Michael, turned 18 today.  We wouldn’t dare say it’s been a breeze, because he was definitely our challenge.  The one where if it was going to go wrong, it went wrong… and yet, he still came out amazing!

From about the 5th month of pregnancy I knew something wasn’t right?  Born two weeks late but induced due to a slowing heart rate, he was literally pulled out by our midwife because his shoulders had become stuck.   He was already challenging us!  After delivery though, his little heart came back twice as strong.

He was quiet and strong.

After a couple of weeks with this perfect little bundle, his jaundice set in.  “Pumpkin” the nurses called him when we headed back to the hospital for the light therapy.  His bilirubin count was so high they nearly took him in an ambulance.  That’s when the quiet ended, but the strong didn’t.

For over four years this little man cried.  Cried like his fingers had been closed in a car door.  We went to doctor after doctor, all the while being told he was just fine, it was just who he was.  Four years of no sleep.  Four years of rashes everywhere.  Listening to screaming for the majority of the day.  Four years of having strangers whisper, or tell me straight to my face what a terrible parent I was because of his screaming.  Four years of not knowing how to fix his hurting.

 

 

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But when he did stop, if only for an hour or so, he was so happy, and so beautiful.

 

 

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After four years, we decided to take him to a therapist to see if they could help.  “Take him to a naturopath if the doctors won’t listen!”, he said.

Best advice ever!

Our son was allergic to several foods – corn, wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein).  All of his favorites of course!  After cutting those out, we were still left with a kid who only knew how to get angry, but could now at least function.  Four years of therapy to correct the damage that had been done and all the time lost, and some very caring church leaders, coaches, naturopaths, family and friends who stuck it out with us, he was a completely different kid.

 

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Always challenging.  Always pushing.  Always trying something new.  I couldn’t imagine what life would have been like without him, his energy, his mischievous giggle from the other room and the lessons he brought with him.  Still strong, sometimes quiet.  Always a challenge.

Scary delivery, jaundice, food allergies, night terrors, stitches, multiple goose-eggs, Poison Ivy, two broken arms, and none of it slowed him down!

 

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Yes, he still has his allergies, albeit less intense now.  Yes, he manages quite well with them.  Yes, it’s changed everything in our life, mostly for the better.  Not so much for out pocket book, but definitely for our bodies.  And I am thankful for that!

 

 

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Our computer nerd through and through, he’s graduating high school with a certificate in Computer Technology, and is about to leave home for a new adventure.  I’m sure however, we’ll see him grocery shopping our pantry and finding his way home for the wash machine.  This strong willed, energetic, enthusiastic, kid is ready for the world… I hope it’s ready for him because he doesn’t knock down easily!

 

 

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