Thursday, October 29, 2015

After the storm

So, this terrible year is going to have a happy ending after all.

It is possible to heal from anything.

It is possible to forgive.

After being beaten down by the worst storm and having felt like bucketfuls of icy water were poured on your heart, gripped by the cold

after giving it all to Christ

because there is nothing you can say or do

One day you walk by the seaside and the sun is shining on the sprinkles of star dust
that just fell on your hair

And you know for sure there is someone watching over you.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The "how to keep things simple when you lose 55 pounds in six months" post

Just wear a superhero outfit every day!!


No, seriously. That is a pressure suit I got from a physiotherapist (and a corset belt to help my lower back stay in position) because of the Ehlers- Danlos syndrome.

Sometimes I when I get a glimpse of myself at the mirror I freak out a little bit. After Indi was born I got  used to having a curvy, soft, feminine body. I would have liked to drop the baby weight, but it didn't come off naturally and I refused to starve myself. It just wasn't that important. Indi liked that I was "soft and warm". When I met my husband I was not skinny. He never even hinted at preferring me skinnier, curvier, with long hair, short hair, no hair. He always just said I was beautiful.

Never ever did I think I'd be in this situation where the weight just keeps coming off. I eat chocolate and cheese in the evening, and tried to calculate how many calories I need to eat to keep a certain weight. It just keeps coming off. Frankly, I'm bony. I can't eat that much. I don't even exercise so you'd think it would be easy to eat sufficiently . I try to choose higher calorie versions when I eat. I put a lot of butter on my bread when I eat it. In the end, I still just don't care about eating, and even less about cooking or making any effort on that front. I should have a 1500 calorie meal delivered to my door daily haha.

                                           Legging, wool/cotton leggings, knit pants

Tops and tunics in wool, cotton, organic velour, linen/cotton mix and merino/cotton mix

                                            T-shirts and tops

                                          Knit dress in cotton

                                        Knit dress in merino wool /cotton

                                       Mom's old 70's dress

                            Merino wool jersey dress that I think works over-sized

                            Cardigans and my cowgirl-plaid flannel shirt :)

I started buying new pants when the old ones didn't stay up anymore. Then the new ones didn't stay up and I got a couple of belts. Some of my old tops and sweaters still work, at least at home, and over sized is in style right now, isn't it ;)

As I still work from home, being simple and comfy with clothes continues to be very easy. We don't have  a laundry machine as ours broke while moving, and I never got  a new one. I use the laundry room once a week (it's possible to use more often as needed) and I find this works really well for us.

I still hate going to shops and malls, so I buy from the internet. I recently discovered a truly Finnish brand (most of the supposedly Finnish brands don't actually MAKE the clothes in Finland, or even the fabrics.. it's just basically designed here).
The great thing is that all their clothes are jersey knits, cotton for summer and merino wool/cotton or merino wool for winter. So they are comfortable, and warm. They are expensive, as is anything made in Finland, materials and labor are so costly here (which is why hardly anything is made here anymore) but there are always sales, and often you can find something second-hand. The brand has only existed since 2010 and I hope they do well and stick around! I don't think they are shipping abroad, but all you Finnish people, I'm talking about Kaino

I still love Toast too, and will check out their sales. Otherwise it's so expensive. The same with untouched world, the New Zealand brand of ethical merino wool clothing. Both they are oh so soft, and durable, and warm... I could live in merino wool for most of the year. Right now they are having a sale as the summer season is staring there :D

Doing over your whole wardrobe - eh. But I have also gotten a few freebies and bought a many pieces secondhand.

I have more than I used to have in a long time, because I've kept the oversize tops and whatever works as an oversized "look".  Most dresses and pants just look pitiful now, as they are supposed to fit well, so I can't wear those and I've gotten rid of most of them. I'm keeping some in-between sizes for now, in case I can get back to a more normal weight.

But I would say that the core of my wardrobe consists of leggings and other stretchy pants, and jersey tops and tunics. They are comfy and a few kilos off or on won't matter. I have a couple of nicer dresses that fit okay (the one with the belt is my mom's old from the early seventies), and a jeans skirt and a corduroy skirt, corduroy pants and four pairs of jeans, one skinny black and one faded blue with front patch pockets and wider legs that actually need a belt to stay up already - and two dark skinny stretch jeans that need a belt also already so I notice I don't often choose to wear them.. I have a few cardigans as most of the time I'm either wearing a cardigan or a wool tunic. I only wear wool socks, and in the summer I don't wear socks at all.

With shoes, I'm at eight pairs of shoes (one summer, one in-between season, one sneakers, one pair of unlined leather boots, one pair of Lappland boots (worn sooo much, I bought them while we lived at my dad's house after the mold craziness) and also one pair of sheepskin lined leather boots. And a pair of Crocs in a more stylish design than the original one. They are great for the beach and to just slip on. And a pair of Nokia wellies.

I don't need stuffed closets and junky drawers and dried out cosmetics in my life. But after catching lice twice last winter, and several nightly nose bleeds, last night Indi coughing so much she threw up...  I've realized the usefulness of having a few extra clothes, sheets, towels and even outer wear!

So simplicity is having enough to last until laundry day, and to take us through surprises and accidents.
It's accepting that I'm this way now and I need clothes that stay up and don't show my belly button when I bow down... It's taking an opportunity to support a domestic, ethical brand and wear clothes I feel good in.

If you find yourself in a total wardrobe malfunction, just start with the basics, a core of stuff you definitely wear weekly and daily, be it jeans or sweat pants or a suit. You can always add stuff later when you see what works for your new body / life.

I'm off to eat some chocolate or something now. :D

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Water and Light - my little exhibition

Here are some images from my exhibit of photographs and paintings (mostly aquarelles but also two acrylic paintings on canvas).

It is at the church we live next to (And where Indi goes to afternoon club), for this month. We had 110 refugees stay there in September. A few guys helped me hang the exhibit, making sure the lines are straight, and giving opinions about which goes next to which piece! One guy spoke English and translated to the others.Some of them already knew a little bit of Finnish.

They were moved to a new location yesterday, but I'm glad that they saw the photos, they asked if they were from Finland. Yes! The winters may look terrible, but rest of the year we have some pretty decent days too, and look, flowers too! :)
Honestly, the refugee situation has suddenly blown up and makes for a lot of heated discussion. The economy in Finland is bad too, which makes a lot of people say we have no money to take in so many refugees. Also the tensions between different cultures. It's a complicated situation.

I have thought about it a lot, and as a Christian I feel like I only have one option, love each person without reservation and prejudice. Who knows, maybe some of the muslims will be touched by the kindness and be open to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anyway, back to the show! You may recognize many of the photos! They are printed on aluminum. It's kind of new technique, I like how they look and feel but I'm not sure about the durability.

My guests for the opening made me read the poem I had written that was the inspiration for the exhibition.  I also hung it on the wall, none of the pieces have names so it gives something that relates to what I was feeling when doing this. A tiny bit of it.

I don't feel like I'm though with the theme at all. I want to paint some more on canvas, more water colors... of course take photos too, but that is just something I always do. Always carry my camera in my bag!

I'm already thinking about my next post which will hopefully be about practical matters, simplicity in material world and how it makes my mess of a life more manageable right now -just as it has ever since I discovered it as a way of living.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What makes a simple day in a complicated life

At first when I was alone for a night, for a weekend, I didn't know what to with myself. The nights are still difficult. I have trouble falling asleep. Even going to bed alone.

Then I was sick again for a few weeks, just in time for the start of school for Indi. I had promised to have a small exhibition, which I really wanted to work on.

I have. But not forcing myself. I had to create a comfortable atmosphere first, have all the stuff ready at hand. So that beginning work was easy. There is plenty of space, I can leave stuff to dry and continue later. Practical is simple.

On friday night I had women from church over. We had fun, we played a role play (with lots of trying to kill each other at a dinner party, how Christian of us :D ) and we ate and talked. We had planned to pray for everybody's needs, but time just flew and it was time for everyone to leave before we got to that!

I don't have a dish washer, so the next day I did the dishes by hand. The first time I had a pile like that in like, ten years. But it's simpler for us not buy a dish washer for the two of us.

I do our laundry at the laundry room, again, it's simpler than to buy a new machine to replace the broken one. I like booking the laundry room once a week, and there is a drying room where I hang it to dry and in the evening everything is ready to be picked up.

Now that I'm better again, I may walk to the beach for a moment and run some errands. Today I picked up some secondhand clothes and then went to a flea market. Indi has been wanting Pet Shop toys and I got her four. I also bought some other useful -and not really that useful- stuff. Hand towels? Useful. Woolen babushka scarf? Absolutely useful. Tin coffee box? Weeeell.. I'm using it, okay?

Never mind the raccoon.
But who could resist that face? I couldn't.

I'm not going to turn into a hoarder, mind you. I suddenly needed clothes several sizes smaller, so I've gotten some freebies and bought some second hand and I'm giving and selling away some. We had very little dishes because we never had guests over at old small apartment, so I've bought some dishes. Some furniture I've bought and some sold away.

Sometimes I just need to do something to distract myself with.. But I have stuff to do, paint, sew, clean the apartment, read, write, take photos.. and I still spend  a lot of time with Indi. So I'm never bored at least. I want to do what I love to do, what I have studied to do, and what I think I can do best. I am thinking of ways I could make more money.. but God is my provider, so I'm not worried.

It's simple for me to work from home.
It's simple to live in  a place where I can walk to get groceries, and the beach is 500 meters away (like 1/3 mile). It's simple that we now live on the first floor and Indi has started to go out by herself, and that we live close to the school.

Getting finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and starting to make sense of why I was never just quite okay, even a s a child, makes my life simpler, because it helps me understand why I have collected so many illnesses and why I am like I am, and just accept it. It also makes it easier to get check-ups and treatment for different stuff, because it can affect pretty much any part of the body. I just had an ultra sound of my heart, I had minor mitral valve prolapse, which is pretty common and not dangerous, but because of the EDS they will monitor it every few years so it doesn't get worse.
I have heart pain and irregular heart beat but I put it down to extreme stress, because my body just won't quiet down!
Sometimes it's enough of a job that I just survive to take care of daughter.

Living simply becomes an afterthought when you just try to simply live... Everything superfluous naturally falls away as you are stripped bare. On the other hand, you don't stress out about your kid wanting to hoard cardboard boxes, or buy Pet Shop toys. But I still find it easier to keep mental clarity in a simple, aesthetically pleasing environment.

It's simple to live for God, because then you only have to care about what He thinks. When you have fear of the Lord, there is nothing more left to fear. And fear of the Lord does not feel like fear, because "in perfect love there is no fear" as the Bible says. So it feels like love. As simple as that.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shadows and light, tears and laughter, surviving and perhaps living a little

I guess there is no way for me to keep blogging without telling about this.
This thing that has cut me wide open, deeper than anything else before in my life, and trampled the broken pieces so deep into the ground that sometimes I think there is no way anyone could ever pick them up and make me whole again. Even though I have been through a lot and my family has been through a lot, nothing has ever been like this private hell.

Yes, we really have moved, but just me, my girl, and our cat. My husband has left me and filed for divorce. This has been going on since last winter (January-February), and he actually decided to come back, and then he left again.

This new apartment is really big, because when we decided to rent this, he was supposed to stay with us. Our old building just went under some big construction work, which I found out about a few weeks before it started, at the same time that I heard about this apartment becoming available.

Because of my illness and all the emotional stress, I could not think of staying there.

I am not going into any details because this involves other people.
Let's just say that my husband takes most of the blame for ruining our marriage (not that I claim to have been the perfect wife!), and that he wants to be a loving father to our beloved daughter, and that he has been generous in wanting to make we are financially secure.

The six month mandatory consideration period is over and he can make the divorce official with just a signature on a paper. I do not know if he will. I'm not asking. It will only make him anxious and shut down. So I let him be, and we only talk about practical matters.

I know it would be a long way back home for him - and I could not let him do this to our child for a third time. Her sense of security and trust would be in ruins after that.

I forgive him. Because Jesus forgives me my sin. And my husband's as well.
There are issues, deep wounds and traumas affecting people, Christians too. We do horrible things and say horrible things. That's why we know we need Grace so badly!

I love him and always will. But after all these past months, I have gone through so many emotions, wanting to force him to stay, wanting to help him, make him whole and happy. But it's not in my power, and the greatest act of love I can think of doing for him is letting him go.

The future is wide open. My main concern now is Indi's well being, and she will get through this if I do. I will only speak kindly about her father (though I will say that it is not right, or God's will, to divorce - but the sin in this world and in us prevents the world, and our lives, from being perfect and ideal. That would be heaven then, and we are not there yet).

She needs to know her daddy still loves her, and it's okay that she loves him too, and that they get to keep their close relationship. So I tell her, that we forgive him and love him. It's okay to feel sad or angry too, or anything. It's okay to cry.

I will not let her break over this, not if it takes every last bit of my strength.
I will not let her break.

So now it's out there. I have not tried to keep it a secret anyway.
Please pray for me, all you who believe in Jesus, that He would guide us and that His will would happen, not mine.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Truly miss

Settling in. School has its ups and downs for sure, but mostly things are going pretty okay.
I've been doing some watercolors and plan to paint some canvases when I get my studio in order - which is really an excuse I guess haha. But I'm just liking aquarelles now, and I had planned a small exhibition at the church we live next to -called Water and Light - but I think the exhibit just got really tiny and I may only have space for the photos I printed on aluminum.. as we have a few dozen new neighbors at the church, refugees in temporary crisis shelter and it of course affects the church space as a whole. The official refugee centers are overflowing.

In case you are wondering what the handwritten text says, it's some random thoughts and basis for what I'm working on right now:

Dry land, scorched by the sun,
thirsts for rain.

For a moment the cold sprinkler water refreshes a child screaming for joy,
and the wilted grass.

The child names her cat Light.

My studio heats up too much, I say and pull the curtains over the windows.

Mommy, I'm afraid of the dark, the child says,
even though it's barely dusk.

Nothing to worry about, mommy is here.
Let's turn on the corridor light.

I am thirsty
Thirsty for God.

A song with English subtitles for you "Ikävä - Truly Miss".

I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart, for following my blog, though I have been posting so little.
I do have things I want to say, to talk about, pictures and words to share.. just send them out into the wold and pray they find whomever they were intended for.