Okay - perhaps many wooden sticks, circulars, double pointed and assorted 'special' needles and a lot of wool; lots and lots AND LOTS of yarn in many colours, textures, fibres and from many different companies and countries...
Warming Grace is a project to make blankets for my niece and other children dealing with cancer.
5 inch squares knit or crocheted from soft wool or cotton in any pattern and kid friendly colour are wanted!
Email me for my mailing address.
Luke passed away this morning at 10:45am. He was just 9 years old. My heart is broken for him and his family. Thank you to everyone who contributed squares for the blanket and prayers for Luke and his family.
Back in March 2009 I posted about this lovely young boy Luke. Luke has Leukemia and has been in remission twice. When I posted in March Luke was undergoing more treatment. I asked for squares and you answered. We were able to send Luke this lovely blanket.
At the time the blanket was sent Luke was in remission. In the last few weeks a cancerous mass has been discovered in Luke's cheek. He is undergoing a short series of radiation for the mass. The hope is that the radiation will eradicate the mass however there are no further treatment options for Luke and his only chance at this point is a miracle.
You will find Luke's page here. If you can, visit. Send thoughts, energy and prayers Luke's way. His favourite colour is blue, he loves 'bionicles,' and all things boy. Please let Luke and his family know you are thinking of them. If you would like to send a card you can do so at Luke Jensen, c/o King's Way Christian School, 3300 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, WA, USA, 98665.
Thanks so much. I am heartbroken for Luke and his family (and particularly grateful as Grace continues to do so well and thrive) and hoping for the best possible outcome.
It has been a very rough winter for me health wise and the posting has not been a priority. This is. If you can post on your site so that other Warming Grace contributors can mobilize energy and prayers for Luke I really, really appreciate it and I am so thankful. Donations for squares are always great and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my mailing address. In the meantime please pray for little Luke. Thank you.
...and it's been a bittersweet and challenging year.
I had to put my dog Gryph down at Easter and we also put down our beautiful 9 year old Borzoi Kiki and my 20 year cat Hiss (late August and early September). I unexpectedly got a Deerhound puppy, Bailiewick in October. She has been very therapeutic for me.
I got stable enough in my treatment programme that I could start Chelation in the late spring, however 'treatment' chelation is nothing like the tester bags I had a few years ago. The stripping of the lead from my body has been quite painful, excruciatingly painful and it completely surprised me (I am not sure why I thought removing lead from my body would be easy...).
We made some major changes around the house (moved an equivalent of four or so rooms, including my old craft space), changed the flow of energy and in the middle of it all I got sick so everything is still on some level of transition. Arggghhh!
I had the H1N1 virus and survived (my doctor was seriously impressed given my multiple chronic illnesses that I was able to keep it out of my chest), only to have about three other viruses
since (I have been sick since the beginning of September)....the side
effects being a brutal exacerbation of my fatigue and pain for the last few months and no end in sight. It has
been debilitating and mentally grueling and in order to reflect on the year that was, I looked
back in my photos to see that I have done things, that there has been
progress and that my life has had substance.
I wanted to do a montage of my favourite photos from last November and I even got Michelle's help (thanks Michelle!, I continue to be a cognitive challenge) but I couldn't get the damn thing to work so instead here is a slide show (there are 36 and if you are patient enough to watch I am forever indebted).
I started "365 days of being 16" for Nick in May and it has been a good exercise for me. Some days the only energy I have had is enough to do the journal for the day and a photo. Importantly for me, I have kept up to date. It also made me realize how small my square is and how isolated I am much of the time. That being said, I am so fortunate for Ed, Nick, the dogs, my Mom and Dad, the farm and my friends.
My spirits are low right now and turning 49 brings a lot of thought with it. This year needs to be different for me. I need to feel that I am making progress and that there is future in my future. I want to turn 50 feeling that I can accept where my life is and accept the limitations I have, whatever they are.
My mantra is going to be that "I am what I am, not what I do." This is going to be a huge challenge for me.
I am going to start an Eat-Clean program (gradually easing in so that by January 1 I am fully into the program) to see how much change I can make long term to the inflammation, pain and mobility issues I am having. My challenge to myself will be to do it for 365 days. We eat very healthily now but I plan to cut out sugar, all processed food, cheese and eat smaller meals more often. I want to see if the changes over a longer period will really make a difference.
I am going to take some online courses in order to enhance my photography and photo editing skills. I love taking pictures and the digital age is such a blessing; so I want to see if I can up my cognitive challenges in a more creative way and broaden my small world if only on my computer screen, when I have the energy. Ditto on some digital scrapbooking courses online, again with hopes of boosting my creativity (and confidence).
I hope to do some knitting. This past year has really sucked in the knitting department with a few things finished, not much started and not much posting or keeping up to date in the Ravelry or blogging world (I have become an accomplished blog lurker and I still struggle with the energy it takes to read and comment and follow through and knit and do the living thing - I have serious envy for so many of you out there!).
So Happy Birthday to me. If you made it this far you rock and I hope I don't sound as bummed as I am thinking this sounds - I don't want to be all sunshine and light when it really hasn't been but don't think that I am not thankful for all that I do have - I would just like to get to a point where I can take more advantage of it all! I leave you with a pair of socks I finished in the spring and have not posted yet (here or in Ravelry). The details escape me but I will get on that! Thanks for listening!
Today is Ed's 47th birthday and I have to give a huge shout out to him and wish him a wonderful birthday.
In all of his imperfections Ed has taught me so much about unconditional love, patience and generosity. He is gentle and at the same time can truly give me a kick in the rear when I need it. He is one of the kindest people I have had the pleasure to know and he has a level of integrity I wish I possessed.
Ed's strength, both physical and emotional, have kept me going through the darkest days of my illness. His ability to laugh in the toughest of times and to keep me laughing have been invaluable, if not life saving. Living with someone who has several brutal chronic illnesses is not easy and I have say that he has done this with an incredible amount of grace.
I feel blessed to have him in my life and I am so glad that he was born on this day. I am truly privileged to know him and so honoured to be loved so deeply by him. Happy Birthday my love.
When I posted way back at the end of March my original plan was to get the squares in, the blanket sewn up and sent off to Luke by the beginning of May. Ah the plans of life.....
Squares were so generously sent in (thank you, thank you, thank you) and I had enough squares to begin the sewing by the beginning of May. The ensuing months of May, June, July and August brought with them all manner of shit for me; health and personally (another post).
My blogless buddy Carole who has put together a number of the blanket was up to her eyeballs, literally, dealing with the summer long garbage strike in Toronto.
Finally, in September (while in the midst of dealing with the H1N1 - yes, that would be ANOTHER post) I emailed Wannietta in a panic and asked her to sew the blanket together. My guilt was huge...Luke was doing well but I had put myself out there and felt a tremendous sense of consternation that the blanket still wasn't done. Wannietta sewed it together for me (beautifully I might add) and got it back pretty quickly - THANK YOU W!
It still took me another 3 weeks to get it sent off. Finally, it is there. Luke is in remission (and doing so well after a bone marrow transplant). And he has the blanket. And I am indebted to all of you who so generously sent such beautiful squares.
As always I am humbled by your generosity to this ongoing project. I haven't named names (I was going to post the squares and the donors...and if I can get up the steam to do it I still will - you deserve so many kudos!!!!) but I do thank you all so very much. Please don't stop sending the squares. I am working on getting back on my feet (yet again) and plan to get more blankets out (this was blanket number 7 for the Warming Grace Project. Again, thank you!
Nick turns 16 today! It seems hard to believe. And what a young man he is becoming; honour roll student, captain of his rugby team, musician (trumpet, piano and guitar), serious golfer, charming, funny and sweet. He had 7 buddies over for an overnight birthday bash (8 16 year old young men are kind of like gangly puppy dogs - Ed and I haven't laughed this much for a long time); pizza and bowling on Friday night - minimal sleep; games and fun, feeding (pancakes, eggs, bacon), silly string, balloon fights, a big chat lying in the meadow, Taboo and Scattergories, spiderman masks and party festivities, more feeding (chili, garlic bread) and a big birthday cake.
He wore the 'birthday hat' with lots of panache all weekend (and today to school on the 'real' birthday day). I am in ordinately proud of our wonderful guy. In honour of his 16th year I am going to embark on a 365 project for him - I have the scrapbook prepped (I do hope to share parts of it when I get it going) - I am sure 365 days of being 16 will bring lots of changes and great things. Happy Birthday Nick!!!!!
On a separate note I have been getting in squares (I have them photographed and ready to post). I have been dealing with a nasty bacterial infection in my sinuses and ears so I haven't gotten back to the square sendees (I will do it this week) and really wanted to focus my energies on the birthday festivities (and getting well of course). More this week.
I had to euthanize my girl Gryph this past Saturday. Two weeks prior, on March 28, Gryph slipped down the bottom two stairs of our staircase, tearing up her inner thigh and cracking her pelvis. Normally this would be recoverable. Gryph, at 14 1/2 years, had certainly seen her share of maladies (three incidents of tortion - her stomach was sewn to her abdominal wall on the third time, two separate dog attacks - one cutting the femoral artery which did NOT bleed out, pnuemonia stemming from kennel cough from which the vets were sure she would not recover but she did with NO scar tissue) however she had two fused vertebrae which caused nerve damage to her rear end weakening it, and at her relatively advanced age she was more fragile (our vet likened it to a 90 year old woman who has broken her hip).
The two weeks from the time of her injury to my decision to put her down on Saturday were such an intense roller coaster ride. The narcotics used the first week to manage the pain (tramadol, something IV and a phentenol patch) all caused dysphoria and my sweet, sweet lovely girl was in distress and unable to be alone and without me in her sight - nothing like herself and quite emotionally hard for me. The second week saw an improvement in her ability to walk and her overall pain level, however she continued to have painful spasms in her right leg (the vets didn't really know what might be causing this) which would leave her crying and her mental fragility seemed increasingly affected.
I had decided after one week to put her down and then she rallied and I really felt I should give her a chance. There were many ups and downs and my decision to put her down on the Thursday was changed by the fact that she seemed to be doing better. Given that it was the Easter weekend, I decided I would see how she did over the weekend and possibly wait until Easter Monday. Gryph had a stellar day Friday and then totally bottomed out. By Friday night she was in agony and could not walk. Saturday morning she still couldn't walk. I knew I couldn't wait.
This whole concept of euthanasia is indeed a tough one. I am more emotional by nature and I know that I wanted to give Gryph the chance to recover, and, honestly, I was having such a hard time letting her go (my fantasy of her just going to sleep one day and not waking up is a naive one). I also didn't want her to suffer anymore. We took her in on Saturday morning and I cried (and have cried) so unabashedly.
My girl Gryph was an intelligent, curious and kind dog, full of love and joy and playfulness. Typical of the standard poodle breed, even up to the day she fell, she would romp outside - despite her rear end weakness - and display a puppy like sense of mischeviousness. I miss her muppet eyes, her Gryphie smell and that insistent push against my hand to give her a rub. Companion dogs are such a gift of unconditional love, acceptance and loyalty. Gryph let Nick beat up on her when he was a toddler and she followed him around the farm yard making sure he was safe. She laid beside me during the worst times of my illness and she played hard and so tenderly with Ed.
I am so thankful that I was fortunate enough to be such a large part of her journey. I miss her so much right now.
you introducing me to the music of Gino Vanelli, Supertramp, Genesis, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and George Benson to name just a few. You were always so happy to share and I was always so willing to receive. I still have the tapes you made me even though I don't have a tape deck anymore;
you talking Jim into flying you to Calgary when I was so homesick for a 'spur of the moment' trip to hang out with me and you got high and ate a whole bag of Oreos on the way and then we stayed up until 5 in the morning because of your sugar rush - oh how we laughed;
when we were driving down to Cinncinati with Tracey that time to see Jamie and you guys had to stop at the first corner store over the border so you could get beer and munchies and we saw Mom & Dad at that rest stop in Michigan and you convinced me to back up on the I-95 so you could go have a 'chat,' and we were laughing so hard I think I wet my pants and you calmly jumped out of the truck like it was no big deal;
when the internet was first up and running how we hung out on the World Wide Web and constantly emailed each other. You would be amazed at how things have changed;
when I got drunk on Amaretto that one Christmas Eve and how you covered for me on Christmas Day (although looking back now I don't think that Mom and Dad really bought it). BTW, the Glenffidich is still in my pantry - I have given up the scotch and vodka martinis...and well every kind of alcohol;
you had a 35mm first and I got the degree in photography;
I took the weaving class in college and you got the floor loom and taught yourself;
how often people told us we were so much alike....although I would think about things first before jumping in;
how much of an extrovert you were....and how much of an introvert I still am;
your joie de vivre.
I love the photo Rob. So 70's. You are the same age in this photo as Nick is now (and in the same Grade too). The maple tree we planted in your honour grows strong. Even though I am now 9.5 years older than you were when you died, you will always be my big sister. I miss you so much.
This is Luke. He is 8 years old. Luke was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenus Leukemia) when he was 6 years old. He had a successful bone marrow transplant when he was 7. He had been in remission and in doing routine blood work this March it was discovered that Luke's AML has returned. He is now scheduled to undergo chemotherapy, radiation treatment and hopefully another bone marrow transplant.
The Warming Grace project wants to send Luke a blanket. I need 63 five inch squares in any shade of blue (Luke's favourite colour) in a soft yarn ASAP.
Calls for squares have been so successful and I thank you all so much. We have had more than enough squares to complete 6 blankets so far which is awesome. Unfortunately, many of the squares I have received have been unuseable for the following reasons:
1. Yarn - not soft, some downright scratchy (please rub it against your face or on the inside of your wrist) 2. Size - 5" is 5", not 3" or 6" - it is really hard to put together the blankets if they aren't relatively uniform 3. Quality - it is unfortunate that I have received squares that are so loosely knit they are unuseable, or there are huge holes in the middle or somewhere in the square.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the efforts people have put into knitting and sending squares; however I won't send out a blanket that is not first rate to a child who is putting up such a brave fight.
I am hoping that I can get lots of 5" squares (and kid friendly colour in a nice soft yarn - please no acrylic), particularly in the blue shade as soon as possible. If you can help out thank you sooooo much. Email me at email@example.com for my snail mail address. Please post my request on your blog if you can(there are so many blogs who have a much bigger readership than I do currently). I thank you so much. My goal is to get Luke his blanket by the beginning bit of May (taking into account mailing the squares, getting the blanket sewn together and mailed to Luke).